Injuries to Lewis Page and Chuks Aneke summed up a frustrating pre-season game for Charlton as the Addicks lost 3-1 to Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.
Aneke took his first goal for the club with a calmness that will excite Charlton fans but he limped off in the second half clutching his hamstring.
The Addicks began the game in a 3-5-2 formation but switched to a 4-4-2 diamond when Page was forced off within the first 10 minutes with what looked like a hamstring injury. The returning Jonny Williams took his place with Albie Morgan moving to a defensive midfield position.
The damage was done during the few minutes it took to make the substitution with Gillingham taking advantage of playing against 10 men. They passed the ball neatly around before Stuart O’Keefe powerfully placed a shot into the bottom corner from just inside the Charlton penalty area.
The Addicks created half-chances but failed to really get into a rhythm. Morgan’s corners caused the Gills defence problems and Lyle Taylor saw a dangerous free kick palmed away on the half hour mark.
At the other end, while Dillon Phillips was relatively untested Mikael Ndjoli could have put the home team two up when he capitalised on a Brandon Hanlon flick on but Anfernee Dijksteel did just enough on the cover to force Ndjoli’s effort wide.
Charlton levelled just before half time when Aneke reacted quickest to a powerful Naby Sarr free kick that bounced back off the post into his path. The former Arsenal academy graduate calmly faked a right foot shot, fooling two Gillingham players, before smashing over Bonham with his left foot from eight yards out.
Charlton nearly took the lead shortly after the second half when Djiksteel found Aneke in the box but his first time effort went wide.
Gillingham did take the lead one minute later, Ndjoli got in for the second time and this time made no mistake slotting inside the near post.
More injury woe followed for the Addicks with goalscorer Aneke also forced to limp off the pitch holding his hamstring.
To add insult to the injuries substitute Elliott List scored in the 89th minute as he ran through the Charlton defence before dispatching past Phillips.
Gillingham: Bonham, Garmston (Campbell 85), O’Keefe (Reilly 63), Ehmer (List 63), Hanlan (Ogilvie 63), Ndjoli (Trialist 63), Charles-Cook (Bryne 63), Fuller (Allen 85), Jones (Woods 63), Cisse (Oldaker 63), Thomas (Tucker 63)
Subs (not used): Walsh
Goals: O’Keefe 13, Ndjoli 48, List 89
Charlton: Phillips; Lockyer, Pearce, Sarr; Dijksteel, Pratley, Aneke (Lapslie 54), Morgan, Page (Williams 13, Dempsey 73); Taylor (Doughty 75), Bonne
Subs (not used): Amos, Maloney, Wiredu
Goal: Aneke 43
Referee: C Pollard
(Photos: Kyle Andrews and Ben Peters)