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06 April 2013

Charlton 2 Leeds 1

As so often at the Valley this season, the game was settled by a very late goal, but I think this was the first time that Charlton did the scoring. Five minutes into added time Jonathan Obika met a cross from Rhoys Wiggins and headed it firmly into the covered end goal, to give Charlton the three points their display absolutely deserved.

Earlier, the first half had seen a smart opening by Leeds dwindle away, and Charlton took control of the match, but failed to score. Shortly after the restart, though, it was who else but Johnnie Jackson who got the scoring started. The ball was rattling around Leeds' penalty area and bounced off a defender into his path. He took a moment to steady himself, and perhaps to give thanks that the defender had played him onside, and slotted the ball under the goalkeeper. It was a classic Jackson goal: he was in the right place at the right time and just had to keep his head.

Charlton only showed a little of the headless chicken syndrome that has followed them taking the lead in earlier matches, but unfortunately it resultled in the Leeds equaliser, Luke Varney showing a ruthlessness that he didn't often display in a Charlton shirt.

It looked like it would be a draw, and that felt unjust. Charlton had been much the better team, with everyone putting in a good performance. So Obika's goal restored a little equity to the world. That's one less problem for Dr Who to sort out. It also sent the home crowd into raptures, for at least three reasons:

1. It makes relegation pretty damn unlikely now.
2. It's always good to get a winning goal in the 95th minute.
3. It's always good to beat Dirty Leeds.

For they were quite dirty, and lucky to finish with 11 players on the pitch. They also benefited from a referee who had apparently decided to give the concept of handball a day off. Some fans half-heartedly booed him at the end, but it wasn't a day for that.

You have to admire the Leeds fans, though. They've had years of disappointment, with incompetent or borderline dishonest management, but still sold out the Jimmy Seed stand, and kept singing their dreary song all through the second half. And they hate Millwall.

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