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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Man Utd 2-0 Charlton
Louis Saha (centre) is congratulated by his Manchester United team-mates
Manchester United moved to within one point of Chelsea in their chase for second place with an efficient victory over Charlton at Old Trafford.

Louis Saha picked up David Bellion's pass, drilling home a low strike to set United on their way after 28 minutes.

Gary Neville burst forward to seal the win in the 65th minute as he blasted a drive into the corner of the net.

Charlton were unlucky to have a Paul Konchesky penalty appeal rejected while Shaun Bartlett missed a header late on.

Sir Alex Ferguson made five changes to United's starting line-up after Saturday's shock defeat by Portsmouth.

Ruud van Nistelrooy returned from a knee injury while Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Bellion and Darren Fletcher were also drafted in.

The Dutchman conjured the first real chance of the match after nine minutes, putting through Saha with a neat pass from the left but the 12.8m-striker could not reach the ball.

Phil Neville almost made United's early pressure count when Saha found him in space with a short free-kick after 18 minutes.

KEY MOMENTS
28 mins: Saha's low shot puts the home side ahead
65 mins: Neville's powerful strike seals the win
74 mins: Bartlett header hits the bar to deny Charlton a consolation goal

The defender's shot was well saved by Dean Kiely and he had a second chance with the rebound before Saha drove wide the ricochet.

Saha finally found the target with his silver boots just before the half-hour mark.

With the Charlton defence frantically back-pedalling, Bellion was allowed to run down the length of the pitch.

The former Sunderland striker released Saha who fired a hard and low shot past Kiely from six yards out.

Charlton refused to get dispirited and went in search of an equaliser before half-time.

Skipper Matt Holland and Claus Jensen created some useful build-up play from the centre of midfield but their good work was wasted.

Howard was given little to do on his return as Jensen's ambitious long-range strike and a promising effort from Konchesky drifted off target.

Van Nistelrooy tantalised the crowd 20 seconds after the restart as he lashed a right-footed shot just over the bar.

Alan Curbishley's side saw their best chance of an equaliser turned down by referee Steve Dunn after 53 minutes.

Gary Neville appeared to bring down Konchesky in the area but Dunn dismissed the penalty appeals instead booking Konchesky for diving.

The England right-back was at the heart of the action 15 minutes later when he picked up the ball from Saha on the counter-attack.

Neville coolly blasted his angled shot into the corner to notch up his second goal in a week - and the sixth of his United career.

The introduction of Paolo di Canio and Jason Euell failed to inspire Charlton, who were deflated by Neville's strike.

Bartlett saw his header rebound off the post in the 74th minute and Euell went close with a volley minutes later.


Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville, Brown, Silvestre, Phil Neville, Fletcher (Ronaldo 83), Butt (Keane 74), Djemba-Djemba, Bellion, Saha (Giggs 65), van Nistelrooy.
Subs not used: Carroll, O'Shea.

Charlton: Kiely, Young, Fortune, Powell (Perry 83), Konchesky, Jensen, Stuart (Di Canio 74), Holland, Hreidarsson, Johansson (Euell 63), Bartlett.
Subs not used: Royce, Cole.

Booked: Konchesky

Attendance: 67,477

Referee: S Dunn (Gloucestershire).


WATCH AND LISTEN
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"It's important to bounce back after defeats and we did that"




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