Report: Charlton Athletic 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
Wanderers continued their unbeaten start to the campaign but were unfortunately forced to settle for a share of the spoils against Charlton Athletic at The Valley on Saturday afternoon.
Following a goalless first half, Gary Madine opened the scoring for Bolton, slotting home from six yards after a superb run from Liam Trotter down the wing.
But just as it seemed as though the three points were Bolton’s though, the Addicks snatched a point at the death through Ademola Lookman.
Jamie Proctor returned to the starting XI for Wanderers, while academy scholar Jake Turner was amongst Bolton’s substitutes.
Wanderers were the team seeing plenty of the ball inside the opening stages, although clear cut goalmouth opportunities were few and far between early on.
Charlton meanwhile, although relatively quiet inside the first ten minutes of the clash, were looking dangerous with the seemingly ever-present Nicky Ajose ensuring that the Bolton backline were on their guard.
In the 11th minute however, the first real chance of the game arrived through Ajose who collected a clever through ball from Ricky Holmes, only for Mark Howard in the Bolton goal to deny him with a smart reflex save from point blank range.
Up the other end of the field meanwhile, good link-up play between Proctor and Josh Vela opened up an opportunity for the visitors which the latter eventually spurned just wide of the mark.
A Jay Spearing free-kick then caused problems in the Charlton box soon after, but that incident was to prove the Trotters’ last meaningful action for a period as the hosts proceeded to control the game for much of the remainder of the first period.
Phil Parkinson’s men were pushed onto the backfoot as the opening 45 drew to its conclusion, with Dean Moxey in particular putting his body on the line with a number of blocks to prevent efforts from the Addicks making their way into the danger zone.
Jason Pearce however appeared to have snatched the lead for the hosts with just six minutes of the half remaining, rising highest in the six yard box to meet a corner kick.
To his dismay and the disbelief of those inside The Valley however, his header somehow drifted inches wide of the upright with Howard rooted.
There was still time for Wanderers to enjoy their best chance of the game so far though, with David Wheater’s header from a Spearing corner being cleared off the line and onto the crossbar on the stroke of the 45.
Despite each side’s best efforts meanwhile, the first half ended all square.
The second period started with Wanderers in the ascendancy, with another Spearing free-kick whipped into the mix inside the opening minutes of the half.
They were however rocked by an injury to Mark Davies shortly after, with the midfielder being stretched from the field of play with his leg in a support brace.
It seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken though and it was so by the Whites in the 53rd minute as Trotter cleverly slipped clear of the Charlton defence down the left flank, cut inside and teed up the advancing Madine who had the simple task of slotting home from six yards.
The Whites were visibly buoyed by their opener, while the hosts were left reeling.
Wanderers then pushed to extend their lead, with a number of chances going begging, but heading into the final quarter of the encounter, it was becoming more so Charlton’s game as they threw a number of attacking substitutes into the mix.
Parkinson’s men were under pressure as the clock ran down, but they were seemingly dealing well and soaked up waves of attacks from the Addicks.
The visitors meanwhile were left calling for a penalty kick on 71 minutes as Lewis Buxton appeared to have been pulled down in the area, but the referee was unmoved.
Josh Magennis then proceeded to see his looping header just two minutes from time saved by Howard, with the goalkeeper backpeddling.
The pressure continued from the home side though and they were eventually rewarded on the stroke of full time as substitute Lookman drilled home into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
And although seven minutes of additional time were indicated due to Davies’ injury, the spoils were shared at the final whistle.
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