Charlton’s miserable start to the season continued as Bolton came from behind to run out 4-1 victors at The Valley. The Addicks have won just once in ten and sit second from bottom, four points from safety. The pressure ramps up further on boss Nigel Adkins, who will be be baffled to have seen a solid start and a 1-0 lead flip to a heavy home loss late on. Here’s LOUIS MENDEZ’s four takeaways from another torrid night in SE7.
THE MAGIC TEN-GAME MARK
“They”, whoever they are, say that ten games is the right time to judge a side and take stock of their start to the season. We can make no bones about it – this has been a disaster. Anything that resembles an inkling of hope is soon snuffed out – whether that be a good first-half away to Gillingham, a strong opening 15 at Stadium MK or what was actually an encouraging hour against Bolton this evening. Tonight’s capitulation inside the final 17 minutes, during which Bolton scored three times to turn an even game into a miserable rout on a soaking South London September evening, summed things up pretty succinctly. Charlton came into this season full of hope and expectation. 10 games later they’re threatening to gate-crash the relegation battle party. Nobody wants to be invited to that get-together.
NIGEL ADKINS IS RUNNING OUT OF TIME
Things can’t carry on like this for much longer. The mitigating circumstances surrounding the poor start to the campaign, namely the slow transfer window, obviously aren’t entirely at the manager’s door at all but the atrocious points return since then is – and he knows that. He seemed pretty shell-shocked after the game, the first time I’ve seen him like that when speaking to him post-match. Part of that will be the frustration that he saw his side play well for an hour but again demonstrate that they can’t take a game by the scruff of the neck and show a ruthless side – which Bolton did flawlessly in the closing stages. There’s a stink around The Valley now that isn’t shifting. That lingering undercurrent of dismay throughout the crowd can be hard to shift and sometimes it takes something dramatic to reenergise the support and revitalise a season. Adkins voiced his desire to stay in his role but it’s up to Thomas Sandgaard now if and when he wants to push that button and have a fresh start.
FITNESS IS STILL AN ISSUE
Ian Evatt referred to it during his post-match analysis – Charlton tired around the hour-mark. “Teams struggle to press us for 90 minutes, you can’t do it. Charlton fatigued,” explained the Trotters manager, pointing out that his side knew they could bide their time before picking off a knackered Addicks outfit late on. Adkins’ plan to be high-tempo and in your face won’t work as often whilst his side are still in this “mini pre-season’ phase of trying to get their summer arrivals up to scratch. Gaps appear and a clinical Wanderers were able to take full advantage.
The Addicks have been caught out a few times in the last handful of games by shots from the edge of the area. Gareth McCleary’s darted past George Dobson to find space to score an opener for Wycombe at Adams Park ten days ago from that range. The goal Portsmouth’s Ronan Curtis scored at The Valley on Saturday came when Adam Matthews was in two minds whether to him close down or try and track a runner to his right. That issue arose again this evening as Oladapo Afolayan cut across Matthews to fire through a crowd of bodies and in just before half-time. It feels like a simple ask but Craig MacGillivray will not want to see those in front of him allow that much space to attackers on the edge of his own area. Stop the danger at source.
Photos: 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.