Leeds suffer 2-1 comeback defeat at The Valley...
CHARLTON 2 (Watt 74, Buyens pen 79), UNITED 1 (Morison 40).
Charlton: Henderson, Solly, Fox, Gomez, Ben Haim, Eagles (Gudmundsson 45), Buyens, Diarra (Cousins 11), Bulot, Vetokele (Church 90), Watt. Subs. Etheridge, Wiggins, Johnson, Lepoint.
United: S Taylor, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, C Taylor, Byram (Dawson 88), Murphy, Austin, Mowatt, Sharp (Montenegro 84), Morison. Subs. Cairns, Berardi, Phillips, Ngoyi, Sloth.
Referee: T Harrington
Booked: Vetokele, Watt (Charlton)
The visit to Charlton Athletic saw United head coach Neil Redfearn make three changes from the midweek loss to Norwich City, including a first league start for goalkeeper Stuart Taylor in place of Marco Silvestri. Rodolph Austin returned from his three-game suspension to replace Granddi Ngoyi in midfield, while Steve Morison came in for Gaetano Berardi as Redfearn shuffled his formation.
United made a lively start at The Valley, with Austin firing wide from range after latching onto a loose ball inside the opening minute. Charlton then threatened through Igor Vetokele, diverting his downwards header wide under the close watch of Charlie Taylor in a fairly well-matched start to proceedings.
Austin whacked a 25-yard free-kick into the defensive wall, before the best chance of the early stages fell for Luke Murphy on 22 minutes. Alex Mowatt’s right-wing cross was flicked towards the back post by Morison and into the arriving Murphy’s path, but the midfielder could only side-foot over Stephen Henderson’s bar from inside the area.
Leeds were the ones applying the majority of the pressure and Morison almost caught Henderson off-guard following a loose backpass, but the Charlton goalkeeper’s clearance cannoned back off the striker and rolled behind.
Murphy then stung the palms of Henderson at a comfortable height from distance and Billy Sharp glanced a Sam Byram cross over the bar as Redfearn’s men continued to ask questions of the home defence.
The hosts had been largely subdued until the 33rd minute when Vetokele clipped the post from inside the area. A Charlton corner fell into the path of Tal Ben Haim on the edge of the area and his return strike was deflected against the post to the relief of the United defence.
Leeds were then awarded a golden opportunity to open the scoring just three minutes later from the penalty spot after Yoni Buyens had hauled down Byram, but Sharp’s spot-kick was tipped onto the post by a sprawling Henderson save.
Confidence didn’t appear to be knocked, though, and Mowatt forced Henderson into another good stop at his near post with a dipping free-kick from 30 yards out.
And the deadlock was eventually and deservedly broken from the resulting corner on the 40th-minute mark through Morison. Murphy’s delivery found the striker lurking with intent to emphatically hammer home his first of the season on the volley. Henderson got the slightest of touches on its way into the top corner, but Morison’s strike was too powerful and United took the lead into half-time.
Charlton made one change at the break, replacing Chris Eagles with Johann Gudmundsson, and the hosts had the second half’s first sight of goal as Vetokele broke free before lashing well wide of Taylor’s far post.
The United shot-stopper was then forced into action to push away Morgan Fox’s dangerous-looking cross from the left as Charlton looked to apply a spell of pressure on the visiting goal.
At the opposite end, Mowatt bent an effort over Henderson’s bar and Austin drilled a low strike into the goalkeeper’s arms on the hour mark.
Taylor again had to be alert on 68 minutes, getting down sharply to his left to push away Buyens’ curling effort with a strong, two-handed save, but Charlton were able to draw level six minutes later courtesy of Tony Watt.
The Addicks forward was found unmarked at the back post to fire an unstoppable volley into Taylor’s bottom corner.
And the hosts managed to pull themselves ahead just five minutes later, this time from the penalty spot, as Buyens sent Taylor the wrong way after the United keeper was adjudged to have brought down Vetokele inside the area.
Leeds looked to mount a quick response, with Austin forcing Henderson into tipping away his long-range strike, while Brian Montenegro and Chris Dawson were introduced as the game entered five minutes of added time.
Liam Cooper squeezed a back-post header wide and Redfearn’s side piled men forward, but Charlton saw out their lead to inflict defeat upon United.