What a dire night of football at a rather chilly Valley last night. I mentioned briefly in a recent post that with regards to following Charlton, I’d love nothing more than to lose that seemingly ever-present twisted, nervy feeling inside my belly in favour of a season of mid-table mediocrity, just so long as it was in the Championship. However, if last night’s game was any form of representation of what that might be like…perhaps not! The metaphorical Charlton roller-coaster ride took a well earned rest and was replaced by a kids spinning teapot ride! I have nothing but admiration for the hardy visiting northern souls who ventured down for the game: all 80 odd of them! It says something that the brief cheers from some Charlton sections of the ground who thought Elliot had kept out the penalty were louder than the goal celebrations.
Personally, I thought the Charlton players were trying too hard early on in the game. Not for the first time this season, the players caused their own frustrations with ill-judged one-two attempts or cross-field passes, when holding the ball up or making a simpler pass would have been the better option. Those who were at the Leyton Orient game will recall a similar first half performance that, thankfully, was contrasted in the second half. With this particular game in mind, I was hoping Parky was going to calm the boys down and we would come out second half with greater efficiency. I was wrong. This game will go down as a 'done enough....just' match! With Hartlepool suffering a hammering at the weekend, I sensed the average fan considered this to be a formality and more about how many we’d score. It rarely works out that way, and the expectation can often prove counterproductive. That’s not to offer any excuses. We should have won the game. It would have been totally unacceptable if we hadn’t. As fans we can perhaps ask for no more than a win, but what I’d like now is a comfortable win (as Norwich are brilliantly managing every week). As was the case at Wycombe on Saturday, last night's game highlights the fine lines between sucess and failure. Magic Moments or disappointment. They can turn on a knife-edge. At the moment, we're having a bit of luck and fortune go our way, but we need to close out games earlier and more effectively.
Young Scott Wagstaff deserves a mention, though. Up until the early part of this season I have failed to understand what he had to offer Charlton. I’d been left a little baffled by management comments telling me Wagstaff was a great talent. This season, however - granted against weaker opposition - I do understand. It comes down to desire, and Wagstaff clearly has that in abundance. He’s improving his game with every appearance, showing patience and his confidence is clearly growing. At times he looked like a boy amongst men: now he’s a young man amongst fellow pro’s. Good on him. He seems a level-headed lad. I’m left confused about Dickson, though. If anyone can help me out I’d appreciate it!
Of course the most important factor was the 3 points.