Crystal Palace 2 (Rak-Sakyi 15, Banks 75) Charlton 2 (Stockley 38, Davison 79).
Kevin Nolan thoroughly enjoys not only Charlton's encouraging performance at Selhurst but a rousing reprisal of Dave Clark Five's Best Hits.
Charlton's pre-season preparation is coming along nicely. Three days after holding Championship hopefuls Reading to a creditable draw, they moved up a level and gave Crystal Palace all they could handle in an entertaining 2-2 stand-off. Twice behind, they showed commendable heart to share the honours in a fixture which, friendly or not, carries with it that indefinable frisson of mutual animosity.
On the evidence of these back-to-back performances, Nigel Adkins has every reason to profess himself satisfied with his squad's progress so far. "I'm really pleased with our spirit and togetherness," he declared, "same as the weekend. Certainly the young players have done themselves a world of good."
He might also have mentioned the impressive fitness shown by all twenty players who drove Palace to distraction by their incessant pressing and closing down on every inch of Selhurst Park's pristine pitch. With a handful of first team members still missing but close to returning, the Addicks promise to be a rare handful for their League One rivals. They can play a bit too, it's worth mentioning.
There was, of course, a blot on their escutcheon, a disastrous goal gifted to the Eagles after fifteen minutes of harmless sparring. Loitering on the ball despite the menacing presence of Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, Craig McGillivray delayed what was otherwise a routine clearance long enough for it to be charged down and unluckily re-routed into a gaping net.
Their freak goal triggered a burst of "Glad All Over", which naff-as-ever Palace insist on playing whenever they score. There's nothing as irritating or insulting as goal music; shame it wasn't followed by Dave Clark Five's other hit "Bits and Pieces" when Jayden Stockley equalised before the break. That neatly describes the defensive debris left in the home side's six-yard area when Albie Morgan's inswinging corner was touched on by Sean Clare at the near post and forced over the line by the brawny Stockley, who did what comes naturally to bustling centre forwards when they sniff an unmissable chance.
Neat and constructive, Charlton emerged from a nip-and-tuck first half on level terms. It might have been more productive had James Tomkins not smuggled Stockley's looping header, from an Adam Matthews cross, to safety from under his crossbar. But then Jordan Ayew should have made more of the chance he created for himself by skilfully rolling Akin Famewo but instead shot tamely at McGillivray.
Charlton's new keeper more than redeemed his earlier gaffe with the stunning double save he pulled off in the second half. His parry from Tomkins' point-blank effort was stunning, his instinctive stop to deny Cheikhou Kouyate's conversion of the rebound even more impressive; Rak-Sakyi netted Palace's third attempt but was ruled miles offside. Not that the home loyalists noticed, if their wild celebrations were anything to go by. Glad all, er... glad erm,... well, not glad at all, as it turned out.
With a quarter hour left, however, the Eagles did legitimately regain the lead. Substitute Jean-Phillipe Mateta exchanged passes with Scottish teenager Scott Banks, who steadied himself before bashing an unstoppable drive into the top right corner. That, at the time, seemed to be that but we reckoned without the unquenchable fighting spirit which Adkins and Johnnie Jackson have made part of Charlton's make-up.
Scorer of the Addicks late equaliser at Reading, Hady Ghandour's determination created the opening for Josh Davison to crash a lusty drive past substitute goalie Remi Matthews. That's Davison without a second "d", by the way, as carelessly printed on both the teamsheet and Palace's in-house website report. There was, meanwhile, an impromptu outbreak of "Glad All Over" in the press box which was rightly discouraged and died almost instantly. Press Box neutrality is, after all, an old school tradition; The alternative leads to anarchy. There were those among us, though, who were chuffed to bits when young Josh scored. Guilty as charged, m'lud! Now it's on to Fulham next Saturday, with nothing to fear but fear itself, as JFK remarked. And then begins the task of hauling ourselves out of this ghastly division once and for all. Bring 'em on. Bring 'em all on.
Charlton: McGillivray, Gunter (Roddy 76), Dobson (Gomes 46), Famewo (Elerewe 46), Pearce, Jaiyesimi (Ghandour 46), Morgan (Vennings 46), Matthews (Barker 46), Clare (Dempsey 46), Stockley (Davison 62), Washington (Clayden 46).