Charlton followed up Tuesday’s triumph at Morecambe with a 2-1 win at Cambridge United yesterday.
Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the Abbey Stadium
TIGHTER THAN IT NEEDED TO BE
At half-time, you’d have put your mortgage on Charlton running out heavy winners. By full-time, they were happy to be winners at all.
The Addicks were so comfortable in the first half. It felt like the two goals they scored were almost at will and were the only real things of note that happened.
The first was a superbly worked goal. Sean Clare fed Jes Rak-Sakyi in the channel. The Palace loanee drove into the area and delivered a perfect low cross for Miles Leaburn. Provider turned scorer just before the half-hour mark. Albie Morgan’s free-kick was fizzed in towards the near-post and Rak-Sakyi’s clever touch diverted it home.
Cambridge were a different prospect after the break and had already forced Ashley Maynard-Brewer into a decent save from a corner before scoring from their next set-piece through Lloyd Jones.
It was panic stations and last-ditch blocks for the next 15 minutes. But Charlton hung on to make it two away wins in a row and 16 points from the last eight on their travels – a statistic only bettered by Sheffield Wednesday. In a terrible campaign, it’s fair that the Addicks travelling support, including the 1,469 who made it to the Abbey, are being rewarded with some good away days at last.
Charlton’s record against the sides who dwell in the bottom-half of the League One table this season has been remarkably poor. They’d not beaten any of the teams who sit below 12th until the recent win at Forest Green Rovers on Valentine’s Day – and they made really hard work of that one.
But they’ve now put relegation-threatened Morecambe and Cambridge to the sword with relative ease in the space of a few days – albeit with some sticky spells at the Abbey. It’s good to see the hierarchy in League One playing out how it should do. Charlton are nowhere near good enough to challenge for top six – that’s been proven as fact over the course of the last two years.
But they are at least better than minnows like Cambridge, Morecambe and Forest Green. It’s about time they started to show it. It’s not enough for a Charlton side in League One, but it is nice to be better than someone.
TY-ME TO SHINE
Corey Blackett-Taylor’s absence for the next six weeks at least, and the potentially the rest of the season, is bad news for both the player and the club but also presents an opportunity elsewhere.
Tyreece Campbell, 19, has now started six League One games this campaign and will expect to start the majority of those remaining. This will provide the youngster with a chance to really hone his craft in a first-team environment.
He’s had an encouraging campaign and was excellent at Morecambe on Tuesday. Let’s hope he can live up to his potential.
LEFT BACK IN THE DRESSING ROOM
It says something that Dean Holden has preferred to play centre-back Terell Thomas over Matt Penney at left-back over the last two games. Thomas had only played one minute of League One action during 2023 before Morecambe on Tuesday and was well down the pecking order for his natural position but has ousted Penney in his during the last two.
Make no bones about it, Ipswich loanee Penney had been well off the pace in his five Addicks appearances. He’s another example of a recruitment and analysis team that has made too many poor decisions over the last two years.
Next season’s squad won’t be able to afford as many passengers.
One such player who has looked more the part recently is Michael Hector. We can’t forget that he endured a difficult start with a poor display at Derby in his full debut, but he has grown into his role over the last couple of weeks as his fitness has improved.
You can counter that with the fact Charlton have played two of the division’s lowest scorers during that time and that it’s only a start – but he will be one to keep an eye on between now and the end of the season.
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS
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