Classic fixture fails to do justice to old memories as Charlton and Sunderland play out drab draw
By Yann Tear at The Valley
Charlton 0 Sunderland 0
In the end, it was not a classic fixture between these two sides to sit alongside the two famous ones at Wembley which will rest forever in the hearts of Addicks fans.
It was yet another of those fixtures where you particularly craved the presence of fans.
The Wearsiders would have travelled in droves – some made it to claim a partial view of proceedings from flats behind the Jimmy Seed Stand. Home supporters would have loved to remind the visitors about the deeds of Clive Mendonca and Patrick Bauer in those famous play-off triumphs.
They might even have driven their side to a first home victory of the season, especially during the final quarter when the visitors were down to 10 men and had started to abandon their ambitions to take all three points.
As it was this was a muddle of a match which seldom hit the heights. Too many misplaced passes. Too little composure in the final third. Not much to write home about.
Still, onwards and upwards. Charlton have had to drop back down a division to League One, but they are arguably in a much better place now the ‘Under New Management’ signs have been hung up at the Valley.
Whether or not the era of Danish guitar-loving Thomas Sandgaard proves a success, it feels as if it has to be an upgrade on what went before during the catastrophic reign of Roland Duchatelet, when it is a small miracle boss Lee Bowyer managed to retain his sanity.
Uncertainty was draining hope and Covid has not helped. The club needs this change of mood and narrative.
Not that the lower division will be anything but testing for Bowyer’s men. They struggled to create many openings against a confident Sunderland who have started the season unbeaten.
It needed good reflexes from Ben Amos to thwart Danny Graham, Tom Flanagan and Aiden O’Brien in the first half. And they were lucky Graham, a former Premier League player with bags of experience – skied over from three yards when unmarked at the far post following a low cross from the right.
Hopes rose 17 minutes from time when Sunderland left-back Flanagan was given a red card for tugging back Conor Washington, denying the striker a shot at goal as he raced for a through ball.
But Charlton did not really look like cashing in.
It leaves them with one win from their opening four league matches, but two weeks to work on the training ground before their next game at home to Wigan – next week’s trip to Ipswich called off because of international call-ups.
They will continue to dream of better days to come.
Charlton: Amos – Famewo, Purrington, Pratley – Oshilaja, Levitt (Maddison 84), Watson, Vennings (Aneke 72), Oztumer (Williams h/t), Doughty - Washington, Doughty. Subs not used: Morgan, Maynard-Brewer, Lapslie, Barker