George Jones reports from The Valley
Patrick Bauer netted his first goal for the club as Charlton recovered from a goal down to earn a point against Rotherham United at The Valley.
The Addicks had fallen behind to Farrend Rawson’s close-range opener from a corner, following a very poor decision from referee Keith Stroud, who wrongly awarded the Millers the set-piece.
But Charlton bounced back with Bauer netting a more-than-deserved equaliser on 65 minutes. The Addicks enjoyed 64 per cent of possession over the course of the 90 minutes and forced 21 strikes on goal, but were unable to grab the winning goal that their performance merited.
Head Coach Guy Luzon made three changes to the eleven that started at Wolverhampton Wanderers in Charlton’s final match before the international break.
Igor Vetokele and Tony Watt, both now fit having been sidelined with injury, came into the attack, while El-Hadji Ba was recalled in midfield.
It was some lovely footwork on the halfway line from Watt that saw him jink away from four Rotherham defenders to carve out the game’s first opportunity.
He reached the edge of the penalty area and teed up strike partner Vetokele, who, in turn, kept possession moving right to Gudmundsson. The Icelandic fired at goal but his strike was well held by debutant goalkeeper Lee Camp.
On nine minutes, the Addicks threatened again. Gudmundsson picked out Jordan Cousins in the centre and, just inside the penalty area, he sent a curling drive goalwards that Camp tipped wide.
The right-hand side was proving a preferred avenue for Charlton in the opening stages, with Chris Solly the next to exploit it. He cut in from the flank and tried to find Watt on the edge of the box, but his low centre was well intercepted by the Millers’ defence.
Alou Diarra set up the next home attack, having won possession on the edge of his own box. The former World Cup finalist then dropped a shoulder to evade Tony Andreu, before skipping away from two more men and spraying the ball out to Watt.
Watt fed Cousins with an intelligent first-time header, allowing the academy graduate to cut inside and force Camp into a flying save to his left.
Andreu wasted a great chance for Rotherham on the 20-minute mark as, having cut out a poor pass in midfield, he overhit his through ball to Jonson Clarke-Harris.
Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe fired wide of goal from 25 yards after some neat play saw him ride a sliding challenge from Ba on the half hour.
And against the run of play, the visitors would go ahead and in extremely controversial circumstances. The Millers were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box. Odjidja-Ofoe stepped up to take the set-piece, which clearly deflected off a navy shirt and seemingly out for a goal-kick.
A number of second ticked by before the officials eventually elected to award a corner, to the surprise of both sides and to the dismay of the home supporters.
Joe Newell then swung in the wrongly-awarded dead ball and Rawson found himself unmarked at the far post to scramble over the line from close range.
The wretched decision proved to be costly for the home side, though, once awarded, their defending needed to be better. It was Rawson’s volley that separated the sides at the break.
Eager to haul themselves level, Charlton started on the front foot in the second period. Vetokele saw a shot blocked at point-blank range by goalscorer Rawson and Gudmundsson then curled over, having superbly controlled a ball forward from Solly.
A half-cleared corner dropped to Diarra inside the area, with his strike well blocked by Lee Frecklington and the Addicks continued to probe for a leveller inside the second period’s opening five minutes.
At the other end, Clarke-Harris’ effort was deflected behind by Patrick Bauer and Charlton were then indebted to goalkeeper Nick Pope for keeping them in the game.
A deep cross into the home box picked out Andreu and he headed back across the stopper, who had to readjust his body weight and dive to his right to keep his team in the game.
Watt broke down the left soon afterwards as Charlton responded. He attempted to feed strike partner Vetokele in the middle. His centre was jus behind its required destination but the loose ball fell for Gudmundsson. The winger chose not to shoot first time and Rotherham then managed to snuff out the danger.
Solly found the run of Cousins three minutes later. Inside the box, he aimed at goal but his strike was turned behind. From the resulting corner the Addicks would eventually get their equaliser.
Gudmundsson had two bites at delivering the corner. The latter found substitute Simon Makienok at the far post and having chested the ball down he thumped across goal and Bauer was expertly placed to turn home his first Charlton goal.
It was the very least that Luzon’s men deserved and, on the front foot, Watt fizzed at goal from range, forcing Camp to push wide from 30 yards.
Gudmundsson curled a free-kick over the top following a foul on El-Hadji Ba and the immediately-influential Makienok then allowed possession to run through his legs to set Watt away.
The Scot reached the box before coming inside, in a similar fashion to the way that he found the net against Queens Park Rangers, but Rawson did well to get a block on his shot.
Charlton were still completely dominating proceedings and Gudmundsson flashed across the face of goal, though neither Makienok nor fellow replacement Zakarya Bergdich were able to apply the vital touch.
Gudmundsson again tested Camp with a low drive and Bergdich saw an inviting centre taken off the head of Makienok by Danny Collins as they continued to push for a winner in the closing stages.
Five minutes of stoppage time were indicated by the fourth official, giving encouragement to the earlier frustrated Valley faithful, but Charlton were un able to find a winner as the visitors ran down the clock to record a point.
Charlton: Pope, Solly (c), Diarra, Bauer, Fox, Gudmundsson, Ba (Bergdich 79), Kashi, Cousins, Watt, Vetokele (Makienok 63).
Subs (not used): Mitov, Sarr, Jackson, Kennedy, Ahearne-Grant.
Goals: Bauer 65
Booked: Solly 40, Diarra 65
Rotherham: Camp, Buxton, Mattock, Collins, Frecklington (c) (Green 74), Clarke-Harris (Derbyshire 79), Rawson, Newell, Andreu (Maguire 71), Odjidja-Ofoe, Smallwood.
Subs (not used): Collin, Ward, Ledesma, Halford.
Goals: Rawson 38
Booked: Collins 65, Mattock 68
Attendance: 15,520 (501 Rotherham).
Referee: K Stroud.