Dean Holden lost at The Valley for the first time as Charlton boss as the Addicks’ three-match winning run in League One came to half. Here’s Louis Mendez’s three takeaways from the encounter.
BEATEN BY THE BETTER SIDE
The better team won. Bolton have looked a proper side in each of the two games between the clubs this season. On another day Charlton might have nicked something from this one but it would have been unjust.
The Trotters stormed into a fourth-minute lead thanks to Aaron Morley’s stunning free-kick. Bar a brief revival from the hosts, during which Jes Rak-Sakyi showed his class again, Ian Evatt’s side dominated the first period and were unfortunate to not be further ahead by the break.
Charlton, to their credit, showed some fight and scored a superb leveller through Albie Morgan within 22 seconds of the restart. And they enjoyed a good spell for the next 15 minutes or so, during which Rak-Sakyi fluffed a big chance to edge the Addicks ahead.
But Bolton always posed a threat – hitting the target with eight of their 24 shots – and were back ahead when Dion Charles was the be beneficiary of a mix-up at the back.
I don’t think the Addicks were necessarily bad in this one. They just aren’t as good as a side like Bolton Wanderers. That’s why the season is over in January.
HEADING IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS
The chastening thing about facing Bolton is the chasm between the two outfits. Both still seen as big clubs at this level because of their Premier League exertions, but Wanderers really feel like a club on the up – while Charlton continue to stagnate.
The game at the UniBol back in September left me feeling the same. A side littered with good players throughout, not carrying any passengers. The takeover by the Football Ventures consortium in 2019 steadied the ship after a torrid few years. Ian Evatt has been allowed to crack on and build a competitive side by recruiting well. The Trotters average 18,000 at home in League One.
Charlton still feel a long way off that sort of progress. Thomas Sandgaard acquired the club about a year after Bolton were sold but has failed to progress them. But with another takeover in the offing still leaving more questions than answers, progression like they’ve seen in Greater Manchester is still lightyears off.
IN FOR A PENNEY
Ipswich loanee Matt Penney made his Addicks debut but struggled to get up to speed. He’s arrived in SE7 with rave reviews of his time with Scottish side Motherwell in the first half of the campaign.
I think the late, long-range effort he fired off may well have landed at Fir Park. It wasn’t a flying debut but it’s too early to judge how he’ll fit into the side. Left-back is certainly a position that’s needed filling so hopefully he’ll provide a useful bit of balance to a defence that has suffered from an inability to name consistent full-backs this season.
PICTURES: PAUL EDWARDS
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