Monday 30 October 2023

Too Easy For Bolton

I never expected that we would necessarily get anything from Saturday’s game against Bolton but I had hoped that we put up a better fight. I’d hope for a reaction to Tuesday’s awful display but we simply didn’t get it.

However, before we’d kicked a ball in anger we were always going to be up against it due to the team selection.

I’d said in my last post that it was time for Tedic as it was clear we were going to need a physical presence up front. Instead Appleton opted to leave our two big strikers on the bench and Tedic failed to appear at all!

Added to that Louie Watson was again left out in favour of Fraser. I’m afraid that Scott was as disappointing as he’d been in the Lincoln game. The manger later tried to justify the decision by stating that most of us aren’t seeing how the oppo get round the back of Louie. What? And that’s not the case with Fraser? Utter tosh!

On top of all this again we opted to defend short corners with only one player going over. Funny but in the resulting 2 v 1 scenario Bolton got past us and it led directly to the first goal. It’s been coming for weeks.

The second goal was partly down to the ref but we could all see what was going to happen unless you were wearing a red shirt on the pitch. As bad as the ref was there it ought to have been dealt with. The lack of awareness of leadership was all too evident.

2-0 down after 21 minutes and we all knew the game was up.

Much has been made of Appleton’s use of subs but here he spectacularly failed to even at half time.    

In fact 58 minutes elapsed before a change was made. 2 further changes were made but as I said our strapping striker on loan from Man City never appeared.

CBT had a poor but Mickey boy decided not to give Kirk a run out. I’m far from his biggest fan but he is a winger and why have him on the bench and not use him if CBT is not doing the business?

This performance allied to the Lincoln one made it a really poor week for us. A large portion of the blame has to go to the manager.

I know the second half was better. However, in every game we seem to have a poor half followed by a better one. Why can’t he get it right from the start?

As unfortunate as Aneke’s injury was I’d also point the finger at Appleton for that. I know he scored but starting Chuks when you know his history and he was still recovering from the previous injury was poor in my opinion. Now we’re without him for months.

One has to question whether given the resources now available whether Holden wouldn’t have done as well if not better. Maybe not but it’s a fair question to ask.

When the gaffer starts talking about Xg and the January transfer window you know he’s clutching at straws. That he’s doing so at such an embryonic stage of his Charlton reign is worrying.

The next two league games are looking very tough especially as they’re both away and we all know how that’s gone this season!

I’m still prepared to give Appleton the benefit of the doubt but he needs to sort things.

Hector doesn’t deserve to stay in the team, Ness ought to be given a run in the side and Tedic should be given a go in his proper position.

We need to sort the basics like defending short corners, not have everyone back at corners etc.

They all need a kick up the backside and someone needs to show some passion and leadership.

Let’s hope we can at least show some of that tomorrow night against a resurgent Wigan.

Come On You Reds!

Friday 27 October 2023

Time For Tedic!

Tuesday's performance is probably best forgotten. When the only player to emerge with any real credit is AMB it tells you how bad we were. We missed out on a chance to move up the league and a win ironically would see us where Lincoln are now.

We had been on a good run of course but now it's all about how we bounce back. Hopefully it will serve as a kick up the backside not that one ought to be needed when you're playing one of the top sides in Bolton.

Bolton were my favourites to win the league and I see no reason to think that won't still be the case. They have the occasional blip but are largely consistent and score well although clean sheets are a bit of a rarity.

Last season Bolton finished 5th and narrowly lost out in the playoff semis to Barnsley. They will want to improve on that this season.

The lads need to be really up for this one and it will require us to be physically strong in order to be competitive. As such I think Fraser is a luxury we can't afford tomorrow. The same could be said of Hector. He seemed to have turned a corner last weekend but reverted to type on Tuesday. 

Appleton has appeared reluctant to drop him but I'd bring Ness in for him as the errors are too frequent.

The absence of Chuks is a massive blow. He carries a threat that none of our other strikers does. The impact that he has off the bench in particular is more than useful. If played in his more accustomed position then it's time for Tedic to step up.

If he has anything about him then he ought to be champing at the bit to go and show what he can do. He ought to be able to imposed himself physically and be up for it. Let's hope he shows some real desire and aggression tomorrow.

The manager needs to shake it up a bit as we're in danger of becoming too predictable and our over reliance on CBT makes it easy to stifle the majority of our attacks as Lincoln proved on Tuesday.

If we can raise our game and match the Trotters then it should be a good game. For the second week running we can look forward to a full away end and that will add to the atmosphere.

Come On You Reds!

Monday 23 October 2023

Royals Rumbled!

One player’s performance reflected that of the team on Saturday and that was CBT. He ended up as many people’s man of the match.

Our number 23 had a poor first half where his decision making and execution let him down. Like all skilful players he can frustrate and delight in equal measure.

CBT’s second half display like the team’s was all together better and he ended up with three assists and was central to our win.

The first 45 minutes wasn’t very good from us and a better side would have gone 2 or 3 up as they had the better chances much as they continued to do in the early stages of the second period.

I know Chuks scored but I wouldn’t have started with him as I feel he’s better coming off the bench. He took his chance well and it was a well executed header. Sadly, I fear the worst with the injury he picked up. Certainly his reaction to it suggested the worst and now we face being without him for some time I suspect.

In the first half we failed to play to his strengths, there were no balls played into his feet so that he could lay it off or attempt to turn the defender. It was such a waste!

We really need to improve our opening efforts as better teams will not be so forgiving.

After a 4-0 win it seems a bit harsh to be even slightly critical but if we are serious about achieving at least a play-off place then we need to make that improvement.

It was pleasing to see Hector have a decent game and he looked more like the player we know he can be. He and Jones worked well together and the Welshman had another impeccable game.

After being repelled mostly by Reading’s impressive number 32, Nelson Abbey (I’d be more than happy if we got him) we finally made the breakthrough. From then on the goals kept coming.

Each of those goals was quality and it was nice to see us score four and for them to be so good.

Campbell’s strike was superb as was his assist for Leaburn’s goal.

The one sour note from Saturday was the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton. He was an England legend who won everything in the game. He was a real gentleman and no one has a bad word to say about him. He was a true giant of the game. RIP Sir Bobby.

Appleton’s unbeaten start continues and fair play to him. If we can overcome Lincoln tomorrow then it’ll make Saturday’s encounter with Bolton all the more appetising.

The Trotters will present the new manager’s biggest test to date.

Lincoln have just dispensed with Mark Kennedy and Tom Shaw is in caretaker charge. The Imps managed a 1-0 win over lowly Fleetwood at the weekend.

The Charlton connection for this game is Reeco Hackett-Fairchild. He went off injured on Saturday and so we wait to see if he’ll play.

Given the number of clubs he’s managed it ought not to be a surprise that for the second time in a few weeks we come up against one of Appleton’s old teams. He is more fondly remembered by Lincoln fans than Blackpool’s.

A win tomorrow would be quite timely and a real shot in the arm for our drive up the table.

Come On You Reds!

Friday 20 October 2023

Elizabeth Line Derby

It was with great foresight that the Elizabeth line was commissioned by planners that appreciated that come the 2023/24 season it would be needed to transport fans both ways for their respective league encounters. 

The first instalment of the Elizabeth Line derby takes place tomorrow and such is the plight of the Royals, especially when playing away that The Addicks are favourites. Oh dear! That’s never a good position for us as any seasoned Charlton fan will attest. 

Appleton is unbeaten to date as Charlton manager so what could possibly go wrong! I suspect I won’t be the only one having a small wager on an away win in order to soften the blow should it come to pass. 

As referenced above, it is the away form that has been the issue for the Berkshire Boys this season. They have secured some good wins at home although in a couple of matches the oppo has suffered a red card I note although in one of those it was so late as to make no real difference. 

Reading have had a tough time of course with bad owners and we know all about them eh? It’s to be hoped that their fortunes turn around and things improve for them. 

Amongst their ranks is 20 year old Charlie Savage, son of Robbie. It’ll be interesting to see if Young Savage (one for Ultravox fans!) possesses the same combative style as his dad. 

Dom Ballard on loan from Southampton is also one to watch and I’m delighted to say an ex-Addick is in their ranks in the form of goalkeeper, David Buttton. He played a handful of games for the Addicks in the 2012-13 season. 

I can’t see us setting out much differently to how we did last time. I do hope that Aneke is held back as sub as I feel that’s he’s most effective coming on from the bench. 

Despite Fraser being fit again I believe Louie Watson deserves a start over him. 

Namesake Tennai came in for some criticism last time that I felt was unwarranted. I’d have him start again. 

Whatever the starting eleven one hopes that we don’t see repeat of the first half bad, second half good scenario. We need to be more clinical in and around the box and cut out the silly defensive errors.    

Come On You Reds!

Monday 9 October 2023

Groundhog Day

It was Groundhog Day at The Valley on Saturday as we witnessed another insipid first half performance from the Addicks and a better second that enabled us to salvage something.

I do wish Appleton would give up on the idea of playing strikers wide on the right. Leaburn and now Tedic have both shown it’s not really for them.

We created very little in the first half and I think I’m right in saying that we didn’t have an effort on target until well into the second. That’s quite damning as a team in reasonable form against a fellow mid-table outfit.

As in most games this season the goals we conceded were down to poor defending. For the first Rhodes lost his marker all too easily and had plenty of time and space to finish.

The second was down to Hector as he got robbed after failing to clear the ball in a dangerous area with no cover.

Hector seems to be immune from being dropped or subbed. He has made some real howlers of late but he is still starting. It wouldn’t hurt to drop him to the bench. I’d like to see Ness given another chance.

Appleton is bold in making changes and he’s not afraid to make two or three subs at one time. However, a lot of the time these are to address the fact that we haven’t set up correctly in the first place.

Added to that I’m not sure why he didn’t make the changes at half time. Leaving it until a few minutes into the second period means getting fresh instructions out when it could all have been done in the dressing room.

Of course, one of those changes saw the main man enter the fray. Chuks changed the game for us. It was quite some performance from him.

His run and assist for May’s goal was simply outstanding. Power and pace allied to great determination saw him get past the defender. He could easily have opted to shot rather than set up Alfie and it was as wonderful as it was unselfish.

CBT’s run and finish for his goal was amazing and another bit of quality. Sadly, that was a rare bright moment in a largely forgettable game for him.

Momentum was truly with us and we had some good chances to score again with one notable effort that really did land in Row Z!

To be fair the Seasiders ought to have scored from the header late on that was thankfully directed straight at AMB.

Good to see that Morgan got a decent reception and got on the pitch. The Blackpool faithful’s singing about why he left was stretching credulity though!

With next Saturday’s postponement there’s no league action for 2 weeks. Tuesday sees us in EFL Trophy action. Appleton is on his own in his love for that. We really don’t need to be playing meaningless games like this especially as we’re already playing catch up with league games.

Let’s hope Appleton is able to put the spare time to good use. He can iron out the defensive errors and pick the correct eleven from the word go!

Friday 6 October 2023

There's A Famous Seaside Place Called......

There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool

That's noted for fresh air and fun

And Mr. and Mrs. Morgan

Went there with young Albie, their son

A grand little lad were young Albie,

He played to his best,

But never really impressed,

Now beyond the bench he does rarely progress.

Blackpool are next up in SE7. Amongst their ranks of course is Albie Morgan formerly of this parish. Most of us recall Albie as a player who tried hard and shone on occasion but could never achieve the required level of consistency.

One hoped that a move away might help him but it would appear that despite him featuring the opening games of the season he is now an occasional squad member.

Having been out od the squad completely, Albie returned to the bench last Saturday. One assumes that Neil Critchley will be tempted to at least have him on the bench tomorrow as he may feel Morgan has a point to prove.

Someone else with a point to prove of course is Appleton. He had an unsuccessful spell as manager and is not as fondly remembered by the Blackpool fans as those of Oxford.

The Seasiders record this season is almost identical to ours and they sit one place and point above us. They’ve enjoyed some highs and lows with pretty much the same mixed bag of results as ourselves.

One has to assume the we witness the same starting eleven for the Addicks. I can’t see that Aneke is up to another start in 4 days. That leaves the quandary as to who plays up front.

Appleton will probably go for a straight swap of Leaburn replacing Aneke and keep May in a number 10 role that he did well in and have Tedic out wide.

Louie Watson ought to start again. He has been great. I’d include the other Watson in that too. Tennai offers us so much attacking threat on the right. Without him nothing comes from there and it’s all about CBT on the left.

This is a game we ought to be confident in winning not least because of our recent form. However, we can’t keep making the silly defensive mistakes that we have. Tuesday saw another howler and as is often the case Hector was involved.

With all his experience he should know better and not up being a great big, silly old Hector!

The weather looks good this weekend, the team should be confident, Appleton has a point to prove, there’s a better squad to chose from and hopefully we’ll see a decent crowd. It should be great, right? I mean what could go wrong!

Come On You Reds!

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Addicks Hit Four!

A surprising starting eleven for the game versus Exeter. Some of out of choice with some due to injury. Not least in respect of AMB being restored to start in between the posts. Not before time some would say as Isted hasn't filled us with confidence.

It was a bit of a shock and a bold move by Appleton so it was good to him rewarded with the win. Chuks made his first start since God knows when and that alone was a shock as most of us thought he'd only play off the bench. 

Charlton started positively and pushed City back in the early exchanges although they had a couple of half chances themselves.

The lino had a couple of tight calls for offside when he flagged CBT and more importantly Chuks in the 20th minute just as the number 22 had slotted home. This followed a lovely through ball from Louie Watson. Both were very close........if only we had VAR!!!!!

Two minutes later and rank bad defending from us allowed a simple through ball sent Scott through to put the Grecians 1 up. The blame for that looked to be down to Hector who was simply too far up the pitch leaving the goalscorer in acres of space.

In a lovely move in the 38th Minute Scott nearly scored again as he turned a cross just over the bar.

Before that Exeter could well have been ahead with at lest two glorious chances coming close.

Shortly after that Hector nearly made amends for the goal as he turned and shot just wide. It was a nice effort.

Just before half time and CBT equalised and overall it was deserved. A nice cross from May was met well by Chuks whose header clipped the underside of the bar. Fortunately, CBT reacted quickest to slam the ball into the net.

The Addicks started the second half brightly and continued to press and create chances. Eventually good play by Tennai who again reminded us what he offers going forward led to a penalty. I know Chuks needs a goal but he really shouldn't have taken it. Fortunately, the man who should have done was alert enough to be on hand to convert the rebound.

Aneke's disappointing spot kick was to prove the last bit of action for him as he gave way to Leaburn soon after. 

City came back into the game despite going down to 10 men. However, Miles Leaburn put the final nail in the Grecian's coffin with a lovely control and hard hit, accurate shot that simply flew into the net.

It was quite timely as the Addicks desperately needed to replace some tired legs. That duly happened as Watson x 2 and Tedic were replaced by Fraser, Campbell T and Asiimwe.

The Addicks kept pressing and a fine run by CBT was unselfishly laid back to Leaburn who couldn't quite convert it but that man May was on hand again to smash the ball into the net.

All in all a good result and performance. There is still room for improvement of course. We gifted their goal, we looked exposed when leaving only two back against their two forwards in the first half and when Tennai went off we offered nothing down the right against ten men and a team 4-1 behind!

It was a lovely cameo from Leaburn. We really did miss him at the start of the season.

Appleton's unbeaten run continues. Blackpool up next in SE7 and I note that Albie was an unused sub last night. I wonder if we'll see anything of him on Saturday?

Monday 2 October 2023

A Missed Opportunity

A missed opportunity on Saturday as again we didn't set up right from the start and despite changing things in the second half we failed to score and get the win.

My hope before kick off was that we wouldn't see Leaburn out wide again but that's what we got. What a surprise then that this failed to yield any return. This experiment needs to end now. We need to play two up front and that's it.

The first half by all accounts was a dreadful affair. I don't think we even managed a shot on target. We were lucky not to be two or three goals behind and that it wasn't was largely down to Isted who finally showed up for a game although he was lucky not to see red as he took out one of theirs.

The second half saw a better effort but not sufficient to get us a goal sadly.

Appleton made reference to some players not pulling their weight. After this display it's difficult to narrow that down as to exactly who he might be referring to!

No week off this week as we entertain Exeter City on Tuesday. The Grecians are 5 points better off than us thanks to a decent start to the campaign. However, like Shrewsbury they are on a poor run of form. Playing at home we really ought to be securing the 3 points.

To do so Appleton needs to get it right from the start. He may well opt to rotate the players slightly. However, the win is everything and given the our boys having only been playing one game a week of late they oughtn't need to be rested.

Tedic must be close to starting a game. If so, please God he doesn't start out wide like Myles has been! Watson L should start, why he didn't on Saturday is another mystery.

The 5th yellow card for May must come along soon and one hopes that Appleton has considered his striking options for when it does. Perhaps he may even try it at some stage in a game before he is forced to do so!

For a second successive match I can't find an opposition player with a Charlton connection so may be it isn't as common as I thought. However, Saturday's visitors definitely have one although whether he sets foot on the pitch is unknown as he hasn't featured in their last two games.

In the meantime let's secure the win against Exeter.

come On You Reds!