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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 December 2005, 17:57 GMT
Charlton 2-5 Man City
Manchester City crushed Charlton with contemptuous ease at The Valley.

The visitors flooded forward almost at will and deservedly took the lead when Darius Vassell set up Andy Cole.

Darren Bent pulled a goal back with a volley against the run of play before Trevor Sinclair lashed in from an acute angle and Joey Barton made it 3-1.

The midfielder calmly scored a rebound from the spot but after Jay Bothroyd's fierce free-kick, it was late Vassell and Cole goals that secured the points.

Charlton have now lost five Premiership matches in a row and Alan Curbishley, after 700 games at the helm, may want to take a leaf out of his counterpart Stuart Pearce's managerial notebook.

The City boss made five changes in an effort to "freshen things up" after watching his side pick up only one point from their last three matches.

The ploy worked a treat and after enduring a goalless run of 250 minutes, City's strikers ran Charlton's rearguard ragged.

That the opener should have stemmed from the lively Vassell's efforts came as no surprise.

He controlled a long clearance on the edge of the area, which sucked in the Charlton defence and freed Cole for a neat finish off the outside of his right boot.

Charlton levelled out of the blue, Bent holding his run and shaking off the defence before latching on to Luke Young's looped pass with a neat volley on the bounce from the edge of the area.

However, home celebration was short-lived and within a minute Charlton were trailing.

Sinclair tore into the penalty area on the right leaving Spector in his wake, took a pass from Cole in his stride and fired home from the angle.

City continued to pour forward after the break, Cole and Barton going close before the latter looked to have scored the game breaker.

Herman Hreidarsson's tug on Vassell in a crowded penalty area was spotted by referee Phil Dowd and the impressive Barton stepped up to score - but only after Dean Kiely had saved his initial effort from the penalty spot.

Yet again Charlton regrouped and Bothroyd lashed in a free-kick from the edge of the area to give Charlton hope but yet again it was short-lived.

Vassell broke the offside trap and calmly stroked the ball under Kiely before Cole followed suit, raiding down the left and capitalising on more poor defending to add a gloss to the scoreline with his second and City's fifth.

  • Charlton boss Alan Curbishley:
    "If you're going into games and you're looking like you're going to concede the amount of goals we're going to concede, that's got to stop.

    "We're letting goals in and whoever I change and bring in is making the same mistakes so it is very difficult.

    "I've got to try to find the answer and we'll be working on that from now."

  • Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce:
    "Credit to all the players they deserved to win the game comfortably on the chances they created and how well they battled.

    "Andy Cole's eye for a goal is sensational. In our dressing room he's a leader. He is well-respected and we need that.

    "Darius Vassell plays off him fantastically well. They compliment each other so well."

    Charlton: Kiely, Young, Perry, Hreidarsson, Spector, Johansson (Bothroyd 53), Smertin, Murphy, Holland (Thomas 45), Ambrose (Hughes 81), Bent.
    Subs Not Used: Powell, Myhre.

    Booked: Perry, Young.

    Goals: Bent 36, Bothroyd 73.

    Man City: James, Sommeil, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Sinclair (Croft 86), Barton, Reyna (Ireland 86), Jihai, Vassell, Cole (Wright-Phillips 86).
    Subs Not Used: Sibierski, De Vlieger.

    Booked: Jihai, Reyna, Dunne.

    Goals: Cole 25, Sinclair 37, Barton 69, Vassell 79, Cole 84.

    Att: 25,289

    Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

    Interview: Man City boss Stuart Pearce

    Interview: Man City's Trevor Sinclair

    Interview: Charlton boss Alan Curbishley


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