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Match Report


Posted Tue 25 Mar 14 at 05:01 AM

Charlton v Bolton

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

Every point is precious.

And although the assembled Addicks in SE7 were praying for all three against Bolton Wanderers on Friday, the solitary point earned from the 0-0 could make all the difference come May.

It was another game in which Charlton failed to convert their chances. But should the referee have awarded what looked a certain penalty when Trotters custodian Adam Bogdan took out Simon Church in the second-half, the landscape of this clash could, and perhaps should, have had a very different complexion. 

After making his first start since January against Barnsley on Tuesday night the clash against the Trotters came too soon for Chris Solly, so Lawrie Wilson slotted into the right right-back berth while academy product Morgan Fox was given his full league debut in place of Rhoys Wiggins who  has a suspected broken bone in his foot. 

Elsewhere, Simon Church returned to lead the line and Astrit Ajdarević also made a comeback to the starting XI while Michael Morrison was back at the heart of the defence after missing out against the Tykes. 

After The Valley was turned into a sea of red to greet the two teams onto the pitch there was an early scare when Ben Hamer went down injured after he was caught by Jermaine Beckford with the two racing to get to a loose ball first. But the Addicks custodian was soon on his feet much to the relief of the assembled faithful in SE7. 

The first effort for either side came on the 10-minute mark when Liam Trotter stuck out a boot to connect with a low Bolton corner.

Hamer did his part on the line to palm the ball away but, with Beckford lurking with intent, it took Michael Morrison's clearance to see Charlton clear of danger. 

And immediately from that chance the Addicks embarked on a swift counter down the left-hand side which saw Fox deliver a stinging cross which came all the way through before only just clearing the right-hand upright. 

Slowly, but surely, the hosts began to grow into the game and  with Fox and Wilson bombing down the flanks, the full-backs were proving to be a real outlet in the opening exchanges. 

With 21 minutes gone, one such meander down the left-hand side saw Fox lay off Johnnie Jackson who delivered long for Jordan Cousins to head back across goal. 

There, Ajdarević was on hand to take a touch before snapping a clever shot inches wide. 

And two minutes later the loanee was involved again, playing in Reza Ghoochannejhad with a sumptuous through ball which split open the Bolton back line. 

The Iran international had just Trotters keeper Adam Bogdan to beat but the Hungarian stopper was quick out of the blocks to smother the strikers attempt and from the resulting corner, Ajdarević adjusted well to head towards goal only for Jay Spearing to hack away. 

Although the Addicks had gradually got themselves on top, the visitors fired a warning shot via Neil Danns who drove a powerful 25-yarder just over Hamer's crossbar. 

Space was emerging in pockets around the box and Charlton were trying their luck albeit in hope rather than expectation. 

Ajdarević dragged a shot wide on his weaker right foot from 25 yards while Ghoochannejhad blasted a shot well wide from a similar distance as José Riga's men tried to turn their good spell into goals. 

As much as the Addicks were looking comfortable in possession, (and they were) the Trotters served to remind them that they were a threat going forward.

And four minutes before the break Dann's free-kick into the mixer was put on the head of Lukas Jutkiewicz unmarked whose header at the back post was diverted vitally away by Morrison. 

As the first period drew to a close Charlton could be happy with their lot. 

They were on top but, as always, that would count for absolutely nothing unless they could send that net bulging in the second-half.

Six minutes after break the Addicks came inches away from falling behind, but for the acrobatic abilities of Diego Poyet. 

With Tim Ream preparing to take a corner for Bolton, the young midfielder trotted towards goal to take up his spot by the post. 

And with Matthew Mills powerfully beating Hamer with a header, Poyet adjusted to volley the ball off the line to keep things goalless. 

In truth, the Addicks were struggling to repeat the authority which they held in the first period, but the crowd were on their feet in the 58th minute thanks to the tenacity of the hard-working Church. 

With the ball at Bogdan's feet, the Wales international closed him down 10 yards from goal to successfully dispossess the keeper. 

But as he knocked the ball to one side it appeared as if Church hit the deck, appearing to be tripped as all in red screamed for a penalty. 

It looked, certainly from first glance, as if it was a stonewaller. And replays showed that, without uncertainty, it should indeed have been a penalty and a red card. But Mr Malone waved play-on to the disbelief of players and fans alike. Bogdan was a very lucky boy. 

Bolton looked to take advantage and straight away, Jutkiewicz cut in down the other end, drawing a save from Hamer at his near post. 

That moment of injustice seemed to lift The Valley and put the Addicks, once again, into the ascendency. 

With 66 minutes on the clock Cousins hared down the left before squaring it to Church who snatched at his shot to allow Bogdan to make a simple save. 

And three minutes later Ajdarević shaped up to bend a good-looking effort from range which Bogdan, unfortunately, was equal to.

A dangerous cross at the other end saw Jutkiewicz unmarked, but the Trotters forward could only chest away from goal before reclaiming possession and drilling a fierce shot straight at Hamer. 

Undeterred, Charlton kept going. 

Michael Morrison attacked a corner on 73 minutes only to have it nicked off his head at the eleventh hour before substitute Jonathan Obika adjusted brilliantly to glance a header narrowly wide from Jackson ball in. 

As ever, Bolton looked dangerous on the break and they looked certain to score when Danns stayed patient to shimmy into position with a great view of goal from 12 yards. But, with Addicks hearts in mouths, the former Crystal Palace man unleashed a horrible shot which flew a long way over the bar. 

Tired legs and nerves began to set in during the latter stages of the game as the chances began to dry up. 

Obika's attempt at an overhead kick from Fox's cross ended up leaving the pitch by the corner flag and with Bolton staging a late surge forward every counter attack fell victim to the fatigued limbs of the men in red. 

The result meant that Charlton, if only until the result of Blackpool's late clash with Burnley is known, leapt up a position into 20th. 

Three points would have meant the world, that much is true. But one point will do for now as the fight against the drop rumbles on.

Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Fox, Morrison, Dervite; Poyet, Cousins, Jackson; Ajdarević (Green 74), Ghoochannejhad (Obika 65), Church (Hughes 84).

Subs (not used): Thuram-Ulien, Wood, Nego, Petrucci.

Booked: none

Bolton: Bogdan; Hutton, Ream, Wheater, Mills;  (Baptiste 74), Spearing, Lee (Hall 88), Trotter, Danns; Jutkiewicz, Beckford.

Subs (not used): Lonergan, Robinson, Knight, Kellett, Iliev.

Booked: Wheater 85 (foul on Obika)

Att: 15,773 (924 from Bolton)

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