Charlton Athletic 0-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 17th Apr 2021 14:31
Town drew 0-0 with Charlton Athletic at the Valley to extend their goalless streak to 439 minutes. The Blues, who last found the net in the Good Friday victory over Bristol Rovers, were the better side in the first half with James Norwood and Keanan Bennetts both going close early on, while the Addicks were on top in the second as the sides played out Town’s fourth 0-0 draw in six matches.
Kane Vincent-Young, Mark McGuinness, Andre Dozzell, Teddy Bishop and Bennetts returned to the Town line-up with club captain Luke Chambers, Toto Nsiala, Aaron Drinan, Alan Judge, who has played his last game for the club for contractual reasons, and the suspended Josh Harrop dropping out of the XI.
Vincent-Young was at right-back of a back four as the Blues switched back to 4-2-3-1. McGuinness joined Luke Woolfenden at the heart of the defence in a first-time partnership under new manager Paul Cook with Stephen Ward skippering at left-back. Tomas Holy continued in goal.
In midfield Dozzell joined Flynn Downes in the centre with Bennetts and Gwion Edwards the widemen, on the right and left respectively, and Teddy Bishop behind lone out-and-out striker James Norwood.
Chambers was among the subs for the third time this season and only the sixth time in the league since joining Town in the summer of 2012. Nsiala and Drinan missed out on places in the 18.
Charlton manager Nigel Adkins, in charge of his new club at the Valley for the first time, made one change from the team which won 2-1 Sunderland last weekend with Liam Millar replacing the injured Ian Maatsen in a 4-3-3 system.
The game started slightly chaotically with a number of Charlton players starting to take a knee as the Blues kicked off. Midfielder Darren Pratley briefly protested to referee Craig Hicks but the game continued.
Town twice went close to going in front in the third minute. First, Norwood flicked a header from Dozzell’s free-kick on the left goalwards and Ben Amos palmed away to his right. Then the loose ball fell to Bennetts at an angle and the winger smashed a powerful goal-bound shot which home skipper Jason Pearce diverted into the air and over from just in front of the line.
The Blues had started brightly and determinedly, the players perhaps bristling from manager Cook’s pre-match press conference comments, but in the eighth minute Ryan Inniss stooped to head powerfully straight at Holy from a corner on the left.
However, Town continued to dominate possession, keeping the ball confidently higher up the field than was usually the case under former manager Paul Lambert, but without managing to create another chance.
On the quarter-hour, a rare Addicks break saw Alex Gilbey pace past Woolfenden on the Charlton left but the central defender got back to block his cross and the ball bounced back to Holy.
The home side subsequently had a spell in charge but the Blues quickly got back on top. There was a blow for Town in the 25th minute when Norwood was forced off with another recurrence of the hamstring problems which have hampered him for some months.
With the game increasingly open as the half-hour mark was reached, there was a scare for the Blues when Holy failed to hold onto a deep cross from the left. Jayden Stockley seized on the loose ball with the keeper grounded but shot weakly towards goal and McGuinness cleared off the line.
On 33 Pratley hit a shot from distance which hit Stockley, then McGuinness before bouncing through to Holy. The Addicks were seeing more of the ball but without looking particularly dangerous.
Four minutes later, the Blues broke away through Bishop, the midfielder finding Jackson to his left. The sub cut back to Bennetts, who blazed over first time as he burst into the box.
Dozzell was shown the game’s first yellow card in the 43rd minute - his ninth in the league - for a cynical trip on Liam Millar as Charlton broke forward. Soon after, Diallang Jaiyesimi joined him in the book for a foul on Edwards.
That was the last action of a half in which the Blues had been the better side, albeit without creating too many chances.
They had started strongly, going close twice in the third minute, and dominated the ball for the first 20 minutes or so. Charlton came into it more after that but only really threatened following Holy’s error, while Jackson’s pace had been a danger for the Blues following his introduction, particularly when sent away by the lively Bishop, with Bennetts’s effort over the best opportunity in that spell.
Six minutes after the restart, following a three-times-taken free-kick, Vincent-Young tricked his way past his man before cutting in and hitting a left-foot shot over.
On 54, Ward crossed low from the left but far too close to home keeper Amos, who claimed low at a stretch.
Charlton had shown little since the break but in the 57th minute they went close to going in front. Inniss headed a corner from the right back towards goal, Jaiyesimi flicked on and Holy reacted very quickly to block before McGuinness hooked away the loose ball.
Just prior to the hour mark, with the game again increasingly open, a Bennetts cross from the Town right was blocked after good work from Bishop, then at the other end Millar was teed-up on the edge of the Blues area by Stockley but Holy got down well to save. On 61 Bennetts was swapped for Armando Dobra, while Charlton switched Pratley for Ben Watson.
The Albanian U21 international was quickly into the action, taking the ball into the area before feeding Edwards to his left. The Welshman took a touch inside before scuffing his shot to Amos. It was a decent opportunity and Edwards will feel he ought to have made more of it.
On 66 Dozzell was fortunate not to be shown a second yellow card when he pulled back Jaiyesimi on the edge of the Addicks area as the home side looked to break following a Town corner. Two minutes later, Charlton sub Watson was booked for a late challenge on Edwards.
Town replaced Ward and Bishop, who had faded in the second half having probably been the pick of the Blues’ players in the first, for Myles Kenlock and Freddie Sears. Dozzell was handed the captain’s armband.
Kenlock’s first involvement was to reach a loose ball first after Holy had failed to hold on to Jake Forster-Caskey’s low shot from the edge of the area. The keeper really ought to have done better.
Forster-Caskey, the stepson of former Blues striker Nicky Forster, wasn’t far away at all with a curling first-time effort from just outside the box in the 73rd minute which only just looped over.
The Blues were finding themselves under some pressure for the first time in the match and on 75 Ben Purrington crossed low from the left for Stockley, but his shot was too close to Holy, who saved.
Charlton continued to look the more threatening side with centre-half Ryan Inniss nodding two left-sided corners back into the danger zone from beyond the far post with Edwards clearing the first and Holy just getting there ahead of an Addicks player from the second.
In injury time, there was a brief flashpoint between Woolfenden and Inniss which referee Hicks settled without use of his cards. Moments later, the Surrey-based official ended the afternoon.
Overall, a draw was probably a fair result with the Blues having been on top on the first half and the Addicks in the second with neither side creating too many opportunities throughout.
Despite another draw, Town were much better than they were at Wimbledon.
The result and the scorelines elsewhere see the Blues stay ninth but now four points off the top six with five left to play.
Charlton: Amos, Purrington, Pearce (c), Jaiyesimi, Forster-Caskey, Stockley, Gilbey, Pratley (Watson 61), Matthews, Inniss, Millar. Unused: Maynard-Brewer, Gunter, Oshilaja, Famewo, Shinnie, Schwartz.
Town: Holy, Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward (c) (Kenlock 70), Downes, Dozzell, Bennetts (Dobra 61), Bishop (Sears 69), Edwards, Norwood (Jackson 25). Unused: Cornell, Chambers, Skuse. Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey).
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