BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton stretched their unbeaten home run to fourteen league games after a narrow win over rock-bottom Bradford City.
Lyle Taylor’s first-half strike was enough to claim all three points against a resolute Bantams outfit.
Both sides hit the post during the clash but the Addicks held on to widen the gap to seventh-placed Peterborough to twelve points with the South Londoners looking dead certs for a play-off place now.
The Bantams came with a clear plan to sit behind the ball and try to catch their hosts out with counter attacks on the turnover of possession and it nearly paid off in the opening stages.
They had already survived a Patrick Bauer header from a corner that flew over the bar before Joe Aribo was on hand to block Jacob Butterfield’s effort from inside the area following a quick break from Gary Bowyer’s side.
The South Londoners were patient in their build-up play and that perseverance was rewarded on 18 minutes. Naby Sarr threaded the ball through to Joe Aribo on the edge of the eighteen-yard box, with the midfielder picking out Taylor to fire across the face of Richard O’Donnell’s goal and in at the far-post.
That was the strikers 19thgoal of the campaign in all competitions but he nearly turned provider shortly after as his centre found Igor Vetokele at the near-post. The Angolan’s internationals prod at goal was well blocked, with the Bantams countering and nearly levelling the scores – only for David Ball to side-foot wide from close-range.
Goal scorer Taylor celebrated his 29thbirthday yesterday and nearly extended the festivities further as he came an inch away from doubling the lead. He slalomed his way through the City half before taking aim from 25 yards, only to see his curler smack off the outside of the post.
Despite propping up the rest of the table, the Bantams always looked dangerous going forward and only a huge block from a combination of Bauer and goalkeeper Dillon Phillips prevented Butterfield from hauling his side level.
The Addicks’ lead should have been widened just before the interval. Jonny Williams had weaved his way to the byline before pulling-back to Taylor who skied over from six yards when it looked easier to score.
The visitors started the second-half strongly and were desperately unlucky not to equalise as Ball arrowed a shot across Phillips’ goal and off the far-upright.
Lee Bowyer’s side struggled to find their rhythm after the interval, with Taylor’s acrobatic volley that cleared the crossbar with seventeen minutes left to play their first real opening.
Vetokele also poked wide from Anfernee Dijksteel’s low-cross but the Addicks had done enough to earn their third consecutive home win despite the far from vintage display.