The facts are that Charlton Athletic have picked up nine points in eight days and won all three games without conceding a goal. The team continues to evolve and the side have slid comfortably into the top ten with a game in hand that would move them firmly into the play-off positions.
Anecdotally, however, it wasn't quite as pretty. Another stale first-half in which we only managed a soft downward header straight at their keeper and where we failed to compete in midfield. The pre-match news was that Chuks Anneke was out with a groin strain which meant another start for Bogle. On top of that, Bowyer decide to change the midfield with Forster-Caskey starting in place of Roberts with Williams and Levitt also on from the start.
The first-half was dire. The wind and rain probably didn't help but we were poor and Northampton were little better. The Cobblers made all the early running and had their best chance from a free-kick after quarter of an hour. A curling ball into the box was knocked goalward from eight yards out, possibly by a Charlton player, and Amos did very well to parry the effort. It hit Inniss and was heading back in before Amos extended a leg and hooked it clear.
The rest of the first-half was largely uneventful but Charlton failed to get a grip in the middle and Bogle fumbled everything that was thrown up to him. He managed to lose a ball that landed on his chest in acres of space and to allow a ball to go out for a Northampton throw that he really should have controlled with ease under no pressure. I don't like to dig him out I am struggling to see what he brings to the piece. He is a big lump but nothing sticks to him and if he was quick enough, his second touch would always be a tackle. Smyth wasn't helping either I have to add. He has quick feet and tries to be direct but he has no pace and is lightweight, often looking for fouls once he's lost possession.
The highlight was the back four. Gunter and Maatsen were largely untroubled and Inniss and Famewo stood up to everything. Famewo was very assured along the back line and Inniss made his presence felt when we did get a set-piece upfront Bowyer made the change we needed at half-time with Pratley coming on for Levitt and it paid dividends within ten minutes. From a left-wing corner, Inniss headed down, Bogle held the defender off and Pratley smashed high into the net from six yards. We should have made it two four minutes later when Inniss dinked a header over the back line where it dropped for Smyth unmarked five yards out but he put it over the bar - it was a dreadful miss.
Not to be deterred, Ben Amos collected a cross minutes later and freed the galloping Doughty down the left. Doughty tore past the Northampton full-back and careered into the box. His cross was firm and Harriman could do little but make contact and divert it into his own net. For the next five minutes, Doughty was all over them down the right but he fell after a tackle and had to limp off with what looked like a groin strain.
Shinnie came on for Doughty as the conditions worsened and Washington also joined the action after 76 minutes to give the tiring Williams a breather. The whole side will need a good rest before Tuesday's home match against lowly Oxford United. It is still very early days but I would hope to see us creating much more on Tuesday and not relying upon a superior second-half effort alone to get the result. It would also be good to send Karl Robinson home with a walloping for a change.