Lewis Page got 45 minutes under his belt as the U23s stretched their unbeaten league run to five games, but were denied all three points by a late Millwall comeback at Calmont Road on Monday afternoon.
Page returned to action for the first time since picking up an injury during pre-season and he was joined by fellow first-teamers Deji Oshilaja, George Lapslie and Chuks Aneke who opened the scoring in the first half. Abraham Odoh doubled the lead early in the second, but a late rally saw the home side get back into the game to claim a point from a 2-2 draw.
Charlton enjoyed a strong start and came close on six minutes when Aneke powered into the box and opted to square to James Vennings rather than shoot, but the latter’s shot was blocked. Moments later, Aneke did have a go himself after bursting through, but fired narrowly wide.
Lapslie saw his shot from the edge of the box well saved by a fine save from Lions stopper Joe Wright on 12 minutes, while Nathan Harness was called into action at the other end when he smothered George Alexander’s close-range effort.
The Addicks were having the better of it and took a deserved lead in the 37th minute courtesy if the always-dangerous Aneke.
Picking the ball up in the box, he showed great strength to hold off the attentions of the defence and great feet to dance into a good position before slamming home an excellent finish.
Both Aneke and Page were withdrawn at the break and Charlton started the second period quickly, doubling their lead in the 50th minute.
Vennings’ powerful shot from just outside the box was parried by Wright, but Odoh was on hand to nod the rebound home.
The second half became a somewhat scrappy affair and there were not many chances of note until the 81st minute when a Millwall long-ball was mis-judged by Jay Mingi, allowing Alexander in one-on-one. Although Harness got out to stop his initial effort, the ball bounced beyond him, and the striker was able to turn it over the line.
That proved to be a turning point. The Addicks did not look in any danger until that goal but, with three minutes remaining, the Lions scored an equaliser in controversial fashion.
A corner was diverted in by Isaac Olaofe, but it looked like the striker had handled it. Despite the Addicks’ protests, the official allowed the goal to stand and Charlton were denied all three points having let their two-goal lead slip.
Charlton U23s: Harness, Oshilaja, Keefe, Mingi, Page (Doughty 46), Vennings, Lapslie (Powell 65), Dempsey, Odoh, Aneke (Isiaka 46), Davison.
Subs (not used): Harvey, Clayden.
Booked: Vennings 8 (foul on Alexander), Lapslie 54 (foul on Mithchell), Mingi 68 (foul on Burey)
Goals: Aneke 37, Odoh 50