Dean Holden suffered his first defeat as Charlton boss as the Addicks were beaten 3-1 at Oxford United. Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the trip to the Kassam Stadium.
ANOTHER LONG NIGHT
A game that felt fairly even for the first 10 minutes or so soon swung in the hosts’ favour – and was then as good as over during a devastating, four-minute first-half spell.
Christmas may be winding down, but Charlton were still dishing out gifts. Josh Murphy, a real live wire throughout his time on the pitch, was given way too long to measure a perfect low cross for the opener. Billy Bodin was then afforded the freedom of the far post to tap home the centre that no defender dare try and clear.
Bodin was involved again moments later as his shot was deflected in by Matty Taylor to double the lead on 24 minutes. The U’s had already hit the woodwork at 0-0 and came close to adding a third on the stroke of half-time in a first-period where Charlton were at sixes and sevens – and probably eights, nines and tens too.
They improved after the break as Corey Blackett-Taylor and Miles Leaburn in particular added some impetus. Those two combined to halve the deficit through the latter’s seventh goal of the campaign, midway through the second half.
But this Charlton side are always open at the back and Gatlin O’Donkor made sure of the result inside the final ten minutes. Another concerning evening.
EIGHT WINLESS AGAIN
It’s some achievement to squeeze two eight-game winless runs into half a season, but the Addicks have managed it. They’ve won just three of their last 19 league outings.
In their last eight League One games, no team has picked up fewer points than the Addicks’ three. No team has lost more than Charlton’s five. And no side has conceded more than the 17 that they’ve shipped – at over two per game.
This alarming slide simply has to be addressed during the January transfer window. How, and who will fund that, remains a mystery at this moment in time. But it’s one that needs solving in a seriously timely manner.
DIFFERENT PERSONNEL, SAME PROBLEMS AT THE BACK
Terell Thomas was drafted into Charlton’s backline last night, with Ryan Inniss benched. But his introduction didn’t help tighten up a defence that has kept a woeful four clean sheets all campaign.
Billy Bodin’s opener was carved out way too easily – and he was the given too much time and space on the edge of the area minutes later to fire a shot that went in off Taylor’s midriff.
The third goal found makeshift full-back Tyreece Campbell out of position, no surprise given he was being asked to step into an unfamiliar role. Holden will have seen the defensive frailties that Charlton have shown over the course of the season and will hone in on that department as one that needs fixing promptly.
Charlton have got a real talent on their hands here. The youngster notched his seventh goal of the campaign with a fine header midway through the second half, applying the finish that Corey Blackett-Taylor’s pinpoint cross deserved. The 19-year-old has been a real bonus for the Addicks this season and you dread to think where they would be if he hadn’t found that extra gear to make the step up into senior football in the summer.
He’s averaging a goal in every 97 minutes of league action at the moment – far better than anyone else who has notched at least six this term.
He’ll attract interest in January. The resolve of Thomas Sandgaard, who or whoever else may be in charge of making decisions at that point, will be tested. Without him, the siren calls of relegation into League Two will echo ever louder.
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS