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Charlton 3 Birmingham 1

CHARLTON kept up their challenge for a European place with victory over Birmingham at The Valley on Saturday.

A fortuitous first half strike by Talal El Karkouri was added to by second half efforts from Shaun Bartlett and Danny Murphy.

El Karkouri’s long range free-kick on nine minutes ensured Charlton were in front at the break.

Birmingham keeper Maik Taylor was left rooted to his line as El Karkouri’s 35 effort eluded everyone and ended up in the back of the net.

The Blues hit back nine minutes after the restart when Darren Anderton’s corner was met by Mario Melchiot who rose high above the Charlton defence to powerfully head the ball home.

The visitors’ joy was short-lived, though, when substitute Francis Jeffers got away from his marker and crossed the ball across the face of the goal for an unmarked Shaun Bartlett to stab the ball in on 67 minutes.

Jeffers also had a hand in the third when he rounded off a good move by playing in Danny Murphy who calmly slotted the ball past Taylor with a quarter of an hour left.

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