Charlton put in their most complete display of the campaign as a goal in either half from Jayden Stockley and Alex Gilbey saw off Ipswich Town at The Valley. Here’s Louis Mendez’s takeaways from another dazzling evening in SE7.
The performance of the season so far. It took 20 minutes for the Addicks to set their stall out but once they found themselves on the front foot thanks to Jayden Stockley’s opener, there was no looking back. The South Londoners were pinging it about like prime Barcelona reserves at times (I’m not allowing myself to get carried away and comparing them to the first team). Jackson explained afterwards how he had worked on improving the shape and out of possession work when he took over as caretaker boss and has now turned his attention to the in-possession element. There were clear examples of patterns of play designed to turn Ipswich back towards their own goal, where they looked vulnerable. They looked to press high, but the Addicks targeted getting in behind them with some neat, fast passing. The Tractor Boys couldn’t live with in during a superb second-half and the only blot on that display was that it took until the 88th minute for the game to be put beyond doubt as Gilbey added a classy second. Another stellar performance under Johnnie Jackson. Whoever oversees the changing the printer cartridges at The Valley needs to up their game pronto. A lack of available ink is the only feasible reason I can think of to explain why he hasn’t been given that long-term contract by now. There’s certainly no other logical explanation.
There’s only been one thing missing from Alex Gilbey’s displays since Jackson took over and he finally got that monkey off his back this evening. The former Colchester man seemed to have found his goalscoring touch as he notched three in the final eight games of last term but despite getting into some good positions over the last few weeks he hasn’t been able to break that duck until showing superb composure to collect the ball and dance into a shooting position two minutes from time to put the game to bed. You fancy him to go and grab a few more now the floodgate has been loosened and that will only add to what has been an impressive few weeks for Gilbey. The midfielder has energy to burn in the middle of the park and has forged a superb understanding with Elliot Lee and George Dobson.
WASH AND GO
What else can be said about the tireless running of Conor Washington. He’s such an asset to this side – working the channels, holding the ball up and linking play when required. He’s a clinical edge away from being a striker who could still hack it in the Championship week in, week out but will still pitch in with a fair share of goals. The partnership he and Jayden Stockley are building will worry most defences in League One as they complement each other so well. A massive fans’ favourite.
GAINING GROUND SLOWLY
Charlton sat 13 points shy of the top six when Nigel Adkins was sacked towards the end of October. Since then, they’ve taken 17 from a possible 24, losing just once. And their reward for that run? They’ve gained three points on the top six and are now still ten points adrift. For all their hard work chipping away at that deficit, the fact they have gained such little ground just emphasises how much of a mountain the Addicks gave themselves to climb at the start of this season. It’s demoralising and highlights how tough the ask is now. But there’s still over half a season to go – all they can do is keep plugging away and hope for the best.
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS
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