Lee Bowyer said that his Charlton side made harder work of their 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers than they needed to.
The Addicks had taken an early lead through Jamie Ward but were pegged back as Joe Martin arrowed the Gas level on the half-hour mark. Joe Aribo headed the home side back in-front just before the interval, with Karlan Grant finally sealing the victory deep into second-half added time as the visitors pushed for a leveller.
“First half an hour we were excellent,” explained Bowyer.
“They couldn’t get to grips with us. George (Lapslie) and Nicky (Ajose) both should have scored. We make it difficult for ourselves at times. It drives me crazy. I said to them at half-time. You do so many good things and then it’s like it became too easy for us and they take their foot off the pedal.
“They had a little bit of pressure last ten minutes of the first-half and then second-half it became a bit of a battle.
“I said to the lads, sometimes it’s good to win ugly. It’s not going to be beautiful and pretty every game. Especially here, teams will make it difficult and Bristol did that. Every time we went past them, they fouled us. It was an ugly game. They’re the ones we wouldn’t have won before. I love seeing that togetherness and the fight. Defending for your lives.
“We deserved to win for sure. On chances, we were the better side in possession. We just made it more difficult than it should have been.”
The Addicks boss had to do without his top-scorer Lyle Taylor, who was suspended this afternoon after picking up a fifth booking of the season in the away win at Walsall just over a fortnight ago.
Nicky Ajose partnered Karlan Grant in Taylor’s place after scoring his first goal of the season during the 5-0 FA Cup win over Mansfield in midweek.
“Nicky came in,” added Bowyer.
“He earned his start today from Tuesday’s performance. Half of our squad today came through the academy.
“We missed Lyle, that was noticeable. His physical presence and cleverness around the box. It’s a squad thing. It’s probably done Lyle a bit of a favour, missing this and having a rest. He’ll be up and ready for Tuesday and raring to go.
“Karlan worked hard today, it was tough for him and Nicky. Three big physical lads at the back for Bristol. But he got his goal, that puts him on nine now. Not even halfway through the season yet.”
Jamie Ward’s opening goal came after a superb long ball from goalkeeper Jed Steer – with the Forest-loanee bursting away to chip over the visiting stopper Jack Bonham.
“We work on that. He comes and collects things and his distribution is unbelievable. At times it’s like having an outfield player in the goal. A great touch from Ward. He broke from the edge of the box so to run all that distance – great touch and then lifted it over the keeper. Wardy did well today. He looked a bit sharper today.”
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