Charlton slipped to a first defeat in four as Lincoln held on for victory during an encounter that saw both sides reduced to ten men. Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the clash at The Valley.
On the back of three wins Charlton came into this game on, if not a high, something slightly superior to the sense of emptiness that this campaign has oozed for the last few months as it meandered towards its irrelevant conclusion. And to be fair to both sides, whose seasons were all over bar the shouting, a reasonably entertaining affair was served up. But it still culminated in a defeat – a feeling all too familiar to Charlton fans this season.
The game was open from the off, albeit with few first-half chances until Jayden Stockley rattled the crossbar from close range. But the Addicks’ fell behind as they passed up numerous opportunities to disrupt Morgan Whittaker’s jaunt across the penalty area before the Imps man drilled home.
Bad morphed effortlessly into worse when Alex Gilbey was sent for an early shower moments later with the South Londoners up against it at the break. But Johnnie Jackson’s side were already edging into the ascendancy after the interval before Bobby Madley evened up the sides by showing a straight red to Whittaker for a challenge on Purrington.
The Addicks continued to fluff their lines in front of goal and were made to pay when Antony Scully curled home 14 minutes from time. Stockley did finally pull one back in the dying embers and there was still time for Conor Washington to add to the list of wasted opportunities as he fired across the face of goal when he could have levelled the scores.
? WE’VE DONE IT! ?
Alex Gilbey picks up our 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣th yellow card of the season!
⏱26′ ? #cafc 0-0 #imps ? pic.twitter.com/Cfi5LMdvE0
— Louis Mendez (@LouisMend) April 2, 2022
With talking points short on the ground, those of us tasked with trying make the rest of Charlton’s season remotely interesting were equally pleased and relieved to see that the Addicks were on the verge of ticking into triple digits for yellow cards this campaign – purely because it gave us something to write about.
Alex Gilbey duly notched the Addicks century 26 minutes into the game for a shirt pull but the sniggering at the absurdity of it all was soon ended when he repeated the trick nine minutes later and was sent off.
The midfielder has since apologised for his stupidity but with the spotlight on him, Gilbey’s place as one of the host of players who haven’t delivered this season is now the talking point. He’s been way too inconsistent and personifies Charlton’s season pretty succinctly.
Expected Goals Timelines for Saturday’s games in League One (1/3)
Wigan v Bolton
Accrington v Cheltenham
Charlton v Lincoln
Crewe v Fleetwood#EFL | #SkyBetLeagueOne#wafc v #BWFC | #asfc v #ctfc | #cafc v #Imps | #CreweAlex v #ftfc pic.twitter.com/CHvFhVvOmh
— xG Data (@xG_data) April 2, 2022
Charlton’s xG of 2.32, compared to Lincoln’s 0.73, shows just how wasteful Stockley and Washington were in front of goal. It also backs up Jackson’s feelings post-match where he said he couldn’t believe his side were beaten with the number of chances they created.
The Addicks had the second highest xG of any side in League One yesterday and went one better last weekend when they topped the charts in the division but still only had one goal to show for it.
It doesn’t feel like it at full-time when the side has been beaten but there are encouraging signs that these chances are being created – Jackson will certainly see that as proof that the side can play well in the current formation. If the front two can get back to the form that has seen them bag 27 goals between them already this season then there should still be wins to be had before the end of the campaign.
END OF THE ROAD
The Addicks are now out of the play-off race. Not that they were ever really in it. But with just 18 points left to play for and a 21-point deficit to make up the season is officially over – with a month of action still to go.
The fact this point has come with so much of the season still to go shows what an unmitigated disaster it has been in SE7. There’s so much rebuilding that needs to take place this summer because another year like the one just endured won’t be acceptable.
Too many players haven’t been up to scratch and both the planning and recruitment for next year has to be correct this time around.
PICTURES: KYLE ANDREWS