BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer struck a gloomy figure as Birmingham’s late show at St Andrews on Wednesday evening denied his side the result that he believes would have effectively sealed their Championship safety with two games left to go.
Lukas Jutkiewicz’s 93rd-minute strike rescued a point for Bowyer’s former side, cancelling out Macauley Bonne’s opener midway through the second-half that had seemingly set the Addicks on their way to reaching 49 points with two games to spare.
The two sides directly below Charlton, Hull and Luton, both sit on 45 points and are set to face off at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday. The South Londoners host in-form Wigan Athletic, who are still in the relegation shake-up due to the 12-point deduction they are set to receive for going into administration, pending an appeal.
The Addicks sit two points above the bottom three and have a vastly superior goal difference. Is Barnsley are beaten by Leeds on Thursday evening, then a Charlton win on Saturday coupled with a draw at Hull will see the Addicks safe with a game to spare – before taking Wigan’s punishment into account.
“If we won tonight, for me 49 is safe,” said the Charlton boss, who have now dropped eight points by conceding in added-time this season.
“Looking at who others have got to play, that would have put us on 49 and with our goal difference that would have been that. To concede the way we did, it hurts a lot. Another big game on the weekend. Can we go and win that game? Of course, we can.
“We can’t see a game out. We don’t manage it well. Other teams, they manage the game better going into injury-time. They slow things down, they get fouls, they buy fouls. We don’t do that. There’s no way that they should score there. We’ve got three centre-halves on the pitch.
“They’re bombarding our box with long balls, long throws. It was the only way they were going to score. For the ball to get squared and someone to get a free chance, it shouldn’t happen.
“First-half, I thought we were the better side. Moved the ball well, got in behind them a few times. Just lacked that quality in the final-third. Second-half, I thought we were much better at that side of things. The last pass was always good. We made the right decisions and the weight of pass was good.
“Everything was good but we just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. As long as it’s 1-0, they’ve always got a chance. It should have been done. Finished. But that’s why we’re in this situation, because since we’ve come back we’ve just missed too many chances.”
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS
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