Charlton Athletic caretaker manager Anthony Hayes put their 2-1 defeat to Bristol Rovers down to costly defensive mistakes.
Ryan Inniss had headed the Addicks into a first-half lead from Scott Fraser’s deep corner.
The South Londoners had other chances to score in a dominant opening half hour with Jes Rak-Sakyi twice going close with goalkeeper James Belshaw also instinctively saving with his legs from Jack Payne.
But former Millwall striker John Marquis turned the contest around after his introduction early in the second half – both from errors by Inniss.
Firstly the centre-back lost the ball on the edge of his own penalty box with Marquis driving a fine finish beyond Ashley Maynard-Brewer. And then Inniss’ forward pass was headed back into danger by Paul Coutts for the ex-Lions forward to calmly convert at close range.
“It’s difficult at the moment to put it into words,” said Hayes. “It’s a game we shouldn’t lose. An individual error swings the momentum in the second half. The scoreline at half-time shouldn’t be 1-0.”
Asked what he had said to Inniss after the match, Hayes responded: “Nothing. Ryan is a great character. Ryan put us into the lead with a wonderful header. He’s held his hands up for the two mistakes. We win together and we lose together. Moving forward as a group we have to eradicate these mistakes if we’re going to pick up points and win football matches.
“What we tried to do this week, in particular, is we talked about being reliable in our own half, playing off less touches – look to get it forward and run forwards a little bit more. Probably some of the stuff we saw in the first half. But ultimately we can keep coaching them and working with them, it’s up to the players to make the best decisions. In those two moments we don’t pick good decisions and we don’t have good execution in terms of technique. It’s bitterly disappointing.”
Charlton have not kept a clean sheet in 11 matches in all competitions.
Asked about the succession of defensive howlers that have beset them this season, and why they keep happening, Hayes said: “Lapses of concentration, poor decision-making, poor execution and maybe poor initial support positions.
“Based on today’s game, that first goal swings momentum completely. We’ve been far superior with the quality of chances. We’ve conceded the ball a little bit today but that was a ploy – I wanted them to take the game to us to leave spaces for us to exploit.
“At the moment we’re not good enough to score one goal and win games.”
PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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