Macauley Bonne to the rescue

ZIMBABWE international striker Macauley Bonne was on Thursday the toast of the day for his English Championship football side Charlton Athletic when he netted twice as the Addicks beat Bristol City 3-2 at The Valley.

According to reports from Charlton in south-east London, Bonne scored his seventh and eighth goal of the season before assisting Alfie Doughty for an 82nd minute winner as the Addicks ended a 11-game winless streak.

Bonne’s fellow Zimbabwe international Marvelous Nakamba was hauled off the pitch in the 56th minute as his English Premiership side Aston Villa brought an end to a run of five matches without a win by beating Norwich 1-0 during a bumper Boxing Day programme of the English football.

A second-half goal from the substitute Conor Hourihane was enough to decide the contest and edge Villa to within one actual point of safety. Their coach Dean Smith explained why he pulled out his record signing Zimbabwean midfielder Nakamba before his side snatched the winner through substitute Hourihane in the 64th minute.

Smith said Hourihane’s introduction had been a defensive move, with the aim to shore up possession in midfield.

“I just felt Marvelous Nakamba had given the ball away a few times and knew Conor could protect it. But he also did what he does best, which is scoring goals.”

While Nakamba finished his side’s match against Norwich on the bench, Bonne was all smiles as he helped Charlton to record an important home victory against Bristol City in their English Championship clash at The Valley.

The Addicks controlled the first half and were due their 1-0 lead, but when City took a 2-1 lead on the hour, the nerves began to reverberate around the Charlton faithful.

But Bonne, who finally got his Zimbabwean passport last month, had other ideas and was crucial as his side took an important three points.

The Addicks took a deserved lead five minutes before the break when Albie Morgan played a perfectly-weighted lofted ball in behind the Robins defence for Bonne.

The Zimbabwe international made no mistake lobbing high over the onrushing Daniel Bentley from just outside the area.

The Valley faithful held their breathe nervously as the ball bounced just inside the six yard box and then into the back of the net. The Addicks weren’t stopping and a deep Adam Matthews’ cross was headed at goal by Bonne in the 70th minute, but Bentley was able to gather comfortably.

Bonne scored his second of the game and eighth of the season in the 77th minute as the visitors looked to tire. A long ball from Phillips was flicked on initially by Bonne and then by Lyle Taylor.

Bonne battled with Kalas to get on the end of the flick and his determination was rewarded as the ball sat up perfectly for the striker to smash past Bentley with his weaker right foot.

Charlton then went in front through Doughty.

Tom Lockyer played a lovely ball into the right wing channel for Bonne, the striker’s driven cross across goal was met by Doughty, whose first effort was blocked but bounced back to him as he slid in, to tap in.

Despite an extended period of stoppage time, Charlton were able to hold on for three points and their manager, Lee Bowyer, a former player with Charlton Athletic, Leeds United, West Ham United (two spells), Newcastle United, Birmingham City and Ipswich Town in over 18 years as a professional, understandably, was purring afterwards.

He singled out his Zimbabwean striker Bonne for special mention.

“I’m relieved, I can’t believe we’ve gone that long without winning. We’ve been in winning positions many times, but we’ve just not been able to hold onto it at all. Thankfully, today, we managed to do that.

“There were lots of changes today.

When we went in at half-time, I thought it was quite an even game, but if anything, we edged it a little bit.

It was a great finish from (Macauley Bonne for the first goal) and then they changed it at half-time.

They did the same at their place, they changed everything and then before we knew it, we were 2-1 down without really doing much wrong.

“Their first goal I thought was a good goal. The second one, we just need to clear our lines. That’s been our problem of late.

“We’ve conceded too many goals and you cant just go on and score three goals to win the game. We’ve been scoring two a lot! But the sooner you start doing things better defensively, then the sooner we’ll start winning more games.

But, fair play to the players.

They just keep going and going, and I just said to them that their resilience was unreal and the togetherness is great. They just keep going to the end.

“It was good to see Alfie (Doughty) get his first goal, Macca (Bonne) got two. A draw would have probably been a fair result, but of late I think there’s been a few things that have gone against us and today we got that little bit of luck.

“I said to the players: ‘You have to earn your luck. If you continue working as hard as you do, you will get rewarded I promise you.’ Again, that’s what happened today, they just kept going and going and we went 2-1 down.

But they kept going and the fans got behind them and we got the three points, which we maybe deserved, maybe not.

But, there’s been many times that I’ve stood here and we’ve not taken the three points which we deserved, so I’m going to grab these three and move on.” — Sports Reporter/Agencies.

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