Wycombe Wanderers 2 Charlton Athletic 1
Another defeat, but it wasn’t just that, it was another game where we weren’t even in it. One shot on target and completely outplayed. Devoid of ideas, identity and confidence.
Don’t let the injury time goal from Lavelle turn your head or the couple of scrambles that followed. This was terrible, we deserved nothing.
Wycombe were so comfortable that Gareth Ainsworth took off his whole front line in the 2nd half, like a Premiership club would against a lower league team in the cup. How far have we fallen? How far is there to fall?
Adkins made 6 changes, it could have been 10. Gunter incredibly kept his place, but Matthews, Kirk, DJ and Watson didn’t even make the squad. “We have a big squad of players, and walking is brilliant.” Adkins may or may not have muttered afterwards.
We lined up 3-4-3, with Souare, Pearce, Arter, Dobson, Leko and Washington all starting. We began alright, had a purple spell a third of the way through the first half. Leko had a shot deflected wide, Stockley flicked on in the general direction of Washington, but that was about it.
Then quickly it became oh so familiar. Wycombe got on top, we were backing off, players were left unmarked, cross after cross came in, and our only route forward was the big hoof with no runners or willing support prepared to get up the pitch.
They hit the post put balls across the face of our goal whilst defenders watched and eventually took the lead through McCleary, who after a couple of practice runs, found the bottom corner with a long range shot.
Okay I said sat on the bed with my iPad at the start of the 2nd half. 15 minutes let’s give it a right go. Make an impression, show me that you want this, that you have a semblance of an idea that you know what you are doing….. nothing, absolutely nothing.
Until Blackett-Taylor came on, who was superb, we just made up the numbers. They scored again and then cantered to the final whistle.
Blackett-Taylor in the 20 or so minutes he was on embarrassed every player in a white shirt. No one was on his radar, it was like he was an imposter. How dare this bloke come on and run around, take players on and get in dangerous areas!!
7 games gone and joint bottom of the 3rd Division on goal difference with not one ounce of a suggestion of an identity or a plan or frankly a care.
I am normally big on waiting ten games to make an assessment on a new season, but this is our worst start since 2006/7, in the day when we were playing Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal. In the last week we’ve been outplayed by Cheltenham and Wycombe.
The whole transfer window asks many questions of organization and ambition, but Adkins is not the first Charlton manager who couldn’t fill a bench at the start of the season and just had to get on with it.
I’m not looking for a Jurgen Klopp, but I want a manager who can build an identity, show ambition, create some excitement, improve players, make the team better than the sum of its parts, has a infinity with its supporters and give them and his team something to believe in.
Tuesday night could get very uncomfortable for Nigel Adkins.
Mr Positivity: “Then we’ve ended up dropping back a little bit and we’ve given the ball away.”
Photo credit: Paul Edwards