Charlton welcomed the return of the Championship season with a vital 1-0 win at Hull City courtesy of Jason Pearce’s 18th-minute goal.
After falling into the relegation zone on the final matchday before the recent hiatus, Charlton immediately hauled themselves out of the drop zone with a strong performance in East Yorkshire.
Back in action for the first time in 105 days, Lee Bowyer went with four at the back for the trip to the KCOM Stadium, Jason Pearce and Tom Lockyer starting in central defence, flanked by Adam Mathews and Deji Oshilaja.
Josh Cullen and Darren Pratley anchored the Addicks midfield with Albie Morgan on the left and Aiden McGeady on the right, behind the pair of strikers, Macauley Bonne and Tomer Hemed.
It didn’t take long for Charlton to shake off the rust of the lengthy break, Hemed seeing the Addicks’ first shot of the game blocked after Morgan and Oshilaja combined to set up the Israeli striker on the edge of the box.
Bonne was next to try his luck moments later, Angus MacDonald tracking back to make a last-ditch tackle after the Charlton striker was found by Morgan on the right side of the box.
After weathering a spell of early pressure, Charlton grew into the match and took the lead in the 18th minute through Jason Pearce. McGeady saw a strong effort saved by Long, but the Addicks were not to be denied from the ensuing corner as Hemed’s header was pushed into the path of Pearce to bravely bundle home under pressure.
Firmly in control after the goal, Charlton were centimetres from doubling their lead moments before the first half water break. McGeady and Oshilaja combined down the left side before the latter’s dangerous low cross somehow evaded the onrushing Addicks attackers.
Chances remained at a premium as Dillon Phillips enjoyed a quiet first period, Charlton taking their one-goal lead into the half-time interval.
The visitors began the second half on top, Morgan firing over the bar in the 52nd minute before Hemed’s header was deflected wide after Hull were opened up by a brilliant Charlton attack.
Despite starting in the ascendancy, the Addicks had to stay alert to deny Daniel Batty, Cullen taking the ball off his toes with a well-timed sliding challenge as the midfielder looked set to pull the trigger 12 yards from goal.
Alfie Doughty replaced Morgan in the 61st minute and made an instant impact as his cross found Bonne six yards out, but the striker’s mistimed header went wide of the mark.
Charlton continued to soak up pressure while attacking with pace on the counter, nearly finding a second goal as the match entered the final 15 minutes. Chuks Aneke, on for Hemed, sped past his marker on the left wing, but his low cross was deflected out to Cullen who shot high and wide.
After defending resolutely, the Addicks were nearly undone by the simplest of attacks with five minutes to play. Long launched the ball forward and when Lockyer and Pearce got tangled with each other, substitute Samuelsen turned and fired straight at Phillips.
Charlton dug their heels in and defended comfortably through a nervy additional five minutes to claim a significant 1-0 win at the KCOM Stadium, moving up to 19th in the Championship table, Hull taking their place in the drop zone.
Hull City:Long, Batty (Lewis-Potter 73), De Wijs, MacDonald, Pennington, Elder, Toral (Honeyman 56), Bowler (Scott 56), Kane, Eaves (Magennis 56), Wilks (Samuelsen 85)
Subs (not used): Tafazolli, Burke, Stewart, Ingram
Booked: Batty 45+3 (handball)
Charlton: Phillips; Mathews, Pearce (c), Lockyer, Oshilaja (Purrington 72); Pratley, Cullen, Morgan (Doughty 61), McGeady (Field 82); Bonne (Williams 82), Hemed (Aneke 72)
Subs (not used): Amos, Sarr, Oztumer, Davison
Goal: Pearce 18
Booked: Oshilaja 38 (foul on Bowler), Williams 90 (foul on Samuelsen), Pratley 92 (foul on Honeyman)
Referee: Darren England
Attendance: 0 (Behind closed doors)
Match report by Benjy Nurick