The loss of a player after ten minutes in the first half effected Charlton and combined with an error strewn period of play and several missed kicks cost them dearly as they opened their league campaign with a loss.
Charlton started the game brightly and were rewarded for their play from the opening exchanges with a penalty but the resulting kick missed but when after four minutes Amzaleg was successful with his second effort.
With first match nerves settled Charlton settled into the patterns and several good breaks were made and Alleynians were forced into conceding a string of penalties and enabling Charlton play the ensuing phases of play in their opponents’ half. It was following a driving play deep into the Alleynians half Charlton were reduced to fourteen men when they had a player red carded for retaliation and this was to have a marked effect of their play.
It was following the dismissal that errors started to creep into Charlton’s play and following the award of a penalty to Alleynians they levelled the scores with a penalty. Facing an invigorated opponent Charlton were forced into a fourteen-man defence which proved to be equal to the task and a reduced Charlton set of forwards were not overwhelmed at the scrummage.
Despite the deficiency in numbers Charlton continued to press but unenforced errors aided to a misfiring lineout ensured any real pressure on Alleynians was not maintained for a concerted period of times. Through the first half Reion Raybe had made several promising runs and his first try of the season after thirty minutes eased some of Charlton’s worries and restored their lead.
Holding a narrow lead Charlton seemed almost to lose their ways and Alleynians sensed that they were slowly gaining the upper hand. The last five minutes of the first half proved to be the start of a malaise in Charlton’s play that saw them give away several penalties and Alleynians accepted the opportunities to kick a penalty and score a try in injury time to give them a lead, slightly against the run of play during the half.
Any thoughts of an improvement in Charlton’s play at the start of the second half were dispersed as Charlton’s misfortunes continued and the l=differential in player numbers became apparent as Alleynians began to run at and start to create overlaps which lead to the extending their lead with a penalty after seven minutes of the half and a converted try two minutes later.
With Charlton beginning to attract the referees’ attention for their discipline and thereby allowing Alleynians to increase their pressure and give them further confidence. A third try scored by the visitors, seemly put the result of the game out of Charlton’s reach but in fact had a galvanising effect and Charlton suddenly started to play to their true potential. Direct running by Charlton, following the award of a penalty saw Mark English, making a very welcome return to play, following a series of bad injuries, sparked a revival when he scored a try following a flowing move and with Amzaleg adding a conversion hopes were raised.
Charlton were unfortunate not to score a third try five minutes later with the try line looming they gave the ball away but rectified the error five minutes later when following a period of pressure close to the Alleynians try line Ben Pritchard scored a try and with ten minutes left of the game the winner was now not a certainty. A penalty with three minutes to go, kicked by Amzaleg meant that a converted try would snatch victory out the jaws of defeat for Charlton and to their credit they dominated the last minutes of the game and, when awarded a penalty with seconds to go, they threw caution to the wind but they were denied the win or even a losing bonus point when following a scrum Alleynians ran the length of the pitch to score a converted try with the final play of the game putting the result out of Charlton’s reach.
On Saturday Charlton venture north of the River Thames to play Barking, a side they have not faced in twenty years, hoping to get their season back onto a level keel.