George Jones reports from Vale Park
Charlton were frustrated on Tuesday night as they picked up a point against Port Vale at Vale Park.
Fredrik Ulvestad capped a dominant first-half performance from his side by netting his first goal for the club on the half-hour mark, and it looked like being enough for the Addicks.
They were comfortable in the second period and may have extended their advantage, but – five minutes from time – the hosts levelled the scores through Alex Jones’ penalty to earn a point.
In terms of team news, Manager Russell Slade made two changes to the eleven that started Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Coventry City.
Harry Lennon came into the back four – replacing the injured Jason Pearce – while skipper Johnnie Jackson was also restored to the side as the Addicks switched to a 4-4-1-1 system.
Vale bossed possession in the game’s early stages but only had a couple of crosses into the Charlton box to show for their efforts.
Declan Rudd dealt with them both with ease and the Addicks then embarked on their first foray into home territory. First, Lookman was dispossessed as he tried to cut in from the left and then Ulvestad saw a strike well blocked by Nathan Smith.
Charlton carved out a great chance on nine minutes. A clever ball from Chris Solly released Holmes down the right and he zipped in a low cross that no-one in the middle was able to provide the vital touch to.
Josh Magennis, a goal scorer on Saturday, dragged a strike wide two minutes later and, soon afterwards, Jackson fired over the top from a firm cut-back from Lookman.
A slick Charlton move saw them go close again with 17 minutes played. Lookman threaded possession into the path of the overlapping Morgan Fox, he centred and only a combination of goalkeeper Jak Alnwick and Smith prevented Holmes from bundling the ball over the line.
They came even closer three minutes later. Holmes floated a ball into the centre and Magennis met it with a bullet header that crashed down off the underside of the crossbar.
The ball bounced the wrong wide of the goal-line, from an Addicks perspective, and they were left to rue some more last-ditch defending from Smith again almost immediately afterwards.
This time it was Jackson than got in down the side but the Vale defender was once again in the right place to clear the danger ahead of a man in purple.
As a couple of minutes passed by, another chance arrived for Slade’s men - this time they were denied by a referee’s whistle. As they broke into the penalty area, the ball bounced up onto the arm of Anthony Grant.
The referee chose not to award penalty, which would have been slightly harsh on the Vale man, and, undeterred, the Addicks then got the goal that their first-half dominance deserved.
Holmes scampered away down the right-hand side and fired in a low cross that the onrushing Ulvestad met with a lovely, sweeping finish that flew through the legs of Alnwick before nestling in the net.
Patrick Bauer bulleted a header wide of goal from a corner, as Charlton looked to double their advantage, and Jackson then sent a curling strike narrowly wide of Alnwick’s right-hand post.
The Addicks held a more-than deserved advantage at the break and they created the first chance of the second period when Lookman’s deep free-kick just eluded Lennon at the far post.
It was from another Lookman free-kick that their next chance arrived. Magennis flicked his delivery on at the near post, Alnwick could not hold and Ulvestad reacted first but could only bundle the loose ball wide.
Magennis dragged wide with his left foot on 55 minutes as the Addicks continued to dominate and, at the other end, Grant and Sam Hart both fired shots off target.
Charlton should have made it two on 72 minutes. Holmes sprinted beyond on Calvin Macintosch on the left flank and flighted in a perfect cross for Ulvestad, who met it with a firm header that Alnwick made a point-blank save from.
Jackson nodded wide from Holmes’ corner as the game entered into the final 15 minutes and Vale substitute Rigino Cicilia then tumbled inside the penalty area under the slightest pressure from Lennon, but the referee awarded nothing.
They did get their chance from the spot seven minutes from time. Lennon was adjudged to have bundled Alex Jones to the ground and he picked himself up to convert from 12 yards.
The goal was so harsh on the Addicks, who had dominated the match almost from start to finish but it ensured that the hosts took home a share of the spoils.
Port Vale: Alnwick, Streete, Knops (Cicilia 65), Macintosch, Tavares, Paterson (Kelly 46), Pereira (Turner 86), Smith, Jones, Grant, Hart.
Subs (not used): Kiko, Santos, Amoros, De Freitas.
Booked: Tavares 81 (foul on Holmes)
Charlton: Rudd, Solly, Bauer, Lennon, Fox, Holmes (Chicksen 83), Crofts, Ulvestad, Jackson, Lookman (Hanlan 70), Magennis (Novak 83).
Subs (Not used): Phillips, Johnson, Konsa, Ajose.
Goal: Ulvestad 30
Booked: Holmes 54 (foul on Tavares)
Referee: G Salisbury
Attendance: 3,494 (253 from Charlton)