Charlton, who twice trailed by two, produced a stunning added-time comeback to rescue a point against Ipswich Town. Here are Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from a memorable encounter.
One for the ages. We’d been treated to a compelling second-half already, but a rollercoaster period of added-time saw the Addicks fall two goals behind before rescuing the most unlikely of points.
Those who remained in The Valley were sent into raptures when George Dobson’s 99th-minute header looped over Christian Walton to make it 4-4 – barely minutes after Town had taken a seeming insurmountable lead through strikes from Freddie Ladapo and Sam Morsy.
Terrell Thomas had brought it back to 4-3 in the 96th minute but no one could have predicted what was to come next.
Charlton seemed reasonably well organised in an uneventful opening half-hour before the afternoon’s first controversy. A whistle blew in the crowd as Town were in on goal –a let off for Ben Garner’s side.
But the visitors did edge ahead just before the break and doubled their lead shortly after the restart. Addicks boss Ben Garner was sent off for his protests as Tyreece John-Jules appeared to be offside when he headed the second in.
But Charlton rallied and worked their way back onto level terms – before the astounding ending that will be spoken of for years to come.
Ben Garner lost the plot yesterday. Fully. I’ve never seen a manager show such a frenzied display of pure emotion as when the Charlton boss was led down the touchline following his dismissal, flailing his arms around. At the time it felt like a manager who had lost control. A figurehead leads by example so I wondered how he could demand cool heads from his side when he had fully lost his.
But it worked in his favour. The crowd answered his call and were whipped into a frenzy. When Jes Rak-Sakyi halved the deficit, you could feel The Valley abound with belief. It was the Addicks and their fans against the world. And Ipswich crumbled to surrender their two-goal lead.
It’s hard to claim that same crowd pressure played a part during the second comeback late on as most had, understandably, left. But those who did remain were treated to another show of excitement from Garner at full-time.
It’s fair to argue that managers should be professional enough to keep a lid on their emotions. But I’m yet to speak to a Charlton fan who hasn’t felt more aligned with Garner since yesterday’s chaos.
CBT AND ANEKE
In all the excitement of the added-time comeback it was easy to forget that Charlton scored all four of their goals in the final half-an-hour – and all of them after Corey Blackett-Taylor and Chuks Aneke were introduced from the bench.
Blackett-Taylor has blown hot and cold at times this season, but he has the ability to provide such impetus when he is at it. And yesterday he was so effective. It was his shot that was spilt by the vulnerable Christian Walton into the path of Morgan and he also provided the assist for the Thomas goal that gave the Addicks a glimmer of hope.
And what can you say about Aneke that hasn’t already been said? People will look at his stature and assume he’s nothing but a battering ram, but he has the close control of the ball to partner his physicality and drive the Addicks up the pitch. His part in the fourth goal, where he picks the ball up on halfway before shrugging off a challenge and feeding it forward, must not be overlooked.
What a difference it would make if these two were available more.
DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE
It wasn’t at the forefront of everyone’s mind at full-time, but the manner of the goals the Addicks conceded yesterday were pretty indefensible.
Charlton’s recent improvement at the back has been largely accredited to having a settled back-four. Therefore, the injuries suffered by Eoghan O’Connell and Mandela Egbo are at risk of disrupting that further.
Garner defended both Terrell Thomas and substitute Sam Lavelle after the game, saying that they’d both been thrown in at the deep end with hardly any minutes behind them. But he’ll certainly hope they can get up to speed sooner rather than later as the Addicks were too easy to breach at times yesterday.
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS
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