The fighting spirit that has spread like a contagion among Charlton Athletic supporters seems to have infected the team as well.
It might be too little too late but the Addicks’ new never-say-die attitude won them the praise of their manager and, more importantly, three vital points as they continue a last-ditch attempt to stave relegation.
The fourth minute of injury time arrived with Charlton all square with Birmingham City and then Jorge Teixeira appeared to head home a winner from a corner – evidence that no-one has quite given up the ghost in south London just yet.
Earlier Johann Berg Gudmundsson had equalised six minutes after Jon Toral had opened the scoring for the Blues on 32 minutes.
Charlton are still six points from safety.
After the match coach Jose Riga said: “The players showed a lot of character because we conceded first and, often in the past, that has been the end. So they reacted very well and in the second half we pushed and pushed and showed that we wanted this win.
“That’s great for us because it shows that we have people on the pitch who are fighting until the end and looking for the same thing and I’m happy because we deserved this win.
“We’ve seen the other results, but as I have said to my players: first we have to do our jobs. Sometimes we have good news, sometimes not so good in terms of other results but the first step is to do our job.”
The protest by fans looking to persuade owner Roland Duchatelet to sell up saw sponge balls thrown on the pitch which led to a four-minute delay at the start of the match, a delay serenaded by fans singing “we want Roland out” and the waving of black and white scarves.
The ownership had further provoked Card – the Campaign Against Roland Duchatelet – by issuing another statement , in conjunction with the Met Police – about the protests.
The statement said: “A number of criminal acts in recent games have taken place and the club are working with the MPS to identify offenders and, where appropriate, bring them before a court for prosecution and/or seeking bans.”
A Card spokesperson said: “[The regime is] linking peaceful protests with criminality, including explicitly hooligan behaviour at an away match months before Card was even set up.
“It is a shabby and insulting attempt to cover up their complete inability to run a professional football club, which is the real reason thousands of Charlton fans have been moved to protest.”
Asked about the sponge ball protest, Riga said: “I know that there are two stories from today’s game and I want only to be involved in the sporting one, but we really felt that the fans were pushing us today for the whole 90 minutes.”