Saturday 11 August 2018

Youngsters show their mettle

By my reckoning seven of the eleven players on the pitch at the end of Charlton's 2-1 victory over Shrewsbury Town at the Valley today were Academy products. Morgan was particularly impressive after he replaced Marshall at half time who had had a mare.

Arriving at the ground, Rick Everitt was selling Voice of the Valley in shorts to signify that he was pitch ready, but if this was a confidence building measure, it didn't work for me. As it was, Charlton started with just six substitutes.

It was interesting to see the kit man coaching the players in the warm up. This dual role must save Roland a few euros, particularly if he is paid just for looking after the kit.

The directors' box was largely empty, but fans' friend Richard Murray was there sucking his too good to hurry mints.

The first half was mostly dull fare with the only real chance falling to a visiting player, Beckles, who put the ball wide when he should have scored.

Only a superbly-timed tackle inside the box by Ryan Haynes prevented Grant from pulling the trigger five minutes before the break.

Phillips got down low to keep out Aaron Amadi-Holloway's 47th minute header and deny Shrewsbury what would have been a dream start to the second half. Chris Solly was perfectly placed to scramble Docherty's 55th minute shot off the line, while Beckles saw a goalbound effort deflected behind by team-mate Gilliead as the visitors continued to press.

It was Charlton who opened the scoring on 62 minutes, as Taylor rose high to head home from George Lapslie's right-wing cross.

But then John-Lewis, who came on as a substitute, scored the equaliser in a move started with a free kick. Charlton did not defend well, but as the Bloke Beside Me said when John-Lewis came on, it was unfair to have a whole store against us.

Then just as five minutes of time added on were announced, Grant scored the winner (there were two Grants on the pitch, one for each side). Darren Pratley put in a cross from the right which was deftly headed in by Grant.

Charlton are 11th in the tentative table. Shrewsbury are not the team they were at the end of last season, but it was still a creditable result.

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