Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Shrewsbury Town 4 v Charlton Athletic 3

Karl Robinson's Charlton Athletic side slumped to their third successive defeat this evening despite a Ricky Holmes hat-trick. The heat on Robinson will intensify not just because of the alarming form since January (P5, W0, D1, L4) but because he has continued to make several changes per match with no logical explanations and no visible end product. His latest jokey pre-match video clip was another quickly ridiculed by supporters with him talking about ten one-on-one contests and our need to win of seven of them. What a load of tripe. It's a team game Karl and Shrewsbury played as a team to keep coming back and scoring. I am also reminded about Croft's call-out last month about 18 Cup Finals and we have lost five and drawn one since - learn when to shut the fuck-up and walk-the-talk as our Atlantic cousins would say.

This evening's line-up had fans exchanging doubtful views about the wisdom of Jackson returning at left back before the game kicked-off. Most were pleased to see a return of the 4-4-2 but Konsa was back in central defence and Byrne was selected at right-back. Crofts and Aribo were flanked by Holmes and Botaka with Novak and Magennis providing the beef up front.

After a bright start when we could have scored in the opening minute and had several early pots at the Shrews goal, we fell behind to a Dodds shot on 11 minutes. Holmes scored another long-range beauty after 24 minutes and that kept us in contention until he repeated the feat on the stroke of half-time to send us in ahead at the break. 

Back on the internet, seasoned Addicks were fearing the opening of the second-half and, sure enough we caved in, conceding an equaliser to Roberts on 51 and the lead a minute later to Whalley. Three-two down and with thoughts of the 3-3 at Rochdale the other week, Addicks fans clung on for another throw of the dice. Sure enough, shortly after Watt ran on to replace Magennis after 70 minutes, he was involved in an exchange with Holmes who once again found the net to square things up. Shrewsbury fans will be cursing Holmes who has scored five against them this season. But they weren't giving up and five minutes later Dodds struck his second to put the Shrews 4-3 up and there was no coming back for Charlton. Addicks fans with longer memories will remember another painful 4-3 at Gay Meadow when we squandered a three-goal but this one hurts no less. I also have vivid memories of a 3-1 beating in 1980 when I couldn't envisage us losing at a tiny little ground. How my expectations have fallen since then.

I did warn against a slump a week ago after a disastrous February start with three games coming against lower league opposition and, true-to-form, we are following through with it. We drop to 15th this evening, six off Swindon who are fourth bottom. All of the five sides between us and Swindon are now within three points of us and we face one of them, Northampton, on Saturday. There will be a big, vocal Charlton following at Sixfields but that could count against us if things don't go our way. The Cobblers were beaten at home this evening 2-1 by Oldham who are also in the mix and we really need to avoid a fourth morale-sapping loss. With Bury playing Gillingham and Swindon playing Chesterfield, points will be won below us this week however we fare at Sixfields.

Following Northampton we return to the Valley to face 13th placed Walsall and then play-off Bradford in the week afterwards. It's no time to be panicking but the Belgians have form for doing just that. I really don't see what would be served by sacking Robinson (and Meire and Murray were adamant on Saturday they would stick by him) but another relegation should be unthinkable for Duchatelet. It would mean a collapse of his remaining gate and commercial income. He would have zero chance of selling the club for any tangible fee and his ability to recoup large transfer fees would be severely dented.

Whatever your viewpoint, you cannot escape the fact that like all the managers before them, Slade wasn't given a squad capable of competing and Robinson hasn't had the investment needed to maintain the hope of a late play-off charge. The Lookman/Fox money has been trousered to stem ongoing operating losses racked up by the hapless Meire presiding over a flawed club strategy that puts player-farming and break-even above first team success. I am tired of saying it but we need Regime-change and with every week that passes I am watching like-minded Addicks simply walking away - another three I know personally in the last week. 

Another defeat at Northampton and the plug will come out. Season ticket renewals will need a major rethink and we have to break the vicious circle of under-investment, develop-and-sell, player churn, manager-change, repeat. The worst league finish since we first rose through the leagues beckons. Who can still defend this? At least Ricky Holmes has sussed out what he needs to progress his career - a money transfer to a club heading in the opposite direction - and did what he needed to this evening to help move that along.

Good luck if you are committed to Northampton. I sincerely hope you get something to cheer but I have very little confidence that we are ready yet to turn the corner. We might need to see the door-to-the-unknown before we can force enough concentration and focus to win the couple of matches we need to reflect our boat and steer clear. Remind me, what else do we have in common with Coventry City and Blackpool FC?


  1. I honestly didn't think things could get as bad as this even with Robinson added to the equation. Twice in four games we've scored 3 goals but failed to win either of them. At least we kept all the players on the pitch ! How on earth Roland has achieved any success in business is a total mystery. One can only assume his approach to the world or widgets or whatever is the total opposite to that of the football one. Sadly I am committed to the Cobblers game. As you rightly point out our larger than usual following could make it unpleasant if things go the wrong way as one must now suspect they will. Our club has been in the s**t before with some bad times but this is right up there may be even more so because it's all been so avoidable.

  2. League two beckons.............Daggs

  3. What I find really irritating is the Manager's comments. Firstly he questions desire and secondly that he will make changes.
    Surely he has already made changes, I do not remember the last game when changes were not made and surely it is his responsibility to motivate and not to question player's desire. How sad.

  4. Defeat at Northampton and a successful protest in Belgium and Robinson is out. It doesn't matter what Dickie and Katrien say in public, we know how disconnected our fruitloop owner is from the reality of the day to day in SE7. Further embaressment for him this weekend will result in trigger finger movement.

  5. I didn't think it could get any worse, it looks like I might well be wrong!

  6. Much as I think the last transfer window was as unbalanced as the previous umpteen, I didn't think we'd be this bad. I thought that both Russell and Karl would get the most out of what they had, which would see us mid table, nothing more. But it appears that neither have achieved that. So there has to be a common negative factor other than the managers. A lot of the playing staff have changed also, so it can't just be down to the players. Whilst I am sure the regime have contributed most towards our demise, I'm not sure to what extent they negatively effect match day performance. We had some good performances a few weeks ago, so what can have changed in that time?

    Robinson's claims about surprising behaviour before KO are interesting, but he made similar "there are things I'd love to tell you" after the transfer window, and a transfer window at MK when he was manager there. So I'm sceptical.

    What is your theory behind the slump Dave - do you reckon it is a combination of poor KR management, combined with poor KM backroom management?

    My son and I are off to Northampton - his choice not mine! But we'll have a laugh and a sing song, and show support for the Belgian protest from afar.

    Pembury Addick

  7. Karl is NOT the messiah......hes a very naughty boy !!!!"


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