Charlton's winning run came to an end today with a 1-3 home defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers. This is the third time we have been defeated by Rovers this season. The difference between the two teams was the skill and guile of Jordan Rhodes and defensive weaknesses on the part of Charlton. In particular, the returning Tal Ben Haim had a mare.
The initial play was balanced between the two teams, but Rovers then scored with a well executed poacher's goal, starting with a quickly taken throw in, Rhodes doing the damage. An awful defensive error by Roger Johnson then led Rovers score their second through Conway.
Charlton applied some pressure for a while, but then Rovers came back into the game. In the two minutes added on, there was mayhem in front of the opposition's goal, with claims of handball.
In the second half, a foul on Vetokele led to the keeper getting a yellow card and Buyens scored from another well dispatched penalty on 56 minutes. Not long afterwards, the Addicks hit the bar with a Vetokele header and Watt had a good run on goal. However, Rhodes then scored a second with a header after a deflected shot from Taylor looped into the air to put the game beyond doubt.
There was a vociferous Belgian contingent in the far bottom corner of the West Stand (apparently they were from Gent). I heard Flemish being spoken on the train to London Bridge, but it turned out to be Dutch fans whose main aim was to find Marks & Spencers.
Charlton remain 12th in the table, but have slumped to 4th in the form table. The Bloke Behind Me reckons we will soon be in a relegation battle.
Henderson didn't really have a chance with the goals. Johnson was featured in the programme yesterday: it's bit like the manager of the month curse in my view, so that either the player doesn't appear at all or has a mare. He said 'The smallest error can cost you a goal' and he should know after yesterday. When both central defenders are below par you have a problem and Talal Ben Haim was caught out again and again. I would bring Gomez back for Blackpool beach.
Fox tries very hard, but he still lacks enough quality. Solly was below best. For the throw that led to the first goal, he should have let the ball go out and it would have been ours. He then sportingly handed it to the player who took the throw quickly and it went into the space where Solly should have been. Blackburn knew what they were doing in a well-worked move and Solly was caught out.
Cousins was outstanding for much of the match in my view, although he faded towards the end. He was putting himself about everywhere, showing good positional sense and poise and strength. His progress has been one of the pleasures of this season. Bulot put in some good crosses, but was eventually substituted, receiving polite applause. Gudmundsson did his best to create something, but to no avail. Buyens delivered the penalty well, I think it's now six out of six, but did not keep possession well.
The Football League Paper this morning describes Vetokele as a 'constant source of menace' and he was. Watt showed great skill on the ball and it's the shame that the shot from his run went just wide.
Eagles came on and did his best, but not enough to secure a contract. He was booed by the away fans as a former Bolton player. Church contributed some energetic running, but was not a game changer.