February 10, 2014 by Shane Ireland
Charlton Athletic 0 – 2 Birmingham City
A Federico Macheda brace secured all three points for Birmingham at the Valley, with the Manchester United loanee striking in each half.
The 22-year-old made his first start for Blues, having scored the equaliser in stoppage time against Derby last week.
An awful pitch made it tough for both sides to play even the most infant style of free-flowing football, and the first chance of the game came about from a set piece.
Lawrie Wilson’s free-kick was eventually met by Astrit Ajdarevic but Darren Randolph, who proved to be unbeatable throughout, stopped his header comfortably.
Minutes later Macheda had a chance to put Blues ahead.
The Italian did well to meet Paul Caddis’ cross, but this time Macheda didn’t express his forthcoming clinical streak, instead firing wide.
However the Addicks didn’t take note of this warning and after 22 minutes the visitors took the lead.
The ultra-impressive Emyr Huws swung in a free kick, perfectly placed for Macheda, who headed home from six yards out.
Eight minutes later, a determined Blues nearly doubled their lead.
Huws’ midfield partner Olly Lee found Chris Burke with a delightful weighted pass, but the usually reliant Scotsman was thwarted by Charlton goalkeeper Thuram.
Next, it was Charlton’s turn to experience a purple patch and thankfully for Blues, they found Darren Randolph in fine form to deny their every effort.
A plethora of Addicks’ players saw their efforts saved by the Irish ‘keeper, most impressively when Johnnie Jackson’s deflected shot was pushed away. A save that looked rather brilliant from row four.
The match was becoming more scrappy as the Valley pitch was cut up even further, and it was clear that the next goal was vital.
Tom Adeyemi could have been forgiven for thinking he’d got that goal, but the former Norwich midfielder saw his left-footed drive whistle just wide.
Chris Burke was the next to go close for Lee Clark’s side.
Huws put the winger through on goal with an aerial pass that was defended poorly, but Thuram again saved his shot. From the subsequent corner, Adeyemi’s header was just off target.
On 79 minutes, the aforementioned Adeyemi stole the ball from the Charlton midfield and set off on a defence-splitting run that culminated in a pass across goal to Macheda. His finish was just as good as Adeyemi’s brilliant ball-carrying, slotting the ball home to the delight of the 2000+ travelling Bluenoses. Both player and fans were overcome with passion, Macheda even jumping into the crowd to celebrate alongside the supporters.
Just a couple of minutes later the Manchester United loanee was inches away from a hat-trick.
Chris Burke got the better of the Charlton full-back and drilled in a low cross that narrowly evaded Macheda’s outstretched leg.
But two goals were comfortably enough for Blues, now nine points clear of Charlton in the relegation zone, who came away with a vital win on a thoroughly enjoyable day in London.
Blues boss Lee Clark:
“I lost five players on loan on New Year’s Day and had to rebuild the squad.
“It took a while and we lost three league games which knocked the stuffing out of us.
“Luckily I was able to recruit new players and they have done very well for us.
“Federico showed a touch of quality to finish.”
Charlton manager Chris Powell:
“We acquitted ourselves well with some good passages of play. We had good chances but their keeper did well.
“In the end it was not our day, we had opportunities to score. The chances were there but Birmingham scored at crucial times.”
“We had to involve them (the new players) in everything we do. They have to get used to us and the way it is in the Championship if they want to add their qualities to the squad and get into the swing of things.
“We need results and we are not getting them I understand the need to push away from the bottom.”
Randolph, Caddis, Martin, Packwood, Robinson, Burke, Adeyemi, Huws, Lee, Macheda (Lovenkrands 87), Novak
Subs not used: Howard, Doyle, Shinnie, Brown, Rusnak, Blacket
Man of the match: Federico Macheda