Match Report: Charlton Athletic 2 Doncaster Rovers 0

Mark Duffy
Mark Duffy
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Lightning would not strike twice for Rovers - and unfortunately neither would the torrential rain.

It seemed almost inevitable that the unwelcome rearranged trip to The Valley would not bring the same breathtaking performance as the one in the soaking wet original staging back in August.

The heavens did not open at all on this occasion and Rovers were far from the high intensity outfit that had raced into a 3-0 lead on that day.

Instead it was Charlton with the vigour and the goals - a stunning first half volley from Dale Stephens and a cool off-the-post finish from Simon Church.

This time it would have been Paul Dickov doing the rain dance.

For Rovers only, the ground seemed to be equally as heavy as it did in August. They were slow off the mark, ponderous in possession and lacking presence in the final third.

Charlton on the other hand were full of energy, playing the game at an electric pace from the off both with and without the ball.

The elements may have got the Addicks out of jail three months ago but they were fully deserving of the three points they took from this second staging of the game.

Though the point at Barnsley and the win from Yeovil certainly stopped the rot for Dickov’s men, they are still lacking the spark with which they began the season.

It is not possible to hide the true extent of the way injuries have rocked the side.

The back four looks disjointed, leading to hesitancy and poor decisions.

And there is a big Chris Brown- shaped hole in attack, with Rovers struggling to make an impression in the final third throughout.

Charlton really should have been ahead after two minutes when Church beat the offside trap to claim Jordan Cousins’ chip beautifully only to skew a shot horribly wide from 10 yards out.

Church arguably should have done better when wrestling goalside past a panicky Bongani Khumalo on the half hour but Ross Turnbull rushed out well to claim.

The opener came on 39 minutes and it was something special.

Yann Kermorgant’s cross was only half-cleared by Khumalo and Stephens lashed a volley from the edge of the area which looped over Turnbull and into the top corner.

Rovers could easily have been level within minutes with their first real chance of the game.

Federico Macheda was sent into the box but repeated attempts to cut the ball back allowed numerous Charlton players to track back and the Italian blasted his delayed shot over the bar.

Charlton continued their high energy play in the second half.

Lawrie Wilson darted into the box and lashed a low shot which was well saved by Turnbull.

The Rovers keeper could do little about Charlton’s second on the hour mark.

Church darted between the two central defenders to meet a long pass out from the back and slotted past Turnbull from the edge of the area.

Even following the second, Charlton looked the more likely to score the next goal.

It took a fine fingertip save from Turnbull to put a powerful drive from the lively Cameron Stewart over the bar.

And Stewart could hardly have gone closer moments later when a similar effort rattled the bar.

Dickov threw on Theo Robinson and 19-year-old debutant Alex Peterson but neither produced a chance of note.

Ultimately Rovers would return from the Valley empty handed - again.

Charlton: Hamer 6, Wilson 7, Wiggins 6, Morrison 6, Dervite 6, Stewart 8 (Green 90), Jackson 7 (Hughes 90), Cousins 6, Stephens 7, Kermorgant, Church 7 (Sordell 81).

Not used: Alnwick, Evina, Wood, Harriott.

Yellow cards: Jackson

Rovers: Turnbull 6, Quinn 6, Khumalo 5, McCullough 5, Wabara 5, Coppinger 5, Wellens 6, De Val 6 (Peterson 76), Duffy 6, Paynter 6 (Robinson 68), Macheda 6.

Not used: Maxted, Wakefield, Cotterill, Bennett, Woods.

Yellow: Wellens.

Referee: SimonHooper (Wiltshire)