Charlton ended their eight-game winless run with a 3-1 victory at Portsmouth on New Year’s Day. Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the trip to the south coast.
PERFORMANCE THAT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME COMING
Much better. Charlton were on the front foot from the off and never really felt in any danger of being overran by Pompey. New boss Dean Holden made seven changes from the side that were beaten by Oxford in midweek and got exactly the reaction he would have been hoping for. Jes Rak-Sakyi’s dazzling footwork and finish forged a lead midway through the first period that was wiped out just before the break against the run of play.
But a Charlton side who haven’t dealt with setbacks well recently did re-establish their lead early in the second half through an impressive drive from Scott Fraser. The Scottish midfielder came close to adding a third when his free-kick rebounded off the crossbar.
Pompey, who are in dire straits themselves, really lacked a threat and were hampered further when Marlon Pack managed to get himself sent off for the second time against the Addicks this season.
And the game was put to bed when energetic skipper George Dobson’s shot rebounded off stopper Josh Griffiths and then the hapless Owen Dale on its way into the back of the net. A first win in nine and a massive relief for the South Londoners.
As enjoyable as the trip south was yesterday, the result means it’s now four wins in 20 games. Holden’s task is to try and drum some consistency into a side that has been anything but this year.
The discrepancy between the performance at the Kassam Stadium and yesterday’s demolition could hardly have been starker. The issue is, Charlton have dropped the odd impressive showing into the ocean of mediocrity a few times this year.
Nobody who saw the 5-1 thrashing of Plymouth or the 3-0 triumph over Pompey at The Valley this year wouldn’t think they’d be capable of the limp home defeats against Cheltenham and Milton Keynes. Of two eight-game winless runs. But the disaster-classes have been the norm rather than the exception and that needs addressing over a longer period than one entertaining afternoon.
FRASER HIGHER UP
Scott Fraser was superb yesterday. He bagged his first goal since early September. Holden said afterwards that he had asked the Scottish midfielder to operate slightly higher up the pitch and it showed yesterday as he popped up in and around the Pompey box time and again.
I think that is where we will see Fraser at his best. His 14 goals and six assists for Milton Keynes during the 2020/21 campaign show how potent he can be going forward and Charlton would like to see his numbers for this season tick upwards a bit more. Four goals and three assists so far – something to build upon.
PETITION TO GROUND SHARE WITH PORTSMOUTH
To say that Fratton Park is a happy hunting ground for the Addicks would be an understatement. Charlton have now won on each of their last seven competitive visits to Pompey and 10 of their last 11.
The Addicks hold his bizarre stranglehold over Portsmouth on their own turf. Nobody can really explain why. But, with the form the Addicks have been on over the course of this season, it might be worth seeing if they can shift a few of their remaining home games to the south coast as well so they can play at their lucky location more regularly.
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS
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