It almost feels like a vendetta. The new season is less the three days old and the Addicks have suffered two sent offs. Reduced to ten men for the second time, first in the League and the other in the League Cup. On Saturday Lee Novak saw red for a two footed tackle on Sinclair. Last night at Exeter City, Andrew Crofts was given his marching orders for an identical tackle clattering into the back of Matt Jay, appearing to use both feet in the challenge. On the back of this sending off, Karl Robinson was not happy with the referee for initiating this latest dismissal. But it was the assistant referee who gave it. The lines man was in a better position to see what had occurred.
Have we become a target for ‘get tough` refereeing? I`m worried that this could escalate into our boys being made an example of in the clamp down from officials adopting a no nonsense approach on something that is very much part of the game football. I`m not condoning bad practices on the pitch such as tackles that could end the career of a football player. We all know there are many players, especially the continental variety, who have crept into our game. They tend to have this habit to playact in front of referees when brought down, sometimes quite unintentionally. The then create such a fuss that the official has no alternative but to dismiss the guilty party.
Karl Robinson made 11 changes from the team that won against Bristol Rovers on the opening day. The modern game is fast and furious. Mistakes do creep in sometimes. Such a mistake was punished on Saturday. Not an ideal start losing two players so close to one another but unfortunately we have and we now need to overcome our predicament and focus on the next game against Plymouth. Reading some of the comments on Facebook many were not enamoured with Robinson and called for his head. They obviously did not read the team sheet for this cup game. The team was made up of undergraduates. Mixed with some regulars they adapted themselves well.
I`m particular pleased that Billy Clarke was on the score sheet. This will give him the confidence needed to become part of the first team that he wants to excel in. Also Regan Chares-Cook who scored the winner at the end that was enough to seal victory so the Addicks can progress into the second round. I was critical of Phillips in goal in our friendlies. He sometimes did not command his area very well. But at Exeter he made two very good saves. He was organised and vocal, commanded his area and made the six yard and eighteen yard his. From what I gathered Ahearne-Grant looks like he is a new player. His passion for the game has shown signs of when he first broke into the team.
Cup games are not the favourite spectacles of supporters. Should we be pleased that we have progressed into the second round? Normally we have a habit of losing the opening game which in the past was not a bad idea. Extra games as they are will make the Addicks season very long if we progress further. But having said this, if this give our up and coming players a chance to excel, I`m all in favour for them being put to the test that will in the end produce more first team players who are essential for the future of Charlton Athletic.