Reading 2 Charlton 0
Les Reed’s managerial debut ended in disappointing defeat after his Charlton side were out-played at Reading.
Goals from Seol Ki-Hyeon and Kevin Doyle wrapped up a second straight home win for Steve Coppell’s side and left the Addicks exactly where they had been under Ian Dowie – at the bottom of the Premiership table.
Charlton did make the encouraging start that often follows a change of manager with Reading goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann required to deal with a free-kick from Andy Reid that had been helped on by Marcus Bent.
That was flapped round a post and the American then had to get behind a shot from defender Talal El-Karkouri, who had stayed up following the corner.
It proved to be a false dawn, however, as Reading, who had beaten Tottenham 3-1 last week, then took hold of the game with Stephen Hunt’s relentless energy causing Charlton problems they could not solve.
The Irishman, along with centre-back Ibrahima Sonko, had received death threats in the post in the wake of last month’s controversial defeat by Chelsea which saw goalkeepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini both hospitalised.
It did not seem to have affected either player and Hunt played a superb cameo role in Seol’s 19th-minute opener as he and Nicky Shorey exchanged passes on the left.
Hunt showed great technique to back-flick the ball past the bemused Dennis Rommedahl to the left-back whose ball into the box was headed home emphatically by the South Korean.
Glen Little might have made it 2-0 four minutes later when Doyle picked him out beyond the back post with a cross from the left but the winger’s first-time effort bounced across goal and inches wide.
Hunt had started that move too and then sent Doyle away with a through-ball only for the Republic of Ireland striker to fail to lose El-Karkouri and fire tamely at goalkeeper Scott Carson.
Charlton also survived a penalty shout when Hunt went down under El-Karkouri’s challenge but when chances fell the Irishman’s way he showed finishing was not his strong point by first heading and then shooting horribly wide from good positions.
The Londoners had mustered little threat at the other end apart from the occasional corner and saw Jonathan Fortune booked a minute before the break for hauling back Seol.
Carson spilled a Hunt cross just seconds into the second half but Little could not react in time to turn the loose ball towards goal.
At last a decent chance came Charlton’s way with Rommedahl cutting inside Graeme Murty before unleashing a curling effort that Hahnemann did well to save.
Reading’s reply was a move that saw Steve Sidwell burst into the box from the left and Carson had to dive at the midfielder’s feet. Contact was made and the goalkeeper reacted angrily by shoving Sidwell to the ground in full view of referee Graham Poll.
Charlton replaced the ineffective Jerome Thomas with Darren Ambrose in the 57th minute and seconds later the frustrated Rommedahl was in the book for a late challenge on Sidwell.
Carson pulled off a fine save to keep out a Hunt volley but the reprieve was short-lived as Doyle made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute.
Little caught Reid in possession and cut the ball back for Sidwell to have a go from the edge of the area. The midfielder made a hash of it, mis-kicking wildly, but the ball fell perfectly for Doyle to loft over the stranded Carson.
That it was not to be Charlton or Reed’s day was apparent when Matt Holland saw a low drive beat Hahnemann only to be stopped on the line by Little moments before the home side swapped Doyle for Leroy Lita with 15 minutes remaining.
Hunt saw a penalty claim turned down when he went down under El-Karkouri’s challenge but Reading were already home and dry and Hermann Hreidarsson’s late booking for kicking Murty summed up Charlton’s day.