Charlton entered the fixture with hopes of any form of promotion push strongly diminished. Any sort of revival or respite would have to start with this game at the Macron.
Bolton is a team who have set themselves up well under Phil Parkinson, who are strong contenders to finish in a top 2 automatic promotion spot. Many of us Charlton fans praying for at least a draw when considering they have a fully fit squad, meanwhile the Addicks are infected with an injury pandemic!
Karl Robinson fielded a side he had developed in one of his strategic war rooms, taking into account Jorge Teixeira who was missing due to a Red Card he picked up against Millwall two weeks earlier, and an injured Super Josh Magennis.
The game did not start well for the Addicks. A long ball from the home side, which could have been easily dealt with by Patrick Bauer, was ignored and forced Lewis Page to take one for the team, by challenging Josh Vela when he was one-on-one with Declan Rudd. Referee Robert Jones showed authority instantly, by presenting a red card to the new winter signing!
Charlton was now down to ten men within the first 15 minutes.
To make matters worst, the resulting free kick from the excessive challenge by Page, lead to a goal, after a sublime taken free kick by Zach Clough.
But this was the final period of the game where Bolton would slot the ball into the Charlton net.
Moments later in the first half saw a well-taken free kick by Jake Forster-Caskey curl into the Bolton’s penalty area, which met Bauer’s head and was slotted into the back of the net. A welcomed equaliser and amendment for the error he made in Bolton’s first goal.
In the first minute of additional time of the first-half, Charlton got their winner in a rapid-fire counter attack. Jake Forster-Caskey drove down the pitch, running past three Bolton men, before tirelessly passing the ball to Nathan Byrne, who directed the ball under the charging Bolton goalkeeper.
The second half was a strong test of discipline, structure and mental fortitude for the men in red. Bolton was continuously applying pressure, and Parkinson was directing his team to try and construct at least an equaliser, by exposing the numerical disadvantage the Addicks were dealing with.
However, Charlton held out and ensured that the Southeast Londoners brought home all three points and initiated a revival of a possible promotion push.
I would say that Declan Rudd was Man of the Match for me, he made several superb saves as well as claims from free kicks and corners in the second half, which ensured Charlton stayed ahead.
Charlton are now unbeaten since their away defeat at the Den, unbeaten in five, three of those being victories!
The lads proved today that even with an injury-riddled side, currently sitting mid-table they have the potential and ability to still beat the top teams in the league. It is up to them to ensure we finish in a play-off spot, which is now a revived prospect.
After today’s impressive result, the Addicks push up to 11th, six points off the promotion spots, with two games in hand.
Today we witnessed a real fighting spirit in the shirt and saw that the players are willing to play for their manager!