Wigan Athletic 2 Charlton 3
The Addicks survived a late Halloween scare on Tuesday evening to hold on to a 3-2 lead over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium and claim their first away win of the season.
Charlton have already enjoyed some excellent halves of football under Michael Appleton, but tonight’s first period was the pick of the bunch. The away side were utterly dominant from start to finish, and were nearly ahead inside five minutes.
Louie Watson played the ball out to Corey Blackett-Taylor on the left, who cut back inside and shot from 25 yards out. The ball took a deflection off former Addick Sean Clare and looped towards the far post. It took an excellent save from Sam Tickle to push it round the post.
It took until the 21st minute for Charlton’s pressure to reap rewards. Louie Watson’s corner from the right was cleared by Thelo Aasgaard and then by Charlie Wyke, but was recycled and played back out to the corner-taker by George Dobson.
This time Watson was able to take a touch and send in an inch-perfect cross for Alfie May, who had found the space in between Clare and Liam Morrison. Another flying save from Tickle denied May’s first attempt, but the striker was able to bundle the ball home with his thigh on the rebound.
Ten minutes later May would produce a more cultured finish to double his and Charlton’s tally. After an excellent spell of Charlton pressure in which the Latics tried to play out but were repeatedly denied by excellent front-foot defending, the ball was played into the feet of Louie Watson. Despite a heavy challenge from Liam Shaw, Watson was able to the lay the ball off to May, who took it onto his left before shooting back across goal and in at the far post.
It was an excellent strike, but the Addicks saved the best of the half for last. Dobson received Lloyd Jones’ pass in midfield with a deft flick over the head of the oncoming Shaw, before playing forward to Leaburn. The striker played a clever reverse pass inside to Blackett-Taylor, who wasted no time, driving a brilliant first-time shot past a despairing Clare and in at Tickle’s near post. It was a fantastic end to a fantastic half.
Having been booed off at half-time, Wigan returned for the second period with three new faces and some renewed energy. But the result could have been put beyond all doubt before the hour mark by substitute Tyreece Campbell - first when he got free on the right and hit the near post, and second when he cut inside Tom Pearce and forced a smart stop from Tickle.
Midway through the half it would be the home side’s turn to hit the woodwork. Ten years ago Callum McManaman was named player of the match in an FA Cup final, and his cameo here proved that he’s still an excellent player. The winger beat Tennai Watson at the byline and clipped a great ball to the back post. Aasgaard was waiting but, on the stretch, he was only able to divert the ball onto the bar and over.
The Norwegian would get his goal eventually to kickstart what his side hoped would result in an unlikely comeback. In the 84th minute, he played a good one-two with Martial Godo on the left and broke into the box to smash a left-foot shot high into the net at Ashley Maynard-Brewer’s near post.
It appeared as though it would be no more than a consolation, right up until the 90th minute when the Latics got their second. Substitute Godo was again involved, pulling back a hopeful low cross which somehow evaded everyone and reached Stephen Humphrys on the far side. The striker took a touch before finding the same corner Aasgaard had found six minutes earlier.
Suddenly, a game that had seemed over was back in the balance. It was a nervy six minutes of stoppage time for the Addicks, never more so than when goalkeeper Tickle volleyed over the bar after he had come up for a corner.
But Appleton’s side held on, and they will now look ahead to a Greenwich derby in the FA Cup when Cray Valley PM come to The Valley on Sunday.
Charlton: Maynard-Brewer; Asiimwe, Hector, Jones, T.Watson (Thomas 71); L.Watson (Kirk 83), Dobson (c), Camará (T.Campbell 10); May, Blackett-Taylor (Fraser 71), Leaburn (Tedić 83)
Subs (not used): Walker, Ness
Goals: May 21, 31, Blackett-Taylor 43
Assists: L.Watson 31, Leaburn 43
Booked: T.Watson 70 (foul on McManaman)
Wigan Athletic: Tickle; Clare, Hughes, Morrison; Jones (McManaman 62), Shaw (Smith 46), Adeeko, Pearce; Aasgaard, Lang (c) (Godo 46), Wyke (Humphrys 46)
Subs (not used): Amos, Rekik, Magennis
Goals: Aasgaard 84, Humphrys 90
Assists: Godo 84, 90
Booked: Adeeko 68 (foul on T.Campbell), Aasgaard 80 (dissent)
Attendance: 8,486 (415 from Charlton)
Referee: Paul Howard