Burnley 3 (Ings 37, Vokes 67,87) Charlton 0.
Kevin Nolan reports from Turf Moor.
This comment hardly qualifies as blinding insight but the early season signs are that Charlton are already knee-deep in a relegation quicksand. In fact, make that hip-deep and sinking fast. And that's not a panicky overstatement by any means.
The manner of this abject capitulation to buoyant Burnley, as much as the not unexpected defeat itself, sent shivers of apprehension through the 313 dogged loyalists who followed them up to Lancashire. Those were their natural reactions to an apparent absence of ability and a much more obvious lack of fighting spirit, the same qualities which made them so hard to beat on the road last season. They were sent packing by opponents who chewed them up before spitting out the remains. The Clarets scarcely broke sweat in dealing with such flimsy pretenders.
Let's do try to be fair, though. The Addicks didn't actually manage too badly for over a half hour but were beaten in the instant Danny Ings expertly swept his side in front on 37 minutes. Their chronic inability to keep a clean sheet meant that the goalless draw which was clearly the extent of their ambition was now beyond them. They could have played all day and on through Wakes Week without scoring themselves. As soon as Burnley went in front, all bets were off.
Not much had been seen of Ings during the opening half hour. A fine block by Dorian Dervite had snuffed out his only chance and the game was pottering anonymously along, much to the visitors' satisfaction, until he popped up in precisely the right place at exactly the right time to open the scoring. Timing his run to the far post as the impressive Kieran Trippier outwitted Rhoys Wiggins on the Clarets' right flank, Ings made routine work of converting the full back's low, hard-driven cross. It was a lesson in cold-blooded finishing, which was lost on the inept visitors. In the first half, they managed only a limply wide shot from Dale Stephens and a wicked free kick from Wiggins which Tom Heaton bravely collected under pressure from Simon Church. They didn't do much better in the second period so we'll draw a veil over their puny efforts.
Operating in Ings' shadow, meanwhile, Sam Vokes had wasted an early chance, glancing another of Trippier's sweet centres wide when scoring seemed an easier option. Like his strike partner, he bided his time before extinguishing Charlton's faint hopes with an excellent second goal. Played through by Dean Marney's astute pass inside Lawrie Wilson, he drew Ben Hamer from his line, then smoothly lifted a deft chip over the keeper into the right corner. Earlier this season, the Addicks had pulled back a two-goal deficit at Barnsley: the chances of a repetition were minimal. There's a smell of defeat hanging over them right now.
Full of themselves, Burnley were winning as they pleased. Ings' clever header from Ben Mee's left wing cross beat Hamer but smacked against the bar and it was left to Vokes to add a final flourish to their victory with three minutes left. Meeting Junior Stanislav's waist-high corner on the volley, he gave Hamer no chance from 10 yards. Ings and Vokes, between them, have accounted for 12 of Burnley's 17 league goals this season.
It's recommended, of course, to search for positives in the bleakest of situations but on this occasion, you'd be reaching to find even one. Even the late substitute appearance of Yann Kermorgant seemed to backfire or was it imagination that the all-important striker limped through the closing moments? With skipper Johnnie Jackson ruled out pre-kickoff and Chris Solly already a mysterious long-term absentee, Chris Powell could do without further worry concerning Kermorgant's immediate prospects.
High flyers Nottingham Forest and Blackpool are due this week at The Valley prior to the international break, neither of them opposition you'd choose to face while out of form. Defeats by that formidable duo could see the sands closing over Charlton's head. And once you go under, it's one helluva job to reach the surface again.
It's a bit early to be using a word like crisis. So what should we call it -a blip? Face facts. It looks like a crisis, feels like a crisis, sounds like a crisis. Chances are it's a crisis.
Kevin Nolan’s Match Report is brought to you in association with , 294 Burnt Ash Hill, London, SE12 0QD.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Kightly (Stanislav 60), Marney, Arfield (Treacy 85), Jones (Edgar 90), Ings, Vokes. Not used: Cisak, Lafferty, O'Neill, Stock. Booked: Marney.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Pritchard (Harriott 46), Stephens, Cousins, Gower (Sordell 68), Stewart (Kermorgant 83), Church. Not used: Alnwick, Evina, Wood, Hughes. Booked: Wilson.
Referee: D. Coote. Att: 10,645.