Charlton AthleticSport

Charlton Athletic need to avoid an unwanted new low in England’s third tier – but striker statistics a stark reminder of what is missing


We’re at the stage where it is now about Charlton Athletic salvaging some vestiges of pride out of a campaign that has gone fiercely and spectacularly awry.

And the initial aim should be to ensure that the club do not finish with their worst points total in England’s third tier since wartime.

If they carry on at their current points return the Addicks will end up with a total of 54 – five fewer than the 2010-11 season which saw them end up in 13th place.

Charlton did only accrue 46 points when they were 14th in the old Division Three in 1973-74 but that was when it was only two points for a victory. So to make that a fair comparison, that would be 65 points in the modern day game.

What’s made recent viewing all the more grim is that fed-up Addicks fans have watched their side come up against a succession of sides who are featuring in the promotion chase.

Milton Keynes consigned Johnnie Jackson’s demoralised and depleted side to a fourth straight defeat with the prospect of Sheffield Wednesday – second in a form guide for the last six matches – and Sunderland next up in a tough schedule.

You cannot gloss over the injuries and absences that have blighted this Charlton Athletic side.

On Tuesday night they were missing eight first-teamers, the majority of whom would be in the starting line-up.

And their lack of options up front really has hit them hard. Jackson admitted the position seemed “cursed” after Mason Burstow went off in the second period with a hamstring injury.

I’d argue the biggest miss has been Jayden Stockley. And not just for his aerial ability and presence leading the line. The big centre-forward is also vocal and seems, along with Jason Pearce, to be one of the few natural leaders in the squad.

In the seven league matches that Stockley had been available before his back problem, the Addicks averaged 2.28 points per game – contrast that with 1.07 for the 14 matches he has sat out.

Charlton have not taken a point in the three fixtures that Aneke has been sidelined. They were averaging two points per game in the five he did feature in following his return from Birmingham City.

Stockley, Aneke, Conor Washington and Scott Fraser – yet to really start his Addicks career after contracting Covid not long after his transfer from Ipswich Town – have a combined total of 1,325 senior matches under their belts.

So it’s hardly rocket science that taking that nous and streetsmarts out of this Charlton squad is going to hurt them.

It’s easy to pick apart decisions with the benefit of hindsight. Should Charlton have allowed Burstow to join Chelsea in January, rather than do a loan-back which took them over their matchday quota?

Burstow, who had Charlton’s best chance to draw level against MK, would realistically have been fourth choice in the run-in if Jackson had a full complement of forwards to choose from.

It’s certainly harsh to the extreme to put any blame on an 18-year-old who is still finding his feet in men’s football.

Should Aneke’s past injury niggles – and the fact he struggles to chain together starts when the fixture list gets congested – have been more of a red flag? Those inside the club would argue that if Stockley is fit then Aneke, who scored nearly all of his 16 goals last season coming off the bench, is the perfect impact sub.

When you lack a cutting edge it puts more strain and extra focus on the defence. And the bad news is that Charlton don’t look robust enough, particularly against the division’s leading lights.

Jackson had four clean sheets in his first five matches after replacing Nigel Adkins but they have conceded at least two goals in their last five games.

We saw something similar under Adkins and being so porous makes it extremely hard to get any kind of a positive result. One of the issues at that stage was that players’ minutes needed to be managed to get them fully up to speed.

When Charlton have gone behind in the last two fixtures they haven’t really looked like responding from adversity.

That was definitely the case in Saturday’s 4-0 defeat to Oxford United, without Craig MacGillivray’s late saves then Karl Robinson might have seen his team score at least a couple more, with the impressive Cameron Brannagan also hitting the bar.

Adam Matthews has appeared culpable for a number of goals this season and it was opposing wing-back Tennai Watson who wriggled behind him to finish off Conor Coventry’s pass.

The Addicks had seven shots, none of them on target as they failed to score in successive games.

Sam Lavelle, making his first start since tearing his groin muscle at the Stadium of Light on October 23, powered a header over the bar from an Albie Morgan corner in an encouraging start from the hosts.

And Harry Darling just about recovered to block a Burstow shot after keeper Jamie Cumming’s pass rolled under his boot.

If Charlton had gone ahead it would have done wonders for their battered confidence.

Instead Watson scored with MK’s first effort of note.

Alex Gilbey made a crucial intervention to flick Connor Wickham’s header over the bar but MK – now unbeaten in nine on the road and closing in on the club record of 11 – doubled their advantage.

Kaine Kesler Hayden reacted quickest after MacGillivray made an excellent initial parry from Wickham. Charlton huffed and puffed without a cutting edge as many of the 8,887 in attendance opted to leave early.

George Dobson. Looks a shoe-in for Player of the Year.

Patient spell of possession that ended with Matthews putting in a dangerous cross.


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

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:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.