Charlton AthleticSport

Four takeaways from Charlton’s 1-1 draw at Stevenage: Michael Appleton gets first experience of new team’s strengths and weaknesses

An added-time penalty from Corey Blackett-Taylor saw Charlton rescue a point at Stevenage in Michael Appleton’ first game at the helm. Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the Lamex Stadium.


A real struggle before half-time but an improvement after the restart.

Stevenage, top of the early running in League One, carried a physicality that Charlton weren’t dealing with in the first period but were also able to get it down and play at times.

Jamie Reid gave the hosts a 35th-minute lead from a tight angle and Appleton’s Addicks were booed off after 45. The Addicks, bar a flurry of penalty shouts for challenges on Miles Leaburn and Karoy Anderson, were not a threat.

But they were better after the break. It would have been hard to be more ineffective.

Chem Campbell, who was quiet in the first half, saw a shot blocked on the edge of the area. Leaburn nearly diverted Michael Hector’s long-range drive goalward.

The visitors, buoyed by a let off when Reid blazed over one-on-one, continued to push and were finally awarded a spot-kick after Slobodan Tedic was felled by Dan Butler. Blackett-Taylor converted and the Addicks picked up their first away point of the campaign.


The new head coach got to cast his eye over his side for the first time. You can try and highlight strengths and weaknesses on the training ground, but nothing compares to seeing it played out in a live game situation.

He would have picked up some concerns in the first period. Indeed, he noted that within ten minutes of kick off he had noticed three or four things he would have done differently. 

His side lacked some battling qualities in the first half and found themselves bullied out of competing. But they also found themselves opened up on occasion too – a vulnerability they have suffered from all season.

But the Addicks did compete a lot more in the second half and enjoyed much more of the ball in the opposition half. It wasn’t their most fruitful attacking outing – Blackett-Taylor’s penalty the only shot they mustered on target all game. But there were signs there that Appleton has something to work with going forward.


A first inclusion since February for the striker – a nice surprise for the fans who made the trip to Hertfordshire. Chuks Aneke gave the Boro backline something different to think about, as he always does when he is available to play.

His sheer presence seemed to panic Nathan Thompson into handling in the area following a long ball over the top. The penalty appeals were waved away.

But the former Arsenal trainee’s physical attributes worried the hosts defence and gave Charlton the sort of short-term boost he has made his trademark over the years.

The frustrations that both the player and the fans alike will feel when Aneke is side-lined are fair but highlight how much of a miss he is when out. He does take up a decent proportion of the wriggle room in the budget for little return given his overall fitness record.

But with that situation as it is and unlikely to change – If you were to focus on the positive bonus he can provide from the bench when fit then he could help pick up some important points.


A league debut for Luton Town loanee Louie Watson. It’s extremely early days yet but I thought he’s looked neat and tidy in possession both at Stevenage and at times in the EFL Trophy game at Crawley.

The Croydon-born 22-year-old was introduced as part of a triple substitution on the hour-mark. Statistics show that he made more key passes than any other Addicks man yesterday and also came close with an effort after cutting in on the edge of the box.

It will be fascinating to see how he grows into his loan spell in SE7.

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