Charlton defeats Blackburn, now seventh
LONDON, Reuters Wednesday, September 29, 2004, 12:00 am TWN
A 49th-minute header by Moroccan defender Talal El Karkouri gave Charlton Athletic a 1-0 home win over Blackburn Rovers on Monday that lifted the London club to seventh in the Premier League.
The victory, hard-won in a scrappy but intense fixture, continued Charlton's unbeaten home run and made it four defeats in four away games this season for Blackburn.
In a frenetic opening both sides had scrambling chances, Blackburn skipper Garry Flitcroft going closest when he hit the post from close range in the seventh minute, but the rest of the half was low key.
Charlton coach Alan Curbishley obviously had strong words at halftime as his team came out firing, Kevin Lisbie shooting just wide two minutes after the restart.
The pressure continued and paid off soon after when El Karkouri rose well at the near post to firmly head a Danny Murphy corner through the legs of Rovers keeper Brad Freidel.
Charlton goalkeeper Dean Kiely tipped over a Flitcroft shot, the busy visiting skipper then had a shot blocked on the line by Hermann Hreidarsson and Lorenzo Amoruso just failed to force in the rebound as Blackburn sought a quick response.
The Blackburn players and new manager Mark Hughes were left fuming after 72 minutes as the referee waved away claims for a penalty after a Brett Emerton cross struck the arm of Hreidarsson in the box.
Substitute Radostin Kishishev and Kevin Lisbie both missed late chances to settle the game for Charlton but they proved unimportant as they held out to move to seventh on 11 points from seven games.
Curbishley was delighted to find his side in the right half of the table after a stuttering start to the season.
"We are not at it as we'd like to be but we've got back to basics," he told Sky Sports TV.
"It feels like pre-season, it was so disjointed before the start of the season with players coming in, international breaks and things and it has effected us."
Blackburn remain 16th with five points from seven games and Hughes, who won his first game in charge last week, felt he deserved something from his second. "I'm disappointed we came out of the game with nothing as we played the better football and created more chances in open play," said Hughes, who took over at Blackburn after Graeme Souness left to manage Newcastle United.
"I thought it was clearly a penalty, the referee and his assistant were in a great position and didn't make the decision and those are the things that can change games."
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