Ross McCormack scored all four goals as Leeds United ended their run of bad away results in style with a 4-2 victory at Charlton.
The striker left out of Scotland’s squad this week showed what his country will be missing as he bagged his first hat-trick for Leeds then one went better with a stunning late free-kick that ensured his team would be travelling back north with all the points.
An eventful game almost did not start with referee Keith Stroud having to perform a pitch inspection because of a torrential downpour in the London.
The match official decided the game could go ahead after much deliberation, but the kick-off was delayed half-an-hour.
Although United were coming off the back of a win over Yeovil manager Brian McDermott made three changes, bringing Michael Brown into midfield and Danny Pugh in at left wing-back for injured Alex Mowatt and Stephen Warnock and choosing to give on-loan striker Dexter Blackstock his first start, in place of Matt Smith.
Charlton made the early running with Callum Harriott going close twice, but it was Leeds who went ahead with the first of McCormack’s goals on 17 minutes as he finished smartly after getting on the end of Blackstock’s knock down.
United rode their luck as Simon Church hit the post while at the other end Lee Peltier headed over from Luke Murphy’s cross.
A superb save by Paddy Kenny to deny Church kept Leeds ahead, but the relief was shortlived as the hosts equalised in the last minute of the opening half, Cameron Stewart netting with a fantastic strike from just outside the box.
Charlton had another chance in injury-time with Tom Lees clearing off the line and United were relieved to be level at the break.
They made a change for the second half with Marius Zaliukas on for the injured Scott Wootton in defence and made a great start to go back in front within three minutes of the restart.
Danny Pugh was brought down in the Charlton area and McCormack made no mistake with the resulting penalty to make it 2-1.
That was how it stayed until the 70th minute when the home side levelled for the second time, Johnnie Jackson netting a somewhat soft goal from close range after Church was the creator.
But United responded well and within three minutes they were ahead again as McCormack ran onto Blackstock’s header to hammer the ball home with a first time strike to complete his first-ever hat-trick.
Leeds did more than run the clock down in the closing stages as they burst forward to win a free-kick on the edge of the box. Up stepped McCormack and his well struck shot beat home keeper Ben Hamer to take his tally up to four on the day and 12 for the season.
Charlton Athletic 2
(Stewart 45, Jackson 70)
Leeds United 4 (McCormack 17, 48 pen, 73, 90+1)
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson (Pritchard 86), Wiggins, Morrison, Dervite, Harriott (Kermorgant 67), Stephens, Jackson, Cousins, Stewart (Sordell 86), Church.
Leeds: Kenny, Lees, Wootton (Zaliukas 45), Pearce, Peltier, Murphy, Brown, Pugh, Austin, McCormack, Blackstock (Smith 76).
Referee: Keith Stroud.