George Jones reports from the City Ground
Charlton continued their unbeaten start to the new Championship season by earning a share of the spoils in a goalless draw at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday evening.
In a contest that the Addicks created the clearer openings in, Simon Makienok and Patrick Bauer came closest to breaking the deadlock; the pair both forcing home goalkeeper Dorus De Vries into stunning saves in the second period.
Forest enjoyed a lot of territory at the beginning of both halves but some stout defending ensured that Nick Pope was largely untroubled in the visitors’ goal as Charlton secured their point - the very least that they deserved. .
Head Coach Guy Luzon elected to name an identical 18-man squad to the one that earned a point seven miles away at the iPro Stadium against Derby County on Saturday afternoon.
Both bench and starting eleven were also untouched as the Addicks returned to the East Midlands hoping to extend their four-match unbeaten run against the Trent-side club.
In the opening chance of the game, experienced wideman Chris Burke curled harmlessly over the crossbar, with Henri Lansbury also shooting well off target soon afterwards.
Oliver Burke reached the byline on six minutes for Forest with his cross just evading the forehead of Dexter Blackstock in the middle. The loose ball fell for Chris Burke, who missed his kick at the back post but, having recycled possession, Blackstock glanced an inviting centre wide of the target.
The hosts continued the make the early running and former Derby man Jamie Ward was next to go close. Following a slack pass in defence, Ward seized the opportunity to shoot at goal; Pope grasped his low strike at the second attempt, though.
Charlton were gradually beginning to work themselves into proceedings. Makienok almost connected with an intelligent cut-back from Tony Watt and the big Dane should have opened his Addicks account on 21 minutes.
A delicious cross from Morgan Fox picked him out superbly at the far post but Makienok could only direct his header over the crossbar.
The Addicks countered from a Forest corner shortly afterwards, with some excellent hold-up play from Watt presenting Cristian Ceballos with a shooting opportunity. The Spaniard’s strike inadvertently hit the legs of Makienok, who was unable to create himself another goalscoring opportunity.
Ceballos and Makienok soon combined again, but this time with much more intent. The latter used every millimetre of his 6ft 7in frame to connect with a deep Ceballos delivery, and his diving header whizzed just wide of the target.
As the clock struck half an hour Charlton again went close. After Johann Gudmundsson was felled on the edge of the box by David Vaughan, the winger, who’s left foot caused terror for opposing goalkeepers from set-pieces last season, whipped an almost-inch-perfect effort onto the roof of the net.
A wayward defensive header from Makienok saw possession land on Charlton’s penalty spot nine minutes before the break, but fortunately a stream of purple shirts were on hand to block the subsequent strike from Matt Mills.
An excellent sliding challenge from Kelvin Wilson deprived Makienok of a shooting opportunity on 42 minutes and, from the resulting corner, Alou Diarra brushed a header wide of goal when well placed.
Just 30 seconds into the second period, a great foot-in from Bauer stopped the rampaging Oliver Burke in his tracks, with the wideman set to breach the penalty area.
Namesake Chris Burke then picked out Lansbury on the edge of the D five minutes later, but the home skipper could only slice wide.
The game’s next chance again fell Lansbury’s way. He forced a brave block from the Charlton wall after replacement Tyler Walker had won the hosts a soft free-kick on the very edge of the penalty area.
Now backed by a vocal crowd, Forest sensed an opener and David Vaughan then curled just over the bar, which increased the decibels levels inside the City Ground by another couple of notches.
In truth, Charlton had been on the back foot since the beginning of the second period, but they came within a stunning save of taking the lead.
Substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad picked out Makienok with an in-swinging cross from the right and, with his header looking destined for the bottom corner, De Vries flung himself down to his right to palm the ball to safety.
Ghoochannejhad was heavily involved again straight after his introduction as he almost got the decisive touch to Ceballos’ deflected cross from the left.
And form the resulting corner De Vries excelled once more. He somehow threw up an instinctive arm to divert a bullet header over the top form Bauer - denying the German his first Addicks goal.
Lansbury curled well wide 10 minutes from time and a minute later the former Arsenal academy graduate cut the the ball back to Jorge Grant, who blazed over from six yards.
Both sides probed for a winner as the clock ticked down and in the fourth minute of added time no-one was able to poke home Morgan Fox’s low ball across the face of the goal.
The home side responded with the final attack of the match but Walker lacked the couple of inches in height needed to be able to get his head on Oliver Burke’s cross form the right.
Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mancienne, Mills, Wilson, Lansbury (c), Ward (Grant 55), Blackstock (Walker 54), Vaughan, Chris Burke, Oliver Burke.
Subs (not used): Paterson, Hobbs, Evtimov, Pinillos, Osborn.
Booked: Mancienne 17 (foul on Gudmundsson), Mills 72 (foul on Ghoochannejhad), Chris Burke 88 (foul on Solly)
Charlton: Pope, Solly, Diarra, Bauer, Fox, Gudmundsson, Kashi, Cousins, Ceballos (Bergdich 86), Watt (Ghoochannejhad 64 (Ahearne-Grant 84)), Makienok.
Subs (not used): Mitov, Sarr,, Jackson, Ba.
Booked: Diarra 36 (foul on Ward)
Referee: D Drysdale