Olly Groome reports from Molineux
Charlton’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end at Molineux on Saturday, with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ claiming a late winner to inflict a 2-1 defeat on Guy Luzon’s men.
After a difficult first half which saw the Addicks lose yet another player to injury in the form of Simon Makienok, they responded well in the second, taking the lead through Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s drive.
But Wolves rallied, first equalising thanks to Dave Edwards’ strike before a 85th-minute goal courtesy of Adam Le Fondre sealed the points for the hosts.
Guy Luzon made two changes to the side which beat Hull City in the league last weekend.
With Cristian Ceballos still recovering from an ankle knock, Karlan Ahearne-Grant came into the starting XI, while skipper Chris Solly returned to action at right-back meaning Jordan Cousins, who was making his 100th appearance for the club, could revert to his position in the centre of midfield, with El-Hadji Ba dropping to the bench.
The first chance of the game came the way of the hosts with just four minutes on the clock when Patrick Bauer and Alou Diarra got mixed up to allow Benik Afobe a clear run on goal.
The striker had James Henry to his left and the winger shaped up to curl an effort narrowly wide of the right upright from just inside the box.
Indeed, Wolves enjoyed most of the early possession as they looked to open the scoring and the dangerous Henry provided the cross for another opportunity shortly after, but Dave Edwards could only send his header looping over the bar.
On 17 minutes, Henry forced Nick Pope into a good save, tipping his 25-yarder over the crossbar, while the Addicks’ task to get a foothold on the game was made all the more difficult when Simon Makienok limped off moments later and was replaced by Igor Vetokele.
It was 31 minutes before the visitors would have their first shot at goal and it came via the left boot of Gudmundsson, who looked to place a left-footed finish towards the bottom corner, but could only send it trickling wide of the post.
As the half drew to a close, Charlton did finally begin to see some more of the ball while looking a little more comfortable and Cousins would see a well-struck effort dip over from 25 yards, before Gudmundsson saw his downward header saved by former Addick Carl Ikeme in added time.
Luzon opted to shake-up his side at the break, introducing Ba off the bench in place of Ahearne-Grant.
That switch saw Gudmundsson swapping to a position just off the front in support of Vetokele, while Cousins made a move to the right-wing.
With the action back under way, Charlton began just as they finished the first period, seeing plenty more of the possession and showing some good, patient passing as they looked to carve out a real opportunity.
And with 10 minutes of the second-half played, the Addicks’ patient build-up paid off with Gudmundsson firing his side into the lead.
Bergdich picked up possession in midfield and laid it off to Vetokele.
The forward played the Iceland international into the box and he did the rest,shooting powerfully, low and across Ikeme.
The keeper really should have done better, but could not deal with the shot which squirmed beneath him and into the back of the net.
It was not long before Charlton were in again when Bergdich nicked the ball off Matt Doherty in the final third and advanced towards goal before flashing a shot across the six-yard box with Vetokele lurking.
But just 10 minutes after Luzon’s men had taken the lead, they had lost it.
In a crowded box, a cross from the right was met with an initial back-heeled flick which was well blocked, but there was nothing that could be done about the follow-up.
Edwards lashed the ball home from inside the six-yard box and the South Londoners were back to square one.
Suddenly, the pendulum was swinging back and forth. Vetokele nearly managed to poke Gudmundsson’s through-ball past Ikeme in response, while Afobe saw a header caught by Pope at the other end.
With 15 minutes remaining, Henry threatened for the hosts again, chipping a speculative ball toward Pope’s crossbar which the young stopper did well to tip over and from the resulting corner, Doherty put a header over from close range.
Meanwhile, Charlton remained a threat in the final third and Fox did well to get forward and provide a low ball for the advanced Bauer who saw his effort deflected just wide on 80 minutes.
But just at the Addicks were looking to get forward, they were caught on the break, with Wolves sub Le Fondre netting with just five minutes remaining.
Fellow sub Sheyi Ojo was the provider, crossing low from the left for the former Reading striker to divert the ball past Pope and into the bottom right-hand corner.
With time running out, the visitors needed an immediate response.
Vetokele saw a glancing header dip just wide of the post from Gudmundsson’s free-kick, while the winger had a chance to hit the target from a more central delivery deep into injury-time, but his effort was well over the bar as Charlton were forced to taste their first defeat in seven games.
Indeed, the upcoming international break could not come at a better time for Luzon’s men, who have a number of injuries to nurse before they return to action against Rotherham United at The Valley in two weeks times.
Charlton:Pope, Solly, Bauer Diarra, Fox; Gudmundsson, Cousins, Kashi, Bergdich , (Jackson 90); Ahearne-Grant (Ba 46), Makienok (Vetokele 18).
Subs (not used): Mitov, Sarr, Lennon, Charles-Cook.
Booked: Kashi 23 (foul on Golbourne)
Goal: Gudmundsson 55
Wolves: Ikeme; Doherty, Hause, Ebanks-Landell, Golbourne, Henry, Coady, McDonald (Ojo 62), Edwards, Dicko (Le Fondre 62), Afobe (Wallace 88).
Subs (not used): Martinez, Iorfa, Price, Enobakhare.
Goals: Edwards 55, Le Fondre 85
Referee: C Kavanagh