It just won’t happen for us, will it?
Charlton’s 1-0 loss to Millwall on Saturday was no surprise. A first half Scott McDonald drive was enough to separate the two sides; the Addicks lost the ball in midfield after 38 minutes and McDonald punished the mistake via a heavy deflection off the leg of Dorian Dervite.
On the balance of play, it’s hard to argue that Charlton deserved anything from the match. There were signs of promise early on. Johnnie Jackson fired a shot just over David Forde’s crossbar after five minutes while crosses reigned in from both sides of the pitch; the ball was stolen off the head of Joe Pigott on a couple of occasions.
Millwall weathered the early storm and as they grew, found opportunities to put in a number of long range drives. Most notably, Nicky Bailey fired a low shot towards the Covered End but Ben Hamer got his body behind the ball and took a clean catch.
Pritchard conceded possession in the centre of the park and Millwall’s twenty minutes of pressure finally paid as they took the lead.The goal sparked the unusually quiet away fans into life as celebrations in the Jimmy Seed stand were wild. Millwall were on course for two wins in two visits to the Valley and the travelling supporters were in full voice.
Going into half time at 1-0 down is frustrating but against them lot, it’s painful. Millwall may have just shaded the half but had no chances of note and to see them go in front through a deflected pot shot meant this game had “here we go again” written all over it. The Addicks once again started the half lively as Dale Stephens had an attempt on goal but it was all a bit lacklustre as the Lions’ defensive formation was able to easily contain the attacking threat of Charlton.
On-loan winger Cameron Stewart was introduced at the expense of Richard Wood just before the hour while Millwall replaced the goalscorer shortly after, as old fan-favourite Steve Morison entered the fold. Both substitutes impact was almost immediate as chances were created at either end and Charlton looked at their most threatening when Stewart had the ball at his feet.
Millwall had chances of their own as Martyn Woolford was denied following a mazy run while Liam Trotter’s volley was parried away by Ben Hamer as the ‘keeper dived low to his left.
Another ex-Addick in Lee Martin came on for the Lions shortly before Joe Pigott and Bradley Pritchard were replaced by Callum Harriott and Marvin Sordell as the Addicks looked to peg back a Millwall team who by this point may have extended their lead. Impact was almost immediate as Sordell, who endured jeers from the travelling support, slid in Simon Church with a cleverly weighted ball only for Church’s effort to be woefully under hit and Forde claimed the ball easily.
At the other end, Scott Malone spurned a great opportunity to double his team’s lead following great play down the left wing. His side footed attempt crashed into the side-netting, momentarily fooling the travelling support into believing they had scored. To say that was perhaps a highlight of the second half says a lot about how the game panned out from a Charlton perspective.
There was still one chance left in the game and as Cameron Stewart cut inside onto his right footed in the final minute of injury time, the Covered End took a collective gasp. Unfortunately, the shot was gathered easily and the chance was gone. The Millwall ‘keeper fell onto the ball, and clutched it to his midriff. The resulting boot up the field signalled the end of the game and Millwall tallied another win in the South London derby.
The warning signs are there for Chris Powell and his side. The Addicks were slow in possession at the back which in turn made it too far too easy for Millwall to counter our play. Plan B was to play hoofball but with no Yann Kermorgant leading the line, Mark Beevers and Paul Robinson were able to head the ball away all afternoon and so the Addicks appeared toothless.
Hopefully the trio of Kermorgant, Solly and Cort can be reintroduced sooner rather than later and we can start pushing ourselves up the Championship table over the coming weeks. A lot of hard work is required before we can start to think about progressing, however.