Charlton fell to a third straight league defeat at League One strugglers Crewe ran out 2-1 winners at Gresty Road on Tuesday evening. Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the game.
ADDICKS DRIFTING INTO A RUT
Another fragmented and frustrating performance from a side who find themselves in somewhat of a rut now. Charlton started brightly enough and played themselves into some good areas but – as has been a recurring theme recently – were unable to take advantage of those moments. Relegation-threatened Crewe grew into the game and put themselves two up by the break through a pair of disappointing goals from a Charlton point of view. Stephen Henderson will feel he could have dealt better when parrying Mikael Mandron’s original shot, with the rebound followed up by Oli Finney for the first. And he’ll certainly want to improve his positioning from the corner that saw Mandron heading home the second just before the interval. Errors at the back were commonplace though, which Jackson will be unhappy with as generally the Addicks had been consistent defensively under his reign. Charlton huffed and puffed to no real avail after the break before Mason Burstow, who had another very impressive cameo, halved the deficit with his first EFL goal ten minutes from time. Then the big moment of controversy came at the very end with Elliot Lee’s 96th-minute leveller ruled out for offside.
CONTROVERSIAL BUT PROBABLY CORRECT
There haven’t been many calls for VAR to be brought in as far down the pyramid as League One, but last night Charlton fans got to experience a pound shop tribute act. Referee Robert Lewis and his assistant spent the best part of an agonising three minutes analysing their own memories before – probably correctly – deciding that Jonathan Leko was in the line of sight of home stopper Dave Richards when Lee fired off his shot. The offside law is open to interpretation, but I think there was enough there for the goal to be ruled out. Even if the officials seemed to take forever to come to that conclusion. The relevant wording says a player who prevents an opponent from being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision can be ruled offside. The screenshot below shows that Leko was in front of the goalkeeper when the shot was taken.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
Charlton roared back to life when Jackson took over from the beleaguered Nigel Adkins but the new Addicks boss has now overseen three league defeats on the spin. It’s fair to highlight the absence of top scorer Jayden Stockley but the Addicks simply haven’t been ruthless in front of goal recently and can’t be overly reliant on one man. There were actually some tiny signs that gave me hope last night – midfielders such as Lee and Alex Gilbey darting into the six-yard box and being there to miss chances felt like an improvement on what had gone before where Washington and Leko were left a bit isolated. But the Charlton boss, who emphasised that players need to take on the responsibility to get things right in the area, will be keen for his midfielders to find that cutting edge and replace the goals of Stockley.
Jackson has confirmed that he’s not expecting any deals to be completed before the Addicks travel to Cheltenham on Saturday but it is clear that reinforcements are needed. Whilst chasing down the 14-point gap to the top six is a distant dream now, the remainder of this year could be used to lay the foundations for a push next season. There’s also the small note that the Addicks are just six points above the relegation zone, having played at least one more game than most sides below them. No chances should be taken that can allow the South Londoners to get dragged back into a dogfight that Jackson worked so hard to pull them clear of.
PICTURES: KYLE ANDREWS
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.