Sat 10 Sep 16
at 17:04 PM
Fleetwood Town 2 Charlton 2
George Jones reports from Highbury Stadium
Josh Magennis and Lee Novak netted their first goals for the club as Charlton twice came from behind to earn a point against Fleetwood Town on Saturday afternoon.
Magennis’s maiden Addicks strike came courtesy of a pinpoint header, which cancelled out Chris Long’s early opener for the hosts.
Fleetwood regained the lead just before the break though David Ball’s excellent strike but Novak’s close-range effort three minutes from time ensured the Londoners of a share of the spoils.
In terms of team news, Manager Russell Slade made two changes from the eleven that started our last league fixture against Bolton Wanderers a fortnight ago.
Fredrik Ulvestad, a deadline day loan signing from Burnley, came into the centre of midfield to replace the injured Johnnie Jackson, while Ademola Lookman also earned his maiden league start of the campaign, replacing Kevin Foley.
There was a boost on the bench for Charlton, too, as Novak made his return following a hand injury.
The opening chance of the game fell the way of the hosts on three minutes. A long ball over the top found Nathan Pond at the far post but he was not able to poke goalwards with any real conviction and Declan Rudd gathered the loose ball.
The Addicks stopper was helpless 60 seconds later, however, as the hosts grabbed the lead. Possession dropped for Long 25 yards from goal and he arrowed a low snapshot into the bottom corner of the net.
A timely header from Ezri Konsa denied Devante Cole of a chance at goal soon afterwards but Charlton then looked to get a foothold in the game.
Nicky Ajose won his side a corner and, after Jason Pearce nodded back across goal, the former swiped for the target but could not get a proper contact on his effort.
An intelligent spin-and-strike from Magennis presented the visitors with their next sight of goal and, on 16 minutes, he headed a Lookman corner back into the danger zone, though the home side were able to hack the loose ball clear.
On 24 minutes, Chris Solly charged down a clearance from defender Ashley Eastham that flew into the arms of home stopper Chris Neal, as Charlton continued to look for an equaliser.
At the other end, an important block from Pearce saw him charge down a fierce Bobby Grant strike on the edge of the box.
Magennis won another header from a Lookman corner on the half-hour mark but Neal was able to claim. Moments later, the Northern Irishman came within inches of providing our equaliser.
He rose highest at the far post to meet Morgan Fox’s deep cross. His cushioned header flew across the face of goal and, in the middle, strike-partner Ajose just could not stretch high enough to turn it into an empty net.
The Addicks did not have to wait much longer for their leveller, though. Holmes picked out Magennis at the back stick and he directed a brilliant header down and into the far corner of the net.
On the balance of play, the equaliser was deserved but it was almost short lived as Long shuffled into a great scoring position straight after the restart. Having sidestepped the Addicks’ back four, he could only shoot wide of the target.
An industrious run forward from Holmes ended with him firing a cross-shot into the stands and, for Fleetwood, Ball – who moments earlier deflected a Holmes cross just over his own bar – had a strike well blocked by Solly.
Charlton came close to taking the lead five minutes before the break when Magennis teed up Ajose to shoot but, under pressure from the home defence, he could only fire over.
Fleetwood regained their lead a minute before the interval. Ball picked up possession on the edge of the Charlton box and curled an inch-perfect strike into the top corner of the net, giving Rudd no chance.
The Cod Army held a 2-1 advantage at half-time but the Addicks quickly went in search of a second equaliser after the break.
A floated Ajose cross failed to find Magennis in the middle, Holmes fired wide and then Ajose just could not wriggle off the attentions of Pond, having latched onto Magennis’ flick-on.
Cole came close for Fleetwood when he hooked a Amari’i Bell cross over the bar and Lookman then saw a left-footed strike well blocked by the home defence.
Holmes jinked his way past Conor McLaughlin before curling a yard over just after the hour mark and a dangerous cross from the Addicks winger was then taken off the head of Magennis by a vital interception from Pond.
The Addicks carved out their best chance of the second period to-date 15 minutes from time. Fox got down the left and drilled in a low cross that Lookman controlled and laid back to Ulvestad, who’s shot was deflected narrowly wide of the target.
Boosted by their chance at goal, Slade’s men came close again moments later as they began to turn the screw. Holmes outfoxed Pond and McLaughlin down the left and chipped the ball to the far post where Magennis could not turn it in from a tight angle.
A good save from Neal saw him flick a Novak cross-shot over the bar and Charlton then made their final two changes, introducing Jordan Botaka and Kevin Foley in place of Holmes and Ulvestad.
And both replacements would play a key role as the Addicks found a late equaliser. Botaka jinked away from his man and slipped in Foley. The Irishman drove towards goal and fellow replacement Novak was in the perfect place to turn his cross-cum-shot over the line for his first goal for the club.
The indication of three minutes of stoppage time was met with roars of encouragement from the away end, an additional period that was added to following a head injury to Pearce.
Once play restarted, the lively Botaka again skipped away from his marker as his eyed a winning goal. His shot was blocked, though, as the to-and-fro contest ended level.
Fleetwood Town: Neal, McLaughlin, Bell, Eastham, Pond (c), Ryan (Jonsson 46), Ball, Grant (Woolford 79), Long, Dempsey, Cole (Hunter 65).
Subs (not used): Cairns, Bolger, Nirennold, Jakubiak.
Goal: Long 4, Ball 44
Charlton: Rudd, Solly (c), Pearce, Konsa, Fox, Ulvestad (Foley 82), Crofts, Holmes (Botaka 82), Lookman, Magennis, Ajose (Novak 60).
Subs (not used): Phillips, Bauer, Johnson, Lennon.
Goal: Magennis 32, Novak 87
Booked: Konsa 77 (foul on Hunter), Novak 90+1 (dissent)
Referee: D Handley.