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MATCH REPORT

Posted on 9 December 2006  - 12:00

Dimitar Berbatov took his goal tally for the season to nine as Charlton were on the end of a 5-1 thumping at the Lane on Saturday.

Dimitar Berbatov took his goal tally for the season to nine as Charlton were on the end of a 5-1 thumping at the Lane on Saturday.

The Bulgarian international chipped in with two goals, which were added to by further strikes from Teemu Tainio, Steed Malbranque and Jermain Defoe. It was Teemu's second goal for the Club, Steed's first and Jermain's sixth in as many starts - his seventh of the campaign so far.

The team have now suffered just two defeats in their last 17 outings, this particular game being our 24th of a hectic season.

There was one alteration to the starting line-up that defeated Middlesbrough in midweek with Tainio slotting into midfield in place of the suspended Didier Zokora.

Michael Dawson was guilty of a mis-timed early lunge at Darren Bent that led to the first booking of the game, his second tackle on the player moments later was much more cleanly executed. Charlton, with Andy Reid pulling the strings from a deeper position, were trying to exploit the pace of Bent and Daws could have done without a caution inside four minutes.

The contest was frenetic and lacking precision of passing in the first 20 minutes. The ball was given away with regularity by both teams, although perhaps Charlton were showing the more purpose in front of goal.

Our team picked up the momentum to a greater degree in the second half of the first half, Tom Huddlestone and Tainio getting a grip on midfield and even Dawson making attacking sorties.

The endeavour was rewarded on 30 minutes when Huddlestone played forward into the feet of Aaron Lennon who, in turn, helped the ball on and in the path of Berbatov. The striker kept his composure as he bore down on goal and stabbed calmly past Scott Carson to open the scoring.

It was two just a couple of minutes later when a headed clearance from a Lennon cross fell in front of Tainio who drilled home past a stranded Carson to record his second competitive goal for the Club.

Not building on the lead despite pushing forward at will came at a cost on 41 minutes when Reid got the better of Huddlestone to down the left side of our area and fired in a low cross that flew up off Dawson and Paul Robinson could not avoid the ball ending up in the back of the net.

Defoe came close to restoring the advantage at the other end when he blasted a free-kick from the edge of the area just over the bar via a deflection off a head in the wall and we went in a the interval one goal to the good.

Defoe was on the case of snaring a third goal after the break and was pretty close from distance on two occasions in the first five minutes of the half. Attacking intent was still very much at the forefront of the team's ambitions and profit followed on 55 minutes.

A Tainio cross into the danger zone was headed down by Berbatov and Steed Malbranque controlled with his chest before steering left-footed past Carson and into the net. Steed headed off into the crowd to celebrate his first goal for the club and was promptly booked.

Defoe got in on the act on 62 minutes after Lennon won the ball in the middle of the pitch and set the striker on his way goalwards. Charging towards the right corner of the penalty area, he let fly and Carson was well beaten high inside his left-hand upright.

On 65 minutes it really was party time! Berbatov went on the charge - from a Robinson throw - to the left of the area, beating Amdy Faye and Talal El Karkouri on his way to slotting past Carson from a tight and unlikely angle - clipping the inside of Carson's leg on its way into the net.

Berbatov was replaced to a huge ovation on 75 minutes to facilitate the return of Mido, while Paul Stalteri also marked his restored fitness with some time on the pitch.

It is now six points out of six and the first back-to-back wins recorded by the team in the Premiership this season.