Charlton 1 Peterborough United 2
An impressive second-half display was not quite enough for Charlton to claim a point on Saturday afternoon high-flying Peterborough United ran out 2-1 victors at The Valley.
On a bitterly cold January afternoon, it was perhaps no surprise that both teams started slowly. For the first 20 minutes, the most either side had to show was a curling cross from Joel Randall which was beaten away by Ashley Maynard-Brewer.
But halfway through the first period, Posh began to show their quality. Warning shots came from Kwame Poku, the first of which came in the 21st minute when he cut inside Tayo Edun and fired wide of the near post.
The winger’s second effort was closer, beating Terell Thomas with a fake shot but seeing his goalbound strike kept out by a wonderful block from Lucas Ness.
Just as it did in Charlton’s last outing at Port Vale, the breakthrough came in the 28th minute, but this time it came for the opposition. Harrison Burrows’ cross from the left was brought down by Ricky-Jade Jones who, with his back to goal, laid the ball back to Ephron Mason-Clark.
Mason-Clark opened up his body and, with his right foot, curled an excellent strike around Maynard-Brewer and in.
The visitors nearly had more joy down the left in the 42nd minute when Mason-Clark turned provider, cutting back for his captain Burrows on the edge of the box. The left-back aimed for the near post, but his shot flashed just wide.
It was a difficult first half for the Addicks but, having introduced Louie Watson and Daniel Kanu at half-time, they looked a different side in the second period.
Just four minutes after the break Charlton found their equaliser with Kanu heavily involved. The striker received the ball on the counter-attack from George Dobson and burst down the left wing. His cross deflected off Ronnie Edwards but fell kindly for Tyreeq Bakinson, who had moved to a more advanced role in the second half.
The debutant got a foot to the ball but saw it squirm up in the air off former Charlton loanee Jed Steer, only for it to find its way to Alfie May, who had the simple task of nodding into the empty net.
Posh very nearly hit back just a minute later when Randall curled a right-footed shot wide of Maynard-Brewer’s left post. It was close, but it was nothing compared to what would come three minutes later when a remarkable passage of play saw the visitors fail to convert four gilt-edged chances.
First, Ricky-Jade Jones showed tremendous pace to burst into the box on the right but saw his shot saved by the legs of Maynard-Brewer. The ball fell to Randall, who also had his effort kept out by the Australian. Poku was following in, but he could only find the crossbar from eight yards out and finally the ball found its way back to Randall, but he volleyed into the side-netting. The visitors would have been wondering how they hadn’t scored.
They were very nearly made to pay for it three minutes later when a Dobson free-kick was met by Thomas eight yards out, but the defender’s effort was straight at Steer.
It had been a frantic start to the half, but the following 20 minutes passed without many chances of note. The deciding goal would come, though, with 15 minutes to go. Randall found Mason-Clark on the left again and the winger cut inside before striking an effort which appeared to be heading towards the near post.
However, the ball deflected off Dobson, was diverted towards the far post and nestled in the corner.
The Addicks responded well and had three good chances to find a second equaliser. In the 79th minute, Edwards' pass out of defence was cut out by Louie Watson and reached May. The striker was dispossessed but the ball found its way back to the Luton Town loanee, whose shot from just inside the area was saved by Steer.
Two minutes later Louie Watson was involved again when he found Lloyd Jones with an excellent free-kick, but the defender headed over.
Finally, Tennai Watson played a great one-two with debutant Conor Coventry, before hitting a first-time cross which was flicked wide by May.
It was a spirited second-half showing from Michael Appleton’s side, but ultimately it was not to be and the Addicks will now begin preparations for their trip to Burton Albion next Saturday.
Charlton: Maynard-Brewer; Ness, Jones, Thomas; T.Watson, Dobson (c) (Fiorini 84), Bakinson (Coventry 76), Edun; T.Campbell (Kanu 46), May, C.Campbell (L.Watson 46)
Subs (not used): Isted, Asiimwe, Anderson
Goal: May 49
Booked: Thomas 43 (foul on Poku), L Watson 90+8 (dissent)
Peterborough United: Steer; Katongo (Crichlow 87), Knight, Edwards, Burrows (c); Kyprianou, Collins, Randall (De Havilland 84); Poku (Ajiboye 67), Jones, Mason-Clark
Subs (not used): Talley, Fuchs, Mothersille, Fernandez
Goals: Mason-Clark 28, 75
Assists: Jones 28, Randall 75
Booked: Steer 83 (time-wasting)
Attendance: 13,309 (1,351 away)
Referee: Sam Purkiss