Addicks draw at Cambridge

Charlton battle for the ball

Cambridge United 1 Charlton 1

The Addicks extended their unbeaten run once again on Saturday, making it 13 without a loss with a 1-1 draw at Cambridge United.

Two lengthy stoppages for injuries to James Gibbons and Zeno Ibsen Rossi meant only three of the opening 10 minutes were played, and the match struggled to get going after that.

Charlton did go close in the 21st minute after good work from Thierry Small, who beat Liam Bennett and fired in a low cross. Connor Wickham received it with his back to goal and laid the ball back to Karoy Anderson, whose first time shot from 12 yards was kept out by Will Mannion.

Two minutes later, Wickham was involved again to dramatic effect. A long ball from deep on the right by George Dobson found the big striker again facing away from goal. This time Wickham opted to bring it down on his chest, spin away from Mamadou Jobe and lash the ball in the far post. 

It was a terrific goal and the sold-out away end behind the other goal were clearly delighted with the full debutant’s first Addicks goal.

The away side were the dominant force but the U’s did have a couple of moments in the first period. Their best opportunity came on the half-hour mark when Macauley Bonne headed a Gibbons cross straight at Harry Isted.

In first-half stoppage time, the Addicks very nearly doubled their lead. Tyreece Campbell, on his return to the side, fed Anderson who did brilliantly to cut inside Danny Andrew on the right and give the ball back to Campbell. The number 20 worked the space for a left-foot shot inside the area, but his effort was kept out by Mannion diving down to his right.

Charlton initially picked up where they left off when they came back out for the second half, Tyreeq Bakinson seeing a shot from 20 yards tipped around the post by Mannion in the 48th minute.

But two minutes later the hosts were level out of nowhere. Elias Kachunga chased down Conor Coventry in what seemed to be a lost cause deep in the Charlton half, but managed to divert the ball onto Terell Thomas.

It fell kindly for Bonne on the edge of the box, and the ex-Charlton man swivelled before hitting a right-foot effort which bounced just in front of Isted and managed to beat him at his near post. It is Bonne’s second goal against the Addicks this season, having scored for Gillingham in the FA Cup in December.

Cambridge clearly took some heart from getting back into the game, but Charlton weathered the storm without conceding another meaningful chance and nearly regained the lead in the 62nd minute when Gibbons cleared a Chuks Aneke header off the line following Macaulay Gillesphey’s corner from the right.

Five minutes later an underhit header from Campbell presented Gibbons with a chance, but his touch across goal was cleared by Michael Hector with Gassan Ahadme lurking.

It became a scrappier game as the half wore on, but Nathan Jones’ side were still able to fashion chances. In the 77th minute, they went so close when Dobson played another wonderful ball over the top for Alfie May, and May slid the ball under Mannion. It looked for all the world as though it was heading in, but instead the ball came back off the inside of the post and back to the grateful goalkeeper.

Charlton piled on the pressure in the closing stages and nearly found the winner in the second minute of stoppage time. Coventry’s cross from the left was flicked on cleverly by Kayne Ramsay, and suddenly May was free in the box on the right. His drive at the near post was kept out well by Mannion.

It was not to be for the Addicks, who had to settle for a point. Next up is this season’s last game at The Valley, the visit of Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.

Cambridge United: Mannion; Jobe, Rossi (R Bennett 78), Andrew; L Bennett, Digby (c), Cousins, Gibbons; Kachunga (Brophy 90), Bonne (Okenabirhie 78), Ahadme

Subs (not used): Chadwick, Lankester, Kaikai, May

Goal: Bonne 50

Charlton: Isted; Thomas, Hector, Gillesphey; Anderson (LuaLua 79), Coventry, Dobson (c), Bakinson (May 57), Small; Wickham (Aneke 56), Campbell (Ramsay 78)

Subs (not used): Ward, Edun, Edmonds-Green

Goal: Wickham 23

Assist: Dobson 23

Booked: Coventry 33 (foul on Bonne), Bakinson 34 (foul on Cousins)

Attendance: 7,484 (1,469 from Charlton)

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Read Time: 4 mins