Jason Pearce’s scrappy first-half winner at the KCOM Stadium was enough to lift the Addicks out of the bottom three, leapfrogging the Tigers in the process after a tenth defeat in twelve league games for Grant McCann’s side.
Back in action for the first time in 105 days, McCann handed Angus MacDonald a first start since August 2018, with the former Barnsley man partnering new skipper Jordy de Wijs at the heart of the Tigers’ defensive line. Herbie Kane and Dan Batty anchored the midfield, with fit-again Jon Toral playing behind Tom Eaves.
The first sight of goal arrived with a little over 60 seconds on the clock. Kane’s early corner from the left was flicked on by Toral, only for the Spaniard’s header to drift just wide of the far post with Dillon Phillips rooted to the spot.
After weathering a spell of early pressure, Charlton grew into the match with MacDonald in the right place at the right time to prevent Macauley Bonne’s low drive from testing George Long.
Long was called into action two minutes later though. Hemed sprung the offside trap and hooked the ball back to into the path of McGeady, who drew a fine save from the Tigers’ keeper.
But the Addicks were not to be denied from the resulting corner as Hemed’s header was spilt by Long at his near post, allowing Pearce to face the ball home from close range under pressure from Toral.
The Tigers were fortunate not to find themselves two goals down just four minutes later. Excellent football from Lee Bowyer’s men saw McGeady and Adedeji Oshilaja combine down the left side before the latter’s dangerous low cross somehow evaded the onrushing Addicks attackers in the middle.
Phillips was seriously tested for the first time of the afternoon when Batty’s stinging drive from 20 yards was tipped over by the Charlton shot-stopper before Toral dinked a header wide from Elder’s cross after Oshilaja had been booked for a foul on Bowler.
Batty joined him in the referee’s notebook in what’s the final action of the first half when he was penalised for a deliberate handball in the middle of the pitch as Charlton looked to break.
Albie Morgan fired over when given both time and space on the edge of the box before McCann made a triple change ten minutes into the second half with George Honeyman, Josh Magennis and James Scott replacing Toral, Tom Eaves and Josh Bowler.
Magennis’ first involvement in the action saw the Northern Irishman win a corner. Kane’s delivery was half-punched away by Phillips and it looked as though the ball would drop kindly for Batty inside the box only for Josh Cullen to take the ball off his toes with a well-timed sliding challenge as the midfielder looked set to pull the trigger.
Alfie Doughty replaced Albie Morgan on the hour mark and almost made an instant impact as his cross found Bonne six yards out, but his mistimed header went wide of the target.
Batty made way for Keane Lewis-Potter 17 minutes from time as McCann went in search of a much-needed equaliser and the youngster was inches away from connecting with Callum Elder’s left-wing cross in what was his first involvement in the game after stepping off the bench.
Another substitute – Martin Samuelsen – almost grabbed a late equaliser for the Tigers. Long’s long kick forward caused problems for the visitors’ defence as Tom Lockyer and Pearce got in each others’ way allowing the ball to drop invitingly for the Norwegian, but he could only guide his powerfully-struck shot on the turn straight at Phillips with what was the Tigers’ final chance of the game.
Hull City: George Long, Jordy de Wijs, Dan Batty (Keane Lewis-Potter 73), Tom Eaves Josh Magennis 55), Jon Toral (George Honeyman 55), Angus MacDonald, Josh Bowler (James Scott 55), Matt Pennington, Callum Elder, Herbie Kane, Mallik Wilks (Martin Samuelsen 85).
Subs Not Used: Matt Ingram, Ryan Tafazolli, Reece Burke, Kevin Stewart.
Charlton Athletic: Dillon Phillips, Adam Matthews, Adedeji Oshilaja (Ben Purrington 71), Tom Lockyer, Jason Pearce, Aiden McGeady (Sam Field 82), Darren Pratley, Macauley Bonne (Jonny Williams 82), Albie Morgan (Alfie Doughty 61), Josh Cullen, Tomer Hemed (Chuks Aneke 72)
Subs Not Used: Ben Amos, Naby Sarr, Erhun Oztumer, Josh Davison.