REPORT | Coventry City 1 Charlton 1

George Jones reports from the Ricoh Arena

Charlton began the Easter weekend by picking up a point away at Coventry City on Friday afternoon.

Trailing to George Thomas’ first-half opener for the hosts, the Addicks levelled in the second period through Patrick Bauer’s header.

The result leaves the south-east Londoners six points above the relegation zone with three matches of the League One season remaining, while a point was not enough to prevent the Sky Blues from being relegated to the fourth tier. 

In terms of team news, Karl Robinson was able to name an unchanged starting XI for the first time since he joined the club in November.

Declan Rudd lined up between the posts, with a back four that consisted of captain Chris Solly, Jason Pearce, Bauer and Jay Dasilva operating in front of him.

Andrew Crofts, Fredrik Ulvestad and Ezri Konsa made up a central midfield trio while, either side of them, Nathan Byrne and Ricky Holmes were out wide.

Josh Magennis led the line as Charlton, kitted out all in purple, went in search of back-to-back wins, having secured an important victory over Southend United last weekend.

Kick-off was delayed by eight minutes when, after the two sides had entered the field of play, a number of sponge pigs were thrown onto the pitch. Once the action got underway, it was stopped again almost immediately when more pigs were launched onto the turf.

Referee Darren Handley led both sets of players down the tunnel as the pitch was cleared and, following the further, four-minute delay, the action resumed with a drop ball. 

The game’s first chance fell the way of the hosts on seven minutes when Jodi Jones jinked away from his man and whipped in a low cross that Rudd palmed half clear, with Crofts completing the clearance.

The Addicks threatened on the 15-minute mark when a Holmes free-kick was headed clear by Gael Bigirimana and 60 seconds later they came close in similar circumstances.

This time Holmes aimed for the far post where Crofts was lurking, but the Sky Blues defence were able to block the midfielder’s powerful header.

The Addicks came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock on 20 minutes. A delicious cross from Dasilva picked out Byrne in the middle and he crashed a header against the face of the crossbar.

A Holmes follow-up was well blocked and, after winning possession back, Magennis rolled his man inside the box before firing a strike over the bar.

At the other end, an important piece of defending from Pearce saw him cut out a Thomas cross but from the corner that followed Coventry went in front.

A quickly-taken routine presented Ben Stevenson with a shooting opportunity and after his strike was blocked the ball fell for Thomas, who poked home from close range.

A couple of crosses were dealt with by home stopper Lee Burge as the Addicks went in search of a quick equaliser and opposite number Rudd was then forced into a good save to keep out Bigirimana’s low strike.

Rudd was forced into action again on 37 minutes, diving to his right to palm a Jones effort behind for a corner, and Byrne then had a decent chance for the Addicks but could only slash his left-footed shot wide.

Magennis bundled his way beyond two Coventry challenges to force his way into the box five minutes before the break, but Burge was able to save his low effort with his legs. 

The Sky Blues led 1-0 at the break and they created the first chance of the second period. Half-time substitute Kwame Thomas met a low corner at the near post but no-one was able to meet his low flick in the middle.

Rudd stood tall to keep out George Thomas after he had burst clear on goal on 50 minutes and a couple of minutes later Jones shot narrowly wide, having broken clear on goal.

The miss proved pivotal as Charlton then grabbed an equaliser. Magennis flicked on a Holmes corner and Bauer was there are the far post to head home.

A superb defensive header from Magennis cleared a dangerous Jones cross to safety just after the hour mark, and Coventry came close again on 65 minutes.

Rudd made a fantastic save - one of many throughout the afternoon - to keep out Jones’ low strike and, at the back stick, goalscorer Thomas could only divert the loose ball wide with his head.

The Sky Blues were applying a bit of pressure and Rudd excelled himself again on 70 minutes. George Thomas got in behind the Addicks’ defence but he could not beat the goalkeeper, who threw up an instinctive arm to save from his goal-bound strike.

Dasilva led a Charlton counter attack on the left five minutes later, which concluded with Magennis firing a fierce strike into the arms of home goalkeeper Burge.

Byrne volleyed into the side netting from a Dasilva cross for Charlton and the former was then unable to connect with a Pearce header, after the centre-back had nodded a Forster-Caskey free-kick back into the danger area.

As the clock ticked closer towards 90, the Addicks started to apply some pressure of their own and they came close when Forster-Caskey fired at goal from the edge of the box. Burge was equal to it, however.

Needing to win to preserve their League One status, for a few more days at least, Coventry were also desperate to find a winner and a stoppage-time corner saw goalkeeper Burge travel forward.

Oppositire number Rudd claimed it and threw possession out to Magennis but he was unable to find the net from 50 yards, in what was the final chance of the match.

The Addicks return to action on Monday when they host Gillingham at The Valley. 

Coventry City: Burge, Willis (c) (Foley 73), Turnbull, Lameiras, Jones (Reid 76), Beavon (K Thomas 46), Rawson, Haynes, G Thomas, Stevenson, Bigirimana.

Subs (not used): Charles-Cook, Stokes, Reilly, Tudgay.

Goal: Thomas 28

Booked: Jones 71 (foul on Forster-Caskey), Stevenson 82 (foul on Ulvestad)

Charlton: Rudd, Solly (c), Pearce, Bauer, Dasilva, Crofts (Forster-Caskey 59), Konsa, Ulvestad, Byrne, Holmes (Aribo 78), Magennis.

Subs (not used): Phillips, Teixeira, Jackson, Botaka, Watt.

Goal: Bauer 55

Booked: Crofts 60 (foul on Stevenson)

Referee: D Handley

Attendance: 9,479
Read Time: 6 mins