A late header from Regan Poole saw Lincoln finish off Charlton and condemn the South Londoners to a seventh defeat in 12 at the start of the season. Jayden Stockley’s own goal had given the hosts a 58th minute lead. The Addicks were level five minutes later as Sam Lavelle pounced but Poole’s late intervention gave the Imps a deserved victory as Charlton’s, and Nigel Adkins, awful campaign reached another new low. Louis Mendez provides his four takeaways from the game.
Football is almost always decided on fine margins. Nigel Adkins was quick to point out that he felt that was the case at Sincil Bank on Saturday afternoon. You can argue that – the winning goal came late on and Charlton had a penalty shout a few moments before. This is football. Sometimes you dominate games but lose by a fine margin. That would be accepted by most fans – put it down as one of those days. Sometimes you go toe for toe with a side and lose by a fine margin. Annoying, but this is football. Sometimes you’re a team who are expected to be pushing for promotion, go to a side who have won once at home all season, barely have a sniff after 20 minutes whilst surviving a few scares and then lose by a fine margin late on. That’s what happened in Lincolnshire and it’s not good enough. The stats back it up too. Lincoln were worthy victors. One local journalist described Charlton as the poorest opposition the Imps had faced this season. That’s objective. But Charlton shouldn’t be anywhere near that conversation. They are and it’s happened plenty more than once this year.
MAKE OR BREAK WEEK OFF TO BAD START
With games against Accrington and Sunderland still to come, this always looked set to be a vital seven days for the South Londoners – but they’ve kicked them off with a whimper. The buffer of the international break allowed almost a clean slate to rewrite the story of the season if some momentum could be built during the three outings this week but the defeat, and more importantly the performance at Lincoln, has catapulted the mood around the fanbase back to the toxic atmosphere that prevailed following the loss at home to Bolton. The win over Fleetwood, like the only other previous triumph against Crewe, feels like an outlier in a sea of mediocracy again. Even before the late winner for the Imps, the display never felt like that of a side ready to accelerate their season.
PROMOTION IS NOT HAPPENING
I’m no Mystic Meg but I don’t think you really need to possess a bunch of clairvoyancy qualifications to say it’s time to write this season off. Charlton may still be just 10 points off the top six with 34 games to play but would need to win 18 or 19, plus pick up at least eight to 11 draws from their remaining matches to reach the 74 needed on average for a top six finish in League One. The maths makes it difficult and anyone whose seen Charlton’s stuttering start knows it would take a miracle to turn around to that extent.
Lee’s withdrawal through illness 20 minutes into the game did influence the contest at Sincil Bank – it had been a fairly even affair before then. The Luton loanee has been a focal point of the attack in the last couple of outings. But there were 70 minutes to try and find a way back into the contest without Lee and that never really happened for the Addicks – with both Charlie Kirk and Jonathan Leko unable to replicate his impact in the number 10 role and Adkins unable or unwilling to switch the shape to mould another way to unsettle Lincoln.
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS
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