Charlton's slim hopes of an automatic promotion place were dashed this afternoon following a 2-1 defeat by Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium in front of 1,806 Addicks. Lee Bowyer has already said that we needed to win our last four matches to have a chance of an automatic place. As it is, we stay 5th.
Charlton hopes were boosted when Oxford keeper Eastwood was sent off early in the second half, but substitute keepers often play a good game. Then Chris Solly collected his second red card of the season. Despite a succession of corners won by the Addicks, and six minutes added on, it was Robbo's revenge.
The game got off to a good start when Aribo was tripped in the area and Lyle Taylor made no mistake in scoring from the spot on five minutes. However, six minutes later Curtis Nelson replied for Oxford with a volley from a corner at the far post. Garbutt then put the home side ahead on 24 minutes with an unstoppable free kick that left Phillips with no chance.
Reeves put in a dangerous corner on 36 minutes, but it was eventually cleared.
Parker came on for Reeves after the break and Charlton reverted to the 4-4-2 diamond. On 53 minutes Solly put in a lofted ball from the top. The keeper was under pressure from Taylor and handled outside the area, receiving the red card. The resultant Parker free kick was deflected just wide. Lapslie was brought on to replace Diksteel.
Bielik slipped and lost the ball and Pearce had to deny Sinclair in the box. Bielik received a yellow card for a shirt pull. Taylor put in a cross to Parker, but he was off target.
Solly received a red card for a late challenge on 73 minutes given the RAF sergeant in charge a second opportunity to march a player off the field and ending Solly's testimonial season.
On 79 minutes Charlton had their best chance with the keeper somehow managing to clear off the line from Bauer. Lapslie got a yellow card for a last man challenge. It could have been a red, but the advantage was played.
The tireless Louis Mendez knows his Oxford United from his Oxford City (unlike his brother) and his report is here: Major blow
Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer was hugely frustrated after the defeat at Oxford. He said that unless Sunderland, Portsmouth and Barnsley all lose this afternoon then Charlton's top two hopes are over. Addicks boss Bowyer felt the Solly red card was a yellow at worst on first viewing. Says nothing changes now with regards to approaching the play-offs - he just wants to win every game.