Photos: Kyle Andrews
BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton had to settle for a point from their first ever league meeting with Accrington Stanley.
Karlan Grant had edged the Addicks ahead in the first-half, but Jordan Clark’s leveller twelve minutes from time meant the spoils were shared after an engaging encounter at the Crown Ground.
Competing in their first ever third tier campaign since reformation in 1968, hosts Stanley enjoyed a measure of possession in the opening stages but only had Callum Johnson’s ambitious daisy-cutter from range to show for it – Dillon Phillips easily equal to it.
Lee Bowyer’s men took a few minutes to settle into the encounter, but once they did they took the lead thanks to a devastating counter attack.
Lewis Page made use of the space on the left-hand side before delivering the perfect cross for Grant to plunder his second goal in as many games, heading home via the underside of the crossbar. The assistant referee on the far-side confirmed the ball had crossed the line before bouncing back out again.
The visitors were buoyed and went immediately in search of a second. Grant dragged an effort just wide from outside the area, before his strike partner Lyle Taylor was just unable to stretch a foot out to divert Darren Pratley’s drive home.
The hosts did start to regain some momentum but the South Londoners were difficult to break down – a header glanced just wide by Billy Kee just before the interval the only close-call for Bowyer’s side.
The Addicks emerged from the dressing room with purpose and but for a fine save from Connor Ripley may have doubled their lead. Page burst past George Lapslie on the overlap, receiving the ball and driving at goal – Ripley diving to his left to block.
Taylor and Grant both were unsuccessful with efforts from outside the area as the visitors went in search of that killer second goal.
They nearly had it with 17 minutes left to play. Lapslie slalomed through the Accrington half before slipping it outside to Grant, who cut in but fired against the base of the near-post.
Stanley made Charlton pay with twelve minutes to play. Sam Finley’s low ball caused chaos in the Addicks box. Naby Sarr blocked one on the line, Phillips then pulled off a fine save in the melee but Clark was able to bundle home at the third attempt.
Substitute Offrande Zanzala nearly won it for Stanley in-front moments later, but his header from a hanging cross dropped just wide.
The Addicks nearly nicked it themselves as Grant curled a free-kick wide with the final kick of the game, but return back to South London with just a point.