BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton were knocked out of the FA Cup in the first round for the first time in more than 10 years after a 1-0 home loss against Plymouth Argyle – but boss Lee Bowyer admitted that it came as a bit of a relief.
Luke Jephcott lifted the ball over Addicks stopper Ashley Maynard-Brewer on the hour mark to secure the Pilgrims’ passage into round two but Bowyer said he was pleased that some burden had been lifted on a chaotic fixture list.
The South Londoners will have played eight games in all competitions during little more than four weeks by the time they face Leyton Orient in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday evening.
The Charlton boss made eight changes from the side that beat Fleetwood in League One in midweek as the Addicks suffered their first loss in nine outings in all competitions.
Bowyer explained: “I’ve said all along, I never ever prioritise the cups. No disrespect, but we’re not going to win it. We’re playing in a stupid fixture list. With the amount of games in such a short space of time – Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday – it’s ridiculous.
“Now they want to chuck this cup in there, this other cup that we’re playing on Tuesday. It’s stupid. They’re human beings the players, they’re not flipping machines. Am I disappointed I’m out of the cup? Not really.
“Not in a disrespectful way, because I love the cup, but the league is more important to me and it always has been. Trying to give us stupid games to play in a short amount of time.
“Quite an even game I thought,” added Bowyer, after Plymouth became the first side to knock Charlton out in the first round of the FA Cup since non-leaguers Northwich Victoria in 2009.
“At times we moved the ball well. When we did, we caused them problems. We didn’t have enough people prepared to run forwards, get in the box and score a goal. We put some great balls across the box. But not enough people in there. I was disappointed with some performances. People, you give them a chance now and say ‘come on, persuade me why you should play in the next league game.’
“None of them new lads, that came back into the side from Tuesday night said to me, ‘yeah, I’m your man.’
“Chuks Aneke did well. He was a problem for them all day. Charlie Barker defended really well. Today was a good learning day for Charlie. You can’t win every challenge. His enthusiasm and his hunger was excellent. But then you give some silly fouls away. It’s learning. That’s why we play these boys in the cup. Apart from some minor things, he did very well.
“Ashley Maynard-Brewer, the goalie, didn’t have anything to do apart from a save at the end when we’re pushing forward and to pick the ball out of the net.
“Apart from a couple of them, no one jumped out at me and that disappoints me. Some of the players that have been making appearances [in the league] were poor.”
PHOTOS: KEITH GILLARD/ KYLE ANDREWS
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