Gary Haines reports
Chris Powell hailed Charlton’s durability after substitute Jon Obika condemned struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers to late defeat on Saturday.
The striker crashed home a 90th-minute winner to seal a 2-1 win after Dorian Dervite’s opener had been quickly cancelled out by Kevin Doyle.
And as well as granting hero status to a man whose similarly late strike sentenced Leeds United to defeat a fortnight earlier, boss Powell was proud of his squad’s effort at the end of a busy week that has yielded seven points from three testing games.
The last-gasp winner kept Charlton’s faint play-off hopes alive and, more importantly, mathematically sealed Championship survival for another season, with the boss branding the result ‘a monumental effort’.
“They had two [chances], their goal and the '80-yarder’ from Karl Henry. We had the better of the chances, especially in the second period,” he said.
“So you’ve got to keep going until the end. We did that in our previous home game and we’ve done it again today.”
Reflecting on Obika’s late heroics, the Tottenham Hotspur loanee’s third successive last-minute goal, Powell purred: “It’s the value of a squad, and the value of a player who makes an impact.
“Jon’s been tremendous since he’s walked through the door. He’s a good player, a good finisher and he’s been really champing at the bit to start, but even when he doesn’t, he comes on and he wants to be involved.
“He always gets chances and that’s a good sign for any striker. I’m really pleased for him because he’s a good character and fully deserved the hero status for today.”
In many senses the two goals were made from the bench, with fellow replacement Danny Green playing a sizable role in both.
His 63rd-minute corner was poorly dealt with by the Wolves backline, and after Ricardo Fuller was denied on the line, Dervite hammered home the loose ball.
Doyle’s header went in via the post to level matters moments later, but Green then claimed another assist - his shot clattering off a defender for Obika, who lashed home an angled shot.
Green had replaced skipper Johnnie Jackson just after the hour mark, the second Charlton midfielder to prematurely leave the action after Andy Hughes
was unable to make it past the 12th minute.
Both were fatigued after the hectic schedule, according to Powell, who was happy with the impact of his squad men.
“That’s the value of the squad after the third game in seven days,” he said. “We had two away games, two long trips and we have picked up a few knocks.
“Hopefully they are just fatigue but Danny Green had to come on and he made a bit of an impact. He’s a good crosser. He will make things happen and again he came on and really played his part.
“Again we showed today the value of the squad. Mark Gower came on and after getting to the pace of the game, his passing was very good.
“We’ve still got players that want to be involved. We’ve had a couple of lads that have been injured and just got back training, like Dale Stephens and Danny Haynes, so if they [Hughes and Jackson] don’t make it, there are still players there that want to show their true worth.
“So it was a real ‘dig-deep’ effort from the players but it was tremendous from us to get another home win after struggling throughout the campaign.”
Going into the home match against Bolton Wanderers, the Addicks’ record on home turf was far from impressive in contrast to some sparkling away form.
But Powell can now reflect on three straight home wins after another success, the second sealed in the dying embers.
“I think what’s very good about the players is even if there is a setback they keep going,” said Powell.
“Wolves got a goal from nothing, a poor goal. I wanted a clean sheet at home as we have been getting them away, but I’ll take that as long as we win.
“They [the players] keep going. Jon will come on and fresh legs and he will push himself. We got crosses in the danger area and we responded, so it was a monumental effort from everyone today.”
The manager was quizzed about whether there had been any radical changes in the game preparations going into the most recent Valley outings, but confessed that nothing has altered in a campaign of fine margins in SE7.
“There’s been no changes whatsoever,” he said. “That’s why I was saying when we were losing games and it was very close, it was marginal.
“This league is marginal, trust me. And everyone can see it’s a point here, it’s a goal that goes in for you late on or early on there; that’s how this league is.
“You see it week in, week out. We’ve been on the front foot a little bit more of late, but I felt the international break really helped us.
“It was a really tough time before then, but I think it gave us a bit of breathing time and thinking time. And the players have really responded.
“My staff and myself have looked at what we could do and the players have really pushed themselves at a time in the season where a lot of teams’ energy levels drop.
“I won’t allow that and they’ve been really worked hard and they are looking fit and strong. I suppose we wish there were 10 games to go, not two.”
With six points on offer at Middlesbrough and at home to Bristol City on May 4th, the Addicks are not yet out of the play-off hunt given they trail sixth-placed Bolton Wanderers by five points.
Results involving Leicester City and Nottingham Forest will also play a big part, with Powell admitting that although a post-season jaunt may just elude them, they will give it a go in the final week.
“It’s tantalisingly close, the play-offs, but it may be just beyond us,” he said. “We will still go for it. There is a slim chance and you never know what’s going to happen, especially this time now with how the results can go.
“In hindsight you can look back on games, but this is football. There are maybe results we got that we didn’t deserve. I’m more about the here and now. Those games are gone, we learn from it and we keep going and we keep trying to get wins.
“We’ve been doing that lately and we are in a good place. It’s a good time to do it because the nature of the league was so tight.
“This morning there was still an outside chance of us going down, which is bizarre,” he added. “But now we are absolutely safe and still with a chance of trying to get in the top six.
“We know we can play in this league. We know we can compete in this league. I’ve got some good players who have really found their feet at this level and I’ve got a good squad that can really make their mark. I think we are showing everyone what we are about.
“It’s a good time to do it and I think it will give our fans a bit of a taster of what we can do in the future.
“So it’s a great win for us today, it really is. Again it was late, and we gave our fans value for money. But also our attitude and desire not to give up and go to the very end to try and win games has always been there and its coming out now. That’s a real pleasing thing for me.”
Watch full reaction from Chris Powell and his players on CAFC Player