Hats Off To Charlton
9 December 7.45pm
Charlton safely negotiated the replay at Kenilworth Road to book their place at White Hart Lane.
The covers were still on the pitch alongside the main stand as the players warmed-up prior to kick-off. Conditions looked tricky but Pawel Abbott assured me the pitch was fine. As the match progressed it was the section in front of the main stand that was to give the players most of the problems with their footing.
Difficulties on the roads delayed some of the Addicks fans though far more than the 1409 present saw the match thanks to ESPN's coverage and live streams via their computers.
Charlton were on the back foot throughout the first period when Luton appeared to relish the conditions far more than their visitors. The rotund Danny Crow fired an early warning of things to come when he beat Elliot, only to see his effort rebound from the bar. It was no surprise when the Hatters took a 37th minute lead through their giant Czech defender,Zdenek Kroca. The Addicks failed to clear their lines from a corner, gifting Kroca his chance.
Elliot had to be on his toes to deal with a couple of free kicks from the dangerous Andy Drury, one a quickly taken effort that caught the Charlton defence napping.
Phil Parkinson was relieved to see his team restore parity just before the break when Scott Wagstaff glanced in Francis's cross.
After a slow start, Charlton had much more purpose about them after the break. Paul Benson picked up a knock and, despite trying to run it off, had to be replaced by Pawel Abbott on the hour mark. The muscular striker's introduction proved to be the catalyst for the Addicks victory.
Six minutes after Abbott joined the fray, Joe Anyinsah nodded the visitors in front when Luton failed to clear a corner. Charlton grew stronger as the game went on and clinched their place in the Third Round nine minutes from the end. A free kick, from a dangerous position on the right, was taken by Jackson. His shot took a fortuitous deflection off Racon's back, completely wrong footing Mark Tyler, to nestle in the right hand corner of the keeper's net.
There were no further scares in the final minutes as Charlton comfortably saw the game out. Phil Parkinson's delight was obvious at the final whistle when he applauded the travelling fans and gave them a cleched fist salute.