Benched for­ward hits two

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Matt Barker

CHARL­TON boss Guy Luzon ad­mit­ted that his de­ci­sion to bring match-win­ning striker Tony Watt on as a half-time sub­sti­tute was the re­sult of an al­ter­ca­tion be­tween the two dur­ing train­ing, rather than any as­tute tac­ti­cal de­ci­sion.

Most of the pre-match talk had cen­tred around the visi­tors’ striker Char­lie Austin, but Watt stole the show, open­ing the scor­ing within min­utes of com­ing on and gal­vanis­ing his team-mates, who had strug­gled to get a grip on pro­ceed­ings dur­ing a dis­ap­point­ing first 45 min­utes

“I didn’t start with Tony be­cause of some­thing be­tween me and him, some­thing that hap­pened in train­ing, but I knew that he had the abil­ity to change a game,” said Luzon.

“There is no doubt about his qual­ity, about his mo­ti­va­tion. Win­ning a game is what he’s there for, it’s his job.”

Both teams lacked any cre­ative spark early on, but it was the visi­tors, and that man Austin, who had the bet­ter of the open­ing ex­changes.

The striker, called into the Eng­land squad last sea­son, put a shot wide from just in­side the box in the eighth minute.

That was pretty much it un­til the 34th minute, when Austin won a free kick on the edge of the box.

Tjar­ron Ch­ery’s ef­fort was dis­ap­point­ingly tame.

The warn­ing signs were there for the visi­tors, with Charl­ton show­ing plenty of signs of life ei­ther side of half-time. Watt, fresh off the bench, took his chance well, turn­ing in the box and shoot­ing through the crouch­ing Rob Green, who prob­a­bly should have done bet­ter.

Charl­ton dug in well and grew in con­fi­dence, with Watt in par­tic­u­lar run­ning at the QPR de­fence and find­ing chances. He could well have got him­self a sec­ond in the 67th minute, shrug­ging off two mark­ers and see­ing a de­flected shot bounce just wide.

Mor­gan Fox’s goal was a fine in­di­vid­ual ef­fort. Left in space out­side the box, he calmly curled past Green.

Rangers seemed to run out of steam as the sec­ond half pro­gressed and Austin in par­tic­u­lar, de­spite work­ing hard to cre­ate space, seemed to strug­gle late on in the lone striker role.

Clearly man­ager Chris Ram­sey was putting all his faith in the player, de­spite talk link­ing him with an im­mi­nent move, with Ever­ton ru­moured to be the latest suit­ors.

“Austin would be a big loss for any club in any di­vi­sion,” Ram­sey said.

“He’s go­ing to be a mas­sive gain for any­one who can buy him. QPR as club has helped him get to this stage and he knows that, which is why he played like he did.

“Do I wish the trans­fer win­dow had al­ready closed?Yes, I do.

“I think ev­ery sin­gle player does.You want to get your play­ers set­tled well and truly be­fore the sea­son starts.”

Ram­sey ap­peared re­signed to los­ing his star man, but tried to look to the pos­i­tives.

“I think if we can repli­cate that first half per­for­mance on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, then we can set­tle,” he said.

“Con­ced­ing the goals when we did re­ally took the stuff­ing out of us. We weren’t able to over­come that.”

If there’s pres­sure at QPR and un­cer­tainty about how the team will shape-up post-Austin, life in the Charl­ton camp seems nicely re­laxed.

Cer­tainly Luzon isn’t wor­ry­ing him­self too much about how this sea­son will pan out - not yet, any­way. “My tar­get?” the Is­raeli smiled.“To win the next game.

“For our first game, a Lon­don derby, it was great for our team and sup­port­ers. There was an un­be­liev­able at­mos­phere at times in the sta­dium.”

CRUNCH: Charl­ton’s Jo­hann Berg Gud­munds­son slides in on Jamie Mackie



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