Charlton ended their run of defeats with a 0-0 draw against Sunderland at The Valley.
Jayden Stockley and Scott Fraser came back for Charlton's game against Sunderland at The Valley, but was the real problem the formation as many fans have suggested? Sean Clare (wearing an outfit that Curbs said deserved a fine) said that the formation suited a lot of the players, what had been missing had been a platform up front. Curbs said that the return of Jayden Stockley was crucial.
Nathan Broadhead was brought straight back into Sunderland's starting line-up. The on-loan Everton striker is fit again after recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered in the Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat at Arsenal the week before Christmas.
A Sunderland corner won after five minutes was directed straight at Macca with a header.
A challenge saw DJ on the ground as he was caught on the shin and might have been penalised if there was VAR.
A Sunderland corner was headed away well by Stockley. Sunderland came at Charlton early and tried to attack, securing comfortable possession. The Addicks were being dominated and needed to keep the ball better.
After a great pass from Fraser, Burstow was caught offside. The crowd was relatively quiet despite the generous distribution of free tickets available from your local newsagent. My uncle was never asked to do that in the 1950s.
Lavelle was in late with a cynical challenge and received a yellow card. Every cross seemed to be going beyond the three centre halves.
MacGillivray made a save at the expense of a corner. From the corner Stewart missed a clear goal scoring opportunity for the Black Cats, but he headed wide.
Sunderland were trying to turn the Charlton back line with balls over the top. Good defending by Lavelle dealt with Stewart who headed wide and landed awkwardly. He looked fine to carry on.
Charlton conceded a corner from nothing, Macca put too much on it. DJ got a strong foot to the corner, hitting the top of the Curbishley stand. Sunderland were making life difficult for Charlton when they were in possession.
DJ had to head behind for another Sunderland corner. Charlton couldn't get out of their defensive third and hadn't managed a goal attempt after nearly 30 minutes in. It was another header from Stewart from the corner but again it went wide.
Sunderland won a free kick just outside the Charlton penalty area, 10-12 yards left of the centre marking. Pritchard's free kick was tipped over by Macca for a corner. He certainly had to deal with it. Macca clutched the ball from the corner.
Charlton continued to be on the back foot under pressure. From a Lee free kick Stockley's header went wide.
It started to rain. A sliding challenge from Lee took out Gooch and he received a yellow card for a clear foul on 40 minutes. Pearce defended well for a throw in.
A Stockley header went wide of the post. A ball from Lee was cut out for a Charlton corner in added time. The referee flagged for a push.
Steve Brown commented that in earlier matches we would have gone behind with the pressure we were under. Sean Clare said we had done well to come out at 0-0. Greg Stubley said we did enough to stay in the game and gradually we had grown into it. Scott Minto thought we were playing too long and not giving the front two a chance.
Gunter put in a decent block to stop Broadhead. He then made a great saving challenge. Macca saved from Gooch.
Steve Brown said that Sunderland pressed very well as a unit. It was difficult for Charlton to break through the press.
Macca saved well from Winchester, it was along the deck at pace. Steve Brown said it was a very similar pattern to the first half.
It was quite a bitty opening, but the visitors were in control. Charlton couldn't get sustained possession with fifteen minutes of the half gone.
Charlton won a free kick near the tunnel for a foul on Purrington. Lavelle's header was just wide of the post and went into the side netting.
Gunter had to put the ball out for a corner as safety first. DJ and Purrington got the ball clear, it came back in, Pearce headed it clear and then Stockley. Eventually Charlton won a free kick. Fraser was replaced by Gilbey. Fraser had struggled to get into the game, perhaps still affected by having had Covid.
After a counter attack by Charlton with a hook on by Stockley, Burstow put it wide of the post. He perhaps waited too long to make the shot.
Broadhead came off for Sunderland, replaced by the Spurs loan player Clark who soon looked lively. Gilbey put in a ball to Burstow, but it was blocked. For the first time in the game it was end to end.
Leko came on to replace Burstow who had not made a great impression on the game. Pritchard had to come off after a clash with Dobson, he had looked dangerous at times, but his end product was disappointing.
Pearce made an important interception as Clark approached and the game entered the last 15 minutes of normal time. Purrington got a yellow card for a challenge as the Sunderland players surrounded the referee demanding more.
Macca saved well from Stewart after a good move by the visitors. Roberts replaced Gooch for Sunderland.
Steve Brown said Charlton had been harder to break down, but Sunderland won a corner. DJ headed away. Sunderland got the ball back in but headed over.
The visitors won another corner, the ball deflecting off Gilbey. Charlton dealt with the corner well, Stockley made an important challenge.
Macca had to save again as the Black Cats counter attacked. Five minutes were added on. Leko won Charlton a free kick by drawing a foul. Lee took the free kick but Lavelle failed to score with a header which went over the crossbar. Dobson made a great block as Sunderland threatened and Charlton won the goal kick. Wright fouled Stockley and got a yellow card. Lee took the free kick, but Stockley could not take the opportunity and may have been offside anyway.
Praise for Pearce
Curbs said MacGillivray had had a good game. We put in some good defensive blocks. I thought we were more defensive in our wing back play. We got some decent balls in in the second half, we were just not able to get on the end of it. Sean Clare said we weathered the storm, sometimes we were our own worst enemy. Scott Minto said that Pearce was very good. Sean Clare said you knew what you were getting with Pearcey. Curbs said some of the balls up to Stockley were aimless. Sean Clare said that Fraser was a player who needed the ball.
Jason Pearce said we had 'to get back to basics, we done that. Sunderland had a lot of goals in them, we stayed resolute as a unit. We feel we needed to be tough on each other, nothing personal. Macca made two brilliant saves. Today there was no booing, the fans were really behind us. We need to be better in possession, we will work on that. We are delighted with a point. Accrington's always going to be a tough game.'
Jacko said it was a real battling performance based on hard work and spirit. 'There's been questions asked this week of all of us. There have been some good honest conversations. We looked each other in the eye and said we all need to do more. There was a period in that first half when they were having corners and lots of set plays, Stewart is a real threat in those situations. I thought Craig was excellent. We did a lot of work in the week on limiting the opportunities, forcing them into wider areas, narrower angles. Jayden's a massive player for us, excellent work rate from the front. We need to be better in possession of the ball. Blackett-Taylor is coming close to fitness. We've got another clear week, you can focus on your training, another tough test coming up.'
Charlton remained 16th, nine points above the relegation zone.