The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Owens

IT MIGHT not have been pretty but Charl­ton in­terim man­ager Karel Fra­eye felt his troops didn’t put a foot wrong as they stunned Birm­ing­ham at St An­drew’s.

Fra­eye’s side had to with­stand 22 shots at goal from the hosts, but skip­per John­nie Jackson’s 50th Charl­ton goal gave the Ad­dicks their sec­ond win on the bounce, and their first away from home since March.

All of which left the Charl­ton boss grin­ning from ear to ear, even if he re­fused to be drawn on the prospect of get­ting the job on a per­ma­nent ba­sis.

“I’m very pleased, be­cause we played the per­fect away game,” Fra­eye en­thused.

“We knew we would have our chances, and with­out play­ing de­fen­sively, we tried to be well or­gan­ised.

“It was rather an open game. Both teams had their mo­ments, and we man­aged to take one.

“Whether the job is called in­terim or per­ma­nent, I don’t really care, be­cause it will never af­fect my work. The whole staff work ev­ery day from early in the morn­ing to very late at night, and we can­not do more than we are do­ing.”

Birm­ing­ham had en­joyed the bet­ter of a drab first half, with a se­ries of at­tacks down the right through De­marai Gray. The Eng­land youth in­ter­na­tional beat three men with a de­flected touch to cen­tre for Jon Toral just af­ter the half-hour, and it took an ex­cel­lent stop from Stephen Hen­der­son to deny the Blues the lead.

Hen­der­son was called upon again two min­utes later, stop­ping Ni­co­lai Brock-Mad­sen’s fin­ish with his leg af­ter the Dan­ish for­ward was fed in be­hind by David Davis.

Jac­ques Maghoma looked all set to put the Blues ahead 10 min­utes af­ter the restart when he checked back in­side his man and stroked the ball to­ward the far cor­ner. But the Con­golese winger’s ef­fort rolled ag­o­nis­ingly wide, and the hosts would soon rue their suc­ces­sion of near misses.

Charl­ton’s win­ner may have come against the run of play, but its ar­chi­tect Tareiq Holmes-Den­nis was the stand-out per­former from ei­ther side on the day. Though nat­u­rally a left-back, the 20-year-old ex­celled push­ing for­ward from the right­hand side of the vis­it­ing de­fence, and it was his right-footed cross shortly af­ter the hour which set Jackson up to score his third goal of the sea­son with an em­phatic header.

Toral should have lev­elled for Birm­ing­ham 10 min­utes from time when he ar­rived at the near post to meet Viv Solomon-Ota­bor’s cross, but he headed over from point­blank range.

The hosts pro­duced a glut of chances in stop­page time, with Reece Brown and Solomon-Ota­bor both fir­ing just wide af­ter Holmes Den­nis’s last-ditch header de­nied Jonathan Grounds a sim­ple equaliser at the far post.

Birm­ing­ham’s up-and-down home form con­tin­ues, but boss Gary Rowett was hap­pier with his side’s dis­play than in other re­cent fix­tures.

“We’ve had 22 shots at goals, and eight on tar­get, which is more than we had in the 5-2 win at Ful­ham last time out,” Rowett re­flected.

“We were by far the bet­ter team in the game, but we just couldn’t take one of those chances. I can be­rate per­haps the lack of ruth­less­ness in front of goal, maybe just the lack of qual­ity in one or two of our shots, but ac­tu­ally I felt as though we weren’t far away.

“I thought it was a poor goal for us to con­cede. I thought it was very sloppy. It was prob­a­bly their only good chance on goal in the whole game.”

PIC­TURE: Pro Sport

RIS­ING HIGH: Charl­ton Ath­letic skip­per John­nie Jackson heads home the only goal

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