This was a pleasant little local day out for me and The Witch. A reasonably quick journey from Watford into South London, some catching up with the southern branch of The Witch’s family (which includes a Charlton ST holder) and, of course, a sixth victory in a row for the Rams. Wasn’t the best performance I’ve ever seen from us but, despite Charlton being on top for much of the game, we demonstrated the right qualities at the right times and deserved the win. And it’s the type of game we need to win if we’re going to achieve anything this season.
Will Hughes was out with an unspecified illness and we clearly missed him. The Rams struggled to be as controlled in possession or as incisive going forward without him. Too be fair, we shouldn’t be surprised that we weren’t as effective without the Football League’s best midfielder on the pitch but it was nice to see we could win without him. Great to see Hendrick back in the side but he’s clearly a bit rusty and needs to regain his match fitness (something he accepted after the match).
Charlton knocked the ball around well until we scored with that deflected free kick from Wardy. He’s living a charmed life at the moment, most fans were predicting he’d be dropped in favour of Russell for this game. Really should have scored rather than hit the crossbar in the second half too. I shouldn’t be too harsh on the little fella but we’ve clearly come a long way since he was the only creative influence on the side.
Bryson had a fantastic game, definitely our man of the match and thoroughly deserved his goal at the end. He was a bundle of energy for the whole game and never stopped pressing and harassing the Charlton players. He deserved a goal in the first half too but his swerving, long range shot was saved well by Alnwick. Martin was influential too, demonstrating how important he is in holding the ball up. And gaining the odd free kick here and there.
The defence played a massive part in this result too, of course. All of them played well, in particular Keogh and Grant. Keogh executed a fantastic last ditch tackle early in the first half. Grant saved well from Dale Stephens at a crucial stage in the second half and was again confident and reliable. He’s a different player since the change of management. Well done, Eric Steele!
The only negative aspect to the day was the pointless, pathetic punch up between two Derby fans in front of us just after kick off. Idiocy.
Anyway, enough of that. The atmosphere in the away end was fantastic, with a cacophony of drumming and chanting kept up for the whole game. It was also great to see how the players and coaching staff came over at the end and showed their appreciation.
Something else that was great to see was Sam Rush and John Vicars mingling with the fans before the game, posing for photos like celebrities. What other club’s bosses engage with the fans like these two do?
Home against Donny Rovers next week, let’s keep this momentum going. No time for complacency.