The curtain comes down at Cheltenham

It has been a very frustrating and disappointing season and our home defeat by Cheltenham on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the return to The Valley was one of many low moments we have had to witness.

Although Sunday's game (noon kick off) is an opportunity to finish with a flourish there won't be many Charlton fans holding their breath in anticipation.

A home win on Sunday could be enough to lift the hosts above West Country rivals Exeter and Bristol Rovers into fourteenth place, but predicting Cheltenham's results is a precarious business. One the one hand they are the only team to have taken a point off Ipswich in the last three months. The 1-1 draw at Whaddon Road in April is the only blemish in Ipswich's extraordinary run of fourteen wins, scoring 43 and conceding 2. On the other hand, Cheltenham went up to Oxford last week and were crushed 4-0 by a team that hadn't won for seventeen games. They promptly followed this by beating Wycombe 3-0 away.

In Alfie May they have a striker who has scored 19 goals this season. Born in Gravesend, May spent six years in non-League football including spells at Erith and Belvedere and Hythe Town before Doncaster Rovers took a punt on him as a twenty four year old in 2017. He was hardly prolific - scoring just 7 in 76 League One appearances - before joining Cheltenham in League Two three years ago. He was part of their 2021 promotion-winning team and has now netted 42 goals for them in two League One campaigns. What a difference this local boy might have made for us, playing alongside Miles Leaburn this season.

We can't finish any lower than eleventh as the two teams who can catch us (Shrewsbury and Lincoln) are playing each other. A point at Cheltenham just about guarantees us tenth place. What a time to be alive!

Nevertheless, the season has provided some positives. Some things we might relish while the ownership uncertainty continues and we continue to yearn for some stability and ambition. How about:

  • The privilege of being able to watch the development of Jes Rak-Sakyi every week.
  • The trip to Old Trafford.
  • The Ipswich extra-time 4-4 comeback.
  • The thrashings of Plymouth and Shrewsbury.
  • The appointment of Dean Holden.
  • The emergence of Miles Leaburn, Lucas Ness and Tyreece Campbell.
  • The promise of Zach Mitchell and Daniel Kanu.
  • The Brighton game.
  • George Dobson's unrelenting reliability.
  • Our Academy producing another winning under 18s team.
  • Our under 21s winning The London Senior Cup

These are the things that keep us coming back.......................................