BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton gained revenge for last season’s play-off semi-final defeat as they grabbed all three points late on at home to Shrewsbury.
Karlan Grant’s 91stminute header sealed victory for the Addicks, one that seemed unlikely after Lenell John-Lewis had cancelled Lyle Taylor’s opening goal with just seven minutes left to play.
The South Londoners conceded an injury-time winner against Sunderland last weekend but it was to be their turn to provide late drama this afternoon.
It was the hosts who would have the first sight of goal, with Taylor unable to round off a flowing counter attack. The former AFC Wimbledon man side-footed wide of the near-post after being sent clear by Mark Marshall.
The visitors, who were victorious on both their visits to The Valley last season, nearly edged ahead themselves when Shaun Whalley’s drive deflected into the air, only for Alex Gillead to head straight at Dillon Phillips from six yards out.
Twice in the space of three minutes the home side saw dangerous crosses flash across the face of goal as Karlan Grant and Lewis Page both looked to carve an opening.
Omar Beckles had found the back of the net with a header from a corner during this fixture last season and came close to repeating the trick, glancing just wide of Phillips’ far-post.
Salop grew in confidence as the half progressed and came within a whisker of taking the lead as Rangers loanee Greg Docherty slammed a loose ball inches wide.
John Askey, who served a touchline ban today due to an incident where he kicked a puddle at a fourth official whilst Macclesfield Town boss last season, will have barely believed that his side hadn’t edged ahead early in the second-period.
Phillips got down superbly at his near-post to block Aaron Amadi-Holloway’s header, before Chris Solly then had to clear off the Addicks’ line as Docherty poked the ball beyond the advancing goalkeeper.
Beckles then volleyed wide via a deflection off a teammate as a corner fell into his path, and the visitors were made to pay for their wastefulness.
George Lapslie, on his full home league debut, floated the ball towards the far-post where Taylor rose to guide a header beyond Joel Coleman.
The goal stopped the visitors in their tracks – losing the momentum they had built up after the interval.
Grant, who was a handful in possession, nearly extended that Addicks lead as he burst at goal, only for his shot to be blocked from close range.
And it seemed that Charlton would be pegged back at the death for the second game running as John-Lewis glanced a header past Phillips to level the scores up.
But the Addicks would come out on top. Darren Pratley produced a cross out of nowhere, which Grant flicked home at the near-post.
PHOTOS KEITH GILLARD