Written by William Perrott
The Addicks arrived at the Bescot Stadium in search of their first away win and their second win in a week, but almost everyone in Charlton colours knew that was not going to be an easy objective. Walsall narrowly missed out on promotion last time out so they are not a team you could really underestimate.The Saddlers finished in the top 6 but they then lost in the playoff semi final against Barnsley, they also lost a few key players such as Tom Bradshaw over the summer but they are still a very strong and respected side in League 1.
Russell Slade named an unchanged 11 from the Shrewsbury game which was a bit of a surprise, as he had admitted that there was a few injuries on Thursday in his press conference.
The Travelling red army were making a noise from the offset and getting right behind Russell Slade’s men, showing that you can support the team and not the regime as chants off “Roland out” chants erupted from the away stand.
The opening 20 minutes were fairly standard, both teams sat back and looked at catching the opposing team on the counter attack. There was some strong tackles in the middle of the park from Andrew Crofts, the Charlton man seemed to win the ball every time he went in for it much to the pleasure of the travelling fans.
Ricky Holmes impressed yet again on the wing for Charlton and he continued to cause havoc for the Walsall defence but his attempts were just short of the mark.
As the clock ticked on everything looked to fall into place for the visitors as Ricky Holmes picked the ball up and floated it into the back post, and there was Nicky Ajose waiting to knock the ball home with the faintest of touches to beat the Ex Charlton goalkeeper Neil Etheridge . It was Ajose’s first goal in a Charlton shirt and he ran towards the away fans to celebrate. It was a big moment for the Charlton number 10 as he finally opened up his account after struggling to find the back of the net in the opening 3 games.
Half time approached and the Addicks went into the break in high spirits with a well deserved 1-0 lead.
After a solid first half Walsall came out with a clear intention to get back into the game, but Charlton had other ideas as they kept Jon Whitney’s team at bay. The home side just couldn’t seem to find an equaliser and the Addicks looked comfortable
Walsall finally managed to convert a chance as Kieron Morris smashed the ball through Declan Rudd’s fingers and into the net. Rudd looked very disappointed in himself as he was having a very good game but the Addicks didn’t drop their heads there and neither did the fans and that played to the visitors advantage, as they caught the home side off guard. Josh Magennis rushed through after flicking a long ball over the Saddlers defence to them take the ball down and push it into Nicky Ajose’s path who yet again got a faint touch to push the ball into the net it was enough to gift all three points to the boys from SE7 and it was enough to put a smile on Nicky Ajose’s face as he doubled his tally.
It was going to prove a tough test to hold on as Walsall looked determined to ruin Charlton and Ajose’s day. The Saddlers continued to play the ball into Charlton’s box hoping someone would knock the ball into Rudd’s net but that wasn’t going to happen as the young Ezri Konsa managed to head the ball out of the danger zone.
Slade then threw Patrick Bauer on to the field it was the Germans first time back on the field after a big injury. Bauer received cheers from the away end and chants of “Big F***ing German” yet again erupted from the far end of the Bescot Stadium
The referee almost gifted Walsall an equaliser in the 94th minute as the ball bounced off him and into the Saddlers Edwards but Jason Pearce and Charlton’s back four dealt with it well to clear the ball and keep Charlton ahead. The game still wasn’t over and the home side did not give in as Simeon Jackson took the ball down and looked to rifle it into the top corner only to be stopped by Declan Rudd who made amends for the goal he conceded earlier on in the afternoon.
With 96 minutes on the clock surely there wasn’t going to be another chance but Walsall whipped the ball into the box there was not a player in a red shirt in sight, the ball was smashed away from Rudd’s goal yet again, the Saddlers had one more effort left in them as they floated the ball in to Rudd’s arms who held on, till the whistle to give the South London side all three points.
credit Jon Candy
Russell Slade and his men made there way over to the fans to thank the fantastic Charlton boys for their support, Slade tipped his hat yet again to the away fans and they responded with the chant “He’s got no hair but we don’t care oh Russell Slade”
The Red army left with all three points and it was the first time Charlton had won an away game since April which made the trip home a lot easier.
My MOTM: Nicky Ajose – Their was a few standouts such as Rudd and Magennis who just miss out on my MOTM but it has to be given to Nicky Ajose who was in the right place at the right time and after his 2 goals gifted the Addicks there first away win of the season I think he deserves it.
Charlton fans, what did you make of the game? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by joshjdss