Bolton Wanderers 3 Charlton Athletic 1
That was the end of a depressing few days as an Addick. In fact the players played with their chins on the floor too.
It was as Ben Garner suggested, a reality check. At least for those that needed one.
We were well beaten by a better team who are well practiced in their style, unpicked quite comfortably our threats (other than Rak-Sakyi) and had a bench full of experienced options.
We did have the perfect start. Jes Rak-Sakyi chased a bit of lost cause, unpicked a defender and passed sumptuously into Scott Fraser’s path to score. Unfortunately that lead lasted just 6 minutes and for the rest of the half we were long way back second best.
After half-time we had 20 minutes when we had to score and Rak-Saki did his very best too. It was a little bit of a one-man show for a while from the youngster, but Garner waited too long I thought to introduce changes, we faded and Bolton run out comfortable winners and highlighted the gulf between promotion hopefuls and mediocrity.
And there we are.
Thanks to the owner we have a young winger playing at left back who was horribly exposed defensively. Just one other centre-back at the club who is shockingly injured. We were reminded that Sean Clare is not a born defender, Jaydon Stockley for all of his graft and heart on sleeve wearing is patently struggling in a system that Garner is wedded to, and TS imbibes, Charlie Kirk is back to his anonymous best and Albie Morgan looks like his pitch for POTY ended in the middle of August.
This season bench strength and the utilization of the five allowed subs is crucial, yet beyond our best XI we have young academy players, the injury prone and older pros who have been told that they are not wanted – MacGillivray, Forster-Caskey and Jaiyesimi.
Any buoyancy, optimism and excitement has been ripped from us by Thomas Sandgaard.
Ben Garner: “We’ve had one window. We haven’t spent any money, we’ve made a profit in transfer fees. We’re not going to jump from 13th to winning the league. I have to be realistic. We want to put foundations in place. We probably need another two windows to get the squad where we’d be happy with it in terms of the strength and depth.”
Stats (CAFC first): Possession – 44% / 56%; Passes – 363 / 462; Accurate passes – 266 / 362; Shots (on target) – 17 (5) / 9 (5)