Charlton won for just the third time on the road this season as they edged Exeter City 2-1 at St James Park. Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the trip to Devon.
A WIN AWAY
A whirlwind first period and a well-managed second. For a team that were 2-0 up on 18 minutes, Charlton actually started on the backfoot. But they edged ahead thanks to a fantastic strike from Jes Rak-Sakyi on eight minutes. That thunderous left-footed volley helped the side step a level up. They made it two 10 minutes later when Corey Blackett-Taylor finished smartly beyond Jamal Blackman.
Seemingly coasting, the Addicks were rocked by Demetri Mitchell pulling a goal back 15 minutes before the break. The hosts then had Charlton penned in for the remainder of the first half – but crucially Charlton could regroup at the break.
Exeter looked to try and exert the same pressure after the restart but found an Addicks side who weren’t for breaking down and carried a threat on the break. Indeed, the Grecians didn’t have much in the way of clearcut chances until a desperate flurry in added-time.
While last weekend’s defeat against Bolton showed how far Charlton are behind the top teams in this division, this current run of four wins in five shows that Holden has found a way to get results against the fellow mid-table outfits that Ben Garner was unable to.
ASHLEY MAYNARD-BREWER FLIES BACK INTO FORM
There’s something very likeable about Ashley Maynard-Brewer. While last week’s calamitous winner for Bolton was instigated mainly by Ryan Inniss’ hapless header, the young Addicks stopper’s positioning still played its part in the concession of a sloppy goal.
So, he showed real character when he did what he had to do in added-time to cut out a long through ball. You wouldn’t have blamed him for playing it safe and staying in his area but he came flying out, full Superman style, to launch himself into a diving header.
He then followed that up with a spectacular save to deny Harry Kite’s drive and preserve the Addicks’ win. The young Aussie is proving himself a decent shotstopper.
For a man who had not played a minute of competitive football since August, Gavin Kilkenny was remarkably spritely. The Bournemouth loanee was thrown straight into the starting line up by Holden and lasted the full 90 minutes.
The Addicks boss said he was “outstanding”. It certainly was a promising debut, a game which he grew into. Looking sharp in possession and tireless in his running – it will be interesting to see how his temporary spell in SE7 progresses.
Charlton’s away form has been shocking this season – but perhaps we’re just starting to see the seeds of recovery. Two of the Addicks’ three wins on the road have come under Holden since the turn of the year – one in each of their last two away trips.
Only four teams had picked up fewer points on their travels than the Addicks in League One before kick-off at St James Park and it’s clearly cost the South Londoners. Ben Garner’s insistence on a possession-heavy, patient to a fault style of football didn’t seem to suit on the road. Or at home, really.
Hopefully Holden’s tweak in philosophy will mean that there’s plenty more enjoyable away days to come.
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