On a glorious autumn afternoon City made their third trip to London in the space of a month. City lined up in a familiar 4-5-1 formation, with Jansson retaining his place between the sticks, a back four of Duffy, Archibald-Henville, Taylor and Seaborne. In front of the defence was Edwards and a midfield of Russell and Harley with Stewart on the right and Noone on the left. Stansfield was the lone striker.
The match started with City defending the goal in front of the away fans, and it needed to be defended. With the whole team sitting deep, Lloyd Sam on the Charlton right was a menacing threat, despite a good performance from Seaborne he was able to get in some telling crosses in the early exchanges and it looked like it would be a very long afternoon.
Stewart fouled Youga and from a couple of yards out of the area to the right of the goal Shevley sent a stinging free kick into Jansson's arms.
Charlton continued to press and from a cross half way through the first half a header from Baily was destined to put the hosts into the lead, however Deon Burton in trying to get out of the way actually got in the way and the ball ballooned off his head over the bar to safety.
The Charlton defence had an easy ride up until now with all clearances soon coming back, but City then had their first chance of the game. A long angled ball from Edwards found Harley. He pulled the ball back and from the edge of the area with a slight angle Stewart hit a weak shot towards goal not under much pressure. However this seemed to give City faith that their could be something in this game for them and for the rest of the half they came more and more into the match.&nbsp;
City's fans were in good voice at The Valley
From a corner Matt Taylor had a chance that looked a goal all the way until the defender cleared his powerful header from under the bar.
As half time was approaching a draw seemed fair as City had come more into it, but with four minutes until the whistle a quick short corner found Sam on the edge of the area.&nbsp;He played a cross across the face of goal about six yards out and Bailey was able to simply finish from close range. It did appear as if one of the defenders should have been able to clear the cross before it got to the goal scorer.
The second half started with the same team, but Archibald-Henville was moved into midfield with Edwards moving back. Stewart and Noone changed wings. City started with much more purpose and the balance of play was very much moving towards the Grecians.
Troy was magnificent in the second half, he was winning loads of ball in midfield and showed a pleasing level of distribution. He rose highest at a corner early after the restart and his header went over the bar when you would have backed him to score.
Corr replaced Stansfield on the hour and shortly after Noone was sent through on goal by Harley, as the keeper came out Noone poked the ball under him and ran away to celebrate. The linesman however had determined it to be offside, the television might clear that one up, it looked too close to call from the City end. From the restart Logan was brought on to replace Noone.
Exeter continued to probe and assault the Charlton defence but with not a lot of threat on the actual goal. It was neat crisp passing, occasionally one too many, that was doing the good work. Charlton were not offering a large threat to the City goal and it looked like an equaliser was soon coming.
However with three minutes of normal time left McLeod broke City hearts. A soft cross came in from the right and Jansson spilled the ball to McLeod who had an easy task to poke the ball home. Finally City did get their goal it was just too late. Elliot in the Charlton goal spilled a soft shot and Cozic following up had his shot hit the underside of the keeper and the ball bounced over the bar. From the resulting corner the ball was headed in from close range by Cozic.
Charlton kept the ball well for injury time and the game came to an end with City unlucky not to take a point home.
Stansfield started upfront on his own
Overall this is a performance City should take a lot of heart from. Once they were confident to match their opponents they caused them a few problems against a team that is tipped strongly for automatic promotion. Matt Taylor was excellent at the heart of the defence, Archibald-Henville was magnificent in midfield,.
Noone was a constant thorn in the side of the Charlton full backs and was delivering good balls. Jansson had a good game other than the second goal and should be proud of the rest of his performance.
Harley also had a good day, tackling is still not his strength, but the space he is finding in this division is allowing him to pass the ball and show the great talent he does have.
Next up are Swindon at home on Tuesday quickly followed by Hartlepool on Saturday. Despite the large difference in league position with each opponent, the league is still extremely tight. Where would you rather be for the coming week?
Line&nbsp;Up:&nbsp;Jansson, Duffy, Seabourne, Archibald-Henville, Taylor; Stewart (Cozic 83), Harley, Edwards, Russell, Noone (Logan 67), Stansfield (Corr 61).
Subs (not used): Marriott, Tully, Watson, Dunne.
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