Charlton held on to defeat Walsall at The Valley to kick 2019 off in style and record a fifth home league win in a row.
The Addicks, looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats on the road, raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening eight minutes thanks to Karlan Grant and a Lyle Taylor penalty.
Andy Cook halved the deficit in the opening stages of the second-period but the South Londoners held on to earn their eighth win in eleven league games.
Taylor had already seen an effort blocked from inside the area following an incisive through ball from Albie Morgan but the home fans didn’t have to wait long to see their side take the lead.
Morgan Ferrier’s loose ball was cut-out by Tariqe Fosu, who measured a pass for Grant to latch onto and finish between the onrushing Liam Roberts’ legs to claim his 12thgoal of the season.
The Valley faithful barely had time to return to their seats before they were up celebrating again. Taylor was hauled down as a cross came into the Walsall area, and he dusted himself off to dispatch the spot-kick, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way in the process.
The South Londoners, with youngster Morgan pulling the strings in the midfielder, were really in their stride and came close to a third as Ben Reeves’ free-kick whistled just wide of the near-post.
Fosu and Grant linked up again soon after, though this time the latter’s strike was charged down as he looked to fire at goal.
Lee Bowyer’s side seemed untouchable in possession at times but the Saddlers started to ease their way back into the contest as the interval approached.
Josh Gordon had already fired tamely at the returning Dillon Phillips from 10 yards out, before the winger then saw his fierce volley superbly headed clear from on-the-line by Naby Sarr.
The recovery from Dean Keates’ side was in full motion shortly after the break. Cook drove a low shot home on the turn just two minutes into the second-period to give the 172 travelling fans hope.
The Saddlers were revitalised but couldn’t make the most of a dangerous spell, despite the ball flashing across the face of the Addicks’ goal at one point.
Charlton looked to react and thought they had regained their two-goal lead as Taylor powered a header home from a corner. The assistant referee on the far-side immediately raised flag four an apparent foul in the melee.
Grant then lifted a free-kick marginally over the bar before Krystian Bielik was then on-hand to charge down an effort as a ball came loose from a set-piece at the other end.
Five additional minutes were shown, in which substitute Mark Marshall nearly added a third for the Addicks, but they saw the game out to claim all three points.
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