Charlton Athletic 2-2 Cardiff City: Neil Harris earns point on Cardiff debut
(Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images)

Cardiff City came from 2-0 down at half time to escape South London with a draw and ensure Neil Harris took a point from his first game in charge of the South Wales club. 

Goals from Conor Gallagher and Jonathan Leko had the hosts in a commanding position at the break but goals from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Lee Tomlin sealed a point for Cardiff.

Team News 

Lee Bowyer made two changes to the side that started the 2-1 defeat at Millwall before the international break. Deji Oshilaja and Erhun Oztumer came into the side to replace Naby Sarr and Darren Pratley. 

Harris named his first side since being named Neil Warnock’s replacement at Cardiff with both Callum Paterson and Gary Madine coming into the side. 

Story of the game 

The visitors started well, forcing an early free kick that was cleared. A few minutes later they should have opened the scoring. Mendez-Laing won the ball back after his shot had been blocked, he then tricked his way past two Addicks defenders and squared perfectly for Paterson who failed to hit the target from 14 yards. 

They were made to pay for that as on 13 minutes the home side took the lead. Macauley Bonne’s good work down the right was rewarded when Gallagher turned in his cross at the back post to give Charlton the lead.

Cardiff wanted a penalty on 20 minutes. Gary Madine crossed for Callum Paterson who was unable to make contact with the ball. He claimed he was fouled by Deji Oshilaja but referee Darren Bond thought otherwise. Neil Harris – not happy with the decision made his feelings clear to the fourth official. Cardiff went close through Hoilett who’s shot was save by Dillion Phillips before Madine twice went close with headers. 

Against the run of play the hosts made it 2-0. Jonathan Leko latched onto Erhun Oztumer’s ball, charged into the penalty area and smashed past Etheridge to send the hosts into the half time break with a 2-0 lead. 

Cardiff had a perfect chance to get back into the game at the start of the second half. Ben Purrington fouled Callum Paterson. Hoilett’s poor spot kick was saved by Phillips. However, just a few minutes later Harris’ men were back in it. Poor defending from Charlton allowed Nataniel Mendez – Laing to fire home from inside the box. 

Substitute Albie Morgan forced two saves from Etheridge. The hosts were made to pay for not taking those chances. Neil Harris introduced both Omar Bogle and Lee Tomlin, it was the latter who equalised for Cardiff. He was given too much space inside the box and slotted past Phillips to equal the scores.

Oztumer curled a shot over the bar in final few minutes, before Bogle’s flick fell to Aden Flint who couldn’t keep him effort down. Going into stoppage time, Bonne tapped an effort wide. 

Charlton should have won it in stoppage time, but Lee Peltier blocked Bonne’s shot brilliantly to deny the Addicks all three points.  

Takeaways 

Team selection suggests Harris will implement 4-4-2 at Cardiff.

We were all awaiting the team news to see what style Harris would implement at Cardiff. Safe to say we were not surprised when it was released. The two changes were Paterson and Madine. Two big strikers. Similar to what we saw at Millwall during his time in charge at The Den. Once the game started there was an element of directness but also passing and moving around the pitch. They kept the ball for long periods as well. Something Harris’ Millwall team did not often do. 

Another injury for Charlton 

Lee Bowyer was only able to name six substitutes due to the injury crisis at Charlton and due to Darren Pratley’s suspension, and he was dealt another blow. Josh Cullen was stretchered off in the second half meaning its now eleven players injured. 

Charlton’s leaky defence and faltering form.

It’s now nine goals conceded in five games for Bowyers’ men since the 3-0 win over Derby. That also happens to be the last time that the Addicks were victorious. They remain without a win since the 19th October, but that can partly be put down to that horrendous injury list. 

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