Charlton Athletic 3 Derby County 0
To a man they were outstanding today shoving aside last year’s play-off finalists showing once again that the Addicks can live side by side with anyone in this league.
It’s an absolute joy to watch this side. The work rate and the unconditional desire sends goose bumps down the back of the neck. They were all magnificent, but Darren Pratley was sumptuous at the back playing in between Lockyer and Sarr as Bow moved to a formation we’d never tried before and only worked on since Thursday.
Bowyer pinpointed Krystian Bielik, who I am sure fan’s had down as the Ram’s main threat, and pressed Derby high up the pitch with the excellent Forster-Caskey and the evergreen Solly playing high up the wings. In the first half hour Williams was pulling the strings. He has such good feet in tight spaces and it was the Welshman’s cross that was swiped home by Macauley Bonne for the early opener. Bonne maybe a rough diamond but I am enjoying watching him shine.
Williams and Cullen were both very unlucky not to add to Bonne’s goal in the 1st half and when Williams went off injured, Gallagher, previously I personally thought a little bit quiet, moved further up the pitch, with Sam Field taking a deeper role. I don’t know why but Field has become a favourite of mine, and his tracking and pursuit of the ball was ceaseless, and it was he that set up Gallagher to put the cream on top of a great afternoon. The Chelsea loanee is some player, and the way he dispatched his goal was Beckham-esque.
Before that, in what is known in the stands as a great time to score, Naby Sarr planted a simple header into the net in front of a boisterous Covered End from another corner invented on the training ground.
Dillon Phillips had to wait to the dying moments to get his shorts dirty saving from the first time Derby broke through our defensive wall. But a word for Josh Cullen, who must have covered miles of the Valley turf and Phillip Cocu, three times winner of the Eredivisie as a manager and a decorated player, had no answer to how Bowyer had the midfield gelling.
It was a supreme performance to keep us all buzzing.
Addicks at The Valley:
Bow: “He’s only 19 and he’s got so much to learn about the game but he’s fearless and he leaves everything out on the pitch and he can play, the kid can play.”
Elsewhere: League leaders West Brom won late at Middlesbrough leaving Boro just above the bottom three. Stoke won again beating Fulham 2-0, so Barnsley go bottom after being held at Oakwell by Swansea. Luton beat 10-game unbeaten Bristol City 3-0, Leeds are 2nd after a Phillips goal gave them victory over Birmingham. QPR won at Hull 3-2, Blackburn and Huddersfield shared the points in the early game and Mark Bowen’s Reading beat Preston 1-0 with a late winner. Millwall were 2-0 up at Brentford with six minutes left but Dasilva, Mbeumo and Watkins each scored as the Bees staged an incredible comeback to win 3-2.