Charlton were made to share the spoils with a battling Crewe Alexandra side at The Valley on Tuesday evening as a gut-punching 96th-minute equaliser denied the Addicks all three points.
Jayden Stockley nodded home his seventh headed goal for the Addicks in the first half, but the hosts found themselves pegged back by Owen Dale's strike with 23 minutes remaining as the visitors threatened to get on top.
But the Addicks got themselves ahead in the 83rd minute with Alex Gilbey heading home what looked like the winner, only for Dale to strike with virtually the last kick of the game to bring a frustrating end to proceedings.
Charlton started the brighter of the two sides and were rewarded with an early goal. A positive combination between Gilbey and Liam Millar saw the pair break down the left-hand side. Gilbey’s cross from just inside the Crewe box found Stockley, who bravely dived to head home from six yards out.
Both teams continued to attack in a free-flowing game. There were half-chances for Crewe through Mikael Mandron, but his efforts did not test Ben Amos. The Addicks were getting joy down the left hand side as Millar’s cross met the head of Stockley, who could only head over the bar with a quarter of the match played.
Callum Ainley was causing problems for Charlton and nearly provided Owen Dale with an assist. The midfield pair linked up well, with Ainley running in off the left-hand side before feeding Dale to the right of the box. Dale turned onto his left foot, but the midfielder’s powerful strike just whistled past the Charlton post.
The Addicks had the advantage heading into half-time and it was more of the same in the second half as Charlton looked to surrender possession to Crewe, opting to hit our visitors on the break as Conor Washington replaced the booked Ian Maatsen early in the second half.
Much like the first half, Millar was the bright spark on the break. With just over an hour gone the Canadian took on tow Crewe men on the left-hand side to make space on his favoured right foot. However, the winger’s shot sailed just over the Crewe crossbar.
The visitors found themselves level on the 67th minute. A move down Charlton’s left saw Dale combine for a one-two inside the right-hand side of the box. The midfielder cut back in onto his left foot and slotted past Amos in the Charlton goal.
The visitors were on top, carrying the momentum from the equaliser and the Addicks were unable to take control of the match.
The introduction of Chuks Aneke and subsequent change of shape to a back three saw the Addicks apply more pressure to the Crewe defence. With ten minutes to go, Aneke powered down the Crewe left hand side but his attempted pullback could not find strike partner Washington.
Once again, the match had become an end to end affair. Akin Famewo showed tremendous strength to win the ball back and unleash Jake Forster-Caskey, whose brilliant pass back to the edge of the box was met by Gilbey, whose shot deflected out for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Charlton took the lead once again and it was that man Gilbey. Forster-Caskey’s corner was met by the head of substitute Aneke, who nodded down to Gilbey in the six-yard box. Gilbey headed down and through the legs of the Crewe goalkeeper to give Charlton the lead once more.
The Addicks were getting more and more space in behind Crewe in the remaining minutes as the visitors committed players forward. Washington found himself through on goal, dribbling past several defenders but his shot was blocked. A moment later, Aneke burst down the left hand side but his powerful low-driven shot was matched by the visiting goalkeeper.
However, the Addicks could not hold on as Dale bagged his brace with the last kick of the game. The ball was pinging around the Charlton box before dropping to the midfielder, who hit a sweet left footed volley past Amos.
The draw sees the Addicks remain eighth, two points behind sixth-placed Portsmouth with a game in hand on both Oxford United and Pompey above.
Charlton: Amos; Matthews, Famewo, Pearce (C), Purrington; Gilbey, Watson (Pratley 75), Forster-Caskey; Maatsen (Washington 54), Millar (Aneke 68), Stockley (Innis 75).
Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Gunter, Morgan.
Goals: Stockley 10, Gilbey 83
Booked: Maatsen 50 (foul), Gilbey 60 (foul), Pearce 61 (foul)
Crewe: Jaaskelainen; Adebisi, Wood, Danels, Pickering; Lowery Wintle, Ainley (Porter 86); Dale, Mandron, Kirk.
Subs (not used): Richards, Lancashire, Johson, Beckles, Walker, Evans,
Goals: Dale 67, 90+6
Booked: Dale 29’ (foul), Wood 45’ (foul)
Report by Nick Emms