Sunday 1 November 2020

Portsmouth 0 v Charlton Athletic 2

Well, well, well! Five wins in-a-row and six consecutive clean sheets since Thomas Sandgaard took full control and was able to remove the transfer embargo. He must be sitting pretty this evening enjoying a cold glass of something like the rest of us and wondering just how far we can go this season.

Three changes were made to the starting line-up today with a reshuffle to accommodate the suspended Ryan Inniss and Ben Watson. Darren Pratley went into the centre of defence with Adam Matthews playing in a back five alongside Gunter, Famewo and Maatsen. That left us with Forster-Caskey, Williams and Shinnie in midfield (supported by the wing backs) with Bogle and Washington leading the attack.

Portsmouth started brightly and made the running for ten to fifteen minutes. They might have done better after four minutes when Harness did well to get to the touch-line and pull a ball back but it was blazed over from six yards. Famewo uncharacteristically gave the ball away in defence minutes later but we averted the danger. After that we began to come more into the game with Maatsen beginning to get down the left and Shinnie holding and passing with Forster-Caskey and Williams in the middle. They looked a mobile and balanced trio today and reminded me in patches of much better times when we had players like Parker, Murphy and Smertin.

Our main problem today was a lack of any attacking outlet upfront. Washington and Bogle don't find enough space and once again I am left rubbling my head to see what Bogle brings to the play. There was a moment early in the first half where we countered quickly from defence. Shinnie did very well to bring the ball out and his balance enabled him to release Bogle forty yards from goal with players moving forward in support. However, he floated a ball forward, perhaps hoping for Washington to be coming across (he wasn't) but the ball was so over-hit, it went out for a goal-kick. 

Darren Pratley flew into a tackle with his feet up around the twenty minute mark and he couldn't have argued if he had seen red but somehow he managed to escape without even a yellow. Within five minutes of that let-off we took the lead. Jake Forster Caskey played a raking ball across the pitch from right to left which Maatsen caught on the run and struck first time back across the goal and into the path of Jonny Williams who netted his first ever Charlton goal and that seemed to sap the confidence from the hosts and allowed us to settle.

Unfortunately, I has to dash off at half-time so missed the rest of the action but I have seen Chuks Aneke rising at the back post to kill the match.

Time for a cold beer....

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