Loan watch: Josh Cullen nets last-gasp Charlton equaliser

Josh Cullen

Josh Cullen demonstrated nerves of steel in netting a last-minute penalty, as one of six West Ham United loanees in action this weekend.

Cullen and Charlton travelled to the Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon to take on top-of-the-table West Brom, for whom fellow loanee Grady Diangana was also in action.

The Baggies took the lead early on in the first half when Matt Phillips converted Matheus Pereira’s accurate ball to the far post after ten minutes, and the two sides continued to trade chances in an engaging first 45.

After the break, Diangana was somehow denied West Brom’s second by Addicks keeper Dillion Phillips, who spread himself to deny the winger from merely yards out.

Minutes later, and Charlton’s Macauley Bonne had headed in an equaliser after Cullen’s shot long-range strike deflected into the air, stranding goalkeeper and defence and leaving the striker with the simplest of finishes.

Teenager Nathan Ferguson then saw red for the Baggies - in a bizarre case of mistaken identity, Diangana was initially shown the card before the referee corrected his mistake - before the home team regained the lead with nine minutes remaining through Hal Robson-Kanu.

Cullen would have the last word, however, capping another impressive display four minutes into injury time by sending the keeper the wrong way from twelve yards after Semi Ajayi was adjudged to have felled Naby Sarr inside the area.

The result denied West Brom the chance to stretch their lead at the top of the table, where they currently sit – two points ahead of Preston – while playoff-chasing Charlton ended the weekend in ninth.

Elsewhere in the Football League, promising defender Ajibola Alese recorded his second start for Accrington Stanley, playing the full 90 minutes as they slipped to a 1-0 home loss to Gillingham.

The Academy of Football starlet came close to grabbing his first Football League goal as he header from Mark Hughes’ cross went wide of the mark in the 36th minute.

Accrington dominated proceedings but would ultimately slip to a frustrating defeat when Regan Charles-Cook curled home from inside the area shortly before the hour mark, leaving them in 18th place in League One, two points above the relegation zone.

In League Two, Oladapo Afolayan came off the bench in injury-time to help Mansfield Town see out a 2-1 victory away at Walsall, boosting them up to 14th place.

Martin Samuelsen continued his run of recent starts as a centre forward for FK Haugesund in Norway’s Eliteserien, as they drew 2-2 at home to relegation-threatened Stromsgodset.

With Haugesund all-but-assured a midtable finish with four games remaining, the match was a chance to build some form ahead of their Norwegian Cup semi-final on Thursday evening.

Samuelsen featured for the full 90 minutes, but a first-half brace by the visitors’ Lars-Jørgen Salvesen denied Haugesund victory, despite goals from Niklas Sandberg and Christian Grindheim.

Elsewhere in Scandinavia, Sead Haksabanovic also completed a full 90 minutes for Norrkoping as they came away from BK Hacken with three important Allsvenskan points.

Rasmus Lauritsen’s dramatic 88th-minute goal means fifth-placed Norrkoping could mathematically still finish in the European places, although it would require a number of other results to go their way before and on the day.

Jordan Hugill, meanwhile, will be looking to add to his seven Championship goals so far this campaign when Queen’s Park Rangers play host to Brentford at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium this evening.

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