An added time Amadou Bakayoko goal secured a late comeback win for the Sky Blues, with both the striker’s goals coming with less than ten minutes remaining.
Despite the dreary surroundings, as the rain poured down throughout, the game enjoyed a bright start, with Lee Burge producing a superb save from point-blank range to deny Karlan Grant and Tariq Fosu’s follow-up cleared off the line from Tom Davies, inside five minutes.
Though Charlton held possession well in the opening stages, City were quick to press the Addicks on the ball and exposed gaps to open up attacking moves.
After Jonson Clarke-Harris had the ball in the Charlton net, only for the play to be pulled back for an earlier foul, his striking partner signalled his intent.
Cutting inside on the right-hand side of the penalty area, after being fed by Tom Bayliss, he unleashed a strike that fizzed over Jed Steer’s crossbar.
Midway through the first-half, and it was Chaplin who went close, yet again. Liam Kelly’s drive from 25 yards was collected by the Sky Blues number ten. Pivoting in the area, his swift shot was angled towards the top corner, but flew wide of the upright.
The home side were quick to respond, however. A floated cross from the left found Lyle Taylor and his header appeared destined to open the scoring, but for another fantastic stop by Burge.
Burge then continued his fine form with less than minutes left in the opening forty-five minutes. After Fosu had threaded a through ball around the Sky Blues backline, City’s keeper responded quickly, rushing to smother the shot of the oncoming Taylor.
Both sides were eager to break the deadlock as the first-half edged to a close. Fosu, a consistent threat from midfield for the home side, fired a shot from 25 yards just wide of City’s right post. Though Clarke-Harris responded for the away side, sending a header wide of Steer’s goal, shortly afterwards.
However, the Sky Blues were dealt a blow in added time as Charlton were awarded a penalty. Lyle Taylor, the player fouled in the box, was the man who stepped up and placed his penalty beyond Lee Burge.
Buoyed by their opening goal on the stroke of half-time, the Addicks dominated possession in the opening quarter of the second period, without creating any clear-cut chances.
With City maintaining their shape and some resolute defending from the Sky Blues backline, Charlton were reduced to speculative crosses into the box, dealt with routinely by the City defence, despite Lee Bowyer’s side’s intricate build-up play.
Just after the hour mark, substitute Amadou Bakayoko saw his shot deflected behind for a corner, leading to an ambitious controlled volley from Tom Davies, as City began to, once again, threaten Jed Steer’s goal.
Continuing their offensive on the Charlton goal, another Michael Doyle corner produced a chance for the Sky Blues to get back on level terms.
With the danger half-cleared, Charlton’s high clearance fell to Tom Bayliss, who struck the inviting ball over the crossbar, as Mark Robins’ side continued to press for an equaliser.
Backed by the vocal travelling Sky Blues in the Jimmy Seed Stand, behind the Charlton goal, City continually pressed forward, as the game neared its final stages.
And City’s relentless pressure paid off in the 81st minute with Bakayoko scoring his second goal in a Sky Blue shirt.
A smart run down the left channel from Luke Thomas, following build-up play between Junior Brown and Jordy Hiwula, saw the young winger beat his full-back to the byline and fire a low cross that was met by a sliding Bakayoko, just yards from goal.
With parity restored, the game appeared set for a dramatic end, as Lyle Taylor forced Burge into action to remind the City keeper that both sides were aiming for all three points. Jamie Ward also saw a far-post header go marginally wide for the home side.
However, shortly after the fourth official announced the added time remaining, the Sky Blues’ late comeback was complete – and it was Bakayoko again, who was City’s goal scoring hero.
Again, a darting ball from the left found the striker in the centre of goal, with his measured header nestling in the far corner, beyond the outstretched Jed Steer to secure an improbable away win for the Sky Blues.
Attendance: 11,743 (1,879 Sky Blues)
Goals: Lyle Taylor, Amadou Bakayoko (2).
Yellows: Liam Kelly
Sky Blues XI: Lee Burge (GK), Dujon Sterling, Jordan Willis, Tom Davies, Junior Brown, Michael Doyle (C), Liam Kelly (Hiwula, 57’), Tom Bayliss, Luke Thomas (Shipley, 88’), Conor Chaplin, Jonson Clarke-Harris (Bakayoko, 57’).
Subs: Liam O’Brien (GK), Jordan Thompson, Abu Ogogo, Tony Andreu, Jordan Shipley, Jordy Hiwula, Amadou Bakayoko.
Charlton Athletic XI: Jed Steer (GK), Anfernee Dijksteel, Jason Pearce (C), Naby Sarr, Chris Solly, Josh Cullen, Tariq Fosu (Ward, 86’), Ben Reeves (Lapslie, 76’), Joe Aribo, Karlan Grant, Lyle Taylor.
Subs: Dillon Phillips (GK), Kristyian Bielik, Albie Morgan, George Lapslie, Igor Vetokele, Jamie Ward, Nicky Ajose.