Charlton beat lowly Chesterfield 1-0 at The Valley this afternoon thanks to a late goal by substitute Lee Novak. However, they made hard work of it. With the exception of the energetic Ricky Holmes they seemed to lack pace, allowing the Spireites to get all ten outfield players behind the ball as Charlton mounted one of their laboured attacks.
The game was held up in the first half by long lectures by the referee in an attempt to demonstrate that he had not recently been promoted out of the non-league system.
Both sides hit the post in the first half, in Charlton's case from Ajose as he burst through on goal.
A superb one-handed save by Ryan Fulton prevented Josh Magennis heading Charlton in front shortly before the break. Magennis again went close with his head 12 minutes into the second half, placing his attempt inches off target after being picked out by Ricky Holmes' delivery.
Ajose should have broken the deadlock with a quarter of an hour remaining but instead headed wide when it looked easier to score. But the winning goal eventually arrived four minutes from time when Novak headed home from a Holmes cross.
Charlton had improved somewhat in the second half. However, Ademola Lookman had a poor game by his standards and was eventually substituted. Nicky Ajose missed some chances to score and was also substituted. Once again the midfield surrendered possession too easily.
The result puts Charlton 14th in the table and four points off the play off places.
I can't remember it being so empty and quiet walking back to the station and at the station itself, reflecting the low attendance. 'Free Speech Day' was a bit of a damp squib inside the ground apart from a few home made banners and the occasional North Korean flag.