Sunderland left to rue missed chances and share the spoils at Charlton

Sunderland were left to rue a number of missed chances in the first half as Charlton Athletic fought back to earn a point at the Valley.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 05 January, 2019, 16:52
Luke O'Nien netted for Sunderland at Charlton

The hosts themselves will feel they should have earned all three points after dominating the second half.

They were as lively after the break as they were sedate before it, with Luke O'Nien putting the Black Cats ahead and Charlie Wyke missing a host of chances to make it more.

The pre-match talk had been dominated by the talk of Josh Maja's future but the 20-year-old remained in the side and the Black Cats started with impressive focus.

Yet again they came up against a side lining up in a narrow diamond and it took them just two minutes to take advantage in the wide areas.

A good move swept the ball out to Lynden Gooch, who played a clever pass into the path of the onrushing Reece James. His first-time cross found Luke O'Nien at the back post, whose precise volley left Dillion Phillips with no chance as it looped into the far corner.

For the opening quarter it was one-way traffic, Aiden McGeady and Max Power both missing decent opportunities to test Phillips from range.

Charlton were surprisingly cautious on the ball, leaving the impressive Lyle Taylor watching on as his defenders knocked the ball around.

Sunderland's press was excellent and created a number of good openings.

An excellent flick from Gooch released Charlie Wyke on goal, but the striker sliced his effort wide.

The two combined just moments later when Gooch smashed an effort off the crossbar, the rebound dropping just too quickly for Wyke who headed over the bar.

Charlton began to get a bit more joy as they went more direct to Taylor, and had their first shot just short of the 40-minute mark when youngster Albie Morgan dribbled to the edge of the area, shooting straight at Jon McLaughlin.

Defensive midfielder Krystian Bielik then hit a crisp half volley just wide after Tom Flanagan headed a cross to the edge of the area.

That threat was a warning to Sunderland, with Wyke missing another good opening when he raced onto a dreadful backpass, but he took too long to shoot and the defence were able to recover.

Wyke's play through the half had been excellent but lacking a touch of confidence in front of goal, the Black Cats went into the break with a narrow lead.

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It lasted just five minutes.

Taylor spun into space on the right and his cross took a wicked deflection off James, McLaughlin left with no chance as it looped into the net.

The visitors were rocking and were immensely fortunate when Darren Pratley missed a free header from a matter of yards soon after, the midfielder unmarked at the back post as a free kick was floated in.

After their sterile possession in the first half, Charlton were now attacking with pace and finding a number of openings. It looked they would take the lead with 20 minutes to goal when Taylor made a good run behind the defence, but McLaughlin did superbly to turn away his shot with an outstretched boot.

The Black Cats had an ever bigger let-off when Taylor sent a cross to the back post, where Karlan Grant somehow turned wide with the goal gaping.

Sunderland were rocking but nearly snatched a goal on the break when substitute Duncan Watmore did brilliantly to surge past a number of defender, cutting back inside but shooting straight at Phillips.

He came even closer a minute later as Phillips got down to block his effort from a narrow angle.

Charlton continued to press but it was Watmore who had a major chance to win it in stoppage time, turning a cross from fellow substitute Chris Maguire over the bar.

Sunderland XI: McLaughlin; O'Nien, Flanagan, Baldwin, James; McGeouch, Power; Gooch (Watmore, 67), Maja (Maguire, 83), McGeady; Wyke

Subs: Ruiter, Ozturk, Sinclair, Mumba

Charlton XI: Phillips; Dijksteel, Bauer, Sarr, Solly; Morgan (Williams, 68), Bielik, Fosu, Pratley; Taylor, Grant

ubs: Maynard-Brewer, Marshall, Clarke, Ajose, Hackett-Fairchild, Stevenson

Bookings: Baldwin, 37 Power, 52

Attendance: 16,317 (3,125 away)