Well I would have taken a point before kick-off, so shouldn’t really feel deflated. Yes, we should have held on after taking an undeserved 2-1 lead in the 94th minute, but just like our last visit, we conceded an even later equaliser.
It was another game of two halves, like many last season. We started brightly and had the better of the first-half. Wollacott’s habit of leaving his clearances to the last possible moment had me panicking at times and Inness and O’Connell looked far from comfortable up against a big home side. Thankfully, Clare and Sessegnon were on their games and did a lot of tidying up.
Albie Morgan had a good first-half and it was a surging run through the middle after 37 minutes that lead to our opening goal. With the home team back-pedalling, Morgan pushed the ball into the path of Jayesimi on the right and he took the ball towards the goal line before cutting it back into the path of Ryan Fraser who swept it in from ten yards. Stanley had created a few decent chances, one of which Wollacott had to palm away at full stretch and a couple of far post opportunities that they missed.
After the break, the home team came out transformed and immediately put us under pressure. They were breaking quickly and getting the ball out wide before crossing to the back post from both sides. Just when I thought we might have weathered the storm, they struck. A break down the right beat Sessegnon and the other three at the back all shifted over to counter the attack which left the back post exposed. When the ball fell for McConville he had time to control it before driving it high into our net. The home side continued to press and missed two glorious chances for the lead before Stockley missed a header from close range.
With loads of added time due to several prolonged treatment breaks we knew there would be a lot of stoppage time and when Miles Leaburn rose in the centre of the goal to meet substitute Payne’s lofted chip, Charlton fans the world over took a collective breath as the son of a former favourite thumped the header in just as his father did so many times. The joy and relief were palpable but they also found the net a minute later to burst our bubble.
Still far to early to be drawing conclusions, but perhaps we saw some of Garner’s ambition in the first goal but also a complete inability to maintain any form of press. More worryingly, we were creaking at the back when they put us under pressure and we struggled to relieve it.
Sessegnon had a good game and was often found in midfield or backing Blackett-Taylor in the opposing half. Morgan too played his part but it was disappointing how little we saw of George Dobson. Stockley had more touches in midfield than the final third but our supply was limited.
Derby County will provide a stronger test on Saturday, when another draw wouldn’t be a terrible result.