Saturday 22 December 2018

Up the Football League we go

Charlton are fourth in League One on the same number of points as Sunderland (who admittedly have two games in hand) after this afternoon's 2-0 victory over Gillingham at The Valley. The Gills were better than last week's opponents, AFC Wimbledon, although that wouldn't be difficult. They did keep going until the end of the game, but never looked like a major threat, although they were without their star striker, Eaves. After last week's bad weather, conditions were relatively mild and calm.

Charlton didn't look too impressive in the opening minutes of the first half after an over clever attempt at kicking off led to them losing possession. Addicks goalkeeper Jed Steer survived an early scare after dropping Darren Oldaker's free-kick and spilling the ball to Connor Ogilvie, whose effort hit the outside of a post. Steer's distribution was rather poor throughout the game.

But Charlton went ahead in the sixth minute when Fosu's clever low pass picked out an unmarked Reeves in the box and he coolly slotted home. The advantage was almost doubled on the quarter hour as Fosu hit the woodwork before Ogilvie hacked clear.

Brandon Hanlan was perhaps unfortunate to glance a header off target from Ogilvie's delivery but the Gills had goalkeeper Tomas Holy to thank for using his leg to deny Reeves a second. However, there was nothing he could do to prevent Fosu's stunning strike from outside the box flying into the top corner six minutes before the break.

Both the team and the crowd were flat after the break, perhaps because they thought it was job done. Former Addick Hanlan almost had Gillingham right back in contention within a minute of the restart, placing a header agonisingly wide from a corner.

Holy was a relieved man after Reeves' 69th-minute cross cannoned back off the woodwork. Taylor had picked up a few knocks in the course of his usual energetic play and was substituted, although the choice of Hackett-Fairchild was a bit of a surprise.

Gillingham's Elliott List headed wide from close range five minutes from time but Charlton never looked seriously troubled as they maintained their promotion push in a straightforward home success. Substitute Mark Marshall drew a save from the keeper in time added on.

Lee Bowyer said that was the worst Charlton have played for a while. Scrappy at times and gave the ball away sloppily. But feels they still deserved the win.

The report from Louis Mendez is here: Seven wins in eight

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