Sunday 9 May 2021

Charlton Athletic 1 v Hull City 0

A creditable final home win against the Champions left Charlton short on goal difference of the play-offs. We had left ourselves with too much to do and with Oxford racing into a 2-0 lead over Burton Albion, we had to resign ourselves to winning our game, which we managed through a second-half own goal when a Millar ball into the six yard box crossed the line after a mix-up between the diving keeper and covering defender.

Hull City looked like Champions in the opening half as they stroked the ball in and around our half. Ben Amos made a decent early save, after which he didn't have too much to do, although our defence was kept busy. After the break and with us attacking the Covered End, it was a different game as we tried to find a winner. Stockley had skimmed the crossbar with a low diving header from what looked like a hopeless position and Liam Millar had four notable shots on the run, although none needed saving. Chuks made his entrance on the hour and he kept the Tigers defence occupied but it was just the OG which divided us at the end.

I might be reading too much into our performance this afternoon but for the first time this season, we appeared to be playing the ball quickly out of defence. Midfielders were quick to show for the ball and we were able to pass our way down both sides and get into attacking positions in the final third. It was so refreshing after a season of defensive hesitancy as we were forced to play it around the back so much because of a lack of option in midfield, or, more-often-than-not only Watson or Pratley who would swiftly return the ball to the back four.

Once again we were forced to watch the end-of-season visitors receiving the champagne under the Sky Bet League One Champions banner. Nigel Adkins did at least say that it would be us next season. 

All eyes will be on the squad changes this Summer. Ordinarily, finishing in our position might encourage you to look for a smaller number of changes to enhance what you have to go again. However, I have to say I will be quite happy if the axe is wielded. Too many of the payers we have were simply either not good enough or too inconsistent. 

I would want to see Amos and Inniss retained. Ideally Famewo signed full-time - maybe Norwich's promotion will make him surplus to requirements. I wouldn't be disappointed if any of our midfielders left. Millar is unlikely to be here next season but would be worth another year of development if offered him - he's hardly likely to make the first-team at Anfield. Jaiyesimi may yet bloom but I think it's time-up for Watson, Pratley and Gilbey, despite his much improved end-of-season showing. Morgan and Shinnie can do a job but neither has cemented a place this season.

Upfront, Stockley had earned a place and Aneke is good enough for League One but I really think we need a better goalscorer to lead the attack. Conor Washington is all effort but I don't see him carrying us through the Championship and that should be the test of most of those we bring in. 

It will be great to see crowds back at the Valley, so let's all pray that we don't have any set-backs in the success of the Covid vaccination programme. 

1 comment:

  1. Very good post and success is not guaranteed and all supporters of all club can ask "what If"
    All if's and but's that is the name of the game.
    Hope all now onwards and upwards but find it hard to believe that there will be capacity crowds again soon
    Still 4k season tickets in a few days and excellent but just remember nothing is guaranteed in football, let alone the real world and we have to live day by day and worry about monies, to which the so-called professional footballer and yes even CAFC's level do not have to worry about.
    Just saying.


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