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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at The Valley

Stress continues to grow for managerless Charlton as Rams underline their greater conviction

Charlton Athletic (0) 0

Derby County (1) 1 Mendez-Laing 31

Charlton's slow dance with a flirtatious League Two shows no signs of ending just yet - as the Addicks succumbed to one smart finish and could not quite make a spirited second half display count.

With Nathan Jones reportedly waiting in the wings to take over the reins, this may well have been the last knockings for Curtis Fleming as brief interim boss following the axing of Michael Appleton and he at least could be satisfied that his team did not go quietly. But the extra guile required was missing.

It was only the second time the Addicks have failed to score at home this season - the defeat to Bolton in October was the other occasion - but they are now just two places and three points above the drop zone.

Next week's clash at Reading takes on added significance. The Royals are currently in that last relegation place thanks to a points deduction.

A game against Derby is another of those fixtures which resonate with those remembering happier days at the Valley. It is 22 years since the teams last met in the top flight.

These days, the Rams look better placed to recover some of the ground that has been lost in recent years They moved up to second with today's win. Right now, the Addicks will feel relieved just to retain the status quo.

They have been throwing increasingly worried glances over their shoulders at the relegation candidates below them. It is now 14 without a win - the last victory coming at the end of November at home to Cheltenham.

Defeat in the previous home match against Northampton heralded the exit of Appleton. Seven different managers in three years - soon to be eight - is no recipe for success.

A stop-start game had been mostly about an early head injury to Ashley Maynard-Brewer - the goalkeeper requiring a head bandage after a lengthy stoppage - and the industry of Freddie Ladapo during a positive start for the Addicks.

But Charlton were rocked after half an hour when Max Bird pounced on a stray pass from Macaulay Gillesphey and played a quick ball up to Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who put the chance away.

The Addicks needed to show more signs of life after a dull spell following the goal and soon after the restart, Alfie May fired in a couple of efforts and a swift exchange down the right between Rarmani Edmonds-Green and Tennai Watson almost paved the way for Ladapo.

As Charlton continued to up the tempo, Daniel Kanu, who came on at the break, forced keeper Josh Vickers into a tip-over with a close-range header.

But Derby's pace on the break was unsettling and Bird almost finished a burst into the box with a goal - his left-foot shot flashing just wide.

In the end, neither team troubled the scorers again and that suited Paul Warne's Rams just fine.

Addicks: (3-5-2) Maynard-Brewer - Ness, Thomas, Gillesphey (Ramsay 68) - T Watson (Campbell 78), Edmonds-Green, Coventry, Bakinson (L Watson 78) , Edun (Kanu h/t) - May, Ladapo (Fiorini 90+1)

Rams: (3-5-2) Vickers - Nelson, Cashin, Bradley - Ward (Nyambe 89), Hourihane, Adams (Thompson 72), Bird, Sibley (Elder 72) - Mendez-Laing (Barkhuizen 38),(Wilson 89) Collins

Attendance: 16,014


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