REPORT | Charlton 3 Lincoln City 1

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Charlton ensured that the race for the play-offs would go down to the wire with an outstanding victory over fellow promotion-chasers Lincoln City at The Valley on Tuesday evening.

After a goalless first half, the Addicks sprung to life after the break with Jayden Stockley slamming home the opener two minutes after the restart.

Ryan Inniss then headed Charlton into a two-goal lead in the 65th minute before Chuks Aneke netted his 16th goal of the season two minutes later to put the Addicks in control.

Harry Anderson pulled a goal back just before the 90, but Nigel Adkins' men got the points they needed to make sure that it would still be all to play for on Sunday.

Adkins made four changes from the side that faced Accrington Stanley last weekend, with Adam Matthews, Ben Purrington, Ben Watson and Liam Millar all returning to the starting XI as Charlton lined up in a 4-3-3 formation. 

Lincoln began brightly in the capital, forging the first opening on 11 minutes when Tayo Edun’s reverse ball placed Callum Morton through one-on-one but the West Bromwich Albion was superbly foiled by Ben Amos low to his left.

The Addicks grew into the game thereafter, with Millar enjoying space in behind the Imps defence, spearheading a Charlton counter attack only to be brought down by Cohen Bramall.

Inniss then rose highest to meet Jake Forster-Caskey’s resulting free-kick, flicking across goal to Ian Maatsen but the Dutchman could only nod onto the roof of the net, albeit from an offside position.

In truth, the opening period lacked fluidity, owing to its two stoppages: referee Kevin Johnson was replaced by Fourth Official Carl Brook on the half-hour mark, before Addicks talisman Forster-Caskey was forced off with a knee injury, with Albie Morgan entering the fray.

The Addicks shifted into a 4-4-2 system after the interval as Chuks Aneke replaced Ben Purrington, with Maatsen shifting back to the left side of defence.

Adkins’ alteration paid dividends just two minutes later when Aneke met Alex Gilbey’s dinked cross, cushioning down a header for Stockley who met the ball emphatically on the half volley to thump past Alex Palmer with aplomb. 

The Imps almost hit back immediately as Edun fed Morton from kick-off but, again, Amos was alert to steer the forward’s effort behind.

Morgan then capitalised on lax concentration from Edun, stealing possession to surge forward towards the Imps box before finding Aneke, whose powerful right-footed effort was well saved by Palmer.

By now, Adkins’ men were the established force, and Millar soon made further inroads down the left flank, finding Stockley with a curling delivery but the Preston North End loanee nodded wide.

The Addicks’ enterprising start to the second period was rewarded on 65 minutes when the towering Inniss met Morgan’s corner to steer past a helpless Palmer.

Millar was again the catalyst minutes later, driving forward and into the Imps box before laying off for Aneke to slam home his 15th league goal of the season via a deflection.

The visitors did pull one back in the final minute of normal time as Tom Hopper’s cutback was met by Harry Anderson, who fired a low-drilled shot past Amos from the edge of the box.

The victory moves the Addicks to within a point of sixth-placed Portsmouth in the coveted final play-off spot.

Charlton: Amos; Matthews, Inniss, Famewo, Purrington (Aneke 46) (Pratley 90+1); Gilbey, Watson, Forster-Caskey (C) (Morgan 38); Maatsen, Stockley, Millar

Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Gunter, Pearce, Washington

Goal: Stockley 47, Inniss 65, Aneke 67

Booked: Purrington 17 (foul on Anderson), Aneke 83 (foul on Hopper), Pratley 90+2 (time wasting)

Lincoln City: Palmer; Poole, Montsma, Eyoma (Walsh 72), Bramall (Sanders 63); Grant (C) (Hopper 72), Jones, Edun; Anderson, Morton, Scully (Howarth 57)

Subs (not used): Long, McGrandles, Rogers

Goal: Anderson 89

Booked: Bramall 20 (foul on Millar), Jones 42 (late challenge on Inniss)

Referee: K Johnson

Attendance: 0 (behind closed doors)

(Report by James Waller)

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