Louis Saha’s calmly converted penalty saw Fulham’s season end on a high note as the Whites beat Charlton to secure only their second success on their travels this term.

Most of The Valley were furious that referee Dermot Gallagher showed Charlton goalkeeper a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Saha inside the box half an hour into what became a fiercely contested London derby. Saha tucked the penalty past substitute goalkeeper Ben Roberts in stark contrast to Jason Euell, who saw his spot-kick brilliantly saved by Maik Taylor in the second half after he had been fouled by Alain Goma.

This narrow victory meant that former captain Chris Coleman had collected ten points from a possible fifteen since being headed the caretaker manager’s job after the sacking of Jean Tigana – and lifted Fulham to fourteenth in the table. The visitors played the better football here and looked in control even before Kiely’s dismissal. Saha perhaps should have done better when latching onto a through ball from Sylvain Legwinski in the third minute, but good covering defending from Luke Young prevented the Frenchman from making the most of that opportunity.

Charlton looked jittery at the back and almost conceded an opener in farcical circumstances when captain Chris Powell delivered a backpass that Kiely wasn’t expecting and the Irish goalkeeper saw his clearance cannon off Steed Malbranque and just wide of the goal. Worse was to follow for Kiely, whose horribly high challenge on Saha resulted from a desperation to try and reach a hopeful Fulham ball forward ahead of the striker after a defensive mix-up. Gallagher contentiously determined that the foul took place inside the box and sent Kiely off, before Saha dusted himself down to score from the spot.

The closest Charlton came to testing Taylor was right at the end of the first half when Euell spun away from Goma but shot well wide. The Northern Ireland international did have to field a strike from Kevin Lisbie after purposeful play from Scott Parker before Euell spurned two more good chances. The experienced striker probably realised it wasn’t going to be his day when Taylor dived to his right to turn aside Euell’s penalty after he had been hauled down by Goma.

The temperature had been rising ever since Kiely’s sending off but a massive brawl followed Scott Parker’s bicycle kick that caught Saha on the forehead. When things calmed down, Fulham sought a second. Steed Malbranque’s volley from just outside the area only just cleared the crossbar before the lively Saha bent a shot wide of goal and was denied by some smart goalkeeping for Roberts, who had advanced off his line as the striker bore down on goal.

Alan Curbishley sent on Graeme Stuart and Jonathan Johansson in a late attempt to spark his side into life, but the ten men never seriously threatened Fulham’s lead.

CHARLTON ATHLETIC (4-4-2) Kiely; Kishishev, Young, Fortune, Powell (Stuart 82); Jensen (Johansson 82), Parker, Euell, Konchesky; Bartlett (Roberts 32), Lisbie. Subs (not used): Bart-Williams, Sankofa.

BOOKED: Kishishev, Euell, Young.

SENT OFF: Kiely.

FULHAM (4-5-1): Taylor; Finnan, Harley, Melville, Goma; Davis (Hayles 82), Legwinski, Clark, Malbranque, Boa Morte (Collins 88), Saha (Hammond 90). Subs (not used): van der Sar, Djetou.

BOOKED: Malbranque, Harley, Legwinski.

GOAL: Saha (pen 32).

REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher (Oxfordshire).