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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 22 Nov 14 at 17:36 PM

Charlton 0 Millwall 0

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

And so, the long wait goes on as another south-London derby came and went without the Addicks tasting victory. 

The goalless draw with Millwall at The Valley was a typically-cagey affair in which the draw was probably a fair result. 

But it could not be argued – the Addicks have not had a better chance to beat their rivals in the last 18 years than on Saturday. 

Specifically, that chance fell to sub George Tucudean at the death as he hooked the ball over Lions’ stopper David Forde, before the ball was scrambled away to safety to deny Charlton a precious victory - much to the pure agony of the assembled reds in SE7.

The big news pre-match was that goalkeeper Stephen Henderson would be missing out following a shoulder injury. 

Up stepped Nick Pope to make his fourth league start of the season between the sticks for his first taste of a south-London derby. 

Meanwhile, Addicks fans everywhere blew a sigh of relief with the news that top scorer Igor Vetokele would be starting after an injury scare, as did Arsenal loanee Francis Coquelin who made his first start for the club. 

With the Covered End right behind the men in red, the match got under way surrounded by a red-hot atmosphere inside The Valley.

While the opening exchanges were, as expected, physical and tight, it was Vetokele who  was the first to have a sight on goal when he started, and finished, a move which saw Cousins send in a ball from the left.

But the Angolan international could only adjust so much to stretch his header wide of the post. 

Come the 15-minute mark, the Addicks were slowly starting to find their passing verve as they began to dominate possession. 

Some superb passing moves resulted in a glut of corners and set-pieces, but the shot count remained low as the hosts failed to capitalise. 

In the 27th minute, Bob Peeters’ side suffered a blow when Yoni Buyens, who had been struggling with his hamstring, was forced off.

Callum Harriott entered the fray, taking up his familiar position on the left side of midfield while Jordan Cousins shifted into the middle to fill the void left by the Belgian. 

And it was shortly after that the Lions registered their first shot on goal as Pope faced his first test. 

Lee Gregory swung in a dangerous, deep cross which was met by Ed Upson, who beat Chris Solly to the punch, but Pope stood up strong to make the save and keep the scores level. 

Meanwhile, Johann Berg Gudmundsson was proving a class above on the right wing, showing off skills a-plenty as the Addicks looked for a breakthrough. 

A switched ball left saw Harriott provide a good cross with Vetokele on hand in the middle, but it was just out of reach. 

And after tenacious work from the skipper Johnnie Jackson to win a corner from nothing, Gudmundsson’s outswinger was met by André Bikey-Amougou who directed his powerful header straight at Millwall keeper David Forde. 

Although the score remained goalless at the break, the Addicks could be happy with their lot. They were, in truth, the better side in an extremely cagey first 45. 

Indeed, the second half started in much the same fashion before the hosts stepped it up and had a good shout for a penalty waved away. 

Coquelin, who was absolutely superb in the centre of the park throughout, picked out a seemingly impossible pass to Harriott on the corner of the box, and when the academy graduate let fly with his shot it seemed to strike an arm before spinning away for a corner kick. 

Then, on 58 minutes, Gudmundsson produced another piece of magic when he ran on to his own backheeled flick before squaring to Harriott on the edge of the box. 

But the winger’s shot was once again closed down quickly to snuff out the danger. 

Gudmundsson then had a go himself, staying patient before finally shaping up and drilling an effort towards goal from 25 yards. Forde, however, got down well to make the save. 

With 25 minutes remaining there was another good chance for the effective Harriott whose side-footed shot from Cousins’ cross went through the legs of Forde and was heading goalbound, only to be hacked off the line by a blue shirt. 

The flow of the game was somewhat disrupted when Ben Haim suffered a head injury as the Addicks lost their sting with the action drying up. 

In the 81st minute, the Lions had the best chance to open the scoring up to that point when Lee Martin fed in substitute Jermaine Easter. 

And with the forward breaking through, he drilled a shot across goal which was only kept out by the sprawling save of Pope who got down superbly to his right. 

Charlton’s custodian was on hand again five minutes later when ex-Addick Ricardo Fuller stuck out a foot to divert a shot towards goal. But with Pope very nearly wrong-footed, he showed a safe pair of hands to keep it out. 

In truth, the home side were starting to show tired legs as Milwall took a foothold late on, but as the clock ticked into injury time, they were denied a potential goalscoring opportunity when the referee failed to award an advantage after Vetokele was brought down. 

With the ball falling to Lawrie Wilson on the left, with no blue shirts in front of him, Mr Scott could, and should, have let play continue. 

But with the whistle already blown, the hosts would have to settle for a free-kick. 
 
Then, in the final minute of the five added on, Charlton missed their glorious chance to snatch the winner. 

Vetokele did well to hold the ball up before sub George Tucudean was put through with a clean run on goal. 

As Forde raced out, the Romanian lifted it over the Irishman, but with the goal at his mercy he just could not get the touch to take it over the line and end 18 years of hurt as Byron Webster scrambled the ball away. 

From the resulting corner, Vetokele hooked a volley towards goal, but with Forde well positioned, he  made the catch as the referee blew up to bring to a stop a breathless finish at The Valley and ensure the rivals would have to share the spoils. 

Once that disappointment at the death has subsided, however, the bigger picture will emerge. 

The Addicks remain unbeaten at home and in a strong position firmly within the top 10 of the Championship. 

And with Ipswich coming to SE7 in seven day’s time, there is plenty of reason for Peeters' side to remain confident. 


Charlton: Pope; Solly, Fox, Bikey, Ben Haim; Gudmundsson (Wilson 88), Coquelin, Buyens (Harriott 27), Jackson (Tucudean 83), Cousins; Vetokele.

Subs (not used): Phillips, Gomez, Onyewu, Bulot.

Booked: Bikey-Amougou 74 (foul on Martin)

Millwall: Forde; Dunne, Webster, Beevers, Malone; Upson (Easter 63), Williams; Martin, McDonald, Woolford (Gueye 85); Gregory (Fuller 66).

Subs (not used): King, Shittu, Angel, Chaplow.

Booked: Gregory 45+2 (foul on Solly), Beevers 90+4 (foul on Vetokele)

Referee: G Scott

Att: 19,189 (3,215 from Millwall)

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