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Accrington Stanley 2 Charlton Athletic 2

First games are always difficult to judge, but judge them we do. There were definitely passages of play, Fraser’s goal as an example, where evidence of an identity that Ben Garner is trying to instill were there to see.

There was also some initial concerns, some which had already been pinpointed when studying Swindon from last season. This team as it stands is going to concede goals, and I honestly can’t see us scoring enough to counter that each week.

60% possession is lovely but having half as many shots on and off target as your opposition is not. Most of that possession was playing across the back, where we did not look comfortable and although Wollacott made a couple of vital saves, he is not going to command his box, and is not a big lad.

There certainly were a few heart in the mouth moments in the first half, but 2nd half Joe mostly kicked it out as far as he could and avoided the short passes.

The final item I’ll add some scrutiny too was the the high press, and there wasn’t an awful lot of that on show, but hopefully that will come with more fitness and match situations.

The positive is that a draw is a decent result, whatever you want to say about Accrington’s place in the football hierarchy. They don’t give two hoots, and this friendly club and their supporters deserve to be where they are, and a point here, especially bearing in mind our form against them, could be valuable and would’ve been well received by most of us prior to the game.

Garner talked of two possibly three additions post match. That is pointedly not enough when you consider the only fit senior pro not involved yesterday was JFC, with Deji Elerewe being allowed go to Wealdstone on loan.

If it is three, then one has to be a striker, although no doubt Thomas is convinced now that Miles Leaburn is the answer. A wide man, a left back and probably now a centre-half is a minimum requirement not a wish list.

For all of Jayden Stockley’s hard work, he looked lost in this system and his performance was a mirror-image of the ones under Nigel Adkins. His Stanley marker pretty much owned him all game, and when he had a headed opportunity from a delicious Morgan cross, he misdirected it away from goal. A goal at that stage early 2nd half probably would have meant 3 points.

CBT’s pace is such a weapon, but sadly his final ball is often not. DJ was lively and had the assist for the goal but he faded badly in the 2nd half.

George Dobson was a lot quieter than we were used to, but this may have been because those around him were working harder than we saw last season. Morgan was excellent in patches, but this the frustration, was invisible at other times. Scott Fraser put in a decent shift but I wanted him to take the game by the scruff of the neck in the 2nd half because we were getting overrun in midfield. Nice finish for the goal though, created by Morgan and DJ.

Then the back four. Ryan Inniss, for me, was our man of the match. He is certainly a fish out of water in the playing out from the back style, but he made less unenforced errors than McConnell, who I was very disappointed in, and Inniss won literally every heading dual, which is necessary when playing against a team the size of Accrington.

At full back Sessegnon was much better going forward and he really looks more of a wing back than a full back. I think he may well get caught out a few times this season, but he is young and learning and only been at the club a couple of weeks. Yesterday was his first 90 minutes.

Conversely on the other side Sean Clare has great positional awareness, is brave and gets forward well. I though Sean had a very good game.

Then the keeper. It is particularly hard to judge a keeper on one game, so I won’t but I reckon on some slapstick defending at times this season, and I do worry to the frequency of goals we will let in.

Despite how sickening it was the concede with almost the final kick after we had just taken the lead, we didn’t deserve to win and a draw was the right result. Nevertheless what a fantastic moment for Miles Leaburn and his family.

Miles was lively when he came on although we weren’t sure if he was playing wide or alongside Stockley, but when he dispatched that header from Payne’s cross it sent every Addick into delirious chanting and pointing of ‘Leaburn, Leaburn.’ Brilliant moment and it made the long journey all worthwhile.

As for the journey. For me and for my brother who flew in from Spain, it was literally planes, trains and automobiles. Thank you to Avanti West Coast, seemingly the only train company not on strike, and a wonderful taxi driver from Preston, plus my son driving us up from Chiselhurst, we made it to Accrington in plenty of time to sample the local hostelries and get to our seat out of the rain in time to clap the boys onto the pitch.

I have to say that Accrington was a lovely little town, and their fans were so welcoming and grateful to us and the other Addicks for making the almost impossible journey. Great club and a great day.

Ben Garner: “I thought we were the better side first half and they came on stronger in the second half. They are very good at what they do and we weren’t quite as fluid second half and didn’t get as much control of the game as we what we had in the first. On reflection, overall, it was a good point. Accrington is a tough place to come. We’re just disappointed because of the nature of the late equaliser.”

Stats (CAFC first): Possession – 59% / 41%; Passes – 359 / 234; Accurate passes – 240 / 119; Shots (on target) – 11 (3) / 22 (6)

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Shetland Addick #

    Good article as usual, my only real disagreement is Clare. How many times do teams get in behind him & how many times didn’t he get close enough to stop the cross? The defence doesn’t inspire confidence at the moment & I think the main issue is that we need a proper right back. Clare is a good sub to have as he’s a utility player, not a specialist. Apart from that I’d class it as a promising start.

    August 1, 2022
    • I like Clare but he is a makeshift defender and like Sessegnon would be better in a five, but BG won’t play a 5 I don’t expect.

      Agree with you SA that the defence does not inspire.

      August 1, 2022
  2. houndal #

    One way or another, I am sure those 2 dropped points will come back to haunt us in May.
    That said, I am sure will not be the last time we concede in injury time.
    Derby a real test coming up.

    August 1, 2022
  3. EnviableOne #

    well, at least they won’t do the double on us this season!!

    Clare sees himself as a midfielder, not a defender (the reason he left his last place) so by all accounts, we are short all over the pitch, especially when Inniss’s inevitable injury happens.

    We need a Goal scorer, Stockley isn’t that, and while a sub-appearance made Leaburn the latest father-son team, Miles is not ready yet, chucks is an impact sub

    right back is a particular issue, and if McConnell isn’t up to snuff, we need reinforcements all across the backline, to cover for the inevitable Injury list.

    August 1, 2022
  4. Wonder years # #

    Cafc . Mid to lower half of the league . Our worst position in history .

    August 1, 2022
  5. Jeremy Beard #

    That’s one more point than we picked up against them last season. Fortress Accrington wasn’t quite breached but we got off to a decent start.

    All in all a positive opening to the season – but playing one striker means that our midfield have to get into the box and score goals.

    I too am unsure about how Jayden Stockley fits into the system, playing a bit deeper the intended effect is to drag a defender out of position and create space for others, and that worked with Scott Fraser getting into position for his goal and the movement that lead to the goal showed Albie Morgan at his best – carrying the ball forward and finding DJ with an accurate pass that allowed him to slide the pass through for Fraser to finish.

    Sean Clare isn’t a right back, he was signed as a midfielder and he was dropped into defence last season and did enough to keep Adam Matthews out of the team, but even then you could see some of his positioning wasn’t perfect. Hopefully when Mandela Egbo is back from injury we’ll play him further up the pitch. Alternatively Steve Sessegnon could play there, he’s naturally right-footed but can play on the left. That means picking up a left-back.

    I’m not expecting the finished article this early in the season but I can see what Ben Garner is trying to achieve. I think though I’d like to see a ball playing centre-back to give our defence a bit more mobility. Innis and O’Connell make an uncompromising pair of central defenders but we need one of them to do the closing down and harrying role.

    August 1, 2022
  6. rierti #

    I think my concerns regarding O’Connell’s pace and defensive abilities were justified as he should have done better for both goals. The late introduction of Payne and Kirk proved a mixed blessing as Payne provided the cross for Leaburn’s goal but the left hand side of our defence became light weight with Sessegnon, O’Connell, Payne and Kirk
    Stockley is not suited to the role of lone striker as his main asset is his strength and he needs a player like Aneke or Leaburn playing close to him to create openings and receive knock downs.
    Jayesimi and Blackett-Taylor should be squad players not starters.
    I like Elewere but he had a very poor game against Welling and obviously needs to get fitter and play regularly probably as a result of his injuries last season. I may be wrong but I don’t think he played for last few months of last season.
    Clayden should be given the chance to play as a winger not a full back and Ness and Lavelle are options for central defence. Maybe they will get their chance in the cup game against QPR.

    August 1, 2022

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