Charlton fell to a first defeat in 11 as Peterborough United ran out 1-0 winners at The Valley on Saturday.
The league's top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris fired the visitors into a ninth-minute lead and the Addicks had an opportunity to level things up before the break when Alex Gilbey was felled in the box, leaving Jayden Stockley to step up to the spot, only for an outstanding save to keep him at bay.
Charlton impressed in the second half but could not find the goal their performance deserved as the Posh held on for the points.
It was a lively start to the game as both teams were enjoying spells of possession. However, it was the visitors who took an early lead through the division’s top scorer Clarke-Harris. The ball fell to Sammie Szmodics from a Josef Bursik goal-kick and the midfielder found his striker on the edge of the box. Clarke-Harris turned onto his left foot and drilled a low shot past Ben Amos in the Charlton goal for his 31st goal of the season.
The Posh could have been two ahead before 20 minutes as Szmodics burst through on goal, but a fantastic fingertip save from Amos, down to his left, denied the midfielder.
The Addicks had a chance to equalise on the half-hour mark from the penalty spot. A quick break saw Liam Millar find Gilbey on the left-hand side, the midfielder drove through the Posh defence and was clipped on his way into the box. However, Jayden Stockley’s penalty was kept out by Bursik, who dived high to his right to keep the visitors in the lead.
Bursik once again saved Peterborough on the 40th minute. Millar’s powerful cross caused all sorts of trouble for the visitors but the goalkeeper did well to palm the ball over his crossbar and hold onto the lead going into half-time.
The second half saw a more positive start from the Addicks. Midfielder Gilbey progressed further up the pitch and his direct runs was causing problems for the Peterborough defence. On the 55th minute, Gilbey picked the ball up on the left hand side of the pitch before gliding past three Posh players on his way through the midfield. Unfortunately, Gilbey’s shot could not trouble Bursik in the visitors net.
A glorious chance fell to the visitors five minutes later through Joe Ward. A clever piece of play saw Szmodics feed the winger in on goal but Amos made himself big as Ward fired over the bar.
As the Addicks chased the game, came the introduction of Chuks Aneke in an attempt to find an equaliser. The striker made an instant impact, brushing off two Peterborough players before unleashing Millar out wide. The winger found Jake Forster-Caskey on the edge of the box, whose shot deflected just wide of the post as Charlton began to ask questions of the Posh defence.
Despite pressure from Charlton, Peterborough had the best chance of the second half with Clarke-Harris flicking the ball over Amos and onto Szmodics. However, a good challenge from Adam Matthews meant that the midfielder could only hit the post in the dying minutes of the game as the visitors claimed all three points.
Charlton: Amos; Matthews, Pearce, Innis, (Famewo 83) Purrington; Forster-Caskey, Watson; Jaiyesimi (Morgan 24 (Washington 83)), Gilbey (Aneke 77), Millar; Stockley.
Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Gunter, Pratley.
Booked: Gilbey 55 (foul)
Peterborough: Bursik; Thompson (Mason 71), Kent, Beevers, Butler; Hamilton (Reed 68’), Taylor; Ward, Szmodics, Dembele (Burrows 87); Clarke-Harris
Subs (not used): Gyollai, Eisa, Ricky-Jade Jones, Kanu.
Goal: Clarke-Harris 9
Booked: Thompson 45 (foul)
Report by Nick Emms