Olly Groome reports from The Valley
Charlton suffered a first home defeat of the season as AFC Wimbledon snatched a 2-1 win on a frustrating afternoon at The Valley on Saturday.
The Addicks were in control for the Vast majority of the match and could have been well clear at the break, instead heading in with just a one-goal lead thanks to Ademola Lookman’s impressive strike.
And the hosts were dealt a harsh lesson in the importance of taking your chances.
With 12 minutes of the game remaining, the Dons rallied, first equalising through Dominic Poleon before Tyrone Barnett plundered an 85th-minute winner as the visitors took the points with their only two shots on target.
For the fifth time this season, Russell Slade named an unchanged starting XI from that of the week before, as Frederik Ulvestad made his home debut for the club.
Lookman, too, made his first Valley start of the campaign, playing on the left of midfield, while Josh Magennis and Nicky Ajose operated up front.
Meanwhile, there was a place on the bench for the returning skipper Johnnie Jackson, who had recovered from a hamstring injury picked up in the home draw against Bolton Wanderers in late August.
Just 67 seconds were on the clock when the hosts fired the first shot in this South-London battle as Lookman picked up possession, drove forwards and drilled a low shot just passed of the right-hand upright from 20 yards.
The Dons responded with an opportunity of their own after five minutes. With the hosts working the ball into the box from the left, Morgan Fox put in a superb block to deny Andy Barcham’s close-range effort.
But three minutes later, it was the Addicks who opened the scoring and it was the wonderkid Lookman who undid the visitors.
Ulvestad got the ball over to the 18-year-old on the left with a wonderful pass to spread the play. Lookman remained patient, shimmying the ball past a pair of defenders (one of which he sent sprawling with a clever dummy) before picking his spot and dispatching his finish into the bottom left-hand corner.
It was a trademark goal from the youngster, reminiscent of his strike against Bolton last time out in SE7 and he was a real thorn in the side of the Dons as Charlton looked comfortable in the early exchanges.
Ricky Holmes, equally as tricky on the opposite wing, was next to try his luck with a powerful effort from 20 yards which stung the palms of Wimbledon stopper James Shea and the midfielder forced the goalkeeper into another save shortly after, following some wonderful link-up play with Lookman.
Just before the half-hour mark, the visitors enjoyed a rare opportunity in the box when Jake Reeves dispossessed Andrew Crofts on the edge, before pulling his shot wide, but the Addicks went down the other end, coming close to a second through Ajose.
The striker nicked the ball off a Dons defender before racing goalwards and shooting low, across the keeper, but narrowly wide.
Nine minutes before the break, another good, flowing Charlton move saw Ulvestad cross for Magennis at the back post, who neatly cushioned a header down for the waiting Ajose.
But his strike partner’s side-footed effort, although hit sweetly, soared over the bar for a goal-kick.
There was more trickery from Lookman prior to half-time as he once again sent defenders sprawling before drilling another low shot, but Shea was equal to it on this occasion and the Addicks headed into the break with a one-goal lead.
Wimbledon emerged for the second half with a bit more intent, and saw more of the ball in the first 10 minutes or so after the restart, but Charlton continued to threaten in the final third and could have grabbed a second on 55 minutes, but for a superb save from Shea.
When the ball was delivered from the left, it fell to Holmes in the box who drilled a goalbound shot towards the bottom corner, only for Shea to get down low and tip it around the post for a corner.
That was followed by a somewhat lengthy break in play after Dons midfielder George Francombe took a boot in the face from his own player and was stretchered off, but with the action back under way, the hosts threatened again, almost immediately.
Magennis showed superb strength to drive forwards, eventually getting into the box before attempting to square for Ajose. With the goalkeeper taken out of the equation by the pass, Ajose was waiting to stroke home, only for Paul Robinson to make a vital, and desperate, interception.
Northern Ireland international Magennis came close himself in the 73rd minute when he rose highest to meet Chris Solly’s ball in from the right. But with his rival defender beaten all ends up, he just couldn’t divert his header under the bar.
But with the Addicks only possessing that single-goal lead, the danger of Wimbledon snatching a goal against the run of play was always present. Indeed, they did just that in the 78th minute thanks to Poleon’s impressive solo effort.
The in-form striker turned in the box to beat two defenders before firing low past Declan Rudd to draw the Dons level.
That left the home side shell-shocked and it was to get even worse when Wimbledon, somehow got their noses in front as sub Tyrone Barnett finished a powerful header from a right-wing cross to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
Suddenly, Charlton found themselves desperately scrapping to gain a point. Lookman’s low shot was well saved by Shea at his near post, while Lee Novak had a goal ruled out for offside deep into injury-time, but the Addicks did not have enough to snatch the draw from a game which, in truth, they really should have won.
Charlton: Rudd, Solly, Konsa, Pearce, Fox, Crofts, Ulvestad, Holmes, Lookman, Magennis, Ajose (Novak 68).
Subs (not used): Phillips, Lennon, Bauer, Foley, Jackson, Botaka.
Goal: Lookman 8
AFC Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Meades, Bulman, Robinson, Francomb (Elliott 58), Reeves, Poleon, Barcham (Barnett 76), Charles, Taylor (Whelpdale 83).
Subs (not used): Clarke, Nightingale, Parrett, Kelly.
Booked: Bulman 90+1 (foul on Lookman)
Goals: Poleon 78, Barnett 85
Referee: Oliver Langford
Att: 11,927 (1,714 from Wimbledon)