HAPPY VALLEY: Charlton celebrate their second goal against Blackpool
A CHANGE in Charlton's league fortunes at The Valley would have been at the top of the club’s New Year’s resolutions.
Bizarre statistics showed they had yet to record a win in front of their own fans on a Saturday match so far this season. However, they put that right with a 2-1 win over managerless Blackpool.
A change of manager is what the visitors had been forced to endure again this season as Michael Appleton left his post to take up the vacant managerial position at Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers less than 24 hours before kick-off.
Their lack of leadership was on display all match. Instead of the players pulling together and forming a siege mentality, they fell apart unsettled by the sudden change and uncertainty.
Charlton firmly capitalized on Blackpool’s worries taking a healthy two goal lead. Skipper Johnnie Jackson got the ball rolling with a goal on 22 minutes with a scuffed shot past a bemused Matt Gilks.
Blackpool lost possession just outside their area and in the blink of an eye Gilks was picking the ball out of his net.
Making the long journey south to The Valley, Blackpool faced a Charlton side looking to earn maximum points against the Tangerines for the second time this season. Just a point separated the Londoners from their opponents – who sat one place above Charlton in 14th having come so close to promotion last season.
Kevin Phillips made his 550th career league appearance while spearheading Blackpool’s frontline. The veteran striker almost scored a landmark goal with a header from Nathan Delfouneso’s cross, which hit the post. Defender Matt Taylor was on hand to clear away the danger for Charlton to spare the Red’s blushes.
Charlton showed clear signs of bouncing back from their FA Cup exit a the hands of Huddersfield last weekend and once they took the lead through Jackson, controlled the tempo of the game.
The result had an added significance as it secured their first back-to-back wins since mid-November as Chris Powell celebrated two years in charge.
Charlton had cries for a penalty ignored as Scott Wagstaff looked to have been tripped in the box. Referee Mike Jones waved play on but Wagstaff would have his moment of glory soon after. The midfielder pounced to double Charlton’s advantage on the stroke of half time.
Under Appleton, the Seasiders had drawn eight of their 12 league and cup games. Without him caretaker Steve Thompson took the reins but was unable to instill any fire into his troops on a chilly afternoon in the capital.
Blackpool's Thomas Ince - linked with a January move to Liverpool - was lively but could not get the better of the solid Chris Solly.
Substitute Nathan Ecclestone pulled one back for Blackpool in stoppage time with a neat left footed volley. But his goal was far too late to prompt any potential comeback.
The day belonged to Charlton and once again provided optimism for their faithful fans. when