Fleetwood Town held Charlton to a goalless draw for the second season running at The Valley, in a game that will be remembered more for an unusual fan-led protest rather than any excitement on the pitch.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between during the encounter – which was held up as supporters continued their protests against the club’s ownership.
The game was almost immediately halted after kick-off due to fans throwing bags of crisps onto the Valley turf, but not before Lyle Taylor flicked a low-cross towards goal to no avail.
The delay lasted a minute or so as the packets of thinly sliced, deep fried potato-based snacks – launched in support of club staff who have not been paid bonuses they claim owner Roland Duchatelet owes them – were removed.
The South Londoners came out the stronger side after the snack break without really creating too many openings. Defender Patrick Bauer headed wide from a corner, with Taylor then setting his sights from range, but it was comfortable for Alex Cairns between the sticks.
An ingenious chip from Taylor found the Cod Army stopper off his line but also cleared the crossbar, with Joey Barton’s side growing into the contest soon after.
Arsenal-loanee Krystian Bielik did just enough to deflect Ched Evans’ drive past the far-stick, with Dillon Phillips then called into action to block Paddy Madden’s toe-poke towards goal at his near-post.
Parity was preserved at the interval by Lewis Page’s last-ditch goal-line block. Wes Burns looked certain to sweep the visitors ahead from James Husband’s low centre, but Page alert to scramble the ball off the line.
Phillips stretched to his left to divert Hunter’s powerful header around the post as the visitors looked to get the second-period off to a flying start.
Charlton had reverted from a 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2 after the break but still chances were hard to come by. Taylor was frustrated as he looked to square for striker partner Karlan Grant when slipped into the area, but his ball was blocked. Grant had the ball in the net moments later but had been flagged offside from Solly’s header forward.
Bowyer threw Igor Vetokele on for his first Addicks appearance since May 2016 just beyond the hour mark, and the home side had their best opening all afternoon moments later.
Solly linked up superbly with Darren Pratley down the right, the former’s chip inside volleyed wide by midfielder Joe Aribo.
A late rally never really materialised from Charlton and it was the Cod Army who nearly stole a win as we neared added time. Bauer gave away a free-kick on the edge of the area, with Phillips at full-stretch to touch Hunter’s free-kick around the upright.
Charlton themselves nearly nicked it, as youngster George Lapslie saw a header repelled on the line from an injury-time corner. Town then had four on one as they looked to counter but Solly was able to block a shot at the Addicks goal and maintain the stalemate that had looked likely throughout the entire game.
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