George Jones reports from the Macron Stadium
Charlton’s relegation to League One was confirmed on Tuesday evening after they drew 0-0 at Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium.
In an evenly-fought contest, neither side were able to carve out the chances necessary to force a winner and the lack of victory means that the Addicks will begin next season in the third tier.
Head Coach José Riga made five changes in personnel to the side that started against Derby County on Saturday, and also reverted to the three-at-the-back system that he deployed in the winter time.
Rod Fanni, Jorge Teixeira and Harry Lennon made up the back three, with Marco Motta and Yun Suk-Young providing both width and protection on the right and left flank respectively.
Skipper Johnnie Jackson came into the heart of midfield to partner Jordan Cousins, and Ademola Lookman - who bagged a doubled against the Trotters in December - was deployed behind the front two of Igor Vetokele and Simon Makienok.
It was a quiet opening to the game but a flurry of corners, which began in the sixth minute, saw Wanderers create the night’s first chance. Motta did well to get his head to Zach Clough’s deep cross and the loose ball fell for Mark Davies, who drilled a cross-shot wide of the target.
A neat move down the left, created by the athleticism of Cousins, saw the Addicks come close on 15 minutes. His cross was scrambled behind for a corner and 60 seconds later Suk-Young flighted a ball into the box that no-one in red was able to connect with in the middle.
Some quick thinking and footwork from Vetokele saw him charge down a clearance from home goalkeeper Ben Amos. The loose ball fell for Makienok but he was unable to get possession under control and Niall Maher recovered well to dispossess him.
The Addicks were beginning to grow into the contest and Makienok powered a header into the arms of Amos from a Motta cross, in what was the first attempt on target of the night.
Maher curled a tame drive into the arms of Pope for Wanderers and Charlton then countered. Vetokele fed Suk-Young on the left and, after making himself half a yard, his deflected centre looped up and into Amos’ arms.
A hooked, sliding challenge from Fanni set the visitors on their way with 35 minutes played. He fed Motta out wide, who’s cross reached Suk-Young at the far post and he, in turn, found Lookman in the middle. The youngster blazed over, though.
Three minutes later, Lookman was afforded time to shoot by virtue of an overlapping run from Motta but having got into the box he could not find the target with his right-footed strike.
Clough had the ball in the net for Bolton five minutes before the break but he was correctly ruled offside, having been standing beyond the Addicks’ defence when Davies’ shot deflected through to him.
The two teams headed in goalless at the interval but the Addicks took just 27 seconds to force an opening at the beginning of the second period as Cousins intelligently side-stepped his man before seeing his strike well blocked by the home defence.
A vital interception from David Wheater denied Vetokele a clear sight of goal after Motta fizzed a cross in from the right and, from the resulting corner, the hosts were able to get the danger clear.
A brilliant save from Pope then prevented Bolton from taking the lead. Wheater met Clough’s corner with a firm header that the goalkeeper threw an arm up at to tip over the crossbar.
Wheater came close again a minute later but an important block from Jackson diverted his angled drive wide of goal, and Charlton were able to clear the corner that followed.
Amos held onto a low Lookman strike just beyond the hour mark and Riga then made a double change, introducing Callum Harriott and Alou Diarra in place of Suk-Young and Jackson.
Wanderers had a good chance to break the deadlock on 79 minutes. Full-back Oscar Threlkeld delivered a low ball across the box that Darren Pratley, under pressure from Motta, was unable to turn home at the far post.
Substitute Kaiyne Woolery drilled into the side netting for Bolton and Fanni then shot wide for the Addicks as the clock struck 90.
Three minutes of stoppage time were indicated by the fourth official but Charlton were unable to find a winner and the game ended goalless, thus condemning the South Londoners to relegation.
Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Vela, Clough, Osede, Davies, Heskey (Woolery 66), Pratley (c), Wheater, Threlkeld, Holding, Maher.
Subs (not used): Rachubka, Moxey, Danns, Dobbie, Wilson, Woolery, Walker.
Charlton: Pope, Motta, Fanni, Teixeira, Lennon, Suk-Young (Harriott 62), Cousins, Jackson (Diarra 65), Lookman, Vetokele (Bergdich 74), Makienok.
Subs (not used): Mitov, Fox, Kashi, Ba.
Referee: E Ilderton.
Attendance: 12,257 (243 Charlton fans).