Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Charlton Athletic 0 v Wigan Athletic 3

I bought seven tickets for some old mates from Bexleyheath today who were taking in their first match for several seasons. They were duly handed over in the White Swan over a swift pint and they mocked me for heading to Welling instead of the Valley and I reminded them that they were all Glory Hunters. As I left I did wonder if we might put in a traditionally duff showing, the sort we reserve for whenever our less fanatical fans show any interest. 

By all accounts it looks like an insipid performance where Wigan had us sussed and Karl Robinson had no Plan B. This is a common theme when our one upfront gets isolated and we really need to be able to revert comfortably to 4-4-2 or even 4-3-3. Ironically, we probably don't have the personnel to do this having spent so long unable to play Robinson's preferred 4-2-3-1. Wigan's opener came just before the break which is always tough, especially at home and they killed the game in the 70th when Massey netted again. The late third was probably salt-in-the-wounds but by then it made little difference. 

As always, what the manager has to say should be interesting but he hasn't dealt head-on with previous games like this and instead has a tendency to waffle or say something confusing or slightly controversial as if to deflect the real explanation. 

It probably won't do us any harm to have lost our second match as expectations have been growing wildly based upon some good results against mediocre opposition, albeit with much better football than we have previously witnessed under Robinson, or dare I say it, under Duchatelet since he took over three years ago.

Meanwhile, over Shooters Hill at Park View Road, the Wings secured their second successive home win courtesy of a 1-0 victory over lowly Whitehawk from east Brighton. I met up with a few other disgruntled Addicks with soft spots for the Wings and we endured the drizzle on the terraces for 90 minutes which reminded me of much happier times (last century!).

Welling started brightly and bossed the first-half against a huge Whitehawk side who had clearly been given orders to run at goal and shoot at every opportunity.  I'm not sure it really helped them as they wasted some decent positions but it was evident Welling were going to score, so they knew they needed a goal. As it was Welling had the ball in the net within two minutes after Nanetti was rolled a free-kick in acres of space on the left of the box and his driven low cross was steered home by one of three sliding Welling players, at least one of whom was offside. 

Whitehawk hit back and a determined left wing run caught Welling unprepared on the right but their man saw his pile-driver tipped up and off the bar in fine style by Dillon Barnes. The drizzle was steady by now but Welling kept at it and Harry Phipps saw a thumping header brilliantly tipped around the post by Alex Tokarozyk. Flo Bojaj then should have scored Welling's second when he beat the last man and drew Tokarozyk before sliding the ball past him. Unfortunately, it rolled on a little further than he wanted and shaded the post. 

There was still time for the boss, Jamie Coyle to power a header inches wide before the break. Whitehawk had done their homework on Welling and having doubled-up on Monakana and Nanetti, they had managed to prevent over-supply from the flanks but were still fortunate to go in at half-time only one down. 

The rain intensified and Whitehawk looked much better after the break. They visibly stepped up and were working very hard as a team to deny Welling space as they tried to fashion chances. Credit to the Welling team for restricting them but it made for a quieter second-half. Welling threatened a second in a better ten minute spell towards the end but they looked satisfied with the three points before the whistle. The win moves the Wings up to half-way in the table which is a better reflection, I think, of where they deserve to be after a number of creditable draws and the disappointment of a few last minute goals which have deprived them a few more points.

Charlton should bounce back at Gillingham on Saturday but it's a derby match and the Gills usually step up a bit for us. Welling play Haringay in an F A Cup qualifier and I might just get to that as well.

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