I predicted a score draw at Fleetwood this afternoon, but I did not expect it to be so hard for Charlton to manage 1-1. After going ahead on five minutes through Jayden Stockley, the Cod equalised before the break. Charlton were under the cosh in the second half and scarcely troubled Cairns in the home goal.
The second half was as bad a performance as I have seen this season by the Addicks. Scott Minto said afterwards, 'We got away with it today.'
Charlton remain 9th in the table on the same number of points as Oxford United, but they have two games in hand.
There was a gusty wind, but as Curbs pointed out afterwards, Fleetwood adapted to the conditions better. Steve Brown suggested we could have got the midfield higher up the pitch. Curbs said that we never put four or five passes together.
Lee Bowyer said: 'What a horrible game to watch, the conditions made it like that. It wasn't pretty. We scored a good goal, but that was the only time we crossed the ball. The performance could have been better. It's a tough place to come, but disappointing to come away with a point They played the conditions better.'
On Matt Smith, Bowyer thought that he sometimes spent too long on the ball, he was neat and tidy on the ball, but coped less well with the physical side.
Before the game Curbs said, 'We've got to put a run together and it's got to start today.' Afterwards he said, 'We've got to start this run and it's got to start Tuesday.' He noted that we would be playing the top teams in the run in.
I suppose one can say that Highbury is a neat ground, certainly less exposed than the old North Euston Hotel ground. It's interesting to see standing terraces at both ends.
At five minutes I was relieved that Charlton hadn't conceded, but then Millar made a great run. Shinnie showed real skill and Stockley was able to score with a diving header.
The ball was in the air a lot and both sides were making use of the long ball. I thought that we looked vulnerable on our left and their right.
Vassell advanced on goal, but failed to make use of the opportunity. I thought he might have been offside, but in any event Famewo - who looked a bit rusty - was guilty of ball watching.
Charlton were trying to release Stockley with long balls but the wind carried them forward. Vassell shot straight at Amos.
Cairns saved from Smith. Maatsen kept the ball in play, but with no VAR the referee and lino had to have a chat before declaring an offside.
On 41 minutes Fleetwood got round and behind Charlton for the first time. The Addicks couldn't cope with the pace of Duffy. In a well-worked move the home side were able to equalise. This allowed them to play some stupid goal music.
I have to agree with what Curbs said at half time, we had a problem on their right for most of the half. It was the way were set up, there was no one on the left. Shinnie had to come over to help Maatsen.
On 47 minutes Pratley added to his collection of yellow cards. Gunter had to make a safety first clearance into the stand.
In an attempt to keep the ball on the floor Charlton were playing out from the back but it kept placing them in danger with Fleetwood's high press. We just couldn't clear our lines. Danger man Vassell drew a parry from Amos.
On 55 minutes Bowyer made a triple substitution. This does raise a question about whether he had set the side up in the right way for the conditions in the first place. Schwarz - who had done very little; Smith - who had been out of his depth; and Pratley - in search of a second yellow, all came off. On came Morgan, Washington and Watson.
Amos saved from Vassell and after continued Fleetwood pressure had to make a difficult save. With Maatsen failing to cope, Purrington replaced him on 60 minutes. Amos (who deserves some credit) had to make a diving save. The Fleetwood corner was overhit in the wind. Charlton started to concede free kicks.
After an Amos save, Gunter had to clear. Charlton just could not clear the ball. The referee spoke to Vassell for the third time after he tried to claim a penalty.
Stockley fouled Holgate who made the most of it, rolling around an agony. This started a tussle which brought both linos on. Stockley got a yellow card for the foul and Madden and Rossiter got yellow cards for their part in the fracas, along with Oshilaja.
Charlton did manage to get the ball up the other end after 80 minutes and won an unproductive corner. A shot from Millar was deflected for another corner.
The five minutes added on were a worry for Charlton with Fleetwood having brought on their top goal scorer, but a corner for the home side was overhit.