Olly Groome reports from the Cherry Red Records Stadium
Charlton remain unbeaten in seven games, despite an injury-time equaliser denying the Addicks all three points against AFC Wimbledon at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Saturday.
Ricky Holmes’ sumptuous first-half free-kick looked to have given the reds the victory in a game in which they were in control, but could not find the second to kill the game off before Tom Elliott struck a leveller at the death.
Karl Robinson made two changes for the London-derby clash against the Dons with Jorge Teixeira and Lee Novak coming into the side.
Teixeira replaced Jake Forster-Caskey, who had an ankle injury, while Novak came in for the suspended Nathan Byrne.
Lewis Page served the second and final match of his ban, with Adam Chicksen again starting at left-back, joined by Chris Solly, Patrick Bauer and Teixeira in front of Declan Rudd’s goal.
Andrew Crofts anchored the midfield once again, sitting behind Ezri Konsa and Joe Aribo, with Holmes and Tony Watt occupying the wide positions, with Lee Novak leading the line.
The big news on the bench was the return of Josh Magennis, who was joined by Dillon Phillips, Jordan Botaka, Johnnie Jackson, Stephy Mavididi and Karlan Ahearne-Grant amongst the subs.
Charlton’s first sight at goal came with eight minutes gone when Joe Aribo was hacked down by Chris Robertson and it led to the Addicks’ opening goal.
Holmes stood over the free-kick which was left of centre of Wombles stopper James Shea’s net and the winger made no mistake, pinging a perfectly-struck shot which curled straight into the top corner to put Charlton in front.
The visitors were enjoying a strong start at Kingsmeadow and came close to a second when Aribo curled a left-footed shot inches past the left-hand upright, while Novak looked to catch Shea off his line moments later, but saw his tame, cushioned volley caught.
Konsa was next to come close when he stung the palms of the keeper with a low, stinging, angled drive and five minutes before half-time, the youngster was only denied a certain goal by a perfectly-timed tackle on the edge of the six-yard box.
Wimbledon, meanwhile, did not come close to bothering Rudd’s goal until first-half injury time when full-back Sean Kelly sent in a low, dangerous ball across the face of the six-yard box, which just flashed past the post.
Into the second half, and it was the visitors who again got the first shot away through Watt, who fired straight at Shea from just outside the box, while at the other end, Tom Elliott turned well before seeing a shot diverted off target by a deflection.
Ten minutes into the second period, Novak had a glorious chance to double the lead following a great burst upfield by Aribo.
The ball was eventually slipped through to the striker who had just the keeper to beat, but could only fire into the side-netting and that would prove to be his final act of the afternoon, with Robinson throwing on Magennis in his place on 57 minutes.
On the hour mark, Watt drew a fantastic save from Shea when he sent a seemingly unstoppable effort arrowing towards the top right-hand corner, but for the goalkeeper to dive to his left and top it away.
Charlton were in full control for the entirety of the half until injury time when the Addicks would come unstuck for a second game running.
With the visitors on the attack at the other end, they should have had two penalties with Magennis man-handled in the box before a clear handball was waved away by the referee.
With that, Wimbledon went straight down the other end and equalised through Elliott, who fired a low shot across Rudd and into the bottom left-hand corner to leave Robinson’s side deeply frustrated.
The goalscorer was given his marching orders following a second-bookable offence for his celebrations, but that was of no consolation to the Addicks who head to Oldham Athletic on Tuesday evening.
Charlton: Rudd; Solly, Teixeira, Bauer, Chicksen; Konsa, Crofts, Aribo; Holmes (Mavididi 80), Watt (Botaka 74), Novak (Magennis 57).
Subs (not used): Phillips, Dasilva, Ahearne-Grant, Jackson.
Booked: Konsa 11 (foul on Reeves), Holmes 37 (foul on Taylor), Chicksen 49 (foul on Elliott)
Goal: Holmes 8
AFC Wimbledon: Shea; Fuller (Barcham 46), Kelly, Robinson, Robertson, Francomb, Reeves, Poleon (Barnett 84), Soares, Elliott, Taylor.
Subs (not used): McDonnell, Bulman, Egan, Ownes, Sibbick.
Booked: Robertson 7 (foul on Aribo), Reeves 26 (dissent), Elliott 67 (foul on Solly), Taylor 88 (foul on Botaka)
Goal: Elliott 90+2
Referee: C Boyeson
Att: 4.595 (616 from Charlton)
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