Gary Haines reports from The Valley
Charlton’s big afternoon ended in disappointment on Saturday as Barnsley completed an impressive win at a packed Valley.
A cool finish from Tomasz Cywka four minutes after they hour mark earned the Tykes maximum points as a bumper home crowd were sent home disappointed.
The natives had flocked to SE7 in high spirits – and with fuller wallets - after taking advantage of ‘football for a fiver’ day.
But it was the Yorkshire side that cashed in on this afternoon, celebrating a deserved success against a disjointed Addicks side who never hit their stride.
Two weeks after winning at fancied Blackpool, here was another unpredictable result in the ever choppy Championship waters but it was far from smash and grab.
Possibly the most patronised of all the teams at this level, Barnsley had shown their dangerous credentials with a thumping win at Birmingham City in late-September, and there was little doubt that they deserved to win on a day little went right for the hosts.
And the Addicks were forced to play the closing stages with 10 men after striker Ricardo Fuller, an isolated figure at times up top, hobbled out of the action with what looked like a hamstring injury after all three substitutions had been made.
There was a late rally, with one ridiculous goalmouth scramble in the away box, but any momentum built up came too late to make a real impact.
The keepers made one noteworthy save apiece in an opening period, in which the Tykes had the edge.
Hamer got his big frame in the way of a bundled close range effort from Chris Dagnall after a dangerous low cross from Craig Davies on 36 minutes.
And later in the half a curling free-kick from Abdul Razak forced a flying save from Ben Alnwick.
Barnsley were the better side upon the resumption and grabbed the decisive goal as Polish schemer Cywka struck just past the hour mark.
He cashed in after Danny Green could not intercept a ball in from the left, checking inside and planting an angled shot beyond Hamer.
The interval introductions of Bradley Wright-Phillips and fit-again skipper Johnnie Jackson did little to change things for the hosts, who were faced by a Tykes team who offered more patience, poise and penetration and were deserving of the win.
In terms of team news the Addicks were unchanged from the impressive 2-0 win at Blackpool a fortnight ago.
But there was a return to the bench for skipper Jackson following his recent hamstring injury as a massive crowd descended on The Valley for the latest ‘football for a fiver’ day.
Green had also recovered from his dead leg, sustained at Bloomfield Road ahead of the recent international break, to start on the right and there was a Valley debut for on-loan Manchester City midfielder Razak in a 4-5-1 formation as Fuller started up top.
Ben Hamer continued between the posts for the home side behind the backline of, right to left, Lawrie Wilson, Leon Cort, Michael Morrison and Chris Solly.
The three man central unit was comprised of Dale Stephens, Danny Hollands and Razak with Salim Kerkar and Green out wide. Fuller started up front on his own.
One-time Tykes loanee Davie Button was on the home bench together with Dorian Dervite, Cedric Evina, Bradley Pritchard, Jackson, Rob Hulse and Wright-Phillips.
The visitors boasted dangerman Craig Davies up front after his four goal blitz helped stun Birmingham City 5-0 recently.
He was partnered by Chris Dagnall with former West Ham United man Marlon Harewood named in reserve.
Razak dragged an early effort well wide from range and the Addicks were on the front foot in the early exchanges.
Craig Dawson fired wide for the visitors and Jacob Mellis was similarly off target after setting his sights from outside the box.
Tomasz Cykwa was a little closer – but still wide of the mark – after David Perkins had calmly dribbled across his own box to avert a passage of Addicks danger down the other end.
Barnsley’s passing philosophy was certainly evident as the half reached its midpoint, and after one patient move left back Scott Golbourne found himself furthest forward and in prime position – but handily for the Addicks slightly offside.
Solly flung himself to block a shot from Davies after Morrison had misread a clearance, and the Addicks broke swiftly on the half hour before Perkins took desperate measures to upend Razak right on the edge of the box.
Green could only drive his free-kick straight into the wall – and the best chance of the afternoon went Barnsley’s way on 36 minutes.
Davies’ centre from the left was low and dangerous and Dagnall stole behind Morrison but could not make decisive contact from close in, his bundled effort saved by Hamer, who stood – or crouched - tall to block.
Davies cut in from the left and saw a shot deflected behind for a corner as the Tykes probed, but Charlton forced a diving save from Ben Alnwick two minutes before the break.
Green was upended by Cywka around five yards outside the box and Razak took on duties this time, with his curling free-kick headed for the top right corner before Alnwick dived to palm the ball behind for a corner.
Scott Golbourne was booked on the stroke of half-time, after which a Stephens free-kick from way out was tipped over the bar.
Barnsley then smuggled Kerkar’s corner away from close to the post, and Jacob Mellis span sharply and shot over at the end of the half.
There was a double change at the break as Jackson, with the armband already on, replacing Hollands and Wright-Phillips coming on in place of Razak.
Mellis, wiped out by Solly, whipped in a dangerous free-kick which was volleyed off target on the stretch by Dagnall on the far side on the stretch.
The long legs of Cort kept out a Cywka effort as the Tykes pressed and Dawson ended up over the advertising hoardings and in front of his fans after a positive run and pull-back that was nipped in the bud by Hamer.
There were dim penalty claims from the visitors in the aftermath with Stephens booked for tugging back Mellis just past the hour mark.
As fluent as the visitors were, the Addicks were ragged – and they could not complain when Cywka put Barnsley ahead on 64 minutes.
The Polish midfielder capitalised on a slip from Green as the winger failed to cut out a pass, and cut in from the left and, ignoring a couple of well-placed pull-back options, coolly curled a shot past Hamer from an acute angle.
The away fans rejoiced, having had a good view of the strike from behind the goal, and Green’s race was run soon afterwards as Pritchard came on in his stead.
Charlton were still struggling to get things going, and Fuller’s cross was clattered away when the Jamaican might have tried his luck with a shot.
Solly then had loud penalty claims waved away in the 73rd minutes, bursting into the box before going down as Dagnall slid in.
Referee Russell thought otherwise as the home bench emptied and Barnsley lived to fight another day.
They breathed a sigh of relief again moments later as Stephens ran onto a loose ball outside the box and planted a low shot inches wide of the left post.
Tempers were starting to flare by this stage, with Charlton far from happy when Kerkar was clearly tugged back on the touchline, yet no decision went their way.
After a scuffle between Solly and Dawson, the home man attempting to win the ball and the Tyke intervening amid a mini-melee, both were booked.
And Charlton’s afternoon got get even worse when Fuller pulled up with hamstring injury and was unable to continue. Having made all his changes, Powell was forced to watch his side soldier on with 10 men.
Wilson’s cross on the run was just too high for Wright-Phillips in the middle, and soon afterwards Alnwick got behind a low drive from Pritchard.
There was an incredible scramble in the Barnsley box two minutes from time as Jackson, who had slipped in the box moments earlier, tried to force the ball over the line from close in.
Wright-Phillips was also buried amid a cluster of blue shirts as Alnwick plunged on the ball right on the goalline.
It was an incredible escapade and after more penalty box pinball, Pritchard hooked in a shot which was impressively swatted away by Alnwick.
Dagnall broke through at the other end but fired wide either side of two time-consuming substitutions.
The second arrival, Bobby Hassell, was immediately confronted by a flying Wilson, who was booked for diving.
Hamer came up for a last-gasp free-kick, which was dealt with by the visitors and time was against the Addicks as they ended up empty handed.
Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Solly, Cort, Morrison; Green (Pritchard 68), Stephens, Hollands (Jackson 46), Razak (Wright-Phillips 46), Kerkar; Fuller.
Subs (not used): Button, Dervite, Evina, Hulse.
Booked: Stephens 62 (foul on Mellis), Solly 75 (scuffle with Dawson), Wilson 90 (simulation)
Barnsley: Alnwick; Stones, Golbourne, Foster, Wiseman; Dawson, Perkins, Mellis (Etuhu 89), Cywka (Hassell 90); Dagnall, Davies (Harewood 90).
Subs (not used): Steele, Rose, Kennedy, Done.
Goal: Cywka 64
Booked: Golbourne 44 (dissent), Dawson 75 (scuffle with Solly)
Referee: M Russell
Att: 26,185 (1,227 Barnsley)