Charlton Athletic 1 Derby County 0
Talk about a game of two halves.
We should have been dead and buried at the break, at least 0-3 down with O’Connell the pinnacle of a dreadful bunch and only Joe Wollacott showing any signs of life with a terrific performance that kept us in the game.
The final few minutes of the half when Kirk put in a couple of peachy crosses perhaps was a sign that the 2nd half would be better…. it could not have been worse.
Whatever Ben Garner put in their half-time cocoa did the trick, as we were a different proposition 2nd half. There was ambition and signs that there will be better things to come. Still very much a work in progress, and Garner deserves those extra bodies he talked about after to give him better players, better suited.
George Dobson coming on was pivotal for me. That was the Dobbo we saw last season and with the way we are going to play out from the back the team needs that security blanket of George in it.
I’m hoping Payne can get fit quickly because he looks very decent, Kirk was good too, whereas I thought Fraser struggled and Stockley really is not a natural fit. Credit to CBT as well, I don’t think I have ever seen him that far up the centre of the pitch.
Lovely to win, but nonetheless we were fortunate that Derby were so seedless in front of goal, and I was really pleased to hear Garner’s post-match interview when he spoke honestly and directly. So often managers talk as if they have watched a completely different game, but I’m starting to like the cut of Ben’s gib.
Absolute credit to the boss for his half-time talk and clever and purposeful use of his substitutions, with six coming on due to McGrandles concussion.
Ben Garner: “I’m really, really pleased but the first 45 minutes was nowhere near where it needs to be. We rode our luck a little bit. Wollacott was the only player in the first half that was at the required level and that has to be a monkey off our back now. That has to be a psychological thing because I’ve not seen any of that this week. We didn’t do a thing that we’d work on in the first half. That must be a hangover from last season. There was nervousness, there was tension and that has to go now.”
Stats (CAFC first): Possession – 41% / 59%; Passes – 325 / 462; Accurate passes – 243 / 361; Shots (on target) – 14 (7) / 13 (2)