It was always going to be a tough night for Addicks. As if Sunday's cup disappointment wasn't enough, the loss of our hero and leader on Tuesday was the icing on a very shit cake. It felt odd being at the Valley under a new regime of management, but it was to the credit of the 12,000 or so hardy Addicks in attendance that the focus was on supporting the team. The period of applause on 3 minutes to mark our respect and gratitude for Powell was universally received and was an emotional moment for us all. One I won't forget.
The new man, Jose Riga, stood in a suit as sharp as one Chris would have worn, but it felt like he was trespassing in the Charlton dugout. I will give him my support as it is not his fault, but it will take some getting used to. The anticipated widespread persecution of Roland Duchatelet never materialised and given that he was in attendance last night, he may well consider that he's dodged a bullet. I can only recall the Covered End singing 'We Want Our Charlton Back' on one occasion. It was an odd atmosphere, but certainly not toxic as many predicted. My personal view is that's a good thing; as I said above, the focus was on supporting the team.
Perhaps, in truth, some people are ready to move on far quicker than others. Each will deal with Chris going differently. I sit in an area almost dead centre of the East stand, predominantly around older faces who've been there, seen it and done it before and the atmosphere felt no different. Perhaps in the Covered End, where some of the younger lads sit, the mood was not quite the same. Roland's intentions seem questionable to put it politely, but only time will tell if they were misinterpreted. I can only hope with all my heart that they were.
Despite the dark clouds surrounding this game, Charlton got off to a decent and lively start, lead, as always, by Johnnie Jackson's passionate drive. There was a very visible difference in the play and thankfully an absence of those long balls up field that never, ever worked. Morro and Dervite were solid at the back and to his credit Sordell looked lively and hungry up front. Ajdarevic continued to look for the killer ball, but sadly we still look as blunt as ever up top.
To everyone's relief, Hamer was included over Thuram-Ulien and he pulled of a decent one handed save from a rare Huddersfield attack very early on. It is not clear who picked the team yesterday (some reports it was Dyer) but hopefully Riga will disprove the 'puppet' accusations and stick with Hamer going forward. The keeper position is the perfect litmus test of how influential Duchatelet is in team selection.
As time went on you could see the edginess creeping into Charlton's play, but all things considered, that was more than understandable. Considering most of these players know only too well they won't be here next season, you could not fault the effort and commitment.
A simple look at the stats of the game would suggest a draw was the right result, but in Charlton's position, a point was not really enough despite games in hand. More pressure on us getting a result Saturday, then, when we head over to our not-so-friendly neighbours for a real 6 pointer.
A trip to Millwall. Just what we need after the few days we've had.