Goalscorers: Brian McBride 13, Darren Ambrose 19, Darren Bent 45, Franck Queudrue 90
Charlton Athletic: Scott Carson, Djimi Traore, Talal El Karkouri, Hermann Hreidarsson, Osei Sankofa, Radostin Kishishev, Matt Holland, Darren Ambrose (Bryan Hughes 74), Jerome Thomas (Dennis Rommedahl 45), Darren Bent, Marcus Bent (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 82)
Fulham: Antti Niemi, Franck Queudrue, Carlos Bocanegra, Philippe Christanval, Liam Rosenior, Moritz Volz (Claus Jensen 74), Michael Brown, Wayne Routledge, Tomasz Radzinski, Brian McBride, Heidar Helguson (Collins John 65)
Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 25,203
Charlton Athletic were experiencing a very difficult 2006. Long-time manager Alan Curbishley had elected to step aside at the end of the previous season and they were finding life after him incredibly tough. The Addicks were now onto their fourth manager of the calendar year.
Former player Alan Pardew was appointed to try and revive their fortunes. He replaced Les Reed days before Christmas. His appointment came just over a fortnight after his sacking by West Ham United. Pardew’s first match in charge of Charlton was a London derby against Fulham, who notoriously struggled away from home. Chris Coleman’s side had won just one game on the road all season.
It was the visitors’ who started the brighter and they took the lead after 13 minutes. Central defender Carlos Bocanegra was given plenty of space in the penalty area by the Charlton defenders. The American met Franck Queudrue’s free-kick and smashed a header against the crossbar via help from Scott Carson’s fingertips. Unfortunately for the home side, Brian McBride was the quickest to react and finished expertly to give Fulham the early advantage.
Pardew would have wanted a response and he got it. Just six minutes later, Charlton were back on level terms. Jerome Thomas tried his luck but miscued a volley which Antti Niemi made a meal of. Darren Ambrose pounced to equalise. His shot went in off the post.
Charlton went onto dominate the rest of the first half and took the lead right on the stroke of half-time. Carson’s long goal-kick was not dealt with by two Fulham defenders. This allowed the always alert Darren Bent to bear down on goal and finish calmly past Niemi.
The home side continued to show more attacking intent after the interval. Pardew brought on the pacey Dennis Rommedahl for Thomas and he was a constant menace throughout the second half. Niemi was forced into action when the Dane tried to score from a very acute angle.
It looked like Charlton were closing in on only a third Premier League win of the season but an appalling decision would deny Pardew a winning start. Tomasz Radzinski and Djimi Traore had a battle on the touchline and the ball went off Radzinski. However, the linesman gave Fulham a free-kick rather than Charlton a throw-in. From the set-piece, the Addicks’ failed to deal with Michael Brown’s ball into the box and Franck Queudrue smashed home a fortuitous equaliser. Charlton had been denied what would have been a deserved victory.
The result kept them seven points adrift of safety and ultimately, Pardew had too much to do. They were relegated in early May and haven’t returned to the Premier League since. Fulham only survived on the penultimate weekend with Lawrie Sanchez seeing them over the finish line after Coleman was sacked in April 2007.