Phil Parkinson needed a win today like he's never needed a win before. He had to get a response after last week's humiliating home drubbing in order to stabilise the ship and earn himself more breathing space as the Addicks' boss. He made four changes to the starting line-up from last week and two of them did the damage in the border town of Carlisle as Charlton took a two-nil lead in at the break. After making it 3-0 immediately after the restart, Parky looked to have answered the critics and to have prolonged his managerial reign.
Incredibly, his players somehow managed to let him down in spectacular fashion by conceding three second-half goals as they wilted pathetically. In another game where we only managed to perform in one half, questions will undoubtedly have to be asked about the quality and mental attitude of this squad. And yet, Paul Benson somehow managed another last-gasp goal which earned Parky the most amazing win he was so desperate for.
Scott Wagstaff had a lively first-half and provided the cross for Johnnie Jackson to skate onto and finish at the far post after 23 minutes. Jackson himself had been moved up to the right wing as a replacement for the injured Kyel Reid and it was him who supplied the cross for Joe Anyinsah to score at the near post seven minutes before half-time to put the Addicks firmly in control. Benson had missed a sitter only seconds before as Wagstaff squeezed yet another cross into the six yard area.
Benson must have been feeling a heel at half-time because he scored straight after the restart with a well-placed shot which should have effectively ended the match as a contest. Joe Anyinsah had a goal disallowed for a foul on the keeper before the tide turned.
Carlisle battled back and Mike Grella, on loan from Leeds, fired home after Carlisle had seen a goal disallowed only moments before. What looked like a consolation was given more significance after Curran scored on the hour. At 2-3, it was all Carlisle and observing Charlton fans had an uncomfortable feeling about what might be about to happen. Sure enough, Madine scored the equaliser after a deep back-post cross beat Rob Elliot and we braced ourselves for the coup de gras.
Amazingly, not only did we survive what Carlisle threw at us, but we broke out to score a late winner as Paul Benson netted again from a powerful header to earn a famous victory and throw his boss a lifeline. If Richard Murray has no intention of sacking Phil Parkinson, this is the perfect opportunity to come out and make it clear to, hopefully, kill off the "Parky Out" business (if only for a few weeks). If he doesn't, then I think it only fair to conclude that Phil remains under massive pressure and that anything other than a prolonged winning streak will see him being given his cards sooner rather than later.
It's never particularly easy being a Charlton fan and now is as testing as any time I can remember. Can we build on this next week or will we immediately crumble again? Believe-it-or-not, we are up to 11th and only three points behind second-placed Bournemouth. It really is a poor division and one any side with something about them should be leaving. As if to emphasis that point, Brighton are six points clear at the top.