Charlton’s U18s are now 10 games unbeaten this season after staging an incredible comeback from three goals down against Ipswich Town at Sparrows Lane on Saturday.
The visitors hit three goals in seven first-half minutes to leave the hosts reeling, but the young Addicks clawed their way back, earning a point at the death thanks to Aaron Henry’s penalty.
23 minutes were on the clock when Ipswich took the lead – Zak Brown slotting home a rebound after stopper Nathan Harvey made a good initial save from a decent effort from the edge of the box.
That lead was doubled in the 26th minute via the head of Liam Gibbs, who raced to the near post to nod home a right-sided corner and the Tractor Boys seemed to take total control on the half-hour mark when they added a third through Brown’s second of the game, rounding Harvey when through one-on-one to finish into an empty net.
Although Charlton had looked dead and buried, a goal deep in first-half injury-time gave them a glimmer of hope. A free-kick was swung in from the left and flicked on to the far post where Charlie Barker was able to take advantage of a mix-up between keeper and defender to see his header squeeze inside the post.
That goal set the Addicks up for their comeback and they had their second 10 minutes into the second period. Another free-kick from the left caused problems for the Ipswich defence and Billy French was on hand to turn the ball into the net from a headed knockdown.
With their tails up, Charlton kept going and were given a golden opportunity to draw level on the hour following a trip in the box. Luca Albon stepped up, only to miss from the penalty spot to keep the score at 3-2.
But more penalty action was to come. Another foul in a crowded penalty box came two minutes into injury-time and the Addicks were given a final chance to preserve their unbeaten run.
Henry put the ball on the spot and made no mistake, sending the keeper the wrong way to dispatch his penalty into the bottom right-hand corner to make it 3-3.
The result leaves the unbeaten Addicks in second spot in Professional Development League 2 – South, only behind leaders Watford on goals scored.
Charlton U18s: Harvey, Barton (Garande 90_, Aidoo, Barker, French, Henry, Agyemang, Albon (Gavin 85), Santos, Thompson-Fearon (Campbell 46), Afrane-Kesey
Subs (not used): Watkins, Buhari
Goals: Barker 45+5, French 55th, Henry 90+2 (pen)
Photo: Tom West