It’s probably prudent to dial down the superlatives in describing Charlton’s ruthless destruction of Doncaster Rovers, with bang-in-form Rotherham United due at The Valley on Tuesday evening.
Rovers, after all, were one of only two teams below Charlton going into this early season six-pointer and provided solid evidence that they were exactly where they belonged. They were, frankly, feeble and were lucky to head back to South Yorkshire with only a four-goal defeat to show for their puny efforts.
The otherwise excellent Jayden Stockley scored the Addicks’ third goal but should have claimed the match ball for his first hat-trick for the club. His second half finishing, particularly on the end of a couple of early substitute Diallang Jaiyesimi’s precise deliveries, was uncharacteristically wayward.
Rotherham will be a vastly different proposition, especially after mauling Sunderland 5-1 on Saturday. But they will be visiting a side which, under Johnnie Jackson’s stewardship, is gelling into a cohesive outfit featuring genuinely outstanding individuals.
There were several candidates for man-of-the-match, among them the aforementioned Jaiyesimi, chip off a familiar block Elliot Lee and buccaneering midfield marauder Alex Gilbey. Old sweat Jason Pearce, stepping in for long-term absentee Sam Lavelle, also laid claim to the honours but it was George Dobson, a forgotten man by Nigel Adkins, who supplied the nuts and bolts of a near perfect team performance.
Dobson made a tentative start to his Charlton career and was quickly discarded by Adkins as the team was dismantled and put together again in bewildering fashion week after week. No player seemed certain of his place as the changes were rung and Dobson’s form undeniably dipped. There was an accomplished player in there somewhere and Jackson wasted little time in recognising his talent.
Against Doncaster, Dobson’s was arguably the definitive box-to-box contribution. Never at a standstill, he tackled, intercepted and blocked with seemingly inexhaustible energy, Breaking up Donny’s admittedly limp forays into home territory with almost metronomic regularity, he distributed reliably and sensibly and surely nailed down a starting role in Jackson’s forthcoming plans. It takes one to know one and the caretaker manager, as a dynamic midfielder himself, is hardly likely to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Lee was almost equally impressive and began his afternoon with a cracking volley which left Pontus Dahlberg helpless but was cleared off the line by skipper Tom Anderson. On 21 minutes, Lee’s luck changed for the better when his in-swinging free kick from the left touchline ruffled Stockley’s blond locks before making its untouched way into the opposite corner. Charlton were off and running; before the interval, they doubled their lead. Gliding into enemy territory, Dobson chose his moment to send Gilbey surging into Rover’s penalty area with Anderson in close attendance.
Shaking off his pursuer, Gilbey practically invited an illegal challenge, an outfoxed Anderson duly obliged and referee Tim Robinson, after momentary hesitation, pointed to the spot. Conor Washington decorated another of his selfless performances by burying the penalty in the bottom right corner.
💬 "It was a performance to be proud of…"
Watch Johnnie Jackson's full post-match reaction with CharltonTV…
— Charlton Athletic FC (@CAFCofficial) October 30, 2021
As the Addicks smelled blood, Ben Purrington set up Washington for a near post blockbuster which Dahlberg bravely blocked, then fired a chance engineered by Dobson and Washington, wastefully straight at the overworked keeper. Shortly after the break, the twinkle toes of Jaiyesimi stepped inside Kyle Knoyle near the touchline and delivered a left-footed centre, which was headed wastefully into Dahlberg’s grateful hands by Stockley.
Rovers were continuing to live precariously and Matt Smith’s foul on Lee near the left touchline gave his victim the opportunity to whip another of his wickedly dipping free kicks into the goal area. Dahlberg awkwardly shovelled the ball against the predatory Stockley and Charlton’s top scorer claimed his sixth league goal of an already productive season.
Sure by now of only their fourth victory, the Addicks turned the screw on their outclassed victims. An almost gratuitous fourth goal was added by Purrington, a sound defender who is, himself, no stranger to the scoresheet. Closing in stealthily as Jaiyesimi floated over his latest killer cross, the left back looped a header back across Dahlberg and in off the keeper’s left hand post.
Charlton were still insatiable and Stockley’s diving header, from yet another of Jaiyesimi’s inch-perfect deliveries, was miraculously conjured against his bar and safety by Dahlberg. And even Jackson’s rampant side had to settle for what they had – a four-goal thumping of comprehensively beaten visitors, who failed to engage Craig McGillivray even once.
It’s unlikely that fellow-Yorkshiremen Rotherham will be such a soft touch. Two weeks ago, they would have been warmly favoured to comfortably conquer Adkins’ stuttering side. But two weeks in football is a long time. Something tells me Charlton might – just might – be into something good.
Charlton: McGillivray, Gunter, Famewo, Pearce, Purrington, Dobson, Gilbey, Lee (Clare 78), Leko (Jaiyesimi 15), Stockley,
Washington (Davison 84). Not used: Henderson, Blackett-Taylor, Watson, Elewere. Booked: Purrington.
Doncaster: Dahlberg, Knoyle (Rowe 57), Anderson, Olowu, Williams, Smith, Bostock, Hiwula (Horton 76), Dodoo, Galbraith,
Vilca (Cukur 76). Not used: Jones, Barlow, Hasani, Blythe. Booked: Vilca.
Referee: Tim Robinson. Att: 16,449 (589 visiting).
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