Another stuttering home showing from Charlton Athletic here this evening and another winning performance that sees us progress to the second round of the F A Cup. Barnet fans will be sick of the sight of Rob Elliot and will remember his two displays against them during which he made ten first class saves to deny them scoring. Three of those came at Underhill but he made seven this evening to keep Charlton in it.
Parkinson put out a strong 4-5-1 side with Abbott up front supported by Reid, McCormack, Racon, Jackson and Wagstaff. The back four started Fry, Fortune, Dailly and Francis. Barnet were quick out of the blocks and had two chances in the opening minute. Charlton settled into the game but looked sluggish up until the opening goal which was a blur of speed by comparison. Reid, playing on the right, having swapped with Wagstaff, chased down a long ball which the left-back should have been comfortable with. However, Reid made up five yards as his opponent sought to bring the ball under control and literally ran around him in top gear, taking the ball as he went. He turned left and careered in on goal before swerving wide of the on-rushing Cole and planting a low shot firmly into the net. It was the only piece of quality football we managed in the first half although Johnnie Jackson had a fierce shot from the edge of the box saved after being teed up by Racon.
Rob Elliot was called upon to make an excellent low reflex save to his right after Grant Basey arrived at the back of the box to dig a fierce shot back across the Charlton goal. Five minutes later Steve Kabba shot from distance and an airborne Elliot pawed the ball clear.
After the break you expected Charlton to wake up and take control of the game. Wagstaff, who may have been carrying a knock, was replaced by Benson as Jackson went out right. Unfortunately we slumbered on and invited Barnet to come forward. Elliot save again from Kabba and then somehow stopped a shot from Jarvis who sprung the offside trap and should have scored from where he was. Grant Basey then stepped up to a free-kick which curled over the wall and was heading into the roof of the net before Elliot intervened again and got a hand to scoop it over.
We then had a couple of chances to score on the break but Abbott fluffed one and McCormack skied another, before Barnet resumed their attempts to equalise. Kabba was thwarted again before Elliot made the save of the game as Barnet got three-against-two and played in their man on the overlap only to see Elliot come screaming off his line and smother the shot at close quarters which caused him a blow to the face in the process. With Toilet Paper McLeod entering the fray shortly afterwards, that was to be Barnet's last effort.
The Man-of-the-Match award was easy but Christian Dailly was everywhere this evening and was was well supported by Matt Fry and to a lesser extent Fortune and Francis. Doherty came on for Forch before the end and we looked a bit more secure when he did. I didn't think Racon and McCormack did nearly enough in the second-half and how we miss Semedo when he doesn't play.
Reid had a quiet game and it was as if the goal took everything out of him. Wagstaff looked like he was carrying a knock and Jackson did well in the opening period playing off Abbott. Poor Pawel is desperate for a goal and I felt for him when he was subbed for Akpo towards the end having missed a great chance to seal the game with a tame and under-hit attempt at a lob when a straightforward toe-punt would probably have been enough. The second-half battling also cost us three yellow cards as Dailly, Doherty and Fry had their names taken.
We will have to be better than this on Saturday if we are to send more than this evening's paltry gate of 4,800 home happy. There were barely 400 Barnet fans there and the Addick faithful looked lost in just the West and East with the North Stand closed. The first game was far from a cup classic and this wasn't far behind it.