Charlton failed once again to kill a game off and ensure that the Addicks secured another three points. The lack of mental fortitude in the closing stages of the game against Wimbledon and Fleetwood has meant that Charlton does not sit two points of the play-offs with two games in hand!
Josh Magennis returned to the bench, Jake Forster-Caskey was ruled out as he was recovering from an ankle injury which meant that Ezri Konsa moved into midfield and Jorge Teixeira returned to the starting lineup to pair with Patrick Bauer. Tony Watt moved onto the left wing to replace the suspended Nathan Byrne and Adam Chicksen recovered from his recent illness to remain in the squad replacing the suspended Lewis Page.
Charlton had a strong start to the game against the revived Wimbledon FC after Ricky Holmes executed an excellent free kick, he launched the ball into the top left corner eight minutes into the start of play. The valuable free kick occurred as a result of Joe Aribo being fouled on the edge of the penalty box by Chirs Robertson who earned himself a yellow card in the process.
As the first half progressed it seemed that the Addicks had learned their lesson from last Saturday at home to Fleetwood, the team knocking on the door for a second and continuing to show a level of aptitude and fluency set for another goal. Aribo had the next strong chance when he curled a shot just wide of the left post.
Konsa had the next chance of the game after Lee Novak laid the ball off to the academy graduate, only to direct the shot straight at James Shea’s gloves.
The next phase of play saw Charlton lucky not to see their side be reduced to 10 men, which would have been the third time in three games. A dangerous trend which needs to be removed from our play!
Ricky Holmes made a dangerous and crunching tackle, some describing it as almost ‘leg-breaking’ against Lyle Taylor who was set to jolt down the pitch in the act of a counter-attack. The home crowd were infuriated and with the gap between the fans and the pitch being minimal, and taking into account the standard of refereeing we are used to, I was rather surprised he did not fold to the crowd pressure and give a straight red! The Red Army definitely got away with another silly foul that luckily did not come back to bite us.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, Barry Fuller had to make a heroic near-post interception to prevent Konsa firing a free shot on goal thanks to a link-up from Aribo.
The second half continued to show no improvement by the home side. The Addicks still knocking on the door of goal but were struggling to capitalise on their chances.
Wimbledon did see Sean Kelly flash a ball across the face of goal but no one was there to slot it home. In the 52nd minute, George Francomb propelled a free kick into the Charlton penalty area only for Robertson to head it narrowly wide.
Lee Novak missed an absolute sitter after an original shot from Holmes was deflected and dropped to Novak who was only able to shoot the ball into the side of the net. Many Charlton fans now starting to think what the striker can actually offer seeing as we kept him but decided to let Nicky Ajose go on loan until the Summer.
Just before the hour mark Watt operated as an inside forward, coming onto his favourite right foot and hurled his shot on target which forced Shea to make a diving save in order to keep Wimbledon in the game.
In the closing stages of the game the inevitable happened, some would say it is a consistent case of deja vu we experience week in and week out. Josh Magennis dropped in the Wimbledon penalty box but the referee saw nothing in it. Wimbledon decided to launch a 90+2 counter attack which saw Elliott clinically finish across the face of goal, Rudd having no real chance.
The goal scorer had already received a booking after a cynical foul against Chris Solly, so when he ran into the crowd to hug and celebrate, the referee proceeded to reach into his pocket once again to deliver his second yellow which ultimately led him to be sent off.
Charlton has now slumped into the bottom half of the League One table, in 13th position, but still sit six points off from the sixth spot with two games in hand. To make things even more bitter, South London rivals Millwall moved into the final playoff position after beating Southend by 1-0 at the Den.
A lack of mental fortitude is becoming a clear issue in the Charlton side, in the last two back-to-back games which we were supposedly treating as “cup finals” has meant that we have let the opposing team equalise. We are not ‘killer’ enough in the 90 minutes to mean we get a second, third or even a fourth, we seem to be becoming slade-esque once more in terms of relying on a one goal cushion! I have already stated on Twitter, despite the fact that the points gap between sixth and ourselves has not changed I refuse to believe that we can or even deserve promotion after the collapse we have seen in the last two games. I hope the boys prove me wrong!