MATCH REPORT | Charlton 1 Sunderland 1

An excellent second-half performance saw Charlton come from behind to earn a point against promotion rivals Sunderland at The Valley on Saturday afternoon.

Trailing to Luke O’Nien’s second-minute opener, that Addicks rallied after the break and deservedly levelled on 51 minutes when a Lyle Taylor cross was deflected into the net by Reece James.

Both teams had chances to win the game but a winning goal was not forthcoming and Charlton will next be in search of three points when they travel to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.

In terms of team news, Lee Bowyer made two changes to the side that beat Walsall on New Year’s Day. Chris Solly came in for Toby Stevenson, while Darren Pratley replaced the injured Ben Reeves in midfield.

There was also a place on the bench for new signing Jonny Williams. Once the action got started, the Addicks got off to the worst possible start.

Sunderland grabbed the lead inside two minutes. Lynden Gooch twisted and turned on the corner of the penalty area and found the overlapping James, who crossed for O’Nien to volley home at the back post.

It was a far from an ideal beginning for the Addicks and the visitors, with their tails up, then went close again when Aiden McGeady thumped a long-range strike over the crossbar.

At the other end, Taylor dug out a cross that no-one in the middle could meet and it then took until the 34th minute for the next chance to arrive.

When the opportunity came, it was Sunderland’s. A clever dummy from Gooch freed Charlie Wyke but he could only skew his shot well wide.

Charlton’s Albie Morgan had a bullet strike well blocked by Tom Flanagan two minutes later and, with 37 minutes on the clock, Sunderland went close when Gooch hit a strike against the crossbar from a tight angle. 

Wyke could only deflect the rebound wide with his head and Charlton were next to go close when the impressive Morgan drilled a low shot into the arms of visiting goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin.

The match had suddenly sparked into life and Sunderland’s Wyke was denied by a great block from Bauer, after the striker had capitalised on a short back-header from Bielik, and Bielik then whistled a volley just wide from the edge of the box.

The Black Cats held a one-goal lead at the interval but Charlton were level within six minutes of the restart.

Some brilliant hold-up play from Taylor saw him advance down the right flank before sending in a low cross that deflected into the net off of James.

With parity restored, the Addicks quickly went in search of goal number two. Taylor saw a strike deflected wide and Pratley then headed agonizingly wide from a Morgan corner.

On 65 minutes, Taylor wriggled away from James before sending a low shot into the arm of McLaughlin and the pair went head-to-head again five minutes later. Taylor latched onto a lofted through ball from Sarr but couldn’t beat the goalkeeper with his left-footed strike.

Just before that, Bowyer introduced new-signing Williams for his Addicks debut and he was immediately involved in the action. Fifteen minutes from time he spread the play to Dijksteel, who whipped in a low cross that Grant could only steer wide at the back post.

Charlton had completely dominated the second period but five minutes from time Dillon Phillips had to make a couple of good saves to keep the scores level. Twice in quick succession he saved from Duncan Watmore, with both strikes having come in from tight angles.

Both sides would have one more chance to win it before the game was up. They both arrived in stoppage time.

Firstly, Williams slipped in Grant for the Addicks and his strike was superbly blocked by Flanagan and then, at the other end, Watmore blazed over from inside the box after getting onto the end of a cut-back.

But neither team could find a winner with both picking up a valuable point in their quests for promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.

Charlton: Phillips, Dijksteel, Solly, Bauer, Sarr, Bielik, Pratley, Morgan (Williams 68), Fosu, Taylor, Grant.

Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Stevenson, Marshall, Clarke, Hackett-Fairchild, Ajose.

Goal: James (og) 51

Sunderland: McLaughlin, McGeouch, Wyke, Gooch (Watmore 67), Flanagan, O’Nien, Baldwin, James, McGeady (c), Maja (Maguire 84), Power.

Subs (not used): Ruiter, Ozturk, Sinclair, Mumba.

Goal: O’Nien 2

Booked: Power 52 (foul on Fosu)

Referee: S Martin

Attendance: 16,317 (3,125 from Sunderland)

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