Saturday 23 November 2019

More injury worries after score draw

Today's 2-2 score draw against Cardiff City at The Valley was arguably a fair result, but it left Charlton with more injury worries. Cullen was stretchered off with an ankle injury and my man of the match Ehrun Otzumer picked up a knock and there were other injuries as well.

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer said that he would not be able to put out a full side against Luton on Tuesday: Bowyer will struggle to name a senior eleven. Lyle Taylor was a week or two off returning.

At one time there were four players who had played in non-league in the past year on the pitch and three 19-year olds. Albie Morgan came on as a substitute for Cullen and impressed after his spell at Ebbsfleet. Debutante Doughty also played well.

Charlton started the first half very cautiously and defensively, but then broke away down the right to score the first goal. The second half was full of end-to-end incident with a penalty save by Dillon Phillips. However, finishing needed to be more clinical and defensive weaknesses were apparent. Charlton have gone down to 13th in the table.

The Bluebirds had the first clear chance of the afternoon when Mendez-Laing beat two defenders before crossing low to whingeing charm merchant Paterson, who could only hit the side netting from six yards out.

And the visitors were made to pay when Bonne ran freely down the right before beating Bennett and Curtis Nelson to cross into the six-yard box and Gallagher reacted quickest. He is now Charlton's top scorer.

Things went from bad to worse for Harris' Cardiff as Oztumer found himself in acres of space with all the time in the world to put Leko through on goal and the West Bromwich Albion loanee made no mistake.

Cardiff pressed forward after the break and were awarded a penalty when Madine was pulled down in the centre of the box when challenging for a cross. Hoilett stepped up, but his strike was tame and Phillips got down to his right to save.

But Charlton's two-goal lead did not last much longer as Mendez-Laing got a shot away following Leandro Bacuna's blocked attempt, leaving Phillips with no chance.

And it was Harris' substitution that made the telling contribution as Bennett's cross found Tomlin, who dropped the shoulder and rifled a shot into the bottom corner, sparking celebrations from the travelling fans behind the goal. This move started with two Cardiff players on one Charlton player on the Cardiff left. It is the first time Charlton have surrendered a two goal lead since the 3-2 defeat by Brighton in 2015.

It could have been even better for Harris and Cardiff when his other substitute Omar Bogle raced clear, but the striker was denied by Phillips. Both sides sensed a winner as the game opened up late on with seven minutes of time added on and Bonne almost snatched it at the death for Charlton, but Lee Peltier got his body in the way to seal the draw for Cardiff.

Cardiff manager Neil Harris saw it as a point gained rather than two lost and said: 'Roedd fel gêm pêl-fasged yn yr ail hanner-ac mae Charlton yn gallu chwarae fel hynny.'

Lee Bowyer ignored Harris's Harlem Globetrotters analogy and focused on the positives, although obviously disappointed by the result: Bowyer looks for the positives

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