Charlton kicked their League One campaign off with a 1-0 win over Leyton Orient. Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the clash at The Valley.
OFF TO A WINNING START
It’s the perfect start for Dean Holden’s men, who were made to work for their three points. Orient were organised and difficult to break down, but the Addicks kept plugging away and got the breakthrough via George Dobson just before the break.
I had hoped that Alfie May’s early chance, which drew a superb block from Sol Brynn, had set the tone for the afternoon but clearcut chances didn’t come readily. The hosts averaged 60 percent of the ball in the first period but Orient countered with purpose at times. Theo Archibald drew a stop from Ashley Maynard-Brewer on the half-hour mark, but it was the Addicks who edged ahead just as it looked to be goalless at half-time.
Richie Wellens’ side enjoyed more of the ball after the break but one of the most encouraging aspects of Charlton’s performance is that they didn’t give up too many chances. Four of the O’s eight shots were blocked and Maynard-Brewer only had to make three saves – all of which were fairly routine. A far cry from the pre-season debacle against Aberdeen.
Pan Camara, who brought a real energy to the game when introduced with 20 minutes left, should have finished it off late on but dragged wide when presented with an open goal. It didn’t matter though, as the Addicks held on fairly comfortably.
It was a good start for Charlton’s most dangerous wide man. He had Orient wing-back Rob Hunt on toast at times in the first-half and this lead to his first assist of the campaign when he presented Dobson with a simple tap-in on the stroke of half-time.
CBT tends to have the beating of most defences. What he needs to do to take his game to the next level is add more end product and hopefully we’ve already started to see that last season.
Five of his eight goals came in the second half of the campaign before an injury ruled him out for the last eight weeks. He only grabbed three assists according to whoscored.com though and must improve upon that this year. He also tired in the second period, which again will be something Holden and his fitness coaches will want to develop because Blackett-Taylor has the attributes to be a real threat for the Addicks.
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR YOUNGSTERS
Holden gave two 18-year-olds their full league debuts in Nathan Asiimwe and Karoy Anderson. This was nice to see, and the latter, who signed a new four-year deal yesterday, launched himself into one particularly enjoyable crunching tackle on halfway.
The Addicks manager did admit that Anderson will need to learn to release the ball quicker at senior level but he will learn with experience. Pan Camara, when fully fit, will be expected to start in the midfield in his place.
The utilisation of the youngsters in the starting line-up does show that there’s still gaps to fill in the squad as well as new arrivals to gain further fitness. If the transfer window closed today, Charlton would be short. Happily, it doesn’t and if they can keep up the standard of the recruitment that they’ve introduced so far – things are looking up.
— Louis Mendez (@LouisMend) August 5, 2023
LIVERPOOL 2-2 WEST BROM
Holden is desperate to rebuild the connection between the fans and the side. The celebration he and his team performed in front of the Covered End at full-time may have been over the top after edging past Leyton Orient in the third tier of English football but it played its part in a day that felt like the rebirth of a side that’s dawdled about in League One for too long.
There were times last season where I was convinced The Valley was one of the worst places to watch football in the EFL. An unperforming team and a general air of apathy about the place.
But yesterday was different. Nobody needed to spend a second thinking about club ownership. It was purely focused on the performance on the pitch and the expectation levels in the crowd. That alone was worth celebrating. Who knows where this season will go. But thank goodness there’s some belief once more.
PHOTOS: PAUL EDWARDS
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