Charlton 3 Ipswich 2

Last updated : 01 January 2002 By David Robson
Charlton warmed up the biggest Valley crowd for 25 years with a thrilling 3-2 victory against Ipswich. Ipswich arrived on a roll, with three wins in Christmas week, but their revival broke down due to two mistakes from goalkeeper Matteo Sereni. Marcus Stewart was not fit enough to make his comeback after breaking his jaw in a mid-November training-ground collision with team-mate Pablo Counago.

For the Addicks, Chris Powell assumed the captain's armband after Graham Stuart failed to recover from his knee injury. Ipswich got off to a flyer as they stunned the home crowd by storming into the lead from their first attack in the first minute. Mark Venus' free-kick from the right wing was headed downwards by Hreidarsson at the far post - and Marcus Bent gleefully nodded the bouncing ball into the bottom corner of Dean Kiely's net. Charlton were left shell-shocked just four minutes when later when a Jim Magilton through-ball caught Powell out of position and Bent brilliantly chipped Kiely from the right angle of the penalty area.

Things almost got even worse for Alan Curbishley's side after seven minutes, but referee Uriah Rennie was lenient and only showed John Robinson a yellow card after a crude tackle on Gaardsoe that could easily have resulted in his dismissal.

The Addicks hit back with a great Paul Konchesky free-kick which Sereni did well to push round the post. However, the goalkeeper was unable to keep out Robinson's 18-yard drive in the 17th minute, when he appeared to be off-balance and fell while trying to save the midfielder's shot. Thomas Gaardsoe saw his half-blocked shot squirm a foot wide, while at the other end, the net was soon bulging again after another blunder from Sereni. Luke Young's free-kick caused confusion in the visitors' penalty area and Scott Parker awkwardly hooked a shot goalwards that bounced over Sereni, who had gone to ground, and over the line.

Bent almost secured his hat-trick with a fine curling shot from 20 yards after Herman Hreidarsson's powerful charge forward - but the ball smacked into Kiely's left post and rebounded to safety. However, on the hour the home side took the lead for the first time when Jason Euell whacked the ball home from two yards after a superb Sereni save from Kevin Lisbie's header. The goalkeeper did well to stop the first effort, which came from a Robinson cross, but was unable to keep out Euell's follow-up. Sereni made a great save from a 25-yard Claus Jensen free-kick as the match entered the final furlong, while Finidi George lashed a 12-yard shot a yard wide at the other end. Alun Armstrong also fired wide from close range after a George cross.

Man of The Match: John Robinson

Team: Kiely, Powell, Young, Fish, Costa, Robinson, Konchesky, Jensen, Parker (Bart Williams), Euell, Lisbie (Bartlett)