JERMAINE BECKFORD and the FA Cup go together as well as pie and mash.
Huddersfield Town’s on-loan striker made short work of another South London institution in Charlton Athletic.
It’s now 16 goals in 19 FA Cup appearances for the Leicester player, who has four in all competitions for Town.
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Beckford produced a no-fuss finish from a lovely delivery by Adam Clayton which mirrored his side’s morale-boosting performance.
Neither the 11th-minute goal nor the win earned the headlines which followed Beckford’s last third-round strike against a team in red, when Leeds beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford three years ago.
Indeed supporters had to stay up past midnight on Saturday to see fleeting footage from The Valley on ITV’S FA Cup highlights show.
It mattered not, because the important thing was the end of a worrying run of 10 games without a win, all in the Championship.
Town would surely swap a cup run for second-tier consolidation, but why shouldn’t the two go hand in hand?
Simon Grayson’s side responded to that dismal 6-1 defeat at Leicester with a solid all-round show against a side in the same division who would probably have been beaten even without the 57th-minute dismissal of Frenchman Dorian Dervite for a professional foul on Beckford, who reached the FA Cup quarter-finals with Leicester last season.
Keeper Alex Smithies, who recovered from the dead leg which forced him off at half-time against Leicester, had a pretty straightforward afternoon.
When he was called into action, he did his job efficiently, and the same can be said for the outfield players.
Take away that Leicester game, and Town have kept two clean sheets and conceded only two goals in four matches.
Captain Peter Clarke and left-back Paul Dixon were both back – Joel Lynch being kept out by a hamstring injury – and Town limited Charlton’s chances and dealt competently with the few the home side fashioned.
In the midfield, things were much better than of late.
With Keith Southern struggling with an ankle problem, many fans got their wish when Adam Clayton was moved into the centre, and he teamed up with the recalled Oliver Norwood, who despite playing a few loose passes, looked far more like the player seen earlier in the season.
Clayton’s distribution can often be telling, as was the case with the goal, when he received Jack Hunt’s pass wide on the right and teed up Beckford with a ball which had both Dervite and fellow centre-back Matt Taylor scrambling.
Scott Arfield and Sean Scannell took the wide midfield berths, and both played their part both defensively and offensively.
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It was a bit of a frustrating afternoon for James Vaughan, who ran his socks off but was given little protection by referee Darren Drysdale.
But there were enough signs to suggest his partnership with Beckford, who might well have slotted a second goal had it not been for the foul which brought Dervite his straight red card, can flourish once again.
Now the challenge is to repeat the performance, and the outcome, when former manager Lee Clark makes his first return to Huddersfield with Birmingham on Saturday.
Bring it on!