Charlton maintained their unbeaten run with a 2-2 draw at home to Brighton and Hove Albion at The Valley today. The Addicks moved up to 12th in the table.
A win was beyond Charlton's grasp because there were too many unforced errors and misplaced passes, notably a rare mistake by Michael Morrison which set up Brighton's first equaliser. Brighton played some attractive football in what was one of the better games we have seen at home this season and it would be difficult to claim that a draw was not a fair result.
The supposed foul which set up the free kick for their second goal looked like a fair tackle to me, but the referee was inclined to give every marginal decision to the visitors while ignoring their pushing and pulling in the box. Even though he came from Surrey, I don't think he was biased, it was just a case of another referee trying to show he is not a 'homer' by giving the benefit of the doubt to the visiting team.
Haynes set up a corner for Charlton. Corners in the first half were taken as part of a new short cormer routine. This one was caught. Wilson put in a good cross. A mistake by Kuszczak in the Brighton goal gave Charlton a corner. It was taken by Dale Stephens, and the subsequent goal was initially attributed to him, but it was Lawrie Wilson who put the Addicks ahead.
An effort by Hulse was turned over the bar by the keeper and from the subsequent corner Morrison headed over the bar. Frimpong was brought down and the free kick led to a Charlton corner which was punched out by the keeper and eventually cleared. Brighton then launched a threatening break, but Chris Solly dealt with it very effectively.
A Brighton corner was eventually cleared, but Hamer was furious with his defence. Solly provided excellent cover. The Covered End launched into a rendition of 'We hate Palace more than you do.' From a Brighton corner Hamer eventually claimed the ball. With the linesman refusing to lift his flag for offside, Hamer did well. Charlton launched a good attack, but the ball seemed to ping off the woodwork, although the keeper may have played a part. A fierce Brighton shot from distance went not far over, but Hamer had it covered and it was always going to go over.
Morrison then made his disastous error with an attempt at a back header. He might have been able to put into touch or let the ball run and Hamer could have dealt with it, but Mackell-Smith was able to score for the equaliser.
Haynes won Charlton a free kick, but it was caught. After a spell when the Seagulls had been dominant, Charlton were getting back in the game more and an attack ended up with the ball in the side netting. A good build up provided a chance for Dale Stephens, but he was off target.
Half time: Addicks 1, Seagulls 1
Brighton won a number of corners early in the half, one leading to a follow up but Hamer was able to catch the ball. Dean Hammond was given a yellow card for a foul on Dale Stephens. Brighton continued to push and pull in the box under the benign gaze of the referee. A Charlton error in a pass across the pitch allowed Brighton to attack and Wilson committed a foul and received a yellow card. Brighton took off Hoskings and brought on LuaLua before the free kick was taken, but it came off the wall at the expense of a Brighton corner.
Charlton launched a good attack and Bradley Pritchard was able to put the ball in the net from close range to make it 2-1. A Brighton free kick was awarded on the 'D' for what I thought was a good tackle. The ball took a deflection off the wall, allowing LuaLua to make it 2-2.
Either side could have scored in the remainder of the game, but although the vigorous contest continued, it ended all square. The chairman confidently predicted a 20,000+ attendance in the programme but in fact it was 19,080 which was a bit disappointing given that the away end was sold out. Perhaps some people were down at Bluewater.
Ivy the Terrible has given the Silver Bone to Dorian Dervitte. I was quite surprised to see Cort dropped after his highly rated performance at Millwall, but Dervitte was excellent in defence and contributed throughout, not least in the four minutes added on. Hamer was not really at fault for the two goals. He had to make a few saves, including an excellent one from Dobbie in the first half, and was particularly good at catching the ball from corners and crosses. A surprising number of Brighton shots went well wide. Morrison made a serious error, but otherwise he was up to his usual standard. Wilson made an excellent return, scoring a goal and making a storming run up the pitch in time added on. Solly excelled once again, even though he was playing at left back. Stephens showed some real touches of class. Great to see Pritchard score, and it was clear from the way they piled in that this team mates were delighted as well, otherwise he was his usual busy self. Frimpong showed that he has pace as well as class. Jackson had a few nice touches, but there were limits to his contribution. Haynes showed his pace, but he needed better service. Hulse was energetic, but he looked isolated quite a lot of the time. Kermorgant didn't make a big difference when he came on. Kerkar was disappointing.
The Hiss of the Match was given to the East Stand linesman by Juneau the Soccer Cat. He seemed to have a poor understanding of the offside rule and ignored repeated infringements by Brighton players.
Full report tomorrow.