Charlton back in the Championship with a bang

Charlton shocked Blackburn on their return to the Sky Bet Championship with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Ewood Park.

The Addicks – back at this level after a three-year absence – put in a tireless shift and were duly rewarded.

Ben Purrington’s close-range effort two minutes from half-time gave them a lead against the run of play before an unfortunate own goal from Dillon Phillips levelled matters nine minutes after the restart.

But Charlton showed immense character and were rewarded by a clever finish from last season’s top scorer Lyle Taylor in the 77th minute.

Rovers have now lost their last two meetings against Charlton – both masterminded by Bowyer.

Tony Mowbray handed debuts to four of his five summer signings, while Bowyer gave defender Tom Lockyer a first start for Athletic.

Sam Gallagher, making his second debut for Blackburn after a successful loan spell in the 2016-17 season, should have marked the occasion in style early on but completely failed to connect with Adam Armstrong’s cross.

Fellow debutant Stewart Downing repeated the trick soon after when Gallagher laid the ball on a plate for him 12 yards out but his balance betrayed him and Charlton cleared.

Despite being under the cosh for the majority of the half, it was Charlton who registered the first shot on target 12 minutes before the break, but new Rovers keeper Christian Walton produced a solid save to push Taylor’s rasping strike away.

And the visitors opened the scoring in the 43rd minute when Jonny Williams was given time and space to loft a cross towards the back post where the unmarked Purrington prodded his half-volley into the roof of the net.

It could have got worse for Rovers before half-time when Bradley Johnson was robbed of the ball by Taylor, whose low drive had to be gathered by Walton.

Blackburn regrouped during the break and got their reward in the 54th minute, though the equaliser came in bizarre fashion.

Downing’s corner was met by a thumping Johnson header that Anfernee Dijksteel headed off the line but only straight at his goalkeeper’s head and unfortunately for the visitors, into the net.

For all Blackburn’s spell of pressure, a simple throw in almost undid them 15 minutes from time but Connor Gallagher’s strike was deflected into the side netting.

It did not matter, though, as they regained the lead in the 77th minute when Jason Pearce headed a corner goalwards and
Taylor’s deft touch took it past Walton via the post.

Only a superb close-range save by Walton from Jake Forster-Caskey spared further embarrassment, as the Addicks gained a richly-deserved three points.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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