Charlton Athletic and Rochdale played out a frankly bonkers 4-4 draw at The Valley on Tuesday night in Sky Bet League One.
The Addicks went into the game on the back of a poor 2-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley whilst Rochdale were aiming to build on coming back from 3-0 down against Crewe to draw 3-3 on Saturday afternoon.
Indeed, Lee Bowyer had said before the game that Rochdale were the sort of side capable of scoring four or five and conceding four or five and so it proved, as they did both.
Dale were the better side in the first half. Lee Bowyer opted to play three at the back, with Paul Smyth and Ian Maatsen as wing-backs but it allowed the away side to get a real foothold in the game.
Early possession soon yielded a goal for the hosts as nice work from Kwadwo Baah and then Jimmy Keohane teed up Matty Lund on the edge of the box. His first-time strike went in off the upright to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Soon after, too, it was two as Baah got his first of a brace on an impressive night for the 17-year-old. Stephen Humphrys had the awareness to play the ball to his left and there, rushing on unchecked, was Baah to crash home from the left of the box, via the upright – an emphatic finish.
Charlton needed to respond quickly and that they did. Chuks Aneke winning the ball in the box and clipping home neatly halved the deficit but not for long as this game continued to enthral in the first 45.
Baah, again, was the scorer as he picked up the ball on the left-hand side, breezed past Paul Smyth and then rolled the ball across Ben Amos into the far corner. It had shades of Thierry Henry and, though the youngster is not at that level, it was a fine night for him.
Quickly, though, Charlton responded once more. Jake Forster-Caskey ran himself into the ground on the night and did well to work space on the edge of the box. He unleashed a curling effort and, in part thanks to a deflection, reduced the arrears to one.
The first-half wasn’t quite done exciting us, though, as Stephen Humphrys lodged his claim for goal of the night – a thumping left-footed free-kick that nearly took the net with it as it crashed in via the top corner.
4-2 at the break, then, but you sensed there was plenty more to come.
In truth, we were perhaps a little underwhelmed in the first 20 minutes of the second half – though it seems particularly unfair to complain about a lull after what had just been witnessed – but Charlton fans would have hoped for a quicker start.
Even so, they quickly got themselves back into the game and then in fact level, with goals for Aneke and Ronnie Schwartz – his first for the club.
Aneke’s came after a fine cross from Chris Gunter allowed him to stoop down and nod in at the far post whilst Schwartz’s also followed good work from the Welsh right-back.
The former Reading man hassled the Rochdale midfield and the ball broke for compatriot Jonny Williams.
The no.7 raced forwards into space, finding Aneke in the box and he, in turn, laid off for Schwartz. The Dane has been signed to be a poacher from 18 yards in and he lived up to the billing here, sweeping home first-time to have us back all square for the first time since the first whistle.
Perhaps suitably, then, after such a goal glut it was the goalkeepers who had their moments in the sun on a chilly night at SE7.
Twice Ben Amos was at full stretch to tip an Oliver Rathbone effort wide and then a Lund header over late on, before Gavin Bazunu stood firm to send a low Chuks Aneke shot past the post after a lung-busting run from Liam Millar.
There was still time for Jason Pearce to get a second yellow card and therefore a red, too, after a challenge with goalkeeper Bazunu but we’d get no more goals.
A draw at the end of it all, then, with both sides struggling for wins at the moment.