George Jones report from The Valley
Jorge Teixeira netted a 94th minute winner to keep Charlton’s Championship survival hopes well and truly alive as they came from behind to beat Birmingham City at The Valley.
The Portuguese defender rose highest to meet Ademola Lookman’s deep corner with a bullet header that powered into the net, sending SE7 into pandemonium.
Teixeira’s goal was his second in front of the Covered End in as many matches and added to Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s first-half equaliser, which cancelled out Jon Toral’s opener for Blues.
Results elsewhere mean that the Addicks remain six points from safety but, having now recorded 10 points from the last five matches, José Riga’s men possess some momentum heading into the season’s final stretch.
Following the international break, the Head Coach was able to name Jordan Cousins as skipper after the midfielder recovered from a hamstring complaint, while Igor Vetokele made a return to the starting XI in the only other change to the starting XI, with the injured Reza Ghoochannejhad and El-Hadji Ba both missing out.
Elsewhere, there was a place for Chris Solly on the bench after the right-back had been out of action since February’s trip to Preston North End, while Stephen Henderson was also available in reserve.
With the action under way, it was immediately halted, just as it was last time out in SE7 against Middlebrough, with supporters throwing a large amount of sponge balls onto the field of play, causing a four-minute delay.
Once play was resumed, Vetokele threaded the ball into the path of strike-partner Callum Harriott, who jinked his way into the area before seeing a shot well blocked by the Blues’ defence.
Gudmundsson got his toe to Marco Motta’s cross from the right and the Iceland international then reacted quickly to win possession back from a Blues corner. He advanced to the halfway line and found Harriott on the left before the winger’s centre was cleared.
At the other end, Teixeira bravely got his head in the way of David Cotterill’s powerful free-kick on the half-an-hour mark. The visitors then grabbed the lead.
Paul Caddis was well found on the right flank and he delivered an inviting, low cross that Toral turned home at the far post.
Conceding was harsh on the Addicks in what had been a fairly chance-free opening period but, undeterred, Riga’s men quickly got themselves level.
Gudmundsson plucked a high ball out of the air and looked to play Harriott in on goal. The academy graduate slipped as he tried to take possession in his path but did superbly to keep it under his spell before laying it back to Gudmundsson, who fizzed a bullet strike at goal that took a slight deflection as it rocketed past Tomasz Kuszczak and into the net.
Twinkle-toed Diego Fabbrini volleyed high over the bar from Stephen Gleeson’s deep cross as the contest entered six minutes of stoppage time, and the two sides headed in level at the break.
Goalscorer Gudmundsson was presented with the chance to get his second of the afternoon when Vetokele was fouled on the very edge of the penalty area shortly after the break. After electing to aim for the keeper’s side, his effort sailed agonisingly wide.
In a fast start to the second period from the Addicks, substitute Lookman’s corner was turned narrowly wide of the far post by a Birmingham defender and, from the secondary flag-kick, Morgan Fox got up highest to nod just beyond the frame of Kuszczak’s goal.
Nick Pope got his body behind a dipping Cotterill free-kick to push it to safety before Charlton carved out a great chance to take the lead. Gudmundsson stretched to poke the ball through towards Vetokele.
He chased it down but Kuszczak was out quickly to smother at his feet. The loose ball popped up for Harriott, who, after getting it under control, could only fire over the top of the bar from the corner of the penalty area.
Some superb strength from Vetokele allowed him to roll former Addick Michael Morrison on the halfway line on 67 minutes. He quickly laid off Lookman to advance down the left and send in a low cross that Blues full-back Jonathan Grounds turned behind for a corner at the far post.
The game was beginning to become more end-to-end and Cotterill miscued a volley that Pope was able to gather, before Lookman came close for Charlton, forcing Kuszczak into a flying save to his left.
Blues replacement Viv Solomon-Otabor got in an important defensive header to clear a Motta cross and Harriott then took possession on the half turn and fired over the top from 25 yards, as the Addicks pushed for a second goal.
It almost arrived eight minutes from time. Alou Diarra arrived unmarked at the far post to meet Gudmundsson’s free-kick but, from a tight angle, the Frenchman could only nod over.
Maghoma curled high over the bar for Blues and, as five minutes of stoppage time were indicated, Lookman reached the byline to win his side a corner, which was cleared.
Harriott got on to a cross to win his side another corner after 93 minutes and it was from that set-piece that the vital, second goal arrived.
There was a short delay before its taking as Simon Makienok entered the fray and, once cleared to take, Lookman picked out Teixeira at the far post who, as he did against Middlesbrough, powered a header into the net.
The goal was met with pure joy around The Valley but the Addicks still had to see out the contest, with referee Paul Tierney playing until the 98th minute before blowing his full-time whistle, to cue yet more celebration around SE7.
Charlton: Pope, Motta, Fanni, Teixeira, Fox, Gudmundsson (Jackson 84), Cousins (c), Diarra, Suk-Young (Lookman 46), Harriott, Vetokele.
Subs (not used): Henderson, Lennon, Solly, Bergdich, Makienok.
Goals: Gudmundsson 38, Teixeira 90+4
Booked: Diarra 57 (foul on Cotterill)
Birmingham City: Kuszczak, Grounds, Robinson, Fabbrini (Donaldson 67), Gleeson, Cotterill (Solomon-Otabor 74), Vaughan, Toral (Maghoma 45+5), Davis, Morrison (c), Caddis.
Subs (not used): Legzdins, Kieftenbeld, Buckley, Shotton.
Goal: Toral 33
Booked: Grounds 81 (foul on Cousins)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Att: 15,742 (3,073 from Birmingham City)