The Addicks claim a 2-1 victory in United's final home game of the season...
UNITED 1 (Bamba 71), CHARLTON 2 (Gudmundsson 39, Lookman 49)
United team: Silvestri, Coyle, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, Bridcutt (Antenucci 66), Murphy (Diagouraga 75), Cook, Dallas (Mowatt 50), Botaka, Wood. Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Wootton, Phillips, Erwin.
Charlton team: Pope, Fanni, Diarra, Teixeira, Fox, Kashi, Jackson, Harriott, Gudmundsson (Suk-Young 72), Lookman (Ba 88), Vetokele (Makienok 82). Subs: Mitov, Sarr, Lennon, Motta.
Referee: Keith Hill
Booked: Kashi, Diarra (Charlton)
Att: 25,458 (363 Charlton)
United’s final home game of the 2015/16 campaign, the visit of already relegated Charlton Athletic, saw head coach Steve Evans make three changes from the previous weekend’s 2-2 draw at Hull City, with Lewie Coyle, Luke Murphy and Jordan Botaka all returning to the starting line-up in place of Gaetano Berardi, Toumani Diagouraga and Lee Erwin.
United, who entered the game looking to extend their four-match unbeaten run, started the brighter of the two sides and called Charlton goalkeeper Nick Pope into action within the opening three minutes. Chris Wood seized upon a loose ball inside the Addicks half and slotted Murphy through to race free on goal, only for Pope to rush off his line and block with his legs.
Charlton soon threatened at the opposite end as Ademola Lookman curled a free-kick just wide from 20 yards out after being tripped by Liam Bridcutt, but United were playing with an air of confidence and the Botaka-Dallas combination that had clinched a point at Hull seven days earlier opened it up for Dallas to drag a low effort wide.
Dallas then had Pope back-pedalling desperately to tip his wicked free-kick over the crossbar as it looked to creep in, before Charlie Taylor fired high and wide after a surging run towards the edge of the Charlton penalty box.
Despite being forced to soak up United’s early pressure, it was the visitors who came closest to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half as Johann Gudmundsson’s low strike cannoned back off Marco Silvestri’s post from 25 yards out.
Leeds saw half chances fall for Lewis Cook and Wood, while Liam Bridcutt lashed over the crossbar from distance after Botaka’s side-footed volley had rebounded into his path, but it was Charlton who opened the scoring on 39 minutes through Gudmundsson.
Morgan Fox burst down the left and delivered a low cross for the Icelandic midfielder to guide home with a simple close-range finish, giving the Addicks a slender lead to take into the interval.
Both sides re-emerged unchanged from the break and Charlton were able to double their advantage within four minutes of the restart, Lookman firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the area after being found in space by Gudmundsson.
Elland Road was stunned to silence as United’s deficit increased, but the hosts looked to mount a quick response and only the Charlton crossbar stood in the way of Wood from pulling one back after heading Taylor’s cross goalwards.
It signalled the start of a decent spell of pressure from Evans’ side, with Liam Cooper heading Taylor’s corner over the bar before Botaka’s effort was deflected behind following a cutback from second-half substitute Alex Mowatt.
The visitors remained a threat on the counter-attack, though, and issued United a timely reminder of their intent to add a third as Callum Harriot curled agonisingly wide from the edge of the area.
Botaka then looped a header over the bar from a corner under pressure from Pope, before United did manage to pull one back on 71 minutes, captain Sol Bamba heading home his fourth of the season from six yards out after meeting Taylor’s inch-perfect cross.
Mirco Antenucci had replaced Bridcutt moments earlier and the striker came close to a quick-fire equaliser after threading into the area by Wood, only for his strike to be blocked by Pope from a tight angle.
United’s attack pairing soon combined again, with Antenucci taking his turn to slot Wood through on goal, but Pope was there again to deny the New Zealander with his feet.
United threw everything forward as the game entered six minutes of stoppage time, but there proved to be no way through despite late efforts on goal from Bamba, Cooper and Cook.