August 19, 2015 by notjustpumpkinbread
No Antonio and Oliver Burke gets his first senior start. Notwithstanding the concern as to whether we’d see Antonio in the Garibaldi again, here was an opportunity for the 18-year-old O. Burke to show what he could do. And he didn’t disappoint.
With six of the seven players on the bench 23 or younger, there was the potential for a number of Academy graduates to take to the field. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Whilst some, if not most, would consider last night’s first half to be a rather dull affair, I wouldn’t necessarily agree. I thought we moved the ball around far better than in any of our previous games and got a sense of what our team are trying to achieve in the long run. Please be under no illusion, I’m no UEFA “A” licensed coach. I just liked what I saw.
Great work from O Burke down the right resulted in a sweet cross into the box early on and his defensive support of Eric was pleasing. With Dex up top in preference to Tyler Walker, the interaction between him and Ward needs some work, but it did look quite promising. We didn’t really trouble the Charlton shot-stopper in the first 45, but at the other end a couple of decent crosses resulted in their 6′ 7″ Danish striker missing the target with his head on both occasions. I can’t really remember the last time we made it to the 46th minute without conceding a goal.
As for the second half, well, Dex had been troubled by some kind of discomfort in his back late in the first half so Tyler was called into action on 54 minutes. It was a bit farcical really, as Jamie Ward had run down a ball in the Charlton half, regained possession and after off-loading it to someone I don’t remember, proceeded to collapse over the goal line near the corner flag. Mr Dougie and his crew were too preoccupied with Dex and Tyler to notice, so when Jamie limped over thinking he was coming off and didn’t see his number on the board he fell like a sack of spuds to the ground. One would suggest partly in frustration as well as pain. Now Mr Dougie could see what was going on and quickly ushered Jorge Grant into the fray. Chalk up another Academy graduate’s League debut to DF.
And as if that wasn’t enough, literally a minute later Henri pinged a ball into the Charlton area, turned to the bench and shook his head. The exasperation on our manager’s face was there for all to see. Maybe Henri saw it too, albeit Mr Dougie was facing the bench when he did it, as he then motioned to the sidelines that he’ll give it a minute before making a decision. No easy get out for our Henri – his head seemed to be in the game. We would be reminded no more of whatever niggle he may have been carrying. We were instead treated to an upturn in our intensity on the pitch, brought about by the introduction of Jorge Grant.
To see Oliver Burke, Jorge Grant and Tyler Walker leading the line, ably supported by Chris Burke, David Vaughan and our Henri, was an absolute treat. Whilst we never quite found that cutting edge in the box, we took the game to Charlton and certainly had them scrambling on occasions. Jorge had a quality chance to become an instant hero, but his shot from inside the box found its way over the bar. We harried, we pressed, we looked comfortable on the ball; our second half display was very encouraging.
In fairness to Charlton, they once again produced two gilt edge chances to secure the points were it not for Dorus. A virtual passenger for most of the match, he pulled off two fantastic saves that kept us in the game. There can be no better feeling for him and our back four to finish the match with a clean sheet.
To a man, we were good last night. In some cases – Henri and David Vaughan in particular – we were extremely good. I’m perfectly happy to eat humble pie in the case of Vaughan. I called him a poor man’s Gary Gardner in another post, but his performance last night must rank as one of his best in the Garibaldi. This pleases me no end. There was little toil last night, just promising endeavor. I think the future looks bright for The Mighty Reds – with or without Henri and Michail. It would be fantastic to hold onto them, but with Oliver Burke waiting in the wings and Andy Reid getting very close to a first team appearance, let’s not panic just yet.
It’s Bolton next at the Macron. COME ON YOU REDS!!!