Match report: Lads held at Charlton

Charlton Athletic 0-0 Sunderland AFC

Sunderland were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

Alex Neil’s side controlled the opening 45 minutes in South-East London, but the first half ended goalless despite the Lads registering seven shots on goal and securing 63% of the play.

Nathan Broadhead and Dennis Cirkin threatened to break the deadlock following the restart, with Carl Winchester also trying his luck from distance and forcing a save.

Charlton’s first real opportunity of the game fell to Sam Lavelle, who headed Elliot Lee’s free kick wide with 62 minutes on the clock at the Valley.

Mason Burstow spurned a couple of half-chances soon after, as the home side continued to shift through the gears and Alex Pritchard was forced off due to injury.

The Black Cats signalled their intent heading into the final stages with the introductions of Jack Clarke, Elliot Embleton and Patrick Roberts, but Charlton continued to frustrate and claimed a point at the final whistle.

On his return, Broadhead bypassed the bench and was named in the starting XI in the capital, as the on-loan Everton striker made his first appearance since December. 

Manchester City loanee Callum Doyle returned to the matchday squad, but Jermain Defoe and Leon Dajaku missed out and didn’t travel to SE7. 

Sunderland crafted the first opportunity of the encounter, but Ross Stewart’s early header was straight at Craig MacGillivray.

The goalkeeper denied Cirkin before the 20-minute mark after the left-back connected with a deep cross to the back post, which was expertly dispatched by Lynden Gooch.

And the Addicks continued to live dangerously when the resulting corner was whipped into the box, as Stewart once again towered over the Charlton defence and glanced a header just wide.

Gooch’s delivery from the right continued to cause problems, but Stewart headed two further opportunities off target and the home side came through the opening half-hour unscathed.

Sunderland continued to pepper MacGillivray’s goal and the Scottish stopper did well to turn Pritchard’s 25-yard free-kick behind to ensure the opening period ended level.

The Lads picked up where they left off following the restart, but a superb block from Jason Pearce thwarted Broadhead and Cirkin’s low drive was cleared off the line.

Charlton’s first real opportunity of the game fell to Sam Lavelle, who headed Elliot Lee’s free kick wide with 62 minutes on the clock at the Valley.

Johnnie Jackson’s side threatened more as time progressed and the game continued to open as a result, as Burstow dragged one effort wide and saw another blocked.

Sunderland were dealt a blow 15 minutes from time when Pritchard was helped off the pitch following a challenge by former Black Cat George Dobson, with Elliot Embleton following Jack Clarke into action.

Incisive play from the former immediately sliced open the Addicks backline, but Stewart was denied by MacGillvray after seizing upon the academy graduate’s threaded ball.

After building his fitness with the Under-23s on Monday, Patrick Roberts was tasked with making a late impact at the Valley

Embleton and Pearce both went close in added time, but it ended level in South-East London.

Charlton Athletic: MacGillivray, Lavelle, Pearce, Gunter, Jaiyesimi, Fraser (Gilbey 65), Dobson, Lee, Purrington, Stockley, Burstow (Leko 73).
Subs not used:
Famewo, Morgan, John, Matthews, Harness.

Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Evans, Gooch (Roberts 81), Stewart, Winchester, Xhemajli, Cirkin, Pritchard (Embleton 75), Wright, Matete, Broadhead (Clarke 69).
Subs not used:
Hoffmann, Neil, Hume, Doyle.

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