Charlton AthleticSport

Problems beginning to mount up for Charlton Athletic manager Nigel Adkins


On the short end of a 2-1 scoreline for the second time in three days, Charlton’s miserable start to the season continued with defeat by MK Dons at their splendid stadium in the leafy shires of Buckinghamshire.

A modest but noisy crowd of 7,939, their number swelled by a sizeable contingent of South Londoners, saw Liam Manning’s Dons concede an early lead to their struggling visitors before promptly equalising. With crushing predictability, it was the hosts who produced a second-half winner to send the Addicks home pointless.

It had all looked more promising as the visitors dominated the opening quarter hour.

An early breakthrough looked likely when the impressive Diallang Jaiyesimi’s sharp pass sent Sean Clare clear to cross dangerously from the right. Reacting alertly at the near post, Harry Darling narrowly beat Jayden Stockley to the ball.

But Charlton – and Stockley – were not kept waiting long before going ahead for the first time this season.

A hotly-disputed free-kick near the right touchline was whipped in by Albie Morgan and bulleted past Andrew Fisher by the diving Stockley.

The goal was wildly celebrated by the travelling fans, whose joy was cruelly quashed no more than three minutes later.

Skipper Matt O’Riley picked out Mo Eisa, whose pass filleted Charlton’s square central defence. Advancing hopefully from his line but oddly positioned, Craig MacGillivray was beaten by Spurs loanee Troy Parrott, who finished coolly into the bottom left corner.
Parrott and one-time Charlton target Eisa were twin thorns in Charlton’s side but between them made a mess of a golden chance before the break.

Eisa awkwardly miskicked Daniel Harvie’s far post cross but succeeded in setting up Parrott to blast wildly over the bar.

Their uncharacteristic ineptitude might have cost Dons dearly as Jaiyesimi brushed through Harvie’s tackle and sent Stockley clear but Fisher’s fine save kept his side level at the break.

Seeking the positives from a desperately disappointing evening, Nigel Adkins chose to reflect on his side’s bright start.

“We were very good for the first 20 minutes”, he said. “We looked bright. We had good movement – it was an awful goal we conceded not long after we’ve gone and scored.”

Charlton Athletic’s Albie Morgan is tackled by Milton Keynes Dons’ Matt O’Riley (left) during the Sky Bet League One match at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes. Picture date: Tuesday August 17, 2021.

Adkins understandably had less to say about a second half he chose to begin without Ryan Inniss, who had picked up a booking. In his place, 17-year-old Deji Elerewe acquitted himself well, his fine block denying Eisa’s close-range effort to convert Parrott’s pass.

The manager was well-served by the hugely promising Elewere but his luck ran out when Conor Washington, shortly after shooting narrowly over the bar, limped painfully off following lengthy treatment to a back injury.

The lively Irishman’s premature departure was a blow to an already wounded side and it was no surprise when they fell behind midway through the second period. Eisa was proving a constant menace, with a point-blank shot heroically charged down by Akin Famewo. Unfortunately for the Addicks, Parrott enterprisingly recycled the rebound and Eisa scored with his second attempt.

With Washington picking up an injury and Inniss managed from game to game, Adkins’ problems  are already mounting. Washington’s departure gave  Charlie Kirk his debut but, a few neat touches aside, the newest Addick made little impression. No doubt he will start against Wigan tomorrow.

There seems to be little optimistic news about long term absentees Jake Forster-Caskey, Ben Purrington, Alex Gilbey and the enigma that is Ronnie Schwartz. These are anxious times for Charlton’s resolutely buoyant manager, who ruefully acknowledged the second half superiority of the home side: “Well done to them because they acquitted themselves better than what we did.”.

His appraisal of MK’s performance was accurate but his immediate concern must now turn to understanding how moderate opposition find it so easy to puncture his own side’s early confidence and stroll to comfortable victory on their own terms.

The buck – and the rot – stops here.

Diallang Jaiyesimi. His wingplay gave the MK backline something to think about in the first half.

The perfect free-kick by Morgan met by a brave header by Stockley.

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