Charlton AthleticSport

Louis Mendez’s big-match verdict on Charlton’s defeat at Lincoln City – manner of collapse is a concern

Honeymoon period over. Nobody expected Charlton Athletic to remain unbeaten for the rest of the campaign, but now we will get to see the other side of new manager Michael Appleton’s ability as he must react to a setback.

The Addicks slipped to a first defeat in eight matches as they were unable to put their awayday hoodoo to bed – still no wins on the road since April.

Charlton’s ability to keep the ball out of their net will be questioned once more.

Sincil Bank has offered an unforgiving welcome for visiting sides over recent years. The Imps had only tasted defeat during three of their last 28 on home turf in League One.

One of those was last time out against Burton Albion, so they weren’t exactly due one.

But with the banks of the Sincil Dyke barely containing the rising tides that Storm Babet had brought to the area over the weekend, it was the Addicks who seemed to have crowbarred open the floodgates early on.

The South Londoners had been slow starters recently but put that to bed as Scott Fraser’s perfectly-measured throughball picked up Tyreece Campbell’s dart forward. Alfie May needs no second invitation to arrive in the six-yard box and he was on hand to bundle Campbell’s low centre home.

Appleton’s side looked dangerous every time they poured forward in the opening quarter against his former club but that was shortlived.

The Addicks boss had spoken about how he had introduced some backbone into the side since arriving in the Charlton hotseat. He will have been concerned by the manner of the collapse prompted by Lincoln’s leveller.

Lloyd Jones was caught short by Hakeeb Adelakun’s impressive touch and turn – the finish emphatic.

There had been a shift in momentum before the equaliser but its arrival seemed to completely deflate Charlton, who reverted to the panic-stricken muddle they had been out of possession in the early part of this campaign.

It’s always one step forward and three of four missteps and stumbles in the opposite direction with Charlton’s ineffective defensive shape. Saturday’s shutout against Reading was a distant memory as the Imps overwhelmed and exploited the gaps behind Charlton’s full-backs.

Lasse Sorensen had an absolute field day. He laid claim to the acreage beyond Terell Thomas to square for Adelakun’s second just before the hour-mark.

The third killed off any dwindling hope of a comeback. Chaos reigned again as Chem Campbell and Nathan Asiimwe contrived to give the ball away in the final third. George Dobson and Michael Hector’s attempted challenges were no deterrent and Sean Roughan slipped it under Maynard-Brewer.

Appleton questioned his team’s belief that they could wrestle their way back into the contest after falling behind.

When a side is so consistently questionable at the back, you can understand why members of the team would feel they were fighting an uphill battle.

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