A set of inspired second-half substitutions from Lee Bowyer saw Charlton come from behind to beat AFC Wimbledon at The Valley in an attack-minded game, which saw seven goals, a man of the match performance from goal scorer Chuks Aneke and three substitutes get their name on the score sheet.
Marcus Maddison and Omar Bogle came into the starting XI whilst Dylan Levitt and Deji Oshilaja returned to the matchday squad, having completed their periods of self-isolation. Akin Famewo was absent from the squad, having picked up an injury in training whilst Albie Morgan is serving his self-isolation period due to government guidelines.
It was Charlton who started the brighter with an early well-worked move seeing Ian Maatsen drag a shot just wide of the Wimbledon goal.
Alex Gilbey registered the first shot on target of the afternoon as the ball fell to him from a Jake Forster-Caskey free-kick, but his effort was met by Connal Trueman in the Wimbledon goal, who collected the ball.
The Addick’s were in control of the possession through the early stages, with Wimbledon happy to sit back and wait for their opportunities.
The visitors began to grow into the game with Shane McLoughlin and Joe Piggot linking up well on multiple occasions. The first saw a cross to the near post poked goalward by former Addick Pigott whose effort beat Ben Amos before Chris Gunter cleared on the goal line.
A few moments later it was McLoughlin and Piggot linking up again, a ball from the right towards the back post which the striker volleyed on target. This time Amos pushed Piggot’s volley behind for a corner.
However, it was the Addicks who opened the scoring through Conor Washington with 37 minutes on the clock. Jason Pearce played a defence-splitting pass forwards to send Washington away on the left-hand side before the striker cut in onto his right foot and curled a shot into the right hand corner, aided by a deflection from Terell Thomas.
Against the run of play, Wimbledon found themselves level soon after. On the 42nd minute, the Dons top scorer Pigott took control of a long ball from Steve Seddon before a quick piece of footwork saw the striker create space for himself and unleash an unstoppable curling effort past the helpless Amos from 22 yards out.
Moments later, Wimbledon took the lead going into the break. Charlton failed to clear their lines from a corner and the ball finds Alex Woodyard on the left-hand side of the pitch. Woodyard’s right footed cross finds was aimed at a sea of yellow in the middle of the box and an unmarked Daniel Csoka headed home.
Charlton came out with a point to prove in the second half and were nearly back on level terms immediately. Darren Pratley’s cross into the box was headed out by the Wimbledon defence but this was only as far as Ben Watson, who positioned himself just inside of the Dons’ box and forced Trueman to work and parry away a fierce volley.
On 53 minutes, Lee Bowyer turned to his bench and replaced Gilbey and Bogle with Jonny Williams and Aneke respectively, a decision which would turn the game on its head as the Addicks searched for an equaliser.
The goal was coming as Charlton kept knocking on the door of their opponents, and just after an hour on the clock, the Addicks hit with a quick-fire double.
Firstly, on 64 minutes, Forster-Caskey equalised from a rebound in the Don’s box. Ben Watson was at the heart of the move once again, playing a lovely one two with Chris Gunter before finding second-half substitute Aneke on the right-hand side of the box. The forward’s low driven shot forced Trueman into a save but the rebound fell straight to Forster-Caskey to fire home from close range, beating multiple Wimbledon men on the goal-line.
Less than a minute later, the Addicks had completed the turnaround and once again it was one of the substitutes at the heart of the goal, this time finding the back of the net. A neat move down the right hand-side, much like the equaliser, saw Gunter pull the ball back to an on-running Jonny Williams to slot home, placing his shot to the bottom left corner.
After taking the lead the hosts took a more conservative approach to the game, limiting Wimbledon to few chances. With 10 minutes left on the clock, Ben Purrington replaced Maddison as the Addicks switched formation to five at the back in an attempt to see out the game.
However, this was not to say that the reds were not going to look for another goal on the break as Charlton added to their lead with five minutes to spare. The game-changing substitute Aneke pressured the Wimbledon backline and forced an error before delaying his shot to commit Trueman and then powering a shot at the goalkeeper’s near post.
In the dying embers of the game, yet another substitute found the back of the net. Williams’ shot bounced back off the post and Purrington was there to convert on the line and seal the victory.
The win sees the Addicks progress to fifth in the Sky Bet League One table. Our next fixture sees Charlton face Bristol Rovers at The Valley on Tuesday.
Charlton: Amos, Gunter, Pearce, Pratley, Maatsen, Watson, Forster-Caskey, Gilbey (Williams 53), Maddison (Purrington 84), Washington (Oshilaja 89), Bogle (Aneke 53).
Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Matthews, Levitt.
Booked: Aneke 57 (foul)
Goals: Washington 37, Forster-Caskey 64, Williams 65, Aneke 85, Purrington 90+2
AFC Wimbledon: Trueman, Csoka, (Palmer 84), Woodyard, Thomas (Nightingale 71), Hartigan (Chislett 70), Rudoni (Reilly 70), McLoughlin, Heneghan, Longman, Pigott, Seddon.
Subs (not used): Tzanev, Alexander, Guiness-Walker.
Booked: Trueman 63 (time-wasting). Rudoni 59 (blocking a free-kick).
Goals: Pigott 42, Csoka 45