Charlton Athletic secured a 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic at The Valley on Saturday afternoon as several new faces impressed but one of the old guard secured the victory.
There were plenty of new names in the Charlton XI as the team news was revealed at 2pm. Recent signings Ryan Inniss, Andrew Shinnie, Paul Smyth and Chris Gunter all made their full debuts.
For Wigan, Joe Garner was back in the side and Curtis Tilt was making his own debut after joining in the transfer window, whilst Tom Pearce was missing with injury.
The two sides came into this one in 16th and 17th respectively in the League One table and the first-half reflected that close nature, though Charlton did have the better of the possession.
It was the Addicks who had the best chances early on, too, with Jake Forster-Caskey going close twice.
He’d first see an inventive back-heel flick saved smartly by Jamie Jones down at his near post, before the crossbar came to the Wigan stopper’s rescue as Forster-Caskey’s swirling left-footed free-kick, won by good running from Paul Smyth – something we saw a lot of, promisingly for Charlton – hit the woodwork and bounced behind.
Wigan had good chances of their own in the half too, though, with Darnell Johnson crashing a header downwards from a corner that Ben Amos reacted to well with his feet, before Joe Garner brought the ball down and flashed wide a half-volley for the visitors.
Two big chances for the away side, then, but it was Charlton who’d next go close.
Chuks Aneke had already shown a lovely touch with his right foot to bring the ball down in the box earlier on and here, he did the same.
He shrugged off his marker, bringing down the ball in a fine spinning motion on his right – drawing oohs from those in the stands – and then advanced on goal, Jamie Jones was quick to it, though, and smothered Aneke’s attempt as he sprawled himself out.
0-0 it was, then, at the break.
The second half began with both sides shouting for penalties, though more out of hope than expectation.
Wigan were up in arms as Will Keane went down attacking a Viv Solomon-Otabor cross but Ryan Inniss, solid on his debut for the hosts, was adjudged to have won the ball.
Minutes later, Darren Pratley went down under a challenge, claiming he’d been held but, again, the appeals were waved away.
Pratley would get the next real chance of the game, meanwhile, as Chuks Aneke, again with velcro on his feet, brought down the ball and drove into space from the inside right. He slid in Darren Pratley who was advancing into the box down the left, but Jamie Jones was again quick to come out and force the ball behind.
Charlton’s next chance, however, broke the deadlock. A free-kick, just to the right of the D and about 10 yards further back from the box, had Jake Forster-Caskey standing over it for a third time. He’d hit the cross bar, sent one over and, here, opted to go low instead.
He snuck it past the wall, past a scrambling Jones in the Wigan goal and in off the right-hand post – third time lucky it truly was for Charlton’s number 8.
Wigan’s response to that resulted in a chance for Kal Naismith, though he never really grasped it. Allowed to turn, he advanced towards the edge of the box and looked to curl home but it was too near to Amos who gladly collected.
The Latics would have a better chance to equalise later on, meanwhile, as Lee Evans’ firm strike hit the underside of the bar and eventually was bundled out of play. Wigan’s players appealed for a penalty in the aftermath, even a goal, but were unsuccessful in both as the Addicks got away with it.
With seven added minutes, Charlton fans could have been forgiven for fearing the worst in terms of a late Wigan goal but in truth it never came close to happening as the Addicks kept the Latics at arm’s length.
A 1-0 win for Charlton, then, with plenty of positives for Lee Bowyer to build on as his new faces continue to bed in but it was, perhaps conveniently, one of the club’s longest servers that showed them the way here as Forster-Caskey proved the difference.