Charlton 1 (Lookman 7) AFC Wimbledon 2 (Poleon 76, Barnett 83)
Kevin Nolan reports from The Valley
If you're a believer in the philosophy of might-makes-right, you'll regard this spirited local derby as the inaugural meeting of these South London neighbours. Technically you'd be correct but it might be time to re-calibrate your moral compass. You'll find it's out to lunch.
There is, of course, no point in denying that Saturday's clash was the first time that Charlton had faced "AFC" Wimbledon but there is -and always has been - far more to it than an enforced change of name. Truth is the soon-to-be incumbents of SW19 are the direct descendants of the spiky upstarts who rubber-stamped their meteoric climb to the top by terrorising Liverpool to win the 1988 FA Cup. Since then the outrageous efforts of those ersatz cuckoos in Milton Keynes to hi-jack Wimbledon's imperishable history have been laughed out of the people's court. With a proposed return to Merton Borough in the offing, it might also be time to re-instate Wimbledon's rightful nickname. Be fair, MK Dons?! MK Carpetbaggers, more like it! Works for some of us.
Only fools, anyway, will question that it was the rightful heirs of the rumbustious -and frankly, not entirely likeable - Crazy Gang who arrived at an overcast Valley to join battle with Charlton in League One. Like their forbears, their progress has been irresistible since they re-formed in 2002 and they duly rolled back the years by proving an awkward handful for their hosts. Just as the unpleasant likes of Dennis Wise, John Fashanu and (let's agree not to mention) Vinnie Jones, were often a pain in the posterior, so too were their 2016-17 heirs. Except that they earned a fully deserved away win by operating within the law and without leaving bad blood behind them. They even spotted the Addicks an early lead but plugged away before dispatching them with two late replies of their own.
It had looked so promising for Charlton when Ademola Lookman struck after just seven minutes with a goal he might soon think about patenting as his own. Cutting in purposefully from left to right, there was only one thing on his mind as he dropped a shoulder to fool two trailing defenders. Satisfied that a promising angle had been achieved, he beat James Shea with a crisp drive into the bottom left corner.
Their bright opening encouraged the home side to believe that an uncomplicated win was there for the taking. Nicky Ajose should have doubled the lead after charging down Darius Charles' clearance but lacked Lookman's accuracy in dragging his shot lamely wide. Ajose was quickly handed a chance to make amends when Fredrik Ulvestan's precise cross was nodded down to him by Josh Magennis, only to volley wildly over the bar. Lookman's trickery created another opening and his right-footed shot was heading inside the left-hand post until Shea, at full length and with the first of several outstanding saves, tipped it to safety.
Preoccupied with defending, little was seen of the Southwest Londoners before the interval. Their best -in fact, only - chance fell to Jake Reeves, who pounced on an error by the otherwise faultless Andrew Crofts but emulated Ajose in pulling his right-footed effort weakly wide. But with Charlton unable to capitalise on their superiority, they stayed in the game and bided their time.
Soon after the break, Shea again excelled himself by turning away a meaty volley from Ricky Holmes before riding his luck as Paul Robinson hacked Magennis' dangerous cross against the flummoxed keeper's legs. Substitute Tom Elliott, his shirt firmly gripped by Jason Pearce, managed an off-balance scuff into the sidenet but still the Addicks seemed likelier to score. As Magennis should have done on 68 minutes from Chris Solly's perfectly measured centre. Possibly distracted by Lee Novak's challenge, the burly target man headed wastefully over the bar.
A wonderfully brave block by Ezri Konsa defied Dominic Poleon but the persistent winger was not to be denied much longer. With just over a quarter hour remaining, the former Leed United youth graduate took on both Solly and Lookman to the left of goal, skilfully squeezed between them into the penalty area and poked a cleverly improvised equaliser past Declan Rudd into the near corner.
Charlton's failure to finish off their visitors had clearly cost them but the bill wasn't fully totted up yet. They were still licking their wounds as Poleon fed skipper Barry Fuller, whose peach of a cross from the right touchline was bulleted under the bar by inspired substitute Tyrone Barnett's unstoppable header. That's Wimbledon for you, you make 'em welcome, then they spit on the floor and call the cat a mangy bleeder.
Charlton: Rudd, Solly, Konsa, Pearce. Fox, Holmes, Crofts, Ulvestad, Lookman, Ajose (Novak 68), Magennis. Not used: Phillips, Foley, Jackson, Bauer, Botaka, Lennon.
AFC Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Robinson, Charles, Meades, Bulman, Francomb (Elliott 58), Reeves, Barcham, (Barnett 76), Poleon, Taylor (Whelpdale 82). Not used: Clarke, Nightingale, Parrett, Kelly. Booked: Bulman.
Referee: Oliver Langford. Att: 11,927 (1714 visiting)