Stevenage's League One play-off hopes took another hit after a draw at Charlton Athletic.

The 0-0 stalemate leaves them three points behind both Lincoln City and Oxford United, who both won, and with five games to go, time is slipping away to get in the top six.

They gave it a go in the second half, after an atrocious first period from both teams, but with goal difference not on their side, they now need a slip-up from one of their rivals.

Steve Evans had said after the 0-0 draw with Bolton on Good Friday that he was likely to make changes as he would want to freshen it up.

In the end there was just the one change from that entire squad, Carl Piergianni back from suspension and in for Kane Smith, who missed out on the 18 altogether.

There was a change in formation though, a back four used again with a diamond in the middle, Nesta Guinness-Walker moving to the left side of that with Dan Butler and Luther Wildin returning to their full-back duties.

Although to be honest, it didn't matter how either side lined up as for the first 30 minutes, this was horrible.

It took 27 minutes for the first shot of the afternoon, a truly woeful effort from Alfie May that curled high and wide into the Stevenage following.

Four minutes later, Alex MacDonald fired an effort straight into the arms of Harry Isted.

What followed before and after was not worth mentioning, but since that's the job, here goes.

You could perhaps say that the early going, afflicted by poor control and wayward passing, was a consequence of the showers that hit The Valley for the period around 3pm.

You could say that but it would be kind.

When passes did go to team-mates, there was no quality and nothing that was ever going to unlock a defence.

At half-time there was theStevenage's play-off hopes were floating off down the Thames and into the estuary, both Lincoln City and Oxford United winning.

That was the bigger picture though, the real hope was that something would change in the interval - a tactical switch, a rocket, anything.

That was the same thought from Boro and they brought three fresh faces on to try and spark something.

And it did.

One of those subs, Nick Freeman led a counter and while he could have slipped in another replacement, Vadaine Oliver, the cross that eventually came in was glanced behind by Jordan Roberts.

George Dobson then lashed a shot over the top at the other end from just outside the box and Freddie Ladapo nodded tamely into the arms of Taye Ashby-Hammond.

The keeper almost gave May a free goal but after his clearance only went to the striker 30 yards out, he recovered in time to catch the ball as it came back.

It was far more open though, Boro's need to get a positive result leaving gaps.

The next chance belonged to the visitors as Oliver met MacDonald's cross, his nod back across goal flicked onto the roof of the net by the head of Jamie Reid.

Wildin and Freeman were both off target with other chances but Charlton should have scored when Tyreeq Bakinson poked wide from seven yards, moments after coming on.

Boro entered the last 15 by taking Reid and Roberts off and replacing them with Harvey White and Kane Hemmings.

Oliver's aerial presence was becoming to come into play more and more and he had two chances in a private duel with Isted.

He didn't connect well with the first from a Wildin cross but it still had the keeper at full-stretch to grab it.

He met the second better, a looping delivery from Butler finding him a the back post. This time Isted palmed it behind.

Piergianni then nodded a White free-kick wide of the target

Five minutes of added time brought a final roll of the dice but a last-gasp corner was cleared.

Match details

Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond, Wildin, Butler, Piergianni, MacDonald, Roberts (Hemmings 76), Vancooten, Burns (L.Thompson 46), Reid (White 73), Guinness-Walker (Oliver 46), B.Thompson (Freeman 46).

Sub (not used): MacGillivray, N.Thompson.


Booked: MacDonald 22


Charlton Athletic: Isted, Thomas, Dobson, Hector, May (Bakinson 69), Ladapo (Aneke 62), Watson (Ness 73), Small, Kanu, Coventry, Edmonds-Green.

Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Edun, Campbell, Lualua.


Booked: Watson 43


HT: Charlton Athletic 0 Stevenage 0

Added time: 6

Referee: Scott Oldham (Poulton, Lancashire)

Attendance: 14,251 (including 1,043 from Stevenage)