When I filled in my Badger League chart at the start of the year I forecast this as a 1-1 draw and that was the result between Charlton and Shrewsbury Town at The Valley this afternoon. It was a 1-1 double with Shropshire's finest.
It was not a good quality performance by the Addicks and sometimes I wonder whether it is a good use of a Saturday afternoon, but at least Steve Brown is forensic in pointing out where we are going wrong.
In the first half in particular watching the Shrews was just like watching San Marino with the number of players they had behind the ball but we didn't have the quality to break them down.
The visitors went ahead on 55 minutes with a well-taken header by danger man Goss after Gunter had failed to respond to the threat.
Conor Washington equalised with a really skilled goal which saw him taking three touches.
I think we missed Jake Forster-Caskey today, but we can't rely too much on him.
Lee Bowyer said 'pros and cons. First half we started really well, we should have gone in leading. Second half we stopped doing the things that caused them problems, we slowed down. We just looked dead, sluggish. We changed it, we became the better game. If Chuks' chance had gone in, we could have won the game. At the end we could have lost it, they could have nicked it. A point's better than nothing, I am a bit disappointed. The players looked a bit fatigued second half.'
Minto asked if it was physical or mental tiredness Bowyer said that a lot of them looked tired. Everything was slow, the passing. 'I think there was a lot of positives first half. If Chuks had gone in, we would be standing here with three points. I think it's like two dropped, you have to give them credit. Sometimes you have to accept you don't get what you want.'
Conditions at The Valley were not good with hail before the game, a high wind and periods of heavy rain. The pitch was soft in places, but then it's the same for both sides.
The French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who played some football, said: 'In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.' Even Steve Brown had difficulty working out what Shrewsbury's formation was, but it was clear they had a plan and were executing it. It was designed to stop us playing, particularly down the centre of the park. They were happy to leave the wings exposed, but our pass completion rate was poor.
The first decent bit of play from Charlton came just after the quarter hour when Amos fed Washington and with Maatsen on the overlap the Addicks were able to sustain an attack and win a corner. Like all our corners it was unproductive.
Darren Pratley received his customary yellow card for grabbing a player. The visitors continued to be well organised defensively, working hard with a good shape.
On 33 minutes Charlton had their one shot on target of the half when Maatsen turned provider for Stockley, but he shot straight at the keeper. An angled shot would have beaten him.
Charlton were playing patiently, but they need to be quicker on the ball.
Steve Brown rightly criticised the poor Charlton kick off which ended in a throw in for the opposition. The Addicks looked flat and uninspired. Maatsen received a somewhat harsh yellow card.
Gross was given a lot of space to score his goal. The visitors had their tails up and on 62 minutes Bowyer made his usual triple substitution. As Curbs said afterwards, Bowyer gets criticised for changing the team around but perhaps today was a day to change it from the start. Pratley (doing little); Millar (needs better awareness of where the opponent is), and Stockley (rather flat) all came off. On came Aneke, Shinnie and Smith.
Amos had to make a finger tip save. Aneke didn't connect with the ball as he should have done and hit the crossbar rather than scoring. Charlton won a couple of corners, but the second one sailed over the seven players wanting to connect with it. We need to work on our corners.
Washington then scored his excellent goal, even if the keeper got a touch. We don't give him much praise.
As the visitors broke, Pearce and Maatsen had to defend, Pearce was excellent. Shrewsbury at last got a yellow card for time wasting after Ogbeto delayed a throw in, but it was action taken too late.
There was danger with a loose ball in the box and Amos stranded, not through any fault of his own. Fortunately, Edwards missed the chance to score and sent the ball over.
In five minutes added on, another Shrews shot went just past the post. Steve Brown said that these were fundamental errors that could have cost us the game.
DJ shot wide and Shinnie shot straight at the keeper.
Curbs said afterwards that in trying to tighten up defensively, we had lost the offensive side. But then a better side than Shrewsbury could have made more of our defensive errors.
Charlton stay in 8th place on the same number of points as Portsmouth but they have two games in hand over us. Ipswich are now in the play off places.
This week's article looks back at the 1953/4 season: https://retrocharlton.blogspot.com/2021/03/remembering-1953-4-season.html