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Charlton can start to believe
Charlton Athletic 1 v 0 Wigan Athletic
FORGET the fact this was a turgid affair devoid of goalscoring chances.
Forget the fact this was a scrappy affair between two nervous teams fighting for their Premiership lives.
Forget the fact Wigan Athetlic had no intention of playing pretty football.
Forget all that, because Charlton won.
Darren Bent's 86th minute penalty sparked such jubliation to suggest a real belief the Addicks can complete the great escape.
The talk among the fans walking home after the dramatic finale was all about getting points at Manchester City on Friday.
There was even spontaneous singing of 'we're staying up' spilling over from within the ground.
Believe it can happen is the message and 10 points from the last 12 available goes beyond belief into fact.
Charlton are now a point off safety after Sheffield United lost to the only goal at Bolton Wanderers.
Moreover, the two teams have equal goal difference so things could not be tighter going into April.
But, as already mentioned, the Wigan match made for unpleasant viewing.
Nerves led to countless misplaced passes, ridiculous long balls and very few passages of possesions - but more importantly, there were few very clear sights of goal.
Pardew made one change to the side which beat Newcastle United with Dennis Rommedhal replacing Marcus Bent who dropped the bench.
Kevin Lisbie was missing from the bench as Darren Ambrose returned from injury.
Charlton had the best of the few opening chances with Hermann Hreidarsson and Rommedhal offering weal threats on goal.
Wigan, who have a habit of scoring early goals, had back-to-back corners inside five minutes but could do nothing with them.
Scott Carson was called into action on 18 minutes to block Caleb Folan's forceful run into the area.
Both needed treatment and while Carson, as goalkeeper, was allowed to remain on the field for the corner the North Stand were not pleased when Folan was also given leave to continue.
Had he scored the howls of derision would have been audible in Wigan, but as in keeping with the afternoon, the corner came to nothing.
Talal El Karkouri came to the fore with two free-kicks - one which flew over the bar and the other lofted into the area and out for a goalkick - YAWN!
Zheng Zhi won Charlton's first corner on 28 minutes but Rommedhal failed to beat the first man - a feat he repeated moments later much to the constenation of all around him.
El Karkouri was booked for fouling Emile Heskey and from the free-kick Lee McCulloch headed tamely wide.
Charlton's best moment of the half came courtesy of Jerome Thomas' right foot but his cross shot missed the far post.
At the break, Marcus Bent replaced Rommedhal pushing Zheng back into midfield.
On 51 minutes Ryan Taylor picked up the game's second booking for a trip on Souleymane Diawara.
Luke Young and Carson almost gifted the lead to the visitors when their indecision over a Fitz Hall cross allowed McCulloch to slide in and push the ball against the outside of the far post.
On 63 minutes Josip Skoko was unlucky to see his thunderous volley from the edge of the Charlton penalty area cannon into one of his own players.
There followed a change for each side: Ambrose replaced Matt Holland and Taylor made way for Antonio Valencia.
Folan spurned a sight of goal before Paul Jewell made a second change bringing Paul Scharner on for Skoko.
That was that for the second half until the moment most of the Valley crowd had been praying for.
A long ball into the Wigan penalty area ended with a penalty to the Addicks.
It is unclear whether referee Peter Walton gave the spot kick for handball by Hall or if the defender had impeded Marcus Bent - either way the North Stand did not care.
Darren Bent beat John Filan with pace - the first goal the keeper has conceded in more than 400 minutes of football - to send The Valley into delirium.
Pardew responded by taking off substitute Ambrose for, one would assume, the more defensive-minded Amdy Faye.
Wigan had the lionshare of possession in the dying moments, which also saw El Karkouri booked for dissent, but they could not find a way through.
The roar which greeted the final whistle was borne out of relief, happiness and, above all, belief.
CHARLTON: Carson, Young, Hreidarsson, Holland (Ambrose, 71, Faye, 87), Zheng, D Bent, Thomas, El Karkouri, Song, Rommedhal (M Bent, 45), Diawara.
SUBS NOT USED: Randolph, Bougherra.