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‘Harsh reality of League One football’ – Exeter interim boss reflects on 4-2 loss at Charlton Athletic

Exeter City joint interim coach Kevin Nicholson felt that last night’s 4-2 defeat at Charlton Athletic underlined the extra quality in League One.

The Grecians won promotion from League Two last season and arrived in SE7 buoyant after a 2-0 victory at Barnsley at the weekend.

But they trailed 2-0 after 24 minutes with Miles Leaburn firing Charlton ahead before an own goal from Alex Hartridge.

A sublime 37th minute strike from Jay Stansfield halved the deficit with Jack Sparkes hitting the bar in the second half.

Substitutes Chuks Aneke and Jack Payne both scored in the closing stages to put the contest to bed, although Sam Nombe did convert a very late penalty.

“Overall I was happy with the performance,” said Nicholson. “The lads were excellent for the majority of it.

Charlton Athletic v Exeter City SkyBet League One, The Valley, 11 October 2022
Picture : Keith Gillard

“You are at a level now where you get punished for mistakes more than you do in League Two. We came off on the wrong side of that a little bit today.

“Once they gathered themselves after going 2-0 down they were excellent, moved the ball really well and dominated possession. But when you are chasing the game and you’re stepping forward you are always going to leave yourselves slightly open. Unfortunately we got punished today.

“We had our chances to level it up. If we’d done that it would’ve been really hard for Charlton to respond after the run they’ve been on. That’s the fine margins of the game that we’re in.

“We’ve got to make sure we go away as coaches and managers that we do the best job possible in preparing them for the next game.

“It was probably a harsh reality of League One football when you’ve got such good players knocking about that you can concede in games where you don’t feel you deserve to get beaten.”

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