Gary Haines reports from The Valley
10-man Charlton saw out 2012 with an eventful draw against Derby County on Saturday.
The hosts snapped a three-game losing sequence at a rain-lashed Valley but were left to rue what might have been on an incident-packed afternoon.
Danny Haynes had fired them in front with a sensational 20th minute strike, but the striker would limp off before the break after a recurrence of his hamstring problems.
Chances went begging for the hosts after that, namely a Bradley Pritchard shot against the bar, and the Rams were then handed a route back into the game as referee Carl Boyeson awarded them a 70th minute penalty for a challenge by Michael Morrison on John Brayford.
The referee also deemed the challenge worthy of a second yellow card, as the defender, who may well have got the ball as he slid in, was sent packing.
Substitute Jamie Ward fired home from the spot to level matters but the hosts dug in at the end of the game with Ben Hamer making a superb double stop to foil Theo Robinson and Conor Samon and Richard Keogh later headed against the post.
After the sodden pitch was passed fit by referee Boyeson, Derby had adapted better to they tricky conditions, passing the ball around neatly, but it was the hosts who claimed the lead in magnificent fashion on 20 minutes.
Haynes was the man on target, chasing down the left and doubling back round before smashing a superb shot into the back of the net from 25 yards.
It earned him an almost certain spot on the goal of the season shortlist come May and took him to five goals for the season, but his day would end in despondency after his persistent hamstring problem resurfaced.
Before that Ben Hamer had rescued his side with a superb stop from Theo Robinson from close range and soon after Haynes had shed tears as he trudged off, the home keeper stood tall to make a fine stop from Nathan Tyson.
Charlton fashioned good openings after that with Morrison glancing a header off target amid a packed penalty box and Haynes’ replacement Bradley Wright-Phillips was sent clear before Adam Legzdins made a telling save on the stroke of half-time.
Stephens volleyed wide soon after the restart and his free-kick to Jackson saw the skipper’s deflected shot brilliantly repelled by Legzdins.
And, when Pritchard took a touch in the box before firing against the underside of the bar, that proved a pivotal moment in the game.
Derby were awarded a spot-kick 20 minutes from time as Morrison slid in on Brayford and there was double punishment as the defender was shown a second yellow card.
Sub Ward, who would only be on for 15 minutes before limping out of the action, hammered home from the spot and the Addicks were up against it in the closing stages.
They dug in defiantly with Hamer making a magnificent double stop from Robinson and then sub Conor Samon before Keogh headed against the post.
In the circumstances, a point was valuable for the hosts, certainly on the back of three successive defeats.
But had they capitalised on the chances that fell their way before that then the final outcome would almost certainly have been different.
Powell had vowed to go back to basics in the build up to the game, and he could not fault his players’ application on a sodden SE7 afternoon.
Lawrie Wilson was the sole ‘new face’ on show as the Addicks box turned to the squad men that were with the club in last season’s promotion charge, and after edging their way into the game, that proved a shrewd decision.
Haynes walloped home the opener in superb fashion and then came those chances to extend the advantage as the home backline held firm solidly and the midfield quartet worked tirelessly.
As pivotal moments go Pritchard’s woodwork-rattler was certainly the turning point with Morrison, on a tightrope after picking up an early – albeit contentious – yellow card was soon sent packing by Boyeson.
He might have got a nick on the ball but the match official quickly pointed to the spot, and then reached for his notebook.
And so the final quarter was spent on the defensive with Powell’s adjusted charges responding brilliantly.
Its just a shame a point was all they had to show for their efforts on a changeable afternoon.
In terms of team news former Ram Powell made five changes for the visit of Derby.
There was a starting return for Cedric Evina at left-back while Lawrie Wilson was back from suspension on the right of midfield.
Skipper Johnnie Jackson started on the left after dropping to the bench against Ipswich and Pritchard and striker Yann Kermorgant were also recalled.
Loan trio Dan Seaborne, Emmanuel Frimpong and Rob Hulse all made way with Danny Green and Ricardo Fuller also missing out.
There were returns to the bench for Scott Wagstaff, Salim Kerkar and Bradley Wright-Phillips after missing out on Boxing Day.
There was also a landmark for Chris Solly as the right-back made his 100th appearance for the club.
Hamer continued between the posts for the home side with Solly and Evina, back from a knee injury, flanking Morrison and Leon Cort at the back.
Jackson was back on the left of midfield with Pritchard partnering Dale Stephens in the middle and the suspension-free Wilson on the right.
Kermorgant was up front with Haynes, who notched his fourth goal of the season from the penalty spot on Wednesday.
Wright-Phillips, Wagstaff and Kerkar were joined in the reserve ranks by keeper John Sullivan and strikers Hulse and Fuller.
Derby included highly-rated teenager Will Hughes in their starting XI while Nathan Tyson and Robinson were pitched in up front in a 4-4-2 formation.
Ward, who volleyed home the opener at Pride Park when the sides met earlier in the season, was on the bench for the visitors.
The game went ahead after rain of which there was more of a smattering than the predicted deluge so unsurprisingly the surface was skiddy.
The first incident of note saw Hughes wildly slide in to Pritchard, after the Addicks man had nipped away, and the blonde-haired Ram picked up a yellow card.
Morrison was next into the book after catching Hughes two minutes later right on the edge of the box.
The defender could count himself a little unlucky to be booked with Ben Davies’ curling free-kick flipped over the bar by Hamer.
After Kermorgant was penalised on the Derby left, Davies whipped a free-kick that swirled just wide of the far post.
And after the hosts conceded another free-kick on the opposite side, Hendricks stooped to head off target.
Derby had clearly settled the better but the Addicks were ahead in magnificent fashion on 20 minutes.
And it was all about Haynes as he moved into sole charge at the top of the goalsoring stakes.
After exchanging passes with Kermorgant, the speedy striker set off down the left before being pressed away from goal.
Jackson arrived in support but, to steal a phrase from Barry Davies, Haynes used him by not using him, veering round in a full circle before setting his sights on goal again.
And there was something very special about the strike too as he smashed a superb 25-yatrder that flew past Adam Legzdins and nestled in the back of the net.
The Valley erupted to salute a special goal, another clear contender for goal of the season after Green blasted a spectacular goal against the Rams at Pride Park.
The mood had brightened under the grey skies and Hamer maintained his side’s advantage with a smart stop from Robinson.
After the hosts had surrendered possession carelessly, Paul Coutts made good ground on the right and his low cross was met by Robinson although Hamer, falling backwards, was able to repel his shot.
There was utter devastation for Haynes as the clock reached 33, however.
Chasing a pass down the right channel, the striker’s hamstring popped and straight away that was the end of his game.
Haynes was inconsolable on the touchline before he trudged down into the dug-out and the Addicks were down to 10 as Tyson was sent clear but Hamer stood tall to make a terrific stop.
After an already-booked Morrison upended Davies, Wright-Phillips came on and Davies’ free-kick was saved by Hamer.
A dipping effort from Hughes went narrowly over and Keogh was the next unlucky man to see yellow after a collision with Kermorgant three minutes before the break.
After the pumped-forward free-kick was kept alive in the box, Kermorgant’s clipped centre was headed wide by an unmarked Morrison, a big chance going begging.
And on the stroke of half-time Jackson’s pass sent Wright-Phillips away on goal.
The striker got ahead of Keogh but was confronted by Legzdins who, like Hamer earlier, stood tall to make a hugely important save.
There was still time for Wilson to get away on the right but drill across goal and wide with Kermorgant and Pritchard better place in the box.
And Powell was furious at in the dying embers as Wilson went down under a challenge from James O’Connor with Boyeson allowing play to continue, but the Addicks could go into the break ahead.
Jackson, under pressure, headed wide at the far post after great work from Wright-Phillips on the right.
Cort slid into block a Robinson drive after the striker had seized on a poor Hamer clearance, and at the other end Legzdins tipped over a drive from Evina after Solly’s cross was half headed out.
Wilson and Solly then combined on the right before the latter’s cross was half cleared to Stephens, who volleyed over the bar.
Like Morrison earlier, Keogh got a final warning from Boyeson after another collision with Kermorgant.
Moments after miss-kicking horribly Pritchard did brilliantly to snare possession and draw a foul from James O’Connor, an offence that earned the Ram a booking.
Charlton almost struck again from the free-kick as Stephens cleverly picked out Jackson on the edge of the box. The skipper struck the ball well but Legzdins reacted well to beat the ball to safety, a save all the more impressive given the shot got a deflection.
Tyson made way for Conor Sammon on 65 minutes and after a spell of head tennis in the Addicks box, the hosts broke with real menace two minutes later.
Wright-Phillips sent Kermorgant away on the left and the striker’s pull-back fell to Pritchard. The midfielder took a touch but could only stab his shot against the underside of the bar and down.
It was a big moment in the game, but the question was, would it be a pivotal one?
Ward replaced Hughes and Davies’ shot was deflected wide before the Rams were awarded a penalty.
Morrison’s attempts to slide in and win the ball in the box were sadly mistimed and Boyeson had little hesitation in pointing to the spot as John Brayford hit the deck.
Worse was to follow for Morrison as Boyeson reached for a second yellow card, and then a red for the defender leaving the Addicks to see out the game with 10 men.
Ward buried the spot kick down the middle and the visitors were level – and very much in the ascendancy.
As Derby sensed blood Powell sent on Dervite for Stephens and Hamer made a superb double stop to keep the visitors at bay.
First Robinson was foiled from point blank range, and the keeper did brilliantly to pick himself up and block Sammon’s follow-up.
Keogh looped a header just wide of the far post before Hamer was booked for angrily kicking the ball in the direction of the linesman after a corner decision went Derby’s way.
The rain was lashing down by this stage as the Rams continued to press while Ward’s cameo ended early as Michael Jacobs came on in his stead.
From the corner that followed the change Keogh rose to head against the post with Powell sending on Fuller to replace Kermorgant in the closing stages.
After a Pritchard shot looped up off a defender Jackson’s header was saved low by Legzdins but the pressure was still coming as the rain lashed down.
Pritchard, Cort and Dervite all made impressive defensive contributions as the natives sucked the watch down and a late corner flew inches away from Brayford to mass relief.
The Addicks had managed their precarious situation well, however, and held firm for a point, which in the context of the late drama, was gratefully received.
Charlton: Hamer; Solly, Evina, Cort, Morrison; Wilson, Pritchard, Stephens (Dervite 73), Jackson; Haynes (Wright-Phillips 36), Kermorgant (Fuller 85).
Subs (not used): Sullivan, Kerkar, Wagstaff, Hulse.
Goal: Haynes 20
Booked: Morrison 9 (foul on Hughes), Hamer 79 (dissent)
Sent off: Morrison 70 (foul on Brayford/second booking)
Derby: Legzdins; Brayford, Roberts, Keogh, O’Connor; Coutts, Hendricks, Davies, Hughes (Ward 69) (Jacobs 84); Tyson (Sammon 65) Robinson.
Subs (not used): Fielding, O’Brien, Doyle, Freeman.
Goal: Ward pen 71
Booked: Hughes 7 (foul on Pritchard), Keogh 42 (foul on Kermorgant), O’Connor 54 (foul on Pritchard)
Referee: C Boyeson
Att: 17,761 (1,372 Derby)