Tuesday 2 February 2021

No Candlemas cheer for Charlton

Tonight was Candlemas, marking the formal end of Christmas, and Charlton gave Portsmouth a late present as Pompey won 3-1 at The Valley.

Once again defensive errors cost Charlton.  They did manage to get to 1-1, but could only hold on for a few minutes.  After they went 1-3 behind, the Addicks showed some urgency but it was desperate stuff and they never looked like scoring.

Curbs said afterwards that Portsmouth dominated every area and defended well.  They were the better side in every department and were stronger.

I was surprised that Millar did not start.  He was Charlton's sharpest player in the second half, making good runs down the left and evading Portsmouth players.  (Bowyer later said he had a tight hamstring after MK and will start on Saturday).

Albi Morgan hit the crossbar on eight minutes, but perhaps he should have laid the ball off to the available Stockley.

Portsmouth always looked dangerous on the counter attack.  Pratley slipped and Portsmouth won a corner.  Amos punched the ball out and Charlton were slow to react.  Naylor was able to turn provider for Jacobs who slammed the ball in to make it 0-1.

HT: 0-1

Pratley was on a yellow card and being targeted by Portsmouth so Bowyer replaced him with Ben Watson. Millar replaced Morgan.   Charlton had an early penalty call after Watson was pulled back, but the referee couldn't see it.

On 51 minutes a good corner by Shinnie allowed Stockley to score his first Charlton goal with a header which went in off the post.

We held on for just three minutes.  A free kick allowed Naylor to put in a free header to make it 1-2.

Charlton failed to clear, Watson surrended possession in front of goal and Cannon made it 1-3.

Schwartz had made little contribution (Bowyer said he needed service) and Aneke came on to provide more of a physical presence.

Oshilaja, who had defended well, went down in a clash of heads but recovered.

Eight minutes added on saw no real chances for Charlton.

Lee Bowyer said afterwards: 'Portsmouth are very good at what they do, if you don't match them, you lose.  We gifted it to them, we gave them the ball in bad areas, really sloppy in possession in the first half.  We were soft, the referee was soft, he fell for all their play acting.'

'They were clinical and our final decision-making was not good enough.'

'I've said to the players, we've got to put a good run together.   There will be no excuses.'

Candlemas is also an old Celtic festival marking the midway point between the winter and spring equinoxes and the end of the solar winter.  It has been increasingly a winter of discontent for Charlton so let's hope for better times as we move towards Spring.


  1. Pratley was on a yellow card and being targeted by Portsmouth so Curbs replaced him with Ben Watson.

    Curbs...? A Freudian slip or wishful thinking?

  2. Laudrup was in stands bowyer has to go now 4 wins in 15

  3. Bonkers Bowyer played his diamond formation, a system that has no width and leaves us vulnerable to the oppositions wide players.
    Two days ago he assured us we didn't need defensive reinforcments despite the fact we leak goals, as we did last night.
    In his interview he said " I don't fink they were betterrer than us" (sic)
    I hear the lakes in France are fishing well for the time of the year. He needs to bag his gear and go. I'm not even confident of staying out of the relegation battle while this incompetent is in charge

  4. After the summer I never expected automatic promotion, although I did hope for a chance at the play offs. I know that Charlton fans have the reputation of being some of the most pessimistic anywhere, but there is enough strength in that squad to secure a decent mid-table finish. Next season is the crucial and Sandgaard will not make any decisions about the management until the summer.

  5. The thought of another season in this trash league horrifies me.
    Sandgaards plan of Premier league in 5 years, is going to collapse quickly if he lets Bowyer carry on failing. I genuinely fear we could end up in a relegation battle.

  6. I've only seen a couple of matches this season but there are a few thoughts I've had from afar:

    - A lot of enforced churn in the squad over the past season and a half. The 18/19 team had a great team spirit with some strong characters in it. Most those players have left and I sense the squad has less of a bond than it previously did. Often overlooked as a key part of a winning team. Of course winning helps create a bond so there's a bit of chicken and egg involved but I sense there's more to it. Covid also probably prevents creating a bond off the pitch quite like it previously was. It was key to what Bowyer cultivated in the promotion season and even in the Championship fight.
    - The signing of Schwartz worried me. Sandgaard is obviously a vast improvement on Roland but I have some concern that a rock and roll football owner might have an ego that interferes with the running of the club. Bowyer's previous success came without upstairs involvement. The coaching staff and Steve Gallen took on an old fashioned role of running the footballing side of things themselves...and it worked. I don't think a 'finisher' is what a league 1 team needs, they need strikers who impact the game, shape the game and control the game. A finisher is a luxury for teams who create multiple chances, that's not league one football. Nor do I suspect Schwartz is as good a finisher as we're led to believe. Does Bowyer feel the need to play him because he was the owner's suggestion? There's something I find uneasy about the Schwartz signing.
    - Bowyer deserves more time. His squad was disintegrated season after season, best assets sold and best players not tied down to contracts (still not resolved as Aneke sure to leave this summer, Williams just left, given league 1 wage cap...they can be a relatively cheap Championship signing). Eventually you run out of luck replacing entire squads every season. That has happened at Charlton just as the pressure has been ramped up by having an ambitious new manager.
    - What Bowyer has previously shown us is that he can improve almost all the players he signs to the club. There have been very few players he has not improved. It is an extremely difficult season to make those improvements on the training ground with two matches being played every week and the need for players to rest. The squad has been in churn, has had injuries etc and the matches are coming so often he has to rest players and change the team constantly. This means the team cannot gel in matches or in training. All teams have this problem, however, no team has been confronted with the churn in players that Charlton have over the past two/three seasons.

    Overall, I have huge faith in Bowyer. I think his ability to improve players and find a winning formula will return. I think it would be hasty to say one poor season out of four is enough to show him the door, especially as he knows the club so well and is genuinely passionate about moving the club forward. I can accept a season of transition, some stability brought to the squad over the summer and a promotion push we can all enjoy together when crowds are allowed back. I think Bowyer is the man to do it and a run of a few bad performances should not shape our view of the long term future of the club.

  7. Thanks for the comments above. As for Sandgaard's ambition of achieving the Premier League, it is hopelessly ambitious. Consolidating in the Championship in two or three seasons is achievable. League One is not a trash league when there are teams like Hull, Portsmouth and Lincoln City in it. Every season when a few matches are lost, Charlton fans starting talking about relegation. I don't think it's at all likely, but if we were relegated, we would play in League Two.