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CHARLTON 2 WALSALL 1 - 1st January 2019

<h2>CHARLTON 2 (Grant 6, Taylor 8p) WALSALL 1 (Cook 47) </h2>
Attendance: 10,421 (172 Walsall)

Charlton Phillips, Dijksteel, Bauer, Sarr, Stevenson, Bielik, Reeves (Pratley 83), Morgan, Fosu (Marshall 86), Taylor, Grant.

Walsall Roberts, Edwards (Morris 73), Leahy, Dobson (c), Guthrie, Devlin, Cook, Kinsella, Ferrier, Fitzwater, Gordon (Ismail 83).


Phew! Charlton bounce back from consecutive defeats with an important victory at home to Walsall, keeping them in the promotion mix. Two early goals and complete dominance in the first half hour should have seen the game put firmly to bed. But Walsall worked hard, pulled one back and as a clearly fatigued Charlton faded in the second half they had to sustain severe pressure from the Saddlers. A goal from a corner for Taylor was harshly disallowed and would have eased the nerves during the second half, but the Addicks just about dug in to hold on for victory. A very relieved Valley at the final whistle and a positive start to the new year.

Post Match comments

Bowyer: “It should have been over long before. That first half was maybe the best 45 minutes I’ve seen from us all season. The way we moved the ball, they just couldn’t get anywhere near us. I think you have to give Walsall credit because they pressed us harder and quicker (in the second half), which made it more difficult and we got tired and second half we couldn’t move the ball. Physically I think we looked absolutely shattered.

“Fatigue played a massive part, Krystian (Bielik) was hanging by a thread, (Ben) Reeves came off injured, Naby (Sarr) hasn’t been here for a while as he’s been suspended, he looked shattered, Pat (Bauer) looked shattered. The ones that looked sharpest for me were the strikers, they still look like they had a lot of energy. Overall I think it is a great three points. Walsall drew with Luton last week and they are a good side and they try and play football. It was a tough game and we made it tougher for ourselves at times but we thoroughly deserved it (to win). We had a goal disallowed, I don’t know why, there was no contact. It was never a foul, I’ve seen it, never a foul. Thankfully for us it didn’t make any difference."

“The crowd were great. I said before the game that today is a day we are going to need them because our lads have given everything over Christmas and we’re just losing bodies consistently.”

STATBANK Player Marks

Sarr = 7.83
Taylor = 7.37
Grant = 7.34
Bielik = 7.15
Phillips = 7.02
Morgan = 6.72
Bauer = 6.68
Stevenson = 6.58
Reeves = 6.49
Fosu = 6.48
Dijksteel = 5.47

Team Average = 6.83

At the game...

@AFKABartram : If you skirt past the frustration of the pressure we put ourselves under and our difficulty in retaining possession towards the end, that was a massive win imo. If we had conceded again I’m fearful our season would have blown up there and then.

The most pleasing aspect about today were a couple of youngsters really stepped up when given an opportunity. When you are suffering injuries and suspensions that makes such a difference. Morgan was the pick of the bunch, assisted by solid performances from Philips and Stevenson, with Grant also a constant threat.

The two standouts were central though. Bielik is a real class act, I don’t think he has had a bad game yet and is becoming very consistent in his performance. He’s above this level and we are lucky to have him. Naby also really stepped up. Ignore the goal line clearance, he’s all round game was fantastic today. Once again, Taylor did his best to play the pantomime villain but was incredibly unlucky to have a goal chalked off for no reason.

It wasn’t perfect, at 2-0 we over-passed training ground style for some of the later of the 1st half, and for the second part of the 2nd half we looked a man less than Walsall.

But there are a number of players that genuinely look knackered (or fatigued as they say these days). Dijksteel looks ready for a break and Reeves struggled as the game went on.

But sitting back now that feels a really satisfying win.

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