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  • By Yann Tear

Charlton rouse themselves after lukewarm start but are beaten by late Pirates plunder

Charlton (0) 1 Kanu 73

Bristol Rovers (0) 2 Sinclair 58, McCormick 90+7

With the season in its infancy, Charlton fans will still be on the fence about which way their season is likely to go under Dean Holden.

Are they going to get the genuine promotion push they have failed to come up with in recent wasted seasons?

This disappointing blank at the Valley will have done little to raise expectations.

Scott Sinclair, who once had spells on loan at Charlton and QPR, put visiting Bristol Rovers ahead just before the hour and Charlton responded through sub Daniel Kanu, who swept in a low shot past keeper Matthew Cox, having only been on the field eight minutes.

But Luke McCormick found the net for Rovers in the dying seconds of seven added minutes to ruin a rousing fightback.

The match winner had only been introduced off the bench just before the start of injury time.

The ball squirmed under Ashley Maynard-Brewer, the low shot dispatched from an angle and which maybe should have been kept out.

For 18-year-old Kanu, it was his first league goal and the result of a finely-weighted pass from Karoy Anderson.

Charlton's campaign began with a gritty London derby win over Orient on the opening day but subsequent defeats at Newport (in the Carabao Cup) and at Peterborough at the weekend have left Addicks supporters none the wiser.

This is a club which used to feel as if it is the the wrong division, but currently feels entrenched in League One status. Maybe this time, it will be different, but not on this evidence.

Not that Joey Barton's Pirates were likely to prove a pushover, having grabbed a handy draw at Portsmouth and at home to free-scoring Barnsley in their first two games,

After surviving an early scare when Maynard-Brewer had to claw away a rising shot from Rovers skipper John Marquis, the Addicks settled down to create problems of their own.

Nathan Asiimwe was lively down the right flank and linked up with Alfie May to create the first moment of danger before firing over himself from inside the box. Corey Blackett-Taylor had a couple of darts down the left flank and Panutche Camara linked play promisingly.

But it was the visitors who stole in front after a scoreless opening half, when a free-kick from outside the box by Antony Evans was palmed away by Maynard-Brewer but quickly recycled back across goal by Aaron Collins for Sinclair to tap in from no distance.

Soon after, Sinclair lobbed just over and only a goal-line clearance by Lucas Ness denied Marquis a second Rovers goal after the striker had rounded the Addicks keeper.

Cries of "Wake up Charlton" were in abundance at that stage, but Charlton rallied to draw level and were then on the front foot for most of the finale. May thudded against an upright and had a run on goal ended by a professional foul as a home win almost materialised.

Yet one last attack for the visitors bore fruit and the points were lost.

In the end, though, the fence-sitters had no firm reason to make up their minds which direction their team will be travelling in in the months to follow, despite the late setback.

Addicks: (4-1-4-1) Maynard-Brewer - Asiimwe, Jones (Hector 76), Ness, Edun (Thomas 84) - Dobson - Payne (Kanu 65), Anderson (Taylor 77), Camara, Blackett-Taylor - May

Pirates: (4-4-2) Cox - Hoole, Taylor, Crama, Gordon (Grant 65) - Thomas (Vale 65), Ward, Evans (Loft 83), Sinclair (Finley 65) - Collins, Marquis (McCormick 89)

Attendance: 12,756


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