Charlton Athletic 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: Garry Monk hails Owls’ response after ending winless streak

Steven Fletcher mobbed by team-mates after his first goal.   Pic Steve Ellis
Steven Fletcher mobbed by team-mates after his first goal. Pic Steve Ellis
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Steven Fletcher scored twice to help Sheffield Wednesday secure their first victory in London in nine games as they beat Charlton 3-1 at The Valley.

After Fletcher netted either side of Macauley Bonne’s equaliser, Atdhe Nuhiu headed a late third to move the Owls closer to the Championship play-off places.

Steven Fletcher converts his second goal from the penalty spot.

Steven Fletcher converts his second goal from the penalty spot.

Wednesday manager Garry Monk expressed his delight as his side ended a five-match winless run.

Monk said: “I’m pleased for the players because we’ve had a lot of frustration recently where we’ve played as well as that, we haven’t taken our chances and a couple of costly mistakes have probably caused us not to win more games.

“We know that, but we wanted to show today that we still had the belief and character to respond even though we’ve had a tricky period where we haven’t won games when we have deserved to.

“We’ve taken leads in games and something has gone against us, but I saw the belief in the players today. We could easily have felt sorry for ourselves today when they equalised, but we didn’t and we showed a great response. I think it was a deserved win.”

Steven Fletcher celebrates his second goal in front of Charlton keeper Dillion Phillips.

Steven Fletcher celebrates his second goal in front of Charlton keeper Dillion Phillips.

Injury-hit Charlton mounted a late assault on the Wednesday goal to no avail, but the home faithful were able to draw consolation from matters off the pitch.

Buoyed by the news of the impending takeover by Abu Dhabi-based corporation East Street Investments, the pre-match atmosphere was one of celebration that the reign of Roland Duchatelet at The Valley will soon be over.

What will not be so quickly resolved is Charlton’s injury crisis which grew to 14 players prior to kick-off when Ben Purrington was forced to pull out.

So limited are the options of manager Lee Bowyer that his place at left-back was taken by Alfie Doughty, a 19-year-old left winger who was recalled earlier this month from a loan spell at non-league Bromley.

It was from that flank that Fernando Forestieri curled over a free-kick after five minutes onto the head of Nuhui, who coaxed the ball into the corner of the net only to look up and see the assistant’s flag raised for offside.

That ought to have served as a warning for the home side. It went unheeded after 17 minutes when Morgan Fox and Barry Bannan combined on the left before the latter curled over a delightful cross which Fletcher glanced into the far corner.

Forestieri then missed a glorious opportunity to put Wednesday 2-0 ahead in the 24th minute.

This time the cross was swung over from the right by Kadeem Harris. Again Fletcher’s header was true, but Charlton keeper Dillon Phillips pushed it into the path of the onrushing Forestieri four yards out. Somehow the Italian sliced his shot high and wide of the waiting net.

The true impact of that miss was felt less than two minutes later. A rare Charlton attack saw Doughty send over a low cross to the feet of Bonne whose stabbed shot bounced up off the leg of Wednesday defender Tom Lees and wrongfooted keeper Cameron Dawson as it spun over the line for the equaliser.

Wednesday resumed their domination but Bannan just failed to dink the ball over the onrushing Phillips as half-time approached.

The Scot went even closer four minutes into the second half with a curler from the edge of the area which forced a flying save from Phillips.

At the other end, Bonne’s flicked header was held by Dawson before his opposite number Phillips was required to make a smart stop low down to palm away a Harris shot.

The game’s pivotal moment arrived after 79 minutes when Erhun Oztumer felled substitute Jacob Murphy. Referee Tim Robinson took his time before awarding the penalty which was tucked away neatly by Fletcher.

Charlton responded defiantly but the closest they came was when Deji Oshilaja’s sweetly-struck shot rose just over the bar.

Wednesday’s victory was sealed in the final seconds when the unmarked Nuhui headed home Adam Reach’s cross.