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Football: Hero Carson keeps Dowie in business; Chesterfield 3 Charlton 3 (Charlton win 4-3 on pens after extra time, 2-2 at 90 mins).

Byline: David Anderson

CHESTERFIELD is famous for its crooked church spire - and Charlton needed goalkeeper Scott Carson to keep them on the straight and narrow last night in a thrilling cup tie at Saltergate.

Carson made two great saves in the penalty shootout to set up Hermann Hreidarsson to score the winner and ease the pressure on boss Iain Dowie.

The League One giantki llers pushed the Premiership's bottom club all the way and veteran striker Wayne Allison scored in the final minute of extra time to set up the nervy finale.

Dowie said: "I think there is a sense of relief. Chesterfield pushed us hard but we showed great character and didn't buckle, even at the end when it looked like everything was against us.

"Scott made a couple of great saves and it's a shame Chesterfield had to lose in this manner because they played well.

"This is the first time in the club's history we've been this far in the cup and that's a positive. But when you look at the Premiership table there's still a lot of work to be done.

"Maybe this result will boost us, but I won't be able to tell you that until a quarter-to-five on Saturday after we play Wigan."

Chesterfield sensed a third Premiership scalp to add to their victories over Manchester City and West Ham when Colin Larkin flicked home Kevan Hurst's corner at the near post to open the scoring after just 105 seconds.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink equalised five minutes before the interval, rifling home a left-foot shot under the despairing dive of Barry Roche.

Charlton barely deserved to be level on the evidence of their poor showing and just 78 seconds into the second half the Spireites retook the lead again when Caleb Folan took advantage of slack defending to glance home Alan O'Hare's corner.

Dowie sent on top scorer Darren Bent and in the 72nd minute he got the faintest of touches to Jerome Thomas' drive to send the tie into extra time.

Charlton thought they had finally broken Chesterfield's resolve in the 93rd minute when Hasselbaink scored his second, but with just 60 seconds remaining 38-year-old Allison headed home from a free-kick with the visitors' defence in disarray.

Chesterfield had beaten Wolves on penalties in the first round, but this time there was to be no fairytale ending for them as Carson proved to be the spot-kick hero.

Chesterfield boss Roy McFarland said: "I can't fault my players. They were superb again tonight."

CHESTERFIELD: Roche, Lowry, Hazell, Downes, O'Hare, Hall (Smith 91), Niven, Allott, Hurst, Larkin (Davies 115), Folan (Allison 85).

CHARLTON: Carson, Young, Diawara, Fortune, Hreidarsson, Hughes (Ambrose 65), Kishishev (Faye 75), Reid, Thomas, Marcus Bent (Darren Bent 65), Hasselbaink.

49% POSSESSION 51%

6 SHOTS ON TARGET 7

9 SHOTS OFF TARGET 8

2 OFFSIDES 5

7 CORNERS 8

13 FOULS 17

1 YELLOW CARDS 2

0 RED CARDS 0

ATTENDANCE: 7,000

MAN OF THE MATCH: Carson

CAPTION(S):

DONE ALLOTT: Carson saves Mark Allott's penalty' VICTORY SALUTE: Hreidarsson punches the air in triumph
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 8, 2006
Words:511
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