Ipswich Town 0 Charlton 2 (Morgan 21, Bogle 68).
By Kevin Nolan from the tactical safety of Grove Park.
As good at Portman Road on Saturday as they were bad in midweek at Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium, Charlton brushed aside Ipswich Town and re-established themselves as serious promotion contenders. Their inner Mr. Hyde had embarrassed them in Staffordshire; Dr. Jekyll showed up in Suffolk, where the Tractor Boys were comfortably beaten.
Whatever harsh words Lee Bowyer chose to criticise the humiliation by bottom-of-the-table Burton clearly did the trick. His shaken side produced a performance of relaxed but purposeful ability, which included first league goals for the outstanding Albie Morgan and a score-settling Omar Bogle, whose first half removal on Wednesday was hurtful but got Bowyer's message across. Bogle's stone-faced reaction to scoring, while his teammates generously celebrated his change of fortune, was born of injured pride but Bowyer had been proven right. Omar is cordially advised to lighten up. With the wretchedly unlucky Paul Smyth now unavailable for a few games, he promises to be indispensable to his manager.
Morgan had been one of the few successes at Burton, where his second half replacement of Marcus Maddison inspired brief hope of a second half rally. The 20 year-old's display earned him a start three days later and he rose to the occasion with a tour-de-force of impressive quality. Well schooled at Charlton's peerless academy, young Albie seems ready to kick on from eager prospect to savvy midfield all-rounder, capable of quarterbacking play and shouldering greater responsibility. "Things are starting to finally sink in with him", remarked Bowyer and Morgan's new willingness to do his share of the muck-and-nettles work around him made the gaffer's point.
Alongside the kid at Portman Road, the superb contribution of grizzled veteran Ben Watson provided him with a timely example. Watson was busier than a one-armed paperhanger as he threw spanner after spanner into Town's sputtering tractor and gummed up its works. Morgan's early opener was a logical result of the hustle and hassle so dismally absent at the Pirelli Stadium. An attack appeared to have foundered on the edge of the home penalty area until a crunching recovery tackle by Chuks Aneke won back important possession. Jonny Williams added a touch, which allowed Andrew Shinnie to pick out Morgan in space ten yards out. A crisp first-time shot whistled past David Cornell and Charlton were on their way.
It was far from one-way traffic, of course, with Ben Amos required to do his bit before the interval. He narrowed the angle intelligently to force James Norwood to scoop over the bar after the bustling forward burst between deputy centre backs Chris Gunter and Darren Pratley. He then rescued Pratley, who was outwitted by Drinnan while attempting to shepherd the ball over the right byline. Leaving his line alertly, he smothered Alan Judge's effort to convert Drinnan's artful cutback. But the twisting, mid-air save he produced to touch over Judge's deft header as it redirected Chambers's wicked free kick towards the top left corner was his piece-de-resistance. As the Addicks settled down, Town's chances dwindled.
Conspicuously absent was the pointless "build from the back" stodge which was seen at its worst in midweek. Crisp and confident, the visitors moved the ball quickly, switched play seamlessly and dominated their promotion rivals. Even the important second goal was prudently timed to ease nerves and provide a more accurate reflection of an increasingly one-sided game.
The process was begun by the quietly dependable Adam Matthews, whose long throw from the right was awkwardly shinned out to Pratley and returned hard and low by the estimable old stager. Unmarked beyond the far post, Bogle made the points safe by finishing efficiently. Seemed a shame not to celebrate an overdue goal. There was - as there always is - a price to pay for this vital win. Just past the hour mark, Smyth suffered a badly gashed knee when sliding in to challenge Aristote Nsiala and departed the ground on crutches. Already without Conor Washington, Bowyer's talent for improvisation will be exercised yet again as he prepares for the midweek visit of MK Dons. He wouldn't have it any other way.
Ipswich: Cornell, Chambers, Nsiala (McGuinness 71), Woolfenden, Ward, Gibbs (Jackson 64), McGavin (Lankester 71), Dozzell, Judge, Norwood (Drinan 35), Bennetts. Not used: Holy, Kenlock, Hawkins, Booked: Ward, Judge.
Charlton: Amos, Matthews, Gunter, Pratley, Maatsen, Morgan, Watson, Shinnie, Williams (Gilbey55), Aneke (Purrington 71), Smyth (Bogle 66). Not used: Maynard-Brewer, Pearce, Maddison. Booked: Maatsen. Referee: Craig Hicks.