If you had offered me two points from the two tricky away games this week, I would have bitten your hand off. Leeds, much like today’s trip to Wolves, is a very tough place to travel and both teams are packed with quality; both would have felt a win against Charlton was a must. And yet, despite picking up two points with two 1-1 draws, Charlton can consider themselves very unlucky not to have at least 4 points, if not all 6.
Where Tuesday’s game saw Leeds’ keeper Paddy Kenny pull of an outstanding last minute save from Bradley Wright-Phillips, today saw Rob Hulse miss a hat full of chances to give his side all three points, not least a header in the last minute. Two excellent performances away from home that offer a lot more positives than negatives will see the Addicks go into back-to-back home games brimming with hope that three points will be forthcoming.
To today’s game, and Charlton remained unchanged from the Leeds encounter, as did Wolves from their game against Bolton in midweek. The half began in a quiet fashion with no real chances created for either team as both were restricted to long range efforts that didn’t trouble the keepers. With the first chance of the half though, game the first goal. Cedric Evina was unfortunate to see a pass from a Wolves shirt deflect off his legs and go straight into the path of Kevin Foley, who’s pinpoint cross was side footed home on the volley by Bakary Sako.
Wolves took control of the half following their goal without threatening to any real extent. Their efforts on goal were comfortably saved by Ben Hamer and they seemed to want to look for one more pass when the short or a dribble was on. Charlton were struggling to keep the ball and misplaced passes regularly, their only significant chance coming from Salim Kerkar’s curling shot from outside the area that just cleared the crossbar. At times though, the build up play looked promising, especially down the right hand side with Chris Solly and Lawrie Wilson, but the end product was lacking. Hope for Charlton was certainly not lost as the half time whistle blew. Hope, however, could have been lost in the opening stages of the second half.
A Wolves break saw the ball drop to Tongo Doumbia inside the area with the perfect sight of goal. His powerful shot looked to be heading home, when Kevin Doyle got his head in the way of the ball, which deflected the ball into the net. Thankfully for the Addicks, the Irishman was in an offside position and they were given a lucky reprieve.
Charlton took full advantage of the let off by equalising moments later. A fantastic ball from Evina on the left was poorly defended by the Wolves’ defence, giving Rob Hulse the perfect chance to open his account for the Addicks. Somehow though, he missed two absolute sitters after his original effort was saved by Carl Ikeme and then saw his rebounded effort, somehow, hit the post from centimeters out. Thankfully, Lawrie Wilson was on hand to put home the third chance and pull Charlton level with his first goal fro the club, and a goal that was much deserved from his all round performance.
The goal saw Charlton have a brief period of domination. A few minutes after his poor finishing, Hulse was unlucky not to redeem himself when his header hit the post. He soon had another chance when Bradley Pritchard’s through ball played him in, but he couldn’t beat Ikeme when one-on-one.
With the Addicks seemingly going for the win, Charlton fans soon had their hearts in their mouths as Ben Hamer took one step too many with the ball in his hands and Wolves were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area. Despite the ball beating the wall, Hamer was equal to the flat drive from Sake. This was the start of a nervy last 10 minutes for Charlton, who struggled to get on the ball but solidly kept Wolves at bay.
With the game heading for stoppage time, Hulse missed yet another guilt edge chance that should have snatched three points for Charlton. Wilson, again a danger for the Wolves defence, chased onto a long ball, cut it back to Solly who dinked the ball into Hulse, with the resulting header somehow going wide when it looked easier to score.
The last chance fell to Sako for Wolves, who scuffed a volley way off-target following a headed knockdown. A chorus of boos rang out from the home fans following the full time whistle, but Wolves certainly weren’t poor. Charlton’s display in second half was outstanding and the point was much deserved. The draw was a fair result for both sides, but both will bemoan their failure to finish their chances.
An outstanding display from the Addicks, but a failure to finish chances meant more dropped points yet again. I feel like I’ve said this on several occasions but the signs are promising. Wilson on the right wing works perfectly, with it clearly being his natural position and it gives the chance for Solly to move back to right back. Evina looked good at left back, as did Prichard in his favoured centre midfield position. Despite the missed chances, Hulse did very well up front on his own, holding up the play and winning his fair share of challenges. The wins will come if the second half performance can be replicated, especially at home where we have struggled. A win from one of the next two games is a must.