United contest goalless draw at the Valley...
CHARLTON 0, UNITED 0
Charlton team: Henderson, Solly, Diarra, Lennon, Holmes-Dennis, Cousins, Jackson (Makienok 81), Gudmundsson, Reza (Ba 81), Lookman, Vaz Te (Ahearne-Grant 88). Subs: Pope, Fox, Sarr, Charles-Cook.
United team: Silvestri, Wootton (Berardi 48, Byram 90+3)), Bellusci, Cooper, Taylor, Dallas, Cook, Adeyemi, Bridcutt, Mowatt (Botaka 63), Wood. Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Murphy, Doukara, Antenucci.
Referee: Andy Davies
Booked: Cousins, Reza (Charlton), Wootton, Mowatt, Bridcutt, Bellusci, Cook (United)
Att: 15,867 (3,129 United)
United made the trip to Charlton looking to make it back-to-back Championship victories, and head coach Steve Evans named an unchanged starting line-up from the previous weekend's 2-1 win over Hull City. The only change came among the substitutes, as Gaetano Berardi returned from suspension to occupy a place on the bench.
It was the hosts who made the brighter start at the Valley, with Reza Ghoochannejhad coming inches away from opening the scoring on the 10th-minute mark after being slotted into the area by Ricardo Vaz Te, only to see his low effort roll just wide of the far post.
Ghoochannejhad then fired over from 25 yards out after being found in space, before Ademola Lookman forced Marco Silvestri into his first save of the afternoon following a swift Charlton break from a United corner.
Silvestri was equal to the Addicks’ joint-top goalscorer’s low drive, getting down sharply to his right to beat it away with two strong hands, before Stephen Henderson was called upon for the first time at the opposite end to clutch Alex Mowatt’s goal-bound free-kick.
Chris Wood then saw his deflected first-time effort loop over Henderson’s crossbar just after the half-hour mark, but a largely uneventful passage of play followed until the first half approached two minutes of added time.
Lewis Cook aimed to pick out the bottom corner with a curling attempt from 20 yards out, only to see it bounce wide of the far post on the 43rd minute, before Johann Gudmundsson smashed over from range for the hosts after being invited forward by the United defence.
Silvestri then comfortably clutched a low strike from Ghoochannejhad, while Mowatt volleyed over the Charlton bar in an end-to-end finale to an otherwise forgettable opening 45 minutes.
The second half continued at a similar tempo, with Charlton making a lively start but with little in the way of goalmouth opportunities. Evans was prompted into his first change of the afternoon just three minutes after the restart, replacing Scott Wootton, who was walking a tight rope after an early yellow card, with the returning Berardi at right back.
Silvestri leapt across his line to smother a low attempt from Addicks captain Johnnie Jackson, before United – now attacking towards the vociferous 3,129 travelling fans – had carved their first openings of the second period.
Stuart Dallas was at the heart of it, first hitting a low cross which was just out of reach of Lewis Cook at the back post, before forcing Henderson into a near-post block to turn behind his low strike after working himself into space inside the area.
The resulting corner saw Charlie Taylor blaze a first-time effort over the bar after being picked out unmarked, before Silvestri was called into his finest save of the afternoon so far to somehow claw away Ricardo Vaz Te’s attempt which looked destined for the bottom corner.
Leeds, with Jordan Botaka now on in place of Mowatt, started to put their hosts under a spell of sustained pressure as Tom Adeyemi drilled Cook’s cut-back wide before Cook’s effort cannoned back off the unassuming Wood inside the area after fine work from Dallas.
The biggest chance came with 10 minutes remaining on the clock. Wood found Botaka inside the area, who in turn played in Adeyemi to loft the ball over the onrushing Henderson and agonisingly clip the outside of the post.
Berardi then smashed well over the bar after Henderson had fumbled a cross into his path under pressure from Wood, but that proved to be the right-back’s final involvement as he was forced off on a stretcher during four minutes of injury time to be replaced by Sam Byram.
There was no late drama, though, as referee Andy Davies’ full-time whistle ensured the spoils would be shared.