Charlton came from behind to earn a well-deserved point against Nottingham Forest where a lot of focus was on the events off the pitch as well as on it.
LEWIS CATT reports from The Valley
It is worth noting before this report begins that both Charlton and Forest fans observed a minutes applause at The Valley on Saturday. This was a tribute to those connected with both clubs who we lost in 2015 and Charlton Live would like to extend our condolences to any friends of family of someone who may have passed away in 2015 connected to Charlton and Nottingham Forest. It was fitting for me that this game was chosen again as the tribute as my Grandfather passed away in 2008 and he had many connections with Nottingham Forest. It was a nice way for me even after almost 8 years for him to be part of the tribute.
Karel Fraeye made three changes to the side that lost to Wolves on Monday with Jordan Cousins returning to the starting XI. The academy product having to be withdrawn at Bristol City on Boxing Day due to collapsing after an illness. Simon Makienok returned himself in place of the injured Ademola Lookman. The most notable inclusion however was Callum Harriott, having only just returned from his loan at Colchester United. The winger coming straight into the side hoping to make an impact after a fantastic loan period with the U’s.
There was also a place for new loan signing Rhys Williams on the bench after he joined the Addicks on an initial 28-day loan from Middlesborough. Johann Berg Gudmundsson also returned to the squad following a knock but he could only take his place on the bench.
Charlton burst forward early through Harriott who you could see was determined to prove a point. He almost played in Makienok but the ball fell just the wrong side of the big Dane. Forest had a soft penalty appeal rejected by Trevor Kettle when Chris Burkes cross brushed the arm of Morgan Fox. A decision I could picture this referee giving but thankfully not.
It was looking like another stalemate 45 minutes before Forest squeezed themselves in front. Some poor defending from the Addicks led the ball only being half cleared for the impressive Osborn to curl into the top corner. This is something the home side must work on. I noted all 11 of our players were defending that corner as opposed to seven Forest players. Yet we still concede. The Addicks went down the tunnel 1-0 down wit a flurry of boos to accompany them. The cries of ‘We Want A Manager” echoed down from the Covered End.
Charlton re emerged for the second half with Johann Berg Gudmundsson coming on to replace El Hadji Ba. Gudmundsson looked lively from the off, playing in an unfamiliar centre-attacking role rather than on the right flank. The impressive Harriott skipped around two players before shooting just wide. The Addicks then came painfully close an equaliser when Makienok got on the end of a Jordan Cousins delivery only for the outstanding Dorus De Vries to deny him once again. He was just as good in the last fixture between the two sides at The City Ground.
A fantastic tackle by Harry Lennon prevented a second for Forest before finally the Addicks pulled it level. It was Harriott again who knocked in a fantastic cross and Makienok got on the end of it to guide the ball into the bottom corner.
Tareiq Holmes-Dennis came on in place for Jackson but was quickly sent off for two bookable offences. Forest were keen to make most of the advantage. Naby Sarr blocked an Oliveira effort and when the loose ball dropped to Henri Lansbury it deflected off Oliveria just wide of the goal.
Four minutes of stoppage came up on the board and although Forest had the numerical advantage it was The Addicks who almost one the game on two separate occasions. Firstly Harriott broke through on goal only to be denied by Dorus De Vries. The resulting corner was cleared but only as far as the young winger and he struck the ball from 25 yards out, only to produce a stunning save from De Vries.
The final whistle went, Karel Fraeye still subject to boos but the Valley faithful cheered their team off the pitch on a day they probably for the first time in a while deserved all 3 points.
Henderson, Solly, Sarr, Lennon, Fox, Ba (Gudmundsson, 45), Cousins, Jackson (Holmes-Dennis, 65), Vaz Te (Williams, 79), Harriott, Makienok.
Man Of The Match
“We conceded very late in the first half, so again that was a big blow before you go into the changing rooms. Then Johnnie Jackson came off injured so we had to reorganise the team, and then we got the red card so we had to reorganise again, not forgetting that we wanted to win it. If things had gone for us, I think we would have deserved to win the game.” – Karel Fraeye
“I think we look good in the midfield area-our passing game was back to where it should be today. We looked comfortable throughout the game. Their best spell was in fact when they were down to 10 men. It made them dig in a little bit. We didn’t take advantage, which is disappointing. It is something we need to work on.” – Dougie Freedman
· We still need to work on our defending of set pieces. We had our whole team defending the corner, which resulted in a forest goal.
· Callum Harriott was fantastic, a real breath of fresh air, glad to have him back.
· Rhys Williams looks like he can be a good addition. He came on the pitch and started motivating the whole team especially Lennon and Sarr who seemed to listen to him.
· The protests before and after the game were fantastic. Observed in the perfect way by all fans. Every Charlton fan that took part can be proud of themselves. We have fans like no other club and I am ever so proud to say I’m an Addicks fan for these exact reasons. Lets hope this is the start of something big in getting back the Charlton we all love so dearly.
You can follow Lewis on Twitter – @LewisCatt9