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ROVERS DEFEATED AT THE VALLEY

2 January 2017

Charlton Athletic 4-1 Bristol Rovers

Attendance: 12,252 (1,571 away) 

An early goal from Jermaine Easter was cancelled out by a Josh Magennis header just before half-time, before the home-side netted three goals in the second half, with Magennis recording a hat-trick, as Charlton secured victory at the Valley.

Ahead of the game, Rovers made six changes to the team that faced AFC Wimbledon on New Year's Eve, with the introduction of Byron Moore, Lee Mansell, Stuart Sinclair, Liam Lawrence, Rory Gaffney and Jermaine Easter to the starting XI, with Matty Taylor and Billy Bodin dropping to the bench, along with James Clarke, Mark McCrystal, Charlie Colkett, Ellis Harrison and goalkeeper Kelle Roos.

In the opening exchanges, it was Rovers who registered the first chance on goal, when a delightful chipped ball into the area from Byron Moore split the Charlton defence, with Jermaine Easter timing a run into the box to latch on to the pass, but the touch off his chest to control the ball was too heavy and goalkeeper Dillon Phillips was able to dive to the forwards feet to claim the ball.

The striker didn't have to wait long for another chance to come his way, as he found himself in the right place to punish Patrick Bauer for a mistake inside the Charlton half and the striker was able to keep his composure to advance on goal unchallenged and take the ball around 'keeper Dillon Phillips and slot a finish side-footed into the back of the net to put Rovers ahead early-on in the encounter.

The hosts were quick to respond with chances of their own and were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position when Lee Mansell was penalised for a challenge on the edge of the area. Striker Josh Magennis stood over the set-piece and from a short run up directed a curling effort that rattled the crossbar, before bouncing behind for a goal-kick. 

Lee Brown picked up a first-half yellow card for tripping Jordan Botaka after the winger picked up a slack pass in midfield and advanced towards the Rovers penalty box at speed. 

Charlton's equaliser came just five minutes before the break when a free-kick was launched into the area by Joe Aribo and the set-piece was glanced into the net via a header from Josh Magennis. 

The hosts sustained the pressure into the final minutes of the first period, when a low right-footed cross from Jordan Botaka forced Tom Lockyer to deflect the ball behind for a corner, with Josh Magennis lurking inside the six-yard box.

Less than five minutes after the restart, the home side were awarded a free-kick following a challenge by Peter Hartley. Midfielder Joe Aribo again found Magennis from the resulting set-piece and the striker was able to head the ball past Will Puddy at the far-post.

Following his second goal of the afternoon, Magennis had a chance to net his hat-trick, with the striker taking a touch before launching a shot on target that curled just past the post from inside the area. 

On the sixty-minute mark, a driven cross from the left from Lee Brown caused the hosts problems and required Andrew Crofts to be at full stretch to knock the ball behind for a corner, with Rory Gaffney poised in a dangerous position at the far post.

Rovers replaced both Gaffney and Easter with Ellis Harrison and Matty Taylor, but Charlton managed to add a third goal to extend their advantage in the game when Joe Aribo angled a pass across the face of goal that was turned in by defender Jorge Teixeira. 

Striker Josh Magennis completed his hat-trick in the final quarter of the game, with forward taking a touch to control a long ball forward, before opening up his body to squeeze a side-footed effort past Will Puddy that curled on target and nestled just inside the post.

Rovers created a late chance when a Byron Moore free-kick found Peter Hartley inside the area. The defender rose well to connect with the cross and managed to find the target with his header, but 'keeper Dillon Phillips was equal to the effort.

Next up for Rovers is the visit of Northampton Town to the Mem this coming Saturday. 

Bristol Rovers: Will Puddy (GK), Daniel Leadbitter (61' James Clarke), Peter Hartley, Tom Lockyer (C), Lee Brown, Stuart Sinclair, Liam Lawrence, Lee Mansell, Byron Moore, Jermaine Easter (58' Matty Taylor), Rory Gaffney (58' Ellis Harrison).

Subs: Roos (GK), Mark McCrystal, Billy Bodin, Charlie Colkett.

Charlton Athletic: Dillon Phillips (GK), Adam Chicksen, Patrick Bauer, Andrew Crofts, Josh Magennis, Jordan Botaka, Ezri Konsa (81' Kevin Foley) , Chris Solly (C) (81' Nicky Ajose), Morgan Fox, Joe Aribo (76' Fredrick Ulvestad), Jorge Teixeira.

Subs: Dimitar Mitov (GK), Nicky Ajose, Karlan Ahearne-Grant, Joshua Umerah, Jay Dasilva.

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