A disappointing afternoon in Yorkshire as the Addicks crashed to their first league defeat of the season.
Injury prone Rob Elliot missed the game through a back spasm. Elliot though, was able to play a full part in the pre-match warm up, diving and contorting his body as he practiced his long clearances. Young Conor Gough was also on the pitch as Parkinson took the opportunity to give him a taste of the match day atmosphere.
Elliot took his place on the bench but the whole episode highlighted the folly of Charlton’s policy of having just one experienced keeper this season. The theory apparently being, that if Elliot is injured an experienced loanee will be brought in. Unfortunately, with Elliot it’s not if, but when he gets injured.
Worner is still young, has played his football at non-league level and is on the short side for a modern day keeper. He was involved in two of the game’s defining moments.
Eyes and ears were alert for a sighting or news of Paul Benson. Sky had reported that terms had finally been agreed with Dagenham and there were even rumours that Benson was undergoing a medical on Friday evening. As it happened, Benson played for Dagenham, casting doubt on the deal as the saga took another twist.
Charlton opened brightly and for the opening 25 minutes bossed the game without really threatening to score. Their best opportunity was a glancing header from McCormack that flew wide. Creativity is still a major problem with the side. Neither Semedo nor McCormack are creative and Wagstaff and Reid are more of the goalscoring, direct type of winger. Racon has slowly become less creative as time has gone on, leaving the side bereft of ideas.
Reid had one of his more frustrating afternoons, frequently getting into dangerous positions, only to take the wrong option. Goal scoring is, again, going to be a major problem. Abbott has played in all four league games and Martin has started the last three but neither has yet found the back of the net. At the Galpharm, to be fair to them, they did not even have scraps to feed on.
The game exploded into life for the home side five minutes beore the interval. Jordan Rhodes chased a long ball, Worner raced off his line, hesitated, stopped, and was caught in no man’s land as the talented striker cooly lifted the ball over his head and into the unguarded net. Worner’s inexperience, and perhaps lack of height too, being cruelly exposed.
Two minutes later the pacy Jordan again burst into the area as Worner came to meet him. The young keeper bravely went down at Rhodes’ feet but looked to have upended him for a clear penalty. To the dismay of the home fans, the referee only gave a corner but it proved to be just as costly for the Addicks. The flag kick was only partially cleared and when it was returned, the giant figure of Jamie McCombe powered home an unstoppable header.
Charlton played like a beaten side after the break and had to wait until added on time before they mustered their first shot on target of the aftenoon.
The game appeared to be drifting to a comfortable win for the hosts when a gaping hole appeared on the right of the Charlton defence. Star Huddersfield wide man, Graham Carey, delivered a peach of a ball for fellow winger, Gary Roberts, to volley spectacularly home.
Late substitute Matt Fry showed how it should be done,as he powered forward, rode several challenges before sending a deflected shot inside Alex Smithie’s right-hand post. Fry’s effort deserved more than being a mere consolation.
After two heavy defeats and a disappointing home draw with Tranmere, Huddersfield will have appreciated facing such generous visitors. For Phil Parkinson, it’s very much back to the drawing board. The Benson saga needs resolving and he must some how get some creativity into his team. Perhaps slotting Fry in and left-back and pushing Jackson into central midfield is an option worth trying.