George Jones reports from SportsDirect.com Park
Charlton suffered their first defeat in eight matches on Tuesday evening, losing 1-0 at Oldham Athletic.
In a game they dominated for long spells, the Addicks could have gone in front inside the opening minute when Josh Magennis burst through on goal, but instead it was the hosts who took a fourth-minute lead through Ollie Banks’ crisp strike.
That proved to be the 90 minutes’ decisive moment and, although the visitors came close on a number of occasions – and were denied a clear, second-half penalty – they were unable to find an equaliser.
In terms of team news, Karl Robinson made four changes to the side that started at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, which involved naming an entirely different front three.
Stephy Mavididi, Jordan Botaka and Magennis made up the attacking trio, while Jake Forster-Caskey also came into the side. Northern Irishman Magennis could have given the Addicks the lead inside 15 seconds.
After Patrick Bauer had headed Oldham’s punt down field from kick-off away from danger, Botaka won a secondary header and the ball then dropped from Forster-Caskey, who put the striker in on goal.
He raced clear but, after getting his head up, he could only fire over the bar from a central position.
The miss quickly proved costly, as the Latics grabbed a fourth-minute lead. Chris Taylor laid the ball back to Banks on the edge of the box and he sent a crisp drive into the corner of the net.
Oldham threatened again on 12 minutes when Ryan McLaughlin broke down the right. He chose to ignore teammate Lee Erwin in the middle and instead tried to score himself, which enabled Declan Rudd to race off his line and smother the danger.
At the other end, Aribo picked out the run of Magennis on the left but home defender Peter Clarke did well to block his shot. The forward came close again on 17 minutes when he glanced a Mavididi cross wide of the target.
The game had started at a great pace and, on 19 minutes, the Addicks were only denied an equaliser by a goal-line clearance. A brilliant run from Mavididi saw him escape three men before freeing Botaka on the right; he cut inside and saw his top-corner-bound strike nodded off the line.
Charlton continued to knock at the Oldham door and Aribo was next to try his luck when he shot wide with 21 minutes played.
Konsa headed over the bar from a corner and, at the other end, goalscorer Banks curled a free-kick off target in a rare opportunity for the hosts.
An important Konsa challenge stopped Erwin in his tracks on the half-hour mark before Mavididi shot wide for Charlton, following some good work from Aribo on the byline.
Oldham could and maybe should have doubled their lead on 36 minutes. A corner was stood up towards the penalty spot and Clarke rose highest to power a header against the base of the post.
It was a let off for Charlton and they almost made the most of it through a corner of their own. Forster-Caskey whipped in the kick and Konsa met it with a strong header that home stopper Connor Ripley palmed behind for another flag kick.
They went close again from the secondary corner. Andrew Crofts glanced it on at the near post but no-one in red was able to turn it home at the far stick.
The Latics held a one-goal lead at the break but Charlton almost restored parity within two minutes of the restart. Chris Solly won his side a corner, Forster-Caskey put it into the box and Magennis headed wide at the near post.
The Addicks won their ninth corner of the evening on 55 minutes and they came close to levelling from it. Forster-Caskey’s initial kick was cleared but, after the ball came back his way, he sent a shot goalwards that Ripley tipped over his crossbar.
Charlton corner number 10, which arrived a couple of minutes later, saw Crofts head off target and the visitors then made their first substitution of the game by replacing Botaka with Ricky Holmes.
Holmes’ first involvement was to win his side yet another corner. The hosts got it clear and broke down field but Crofts got back well to snuff out the counter attack.
Ripley smothered at the feet of Magennis after the striker had chested down a ball from Forster-Caskey and Banks then curled a free-kick over the bar for the home side.
Charlton were denied a stonewall penalty on 77 minutes. Solly looked set to connect with a Forster-Caskey cross at the far post before being clearly shoved to the floor. It was a blatant, blatant foul but somehow referee Mark Brown failed to spot it.
At the other end, Rudd made a smart stop from Chris Taylor’s angled strike 10 minutes from time and the Addicks then began to turn the screw as they searched for a late comeback.
First, substitute Lee Novak glanced on a header that was deflected wide of the post and, seconds later, Ripley made a fantastic save from Bauer’s bullet header.
Novak volleyed into Ripley’s arms just before the clock hit 90 and fellow replacement Tony Watt then fired straight at the goalkeeper in the third of six added-on minutes.
That proved to be the Londoners’ final chance of the match as they fell to a rare and probably undeserved defeat on the road.
Oldham: Ripley, Wilson, Gerrard, O’Neill, Banks (Fane 90), Taylor, Erwin (Ngoo 79), Hunt, Clarke (c), McLaughlin, Green.
Subs (not used): Law, Flynn, Croft, Osei, Obadeyi.
Goal: Banks 4
Charlton: Rudd, Solly (c), Bauer, Konsa, Chicksen, Crofts, Aribo, Forster-Caskey (Watt 79), Mavididi (Novak 82), Botaka (Holmes 59), Magennis.
Subs (not used): Phillips, Teixeira, Dasilva, Jackson.
Booked: Bauer 75 (foul on Taylor)
Referee: M Brown