Charlton Athletic 1 Rotherham United 1
The difference from just two weeks ago is astonishing.
Jacko has overseen three games, each very different, but the level of performance and commitment has been exceptional. There were so many points in tonight’s game where under Adkins we would have crumbled or given up the ghost, yet this team under the guidance of Jacko is doing exactly what it says on the Charlton tin.
It was a great game, and Rotherham are a very good side, but it was the Millers, the league’s form side, wishing for the whistle as we went for all three points in injury time in front of the Covered End. Great to see.
It was a very even first 45, the tide moving back and forth quickly as both teams attacked with pace and fervour. Their goal in injury time of the first half was a blow. There were complaints of either a foul throw or the ball going out at the far post before Miller rifled home, but it got me thinking how Jacko would now approach his half-time talk.
Under Adkins we so often witnessed real dips in concentration and effort after half-time, but not Jacko’s reds. We were at it from the off hustling and putting the squeeze on.
DJ had a shot wide, then a great ball from Gilbey saw Washington surge into the box, but he couldn’t quite get his shot off. Purrington then put a lovely ball across the box after a long passing Addicks’ move. After that Gilbey had the best chance but got under the ball to smash over when composure was required.
The referee had a shocker of a night, and was possibly the only man in the stadium who thought that left back Ihiekwe shouldn’t have been sent off after he blatantly tripped Gilbey when on a yellow. Paul Warne instantly subbed him off which said it all.
Still the red shirts kept probing and pushing. Sometimes the final ball was hurried or excitedly misplaced, but always we scurried back to attempt to regain possession or surround the visiting players.
Rotherham had a good spell though around the hour mark and only a fantastic save from MacGillivray kept a point-blank header out. League One’s top scorer Michael Smith, previously of this parish, was buzzing around, and we had to dig deep.
Yet in the 83rd minute the goal came. Washington was second favourite to a long ball but nudged the defender and got the other side of him before ignoring Stockley open on his right to hit a low shot into the corner to give us a fully deserved equalizer.
There was never a sign of the team being content with that as they kept going, but it was a point shared, and deservedly so.
An excellent gut-busting performance against I think one of the best teams in the division.
Jacko: “Obviously they’ve got that goal just on half-time and I think there wasn’t anything in the game really in the first-half. That changed the complexion of it a little bit and we’ve had to come out second-half and, to be fair to my boys, they’ve had a right go there. They’ve left everything out there.”
Photo credit: Kyle Andrews