Gillingham 1 Charlton Athletic 1
Funny game that.
I thought at times we looked sloppy, disjointed and rusty but we generally controlled the game without creating a ton. At other times our passing was crisp and judicious. We missed a penalty, conceded a time-honoured dubious one, but still left a ground we rarely do well at with a point.
The team news was that we again had no centre-halves. Gunter and Pratley having to deputise once more as Inniss was ruled out with injury. Pearce was a welcome sight on the bench. Williams came back from international duty injured.. of course he did, so Morgan started as did Marcus Maddison.
Shinnie, Maddison and Watson all had long distance efforts that each required different levels of skill, but they were our best chances in the first half, although Amos did superbly to keep out a point-blank shot.
We were then awarded a soft penalty, and after Washington got the approval to take it from the sidelines, he saw it saved. The Gills keeper, who the commentary team had down as a weak link, had a very good game.
We dominated the 2nd half but despite a boat load of possession ran out ideas in the final third. Nonetheless we never looked like conceding until out of the blue the referee gave Gillingham a penalty after he consulted with a colleague 40 feet further away!
Minutes before that Bowyer made three substitutes. It was good to see Gilbey back, who had a quick opportunity, but for me it was Aneke and Smyth that swung the game back our way, and they combined to give us a point.
A point I was happy with on what is generally an unappy hunting ground for us.
Bow’s thoughts: “(Bogle) does a lot of the dirty work and tires them out, then Chuks comes on and gets all the glory.”
Photo credit: K_AndrewsPhotos
As much as I am a big Lee Bowyer fan, I am definitely not in agreement with his comment on Bogle and Aneke. I think Bogle is pretty much useless and Aneke should be the starter. They keep throwing up that he is not yet match fit. How “fricking” long does it take to get match fit?? He is not a polished striker by any stretch, but he is big, strong, aggressive, can control the ball in a scrum, under duress and makes thing happen up front, which is definitely not the case with Bogle.
I realize Maddison is a question mark, relative to possible attitude issues and a bit of a dodgy past history, but today he showed flashes of what he is capable of doing (long range rocket that almost worked) and having him paired with Aneke, to me, would be most positive and quite likely productive. I don’t see a prolific goal scoring machine on the roster at the moment, but feel those two could make a few things happen.
The injuries to central defenders continue to cause concern but hopefully Pearce will soon be back to fitness and able to start. More worrying is the situation with the forwards Bowyer is no fool so there must be a valid reason why Aneke is only used as an impact sub and not starting games, Bogle did not have a preseason and had not played for a long time so needed time to adjust but he has not had the impact expected. Smyth looks a useful footballer and creates chances but does not score very many goals (only one in his last 20+games). As I have said before we should have four strikers in each matchday squad especially now that 5 subs can be used in a game. Levitt is a holding player in midfield but with Gilbey now fit and Watson and Pratley also able to play in that role I think that he should go back to Man. Utd. so that a loan striker can replace him in the squad in January. Davison continues to impress at Woking and deserves a chance back with us.
Levitt was only 20 last week, and looks no Connor Gallagher but it is far too early to judge. Yet if we need to find room below the salary ceiling it might be wise to shuffle him for someone else in January. Assume loans can be ended by both parties at the halfway point?
Weird game. At times we looked awful in possession. Things will click over the next run of games and at least we aren’t losing Amos continues to impress – he made some great saves and was unfortunate with their penalty.
I keep looking at the League one finishing table from the last full season (18/19) Luton finished top with 94 points, we were in the playoffs with 88 so we need to average out at 2 points per game which we are in track for right now. We could do with scoring more goals but Bowyer will always want solidity first (and he’s probably right).
We have a run of 9 league games between now and 31st Dec, 27 points available, if we can take 18 or better we will be in a great position to then shuffle the pack in Jan. The Charlton story has changed thanks to TS and players will now want to join a team on the rise.
What we see with Aneke is what we get – he is too big to be fast and he needs to be used sparingly. i’d expect him to start on Tuesday and maybe Saturday but he’s high maintenance and the type of player who’s going to get injured if he’s over-played.
All in all rusty is the adjective I’d use – it’s been two weeks since the last league game and we missed JFC in midfield linking everything up.
We need a bit more pace up top and I thought we looked better when Smyth came on and scampered between the lines a bit.
Another point in the bag though and we are due a dodgy call from a ref, how he gave the pen for Gillingham when he had an excellent view is one of those things that only he’ll know.
I’m a tad surprised that Jason Pearce didn’t get a few minutes at the end – given we have no fit centre-backs we need him back ASAP especially as Inniss looks to be out for a few games.