MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood Town 1 Charlton 0

Ched Evans celebrates
Ched Evans celebrates
Share this article
Have your say

It was perhaps written in the stars that Ched Evans would score today.

Evans, 30, had deadline day drama as Championship club Bolton Wanderers tried to lure the Sheffield United hit-man away from Highbury.

A 24 hour recall clause on his season long loan deal came to Fleetwood Town's rescue.

Due to the Blades only activating a recall on Thursday with less than 24 hours notice it would have taken three signatures to end his loan spell at Highbury.

The Blades and Evans put pen to paper with the forward at Bolton and ready to seal a switch.

But Fleetwood stood firm, did not sign on the dotted line and held on to their man.

And Evans brushed aside any doubts as to whether he was committed to the cause with a match winning peformance.

The striker netted his 13th of the term in the 68th minute to cap a whirlwind week that saw him whisked away to Sunderland and Bolton before resuming normal service at Highbury.

And it that man-of-the-match performance is anything to go by then Evans is definitely committed to the cause as Town brushed aside play-off contenders Charlton.

It was a first half dominated by Charlton in surprise weather conditions at Highbury.

All week we have been battling the snow in Lancashire but Highbury was bathed in sunlight in a far from bright first 45.

The sun that blinding Charlton keeper Dillon Phillips was forced to wear a cap as he continued to keep ex-Town shot-shopper Chris Maxwell out out of Lee Bowyer's XI.

But it truth he did not need the aid as Town barely tested his goal in the opening exchanges.

Instead Town's front three were called upon to defend as fourth-placed Athletic tried to topple Town's impressive first half stats.

Town welcomed a new centre-half this week in the form of Stoke City loanee Harry Souttar and he was thrown straight in at the deep end.

An injury to skipper Craig Morgan saw Souttar partner Ash Eastham in central defence.

It would be the 20-year-old Scot's Football League debut and Town debut and he was asked to defend in the first half.

But Charlton in truth were a tad toothless up top.

They dominated possession and asked questions but lacked an end product until Purrington popped up.

Josh Cullen found Purrington in the six-yard box but an unlikely source in striker Ashley Nadesan saved the day as he cleared the ball off the line.

It looked like Nadesan was about to be the hero of the day.

The stage was set after that clearance for him to add his name to the scoresheet as he was sent through on the right.

He showed a flash of that electric pace but he just failed to complete the move with the right finish.

The forward went high but his effort flew over the bar with keeper Phillips untested.

Madden was unusually off the boil for Town in the first half as he miss-hit a first-time attempt after being fed by Evans from the right.

He then wasted a similar chance at the back post after Ross Wallace had whipped the ball into the mix.

It was a dour opening half but Town looked brighter in the second 45.

Evans' set-piece was tipped away but the rebound could not be bundled home by Madden.

Charlton looked devoid of attacking ideas but after Nadesan had fired past the post for Town the introduction of Hunter and Sowerby saw Town find their teeth.

Hunter was straight into the action harassing the defence with Evans gaining an opportunity.

He found himself one-on-one with Dillon Phillips and you could be forgiven for thinking that the deadline day transfer saga had impacted his game.

But the striker was back in the goals moments later.

Ash Hunter's delightful chip from the left was nodded down by Madden into the path of Evans and he thundered home from close range.

A goal built on three different aspects of the Town front three.

Hunter's ingenuity and creativity to find Madden, his positioning and telepathic awareness to find Evans and the finish from the forward the icing on the cake.

Town were rocked by a late injury to forward turned right back Wes Burns who limped off in the dying stages with Harrison Biggins entering the fray.

Evans should have wrapped up the game seconds after as he found himself with the ball at his feet and Phillips at sea.

The goal was gaping with the Charlton shot-stopper out of his box but the Welshman could not cap a sterling game with a second as he whipped the ball past the right stick.

Town substitute Hunter caused havoc in the Charlton defence in the closing stages but Town could not get a second despite a man advantage and mammoth seven minutes added time.

Patrick Bauer was the man sent off as he picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Evans.

But it was to be the forward's day as his goal clinched three points at Highbury.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Burns (Biggins, 83), Souttar, Eastham, Husband, Holt (Sowerby, 61), J Wallace, R Wallace, Nadesan (Hunter, 61), Evans, Madden. Subs: Jones, Taylor, Hunter, Biggins, Sowerby, Sheron, Garner.

Charlton: Phillips, Bielik, Bauer, Reeves (Vetokele, 73) Purrington, Solly, Williams, Sarr, Cullen, Lapslie (Parker, 54), Hackett-Fairchild (Fosu, 73). Subs: Maxwell, Djiksteel, Marshall, Parker, Fosu, Pratley.