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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Charlton grind out victory but must improve

Addicks claim win with their only shot on target

Ricky Holmes was the Charlton match winner
1 of 1

Sky Bet League One
Charlton 1 AFC Wimbledon 0
Holmes 78

You don't have to dig very deep in the book of football cliches to find the one about the sign of a good team is to win when playing badly.

There is some truth in that - no side can play well every week and there will be times in a 46-match league campaign when it can be a battle - although generally speaking the sign of a good team is that they play good football on a consistent basis.

This was a grind for Charlton, who remained fourth in Sky Bet League One after their derby win over AFC Wimbledon. The game was settled by a Ricky Holmes free kick from what seemed like an impossible wide angle in the only shot on target for either side.

It was the worst game I have seen this season, so bad in fact that Addicks boss Karl Robinson admitted afterwards he could not bear to watch the re-run and said his side were "very average".

The Holmes winner was a great hit, although George Long in the AFC Wimbledon goal should have done better and that was about all Charlton had to show in an attacking sense for their efforts.

Charlton's wingers - Holmes and the speedy Tarique Fosu - were unable to get many one-on-ones with their opposing full-backs and Billy Clarke was totally nullified in the number ten position.

If this was a one-off then fair enough, but Charlton have scored four goals in their last four matches and returned ten points, which will be difficult to sustain for much longer.

However, the Addicks have conceded only once in that spell and they were barely troubled defensively from open play by Wimbledon, who failed to muster a shot on target, and forced their most significant opportunity from a corner when centre-back Deji Oshilaja blazed over.

Team in focus

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Midfield sitters Jake Forster-Caskey and Ahmed Kashi protected the back four reasonably well in a 4-2-3-1 formation and on this evidence it is easy to see why only six of their 15 matches have produced three goals or more.

Charlton captain Chris Solly headed on to his own crossbar to give the hosts a late scare in an otherwise pretty comfortable finale that ended with Robinson's over-the-top full-time celebration.

Most of the fist-pumping and loud screams will have been directed at the visiting fans who had taunted former MK Dons boss Robinson throughout, but there would also have been relief at nicking a victory from a match that seemed destined to finish in stalemate.

Charlton got away with one on Saturday and so did anyone who backed them at evens.

The opposition

Wimbledon are one of the unluckiest teams in the division according to expected goal ratings, although they rarely looked like adding to their paltry nine league goals this season from an admittedly tough away trip.

However, Neal Ardley's men were supremely well organised and could be worth following on the double-chance market when considered outsiders because they are set up to frustrate more illustrious opponents, as they showed with a win at Blackburn earlier in the campaign.

Tom Soares does a great screening job just in front of the defence in a 4-1-4-1 formation where the wingers track back to help out the full-backs and centrally Jimmy Abdou and Liam Trotter made it difficult for Charlton to get into a passing rhythm.  

Wimbledon have conceded fewer goals than third-placed Bradford this term but in an attacking sense you can see why only nine goals have been scored as Lyle Taylor has been a lonely figure up front.

Charlton 4-2-3-1: Amos; Solly, Bauer, Konsa, Dasilva (Sarr 86); Kashi, Forster-Caskey; Fosu (Reeves 86), Clarke (Marshall 70), Holmes; Magennis.

AFC Wimbledon 4-1-4-1: Long; Fuller, Oshilaja, Charles, Francombe; Soares; Kaja (Kennedy 70), Abdou (McDonald 81), Trotter, Barcham; Taylor. 

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Karl Robinson admitted afterwards he could not bear to watch the re-run and said his side were "very average"
E.W. Terms
Sky bet