Charlton Athletic 2-2 Wigan Athletic
MACAULEY BONNE provided a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser to keep Charlton Athletic’s hopes of avoiding relegation alive on a dramatic afternoon at The Valley.
While Charlton – without a win in five – continue to reside in the last chance saloon, Wigan has come out fighting, despite their much-publicised financial meltdown.
However, from a footballing perspective, Addicks boss, Lee Bowyer, certainly wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet: “We’re working so hard to get the best out of them,” he explained.
“We’re defending well, we’re playing well and we’re creating chances. We as coaches can’t ask any more of the group.”
But having slipped behind early on against Reading in their last home fixture, it proved to be another perplexing start witnessed by the Addicks chief. Stopper, Dillion Philips, pushed Kieffer Moore’s initial header onto the inside of an upright – but Jamal Lowe followed up to bundle the Latics ahead.
The visitors’ lead was short-lived. Alfie Doughty fired home, left-footed, from a tight angle – this after Adam Matthews had fashioned an opening. A simulated roar echoed through the tannoy system, no doubt reproduced by those of a Charlton persuasion, using whatever means to glean information while they remain exiled from the stadium.
Bonne should have handed the home side the lead. The former Leyton Orient frontman had an eternity to decide where he was going to place Naby Sarr pass, but handed the initiative to Latics keeper, David Marshall, who used an outstretched foot to defuse the situation.
And that miss looked to be costly. Wigan countered – Antonee Robinson centred – Kieran Dowell arriving at the far post to fire beyond Phillips to restore the Latics advantage.
A renewed urgency was evident in Charlton after the restart. Josh Cullen fired the wrong side of an upright, while Marshall dived low to his right to divert Naby Sarr’s dead-ball effort. Meanwhile, Phillips had to be alert, clinging to Sam Morsy’s low drive at the second attempt.
It appeared increasingly difficult to see Charlton retrieving the situation at this late stage in an already extended season. Workmanlike throughout, but their fate seemingly decided by fine margins, both in decision making and quality. But deep into stoppage-time, Bonne found himself free after Chuck Aneke had nodded on, and this time provided a crisp angled finish to restore parity, earn a vital point and perhaps save the Londoner’s bacon.
Charlton Athletic complete their Sky Bet Championship campaign with a tricky trip to Elland Road on Wednesday, July 22 where they face Premier League-bound Leeds United (7:30pm).
Charlton Athletic: Dillon Phillips, Adam Matthews, Tom Lockyer, Jason Pearce (Capt) (Aiden McGeady 82’), Jake Forster-Caskey (Jonny Williams 46’), Macauley Bonne, Naby Sarr, Josh Cullen, Sam Field (Albie Morgan 46’), Josh Davison (Chuks Aneke 55’), Alfie Doughty
Subs not used: Ben Amos (GK), Ben Purrington, Deji Oshilaja, Andre Green, Timer Hemed
Booked: Albie Morgan (foul)
Goals: Alfie Doughty 11’, Macauley Bonne 90+2’
Wigan Athletic: David Marshall, Nathan Byrne, Antonee Robinson, Sam Morsy (Capt), Jamal Lowe (Gary Roberts 87’), Kieffer Moore, Joe Williams, Cedric Kipre, Kieran Dowell (Lee Evans 68’), Kal Naismith, Leon Balogun Subs not used: Jamie Jones (GK), Gavin Massey, Tom Pearce, Joe Garner, Alex Dobre, Jan Milakar, Joel Gelhardt
Booked: Joe Williams (foul), Sam Morsy (foul), Joe Williams (foul)
Goals: Jamal Lowe 9’, Kieran Dowell 39’
Referee: Gavin Ward
Assistants: Graham Kane and Ian Cooper
Fourth Official: Darren Drysdale