Harry's sharp shooting Rangers rode into town confident of getting their men in the shape of a bunch of South London desperadoes. I doubt many of the local townsfolk thought the local boys stood much chance either.
In fact desperation played a significant part in the outcome of this something less than tense London derby.
I and my match companion were perplexed at the home sides team selection. The much criticised Danny Green getting a start and more fuel added to the fire and debate of the Thuram ahead of now fit Hamer.
Predictably the visitors bossed the early exchanges, keeping possession and restricting the Addicks to scraps. It looked like a long afternoon ahead for the home fans and players alike but as the match progressed you just got the sense that Rangers might just have left the "sharp" part of their shooting back in West London. Charltons back four looking fairly comfortable in the face of still significant possession by QPR.
As often in football the first real chance of the match fell to the side under pressure if not quite the cosh. A ball in from the left by Wiggins found Danny Green in space on the edge of the visitors box and his lay off fell nicely for the advancing Jordan Cousins whose low (shinned ?) drive beat the floundering Green in the QPR goal only to strike the foot of the post and rebound invitingly to Charlton's Reza Ghoohannejhad whose first time side foot strike agonisingly for him and the Charlton faithful came off the other post and was cleared to safety with Green once again completely beaten. For a team that struggles to create chances and score goals you couldn't help but wonder if this miss would go on to prove very costly.
Charlton could not be faulted for their application and although Rangers continued to have the lions share of the ball the home team were far from being second best. The next real incident of note was when a surging run by QPR's number 15 Onuoha ended when he tumbled to the floor inside the Charlton penalty area claiming he was fouled by Dorian Dervite. From my position in The NW upper I must admit I thought a penalty was about to be given but the well placed referee waived play on without booking the protesting Onuoha. Further evidence as if it were needed of just how difficult a referees job can be.
QPR continued to huff and puff but never really looked like blowing Charltons house down. The home side gaining in confidence as the match progressed with special mention in despatches for the youthful in years but mature in performance duo of Cousins and the latest arrival via the academy production line Diego Poyet.
The second half started with both sides unchanged and continued in similar vein to the first 45 minutes albeit with the Addicks looking more positive and still out grafting the visitors.
On 64 minutes the game seemed to tip in favour of the home side when manager Chris Powell unusually early for him decided on a double substitution. Off went the Iranian Reza who had been the victim of a flu bug earlier in the week and surprise starter Danny Green and on came the imposing figure of Astrit Ajdarevic and Addick 774 Marcus Tudgay signed just the day before on loan from fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest.
The positive impact on the home side of these two additions was immediate. Ajdarevic looked composed on the ball playing in the advanced role of a midfield diamond that gave new lease of life and energy to the hardworking midfield of Cousins and Poyet and in particular to captain fantastic Johnnie Jackson whose contribution from here on was going to be pivotal. New boy Tudgay managed to cause problems for Rangers defence and had the opportunity to get to learn on the job the names of his Charlton team mates.
Charlton were now the team in ascendancy. The home crowd lifted and for the first time in the match pushing the visitors back for sustained periods.
QPR although now perhaps on the back foot were not completely done and on 75 minutes a back pass from Dorian Dervite to fellow Frenchman Thuram found the goalkeeper pushing the slightly over hit and bobbling ball directly to Rangers substitute Maiga whose first touch luckily for the home team took him and the ball wide of the desperately recovering Thuram and second touch beyond the goal line and out of play. Rangers last hurrah was to fall to Ravel Morrison who had already spurned a first half chance when well placed. This time the ball found the loanee from West Ham in space on the edge if the six yard box but his poor control popped the ball invitingly up and into the diving arms of Thuram.
With the game seemingly heading for a goalless conclusion Charlton once again pushed forward in search of an unlikely winner. Poyet 22 yards out centrally placed found 89th minute back in favour Academy product Callum Harriot wide left whose pullback eased to resurgent Jackson whose shot was blocked and a follow up attempt of an overhead kick by Tudgay was also blocked. The ball was run out of the Rangers penalty area by the giant Onuoha but only as far as the crunching tackle awaiting him from Diego Poyet. The ball from this tackle finding Charltons own giant Ajdarevic whose curling left footed shoot was well tipped round the goalkeepers left hand post by former England keeper Robert Green. The resulting corner timed at 90+2 minutes was taken by Ajdarvic himself. Hit long to the far post it was met by who other than Jackson whose tight angled downward header bounced in front of and through the legs of Green and high into the QPR net.
Reeling away in delirious joy the captain threw himself into the arms of the north stand fans and into the book of referee Eddie Ilderton for over celebrating. By this point nobody in the stadium other than those from west London were caring. The game was won for the Addicks and an immeasurably important three points in the bag. Perhaps as importantly the lift that the result has given to the players, management and fans will provide the belief that the club has now a platform to climb out of the relegation places.