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12:44 11th September 2011

Charlton Athletic 2 Exeter City 0

You'd have been forgiven for thinking that Paul Tisdale must have smashed a mirror while opening an umbrella indoors on his summer holidays as it would be fair to say his side haven't had the best of luck so far this season, And as well as suffering numerous injuries to crucial players he can now add Daniel Nardiello's disallowed goal in the early stages this afternoon to that ever-growing list of controversial decisions that haven't gone Exeter's way. The former Manchester United man's 13 minute effort, after Vine's shot had been pushed out by Ben Hamer, looked to have crept over the line for his side's first away goal of the season before being clawed back by the summer signing from Reading. The referee and linesman weren't having any of it though, much to the frustration of those in white. But Lady Luck certainly played no part in what followed though, with Nardiello taking matters into his own hands minutes later as he continued to argue with assistant Webb who chose to ignore his claims of a goal. Referee Tierney gave City's number 10 a straight red for foul and abusive language and Tisdale certainly called it right when he said Nardiello shot himself and his team-mates in the foot with his protest. The descending of the red mist over Nardiello left his 10 team-mates with an uphill battle for the remaining 72 minutes against one of the favourites for promotion. The opening 15 had seen a 5-3-2 formation with Scott Golbourne slotting into a three man City midfield with David Noble and James Dunne. But Tisdale, who had come into the away end before the match to meet and greet fans, sign autographs and pose for photos, reacted to the red card by reshuffling his troops into a 4-4-1 formation with Rowan Vine the lone forward, Golbourne on the left of midfield with Troy and Noble in the centre and Dunne on the right. The controversy didn't finish with Nardiello's ruled out effort and sending off as Charlton's next attack on 23 minutes saw a shot bounce off the goal-line and back into play. A low cross could only be poked into the path of Chris Solly by Billy Jones and he smashed a cracking effort off the underside of the crossbar. Hamstrung City barely threatened in the final third but they hadn't come close to conceding until a classy link-up between Wright-Phillips and strike partner Paul Hayes created the opening goal just before the break. The former Argyle man played a one-two with Charlton's number nine before running through on goal and rolling a shot past Lenny Pidgeley into the corner. His 'sssh' celebration infront of the away end certainly had the desired response but, unlike with his goal down at Home Park last season, the referee kept his cards in his pocket. Having produced little to trouble Michael Morrison and Matt Taylor, who got a very warm round of applause from the 600 away fans at kick off and the start of the second half, Tisdale threw caution to the wind and took off two defenders. Off went Billy Jones, who'd picked up a knock, and Danny Coles and Tis introduced Chris Shephard and Richard Logan in their place. But having tweaked his attacking line-up it was his defenders who had to be at their best in the opening minutes of the second half, Scott Golbourne and then Steve Tully producing vital defensive headers as Charlton attackers waited to pounce. Shephard and Vine then linked up down the left-hand side but the latter's drilled cross was too close to former Grecian Hamer. Then just seven minutes into the second half Irish youngster Jimmy Keohane was given his Football League bow, having only previously featured against Liverpool. City's number 22 replaced Vine and he moved to play just off Logan. Then came arguably City's best spell of the match. You sensed that the Grecians had weathered a storm and the game began to settle into a rhythm with neither side controlling possession. And Keohane was taking to League One football well, looking to get involved whenever possible and making a number of attacking runs from midfield. Logan span and shot straight at Hamer on 62 minutes before Keohane looked destined to test Hamer. Bearing down on goal he readied himself for the shot but the diving body of Rhoys Wigginsgot in the way just as he made a connection and the ball looped up into the air and down into the grateful arms of Charlton's number one. Meanwhile City's own summer recruit between the sticks was doing very well against the Charlton attack and cleanly taking 90% of the crosses into his box. And on 74 minutes he was off his line in a flash to dive at the feet of Wright-Phillips after the striker was sent through by Hayes. The away team were still in the game despite their numerical advantage and the 14,000 home crowd were getting restless at times when their side were knocking the ball around in their own half. But their fears were allayed on 81 minutes with a second goal to kill off the game and earn Chris Powell's men the three points. Wright-Phillips' work down the right hand side ended with his low ball being fired into the far corner by Dale Stephens for 2-0. And Stephens could have been selecting a second goal shortly afterwards but his volley at the back post was pushed round the post by Pidgeley. A beaming Wright-Phillips found time to wave to the Grecians behind the goal on his way off the pitch and it was smiles all round for the home side as they continued their unbeaten start to the season. City can take solace from the way they opened themselves up in the second half and Pidgeley, Keohane and Duffy in particular can take heart from their displays. Some of the players looked dead on their feet in the dying minutes having played with ten men for the majority of the game for the second time in a matter of weeks but there will be little time to recharge the batteries with Notts County coming to The Park in three days time. (Tuesday 7:45pm) Nardiello's absence means Tisdale is now without three of his four senior strikers and has plenty to ponder ahead of the visit of Martin Allen's men, 2-1 winners over Walsall this afternoon.
    Data provided by Press Association