Charlton went top of League 1 last night after Sheffield United were beaten 0-3 at home by Huddersfield. The record of the Addicks in the league cup is never good and they played a second string side was beaten 0-2 at home by a Preston team that contained eight of their normal first team players. Given that the reward on offer was a trip away to Southampton, I'll take being top of the league.
Preston were a physical side and played a direct game in contrast to Reading who tried to play football. They had a tricky formation, loosely based around a diamond.
The Addicks were better in the second half and Euell had a goal disallowed for offside in stoppage time while Wagstaff hit the post. Wagstaff's energy, pace and skill gave Preston a lot of trouble, but he did not have enough quality around him,
Benson looked ill at ease in the first half with his hand and wrist heavily strapped and had to be taken off at the break and replaced by Wagstaff. Green lasted for 60 minutes but was clearly still not fully fit after his recent illness. What we particularly lacked was a central ball player which shows how much work Hollands and Stephens normally put in.
The general consensus was that Francis was poor. He was at fault for the Preston opener and have the ball away on many occasions giving the visitors a chance. Mambo came on at right back at half time and did a lot better which says it all really, although he found it difficult to cope with the pace of the Preston winger.
Pritchard put in a typically energetic performance, but lacked real quality and didn't create all that much. Doherty and Cort were strong, but Sullivan looked shaky. Views about Bover differ. The physical approach of Preston was difficult for him, but he had some bright moments and was unlucky with a long range effort in the first half.
One well-known Addick has already asked for his money back, but it seemed to me to be the right strategy to me to try out the reserves. The only downside is that it is another feather in the cap of Phil Brown. It also shows once again that we need to be involved in a proper reserve league for development purposes.