George Jones reports from The Valley
Charlton were held to a 1-1 draw by Oldham Athletic at The Valley on Tuesday night.
Josh Magennis gave the Addicks a 22nd-minute lead with a powerful strike from a tight angle but Peter Clarke headed home seven minutes from time to earn the Latics a share of the spoils.
Russell Slade made three changes to the eleven that started at Oxford United on Saturday, as he reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.
Lee Novak made his first Addicks start since the opening day of the season at Bury; coming in to partner Magennis in attack, while fit-again Ricky Holmes and Ezri Konsa were also restored to the side.
The opening 11 minutes of the game passed without either goalkeeper having to make a save. That changed when Magennis fired a tame strike at goal that visiting stopper Connor Ripley held onto and two minutes later he watched a 30-yard Morgan Fox free-kick sail over his crossbar.
At the other end, Declan Rudd made a comfortable stop from Billy McKay, after the Latics forward had improvised to send an acrobatic strike towards goal.
To the understandable frustration of the Addicks faithful, the visitors were beginning to enjoy a fair amount of possession inside the Charlton half but the home side provided the perfect response to that on 22 minutes by grabbing the lead.
A lovely ball from Andrew Crofts picked out Holmes in a pocket of space on the edge of box. He sidestepped across the 18-yard line before finding Magennis, who smashed into the net from a tight angle.
The goal – the Northern Irishman’s second for the club – capped a fantastic team move that had seen the Addicks exchange 22 passes before his bullet strike rippled the net.
A strong burst down the right from Magennis almost presented his side with another chance soon afterwards, but they were then indebted to full-back Chris Solly for keeping their lead intact with a goal-line clearance.
A fizzed cross from Fox got the hosts back on the front foot with 36 minutes elapsed, and a drilled centre from Fredrik Ulvestad then caused panic in the Oldham backline.
The Addicks headed in a goal to the good at the break. They came close to doubling it just 15 seconds after the restart. Novak slipped in Magennis on the right but, from a tight angle, he could not dig out a strike on goal.
Freddie Ladapo bobbled a cross-cum-shot across the six-yard box for Oldham and Magennis then curled over the bar for Charlton after stepping inside of centre-back Clarke.
As the second period reached its midway point, the visitors again began to get a foothold in the game and a great interception from Patrick Bauer denied them of a great chance to get an equaliser on 67 minutes.
McKay sprinted down the left and crossed towards substitute Lee Erwin, who was just beaten to the ball by a fabulous sliding block by the German.
Charlton replacement Ademola Lookman flashed the ball across goal moments later, with Jamie Reckford heading the ball behind his own post to concede a corner. From the set-piece that followed, Holmes got half a yard on his man but volleyed wide from 10 yards.
A lovely ball forward from Fox landed at the feet of Lookman inside the box but he was unable to wriggle between defenders Clarke and Cameron Dummigan.
As was the case in the first period, the visitors improved as the half progressed. They made that count seven minutes from time. A free-kick was floated in from the right and Clarke glanced it into the far corner.
Charlton almost restored their lead immediately when Lookman cut in from the left flank and thumped a strike against the underside of the crossbar.
The ball bounced back out to the edge of box and no-one in red was able to get on the end of it, nor were they able to create any more chances on goal in the minutes that remained.
Charlton: Rudd, Solly, Bauer, Konsa, Fox, Crofts (Foley 63), Ulvestad, Holmes, Jackson (Lookman 63), Magennis, Novak (Ajose 86).
Subs (not used): Phillips, Johnson, Chicksen, Botaka.
Goal: Magennis 22
Oldham Athletic: Ripley, Reckford, Burgess, Flynn (Klok 87), McKay, Ladapo (Erwin 64), Dummigan, Fane, Clarke (c), McLaughlin (Osei 73), Green.
Subs (not used): Kettings, Law, Banks, Dunne.
Goal: Clarke 83
Referee: N Kinseley.
Attendance: 8,745 (185 from Oldham).