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Charlton 1, Boro 0.

Byline: By Eric Paylor

Stuart Parnaby was recalled at right back for the suspended Danny Mills for Boro's Premiership clash at Charlton Athletic this afternoon.

The home side were quickest out of the blocks and the Boro defence were put under pressure in the opening minutes.

Southgate did well to intercept a through ball intended for Jensen and then Ehiogu and Parnaby made vital clearances soon afterwards.

Boro were under pressure again when a cross from Di Canio was headed back by Cole for Jensen, but Ehiogu was well positioned to clear.

When Boro attacked for the first time they were unlucky not to take the lead in the eighth minute.

Job brought in Mendieta, who played a delightful ball out to the left for Zenden. The Dutchman closed in on goal and hammered in a low drive which rebounded into play off the foot of the right hand post.

Boro suddenly took a strong attacking hold with Job, Juninho and Mendieta all prominent in some promising build-up play.

However, as Charlton eventually settled again, Boro were indebted to a magnificent save from Schwarzer for keeping them on level terms when the Aussie dived to his right to keep out a blistering drive from Cole.

The home side stayed on the offensive and won a free kick just outside the Boro box when Boateng brought down Cole.

Jensen's free kick was deflected behind by Boateng for the game's first corner and when Boro failed to clear Di Canio's flag kick, Kishichev blasted a 20-yarder just over the Boro bar.

Charlton continued to push forward with Southgate and Queudrue both making important challenges to prevent the home side from breaking through.

However, Boro almost engineered a breakthrough when a free kick from Queudrue was headed out by Fish for Boateng to volley the ball inches wide from 25 yards with Kiely rooted to the spot.

However it was Charlton who made the crucial breakthrough with a peach of a goal in the 25th minute.

Queudrue missed the chance to clear a bouncing ball on the left and when it was picked up by Di Canio the Italian squared the ball back for HOLLAND who side footed a dipping shot out of Schwarzer's reach and into the top left hand corner of the net.

Charlton were visibly lifted by the goal and they began to push more men forward, putting the Boro defence under pressure.

When Mendieta conceded a corner, Di Canio took a short one and Jensen played the ball back for Kishichev to shoot straight into Schwarzer's arms from the edge of the box.

Soon afterwards the same players combined again, Jensen setting up Kishichev for another opening which the mid-fielder hammered over the bar.

When Boro replied Job was just unable to reach a clever through ball from Boateng which was gathered by Kiely.

In 34 minutes Parnaby won Boro's first corner but when Zenden's flag kick reached the near post, it was headed away by Perry.

Boro stayed on the offensive with a bright attacking spell which ended with Boateng shooting wide.

Boro were then very unlucky not to draw level in 40 minutes when Juninho made a superb run through the middle before linking up with Job whose close range effort was brilliantly saved by Kiely.

Boro stayed on the attack with Job and Queudrue both going close with back headers and then Southgate heading straight at Kiely from a Zenden corner.

Charlton then broke quickly with Cole cutting in from the right before shooting over the Boro bar from the edge of the box. Boro made a double change at

the interval with Maccarone and Nemeth coming on for Job and Doriva.

The addition of the extra striker made an immediate difference as Boro came forward from the first whistle and stayed encamped in the Charlton half of the field.

Mendieta played a strong ball in from the right and although he couldn't control it, Boateng picked up the loose ball before shooting past the left hand post.

Then Juninho and Mendieta combined to give Maccarone a chance inside the box but the Italian was crowded out.

Queudrue then came forward on the overlap and won a corner on the left but Zenden's cross was headed away by Holland.

Charlton finally relieved the pressure when Konchesky went on a strong left-wing run before hitting a low ball right through the Boro goalmouth.

Soon afterwards a good tackle by Boateng on Di Canio was given as a free kick by Mr Dean and Jensen's first time shot from just outside the Boro box was not far off target.

Charlton were now firmly back in the game with Di Canio shooting straight at Schwarzer and Jensen hammering another effort wide.

In 59 minutes Charlton made a change with Bartlett replacing Cole up front.

Boro's early control had waned and they were struggling to put together constructive attacks as a result of Charlton's tighter marking and tackling.

In 64 minutes Bartlett won Charlton's first corner of the half but Di Canio's cross was headed away by Southgate.

Charlton were back again when Bartlett escaped on the right and held off Ehiogu before shooting into the side netting.

In 68 minutes Boro made their final change when Greening took over on the right flank from Mendieta.

Boro were starting to probe again and went close on the break when Maccarone hit a low cross right through the Charlton six yard box.

In 72 minutes Charlton made a change when Johansson replaced Di Canio.

Boro were trying to increase the tempo again and won two corners in succession without making further progress.

In fact, they almost fell further behind from the second one when Johansson took advantage of a mistake by Boateng to race clear and set up the unmarked Holland whose strong low drive was smothered by Schwarzer.

Boro then pushed forward again to win another a corner off Perry. Zenden's cross from the near post was met with a header from Maccarone but Kiely saved.

Boro then had a great chance 10 minutes from time when Maccarone set up Nemeth whose close range shot was parried by Kiely and Perry completed the clearance.

Boro continued to press with Greening sending a volley over the bar.

As Boro put four men forward Charlton began to create on the break with Bartlett and Jensen both shooting wide.

In injury time Boro had a chance to salvage a point but Maccarone's effort was saved by Kiely.

Attendance: 26,270

Paylor's verdict

Boro played some nice football at The Valley but lacked a ruthless streak. Charlton were stronger into the tackle from the start and once they had taken the lead mid way through the first half, Boro could not create the openings they needed to have a chance of getting back into it.

Half-time: Charlton 1, Boro 0
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport Boro
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2004
Previous Article:We'll sign stew.
Next Article:Hartlepool 1, QPR 4.

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