Charlton were humbled at home as former boss Karl Robinson’s Oxford United side ran out comfortable 4-0 winners at The Valley. Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the Addicks’ third consecutive defeat.
A LONG DAY
Chastening. Charlton started quite well but as soon as the going got tough the Addicks’ bottle got going. Twice they were picked off down the left when Matty Taylor grabbed a quickfire double and effectively killed the game off inside the opening half-hour. The most upsetting part about yesterday’s loss was how quickly heads dropped once the U’s had broken the deadlock. The hosts never looked like getting back into the game after that. Mason Burstow did seem to inject some life into the opening exchanges of the second-half but again as soon as Sam Baldock curled in the visitor’s third, the South Londoners lost any remaining inkling of belief. Makeshift defender Sean Clare managed to get himself a straight red card for a tangle with Taylor and then Cameron Brannagan added a spectacular fourth late on for Oxford. There’s been plenty of low points in this dog of a season but this was right down there with the worst of them.
It’s now five games since the Addicks have kept a clean sheet in League One and just one shutout in the last ten. Jackson’s early days in charge were built upon a side that rarely looked like giving up goals but they’ve lost that edge now. Lessons certainly weren’t learnt as twice Karl Robinson’s side were able to exploit the space on the left of the Addicks defence for the goals in the first-half. Players being allowed time and space to shoot on the edge of the area was a recurring theme under Nigel Adkins but that happened twice in the second-half. When players were doing well despite being asked to play out of position, it made little sense to make changes. Now that frailties are being exposed – it may be a blessing in disguise that Clare now must serve a suspension and Jackson will have to bring the likes of Sam Lavelle in to add a fresh face to the backline.
LACK OF DISCIPLINE
There’s been an air of frustration and petulance around the Addicks over the last couple of weeks and it’s no surprise that tensions boiled over during Saturday’s home humiliation. Sean Clare was initially held by Taylor but reacted badly and will now be made to pay with a three-game ban. It’s easy to say once the heat of the moment has abated but Clare will know fully well he has to keep his head under provocation from an opponent – but at least it shows that the players are feeling the same irritation as the fans have been recently.
Even during his time at The Valley, Karl Robinson was prone to hyperbole and sometimes the odd cryptic comment to those of us lucky enough to be at his marathon press conferences – but his post-match comments hinting towards things needing to change at The Valley were interesting, nonetheless. He expressed concerns about Jackson needing to be given the reins to achieve what he wants to do at club and said he hoped that the rebuilding job that needs to be done in SE7 is already underway. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that there is plenty that needs to be done. It’s imperative that a smart strategy is put in place and people with the relevant experience required are able to lead the way forward over what needs to be a very busy summer.
PHOTOS: PAUL EDWARDS/ KYLE ANDREWS