RIGA CON­FI­DENT THEY’LL SUR­VIVE

Bat­tling Charl­ton hold off Cardiff

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Daniel Prescott

JOSE Riga is con­fi­dent Charl­ton have what it takes to sur­vive – but ad­mits it’s im­pos­si­ble to draw com­par­isons from his pre­vi­ous spell at the club.

Riga guided Charl­ton to safety in 2014 de­spite re­plac­ing Chris Pow­ell with just a cou­ple of months of the sea­son to go.

The Bel­gian faces a sim­i­lar story now, with Charl­ton’s woe­ful run of form stand­ing at one win in 14 league matches fol­low­ing a goal­less draw against Cardiff.

“You can never com­pare teams or sit­u­a­tions from pre­vi­ous sea­sons,’ said Riga. “But I be­lieve in my play­ers and I be­lieve that by do­ing the right things we will re­ceive what we are fight­ing for.

“I try to be re­al­is­tic be­cause other teams around us in the league are think­ing the same. But if you think and be­have like a team you will get the re­sults.

“Ob­vi­ously I would love to be man­ag­ing the club with­out this sit­u­a­tion both on and off the pitch.

“But I be­lieve in work, I be­lieve in com­mit­ment and I be­lieve in Charl­ton – I al­ways stay pos­i­tive.”

When it rains it pours. Charl­ton were re­minded of that be­fore the game even started when a nice ges­ture went wrong.

Both sets of play­ers joined to­gether for a minute’s ap­plause ahead of kick-off to cel­e­brate the life of Gra­ham Moore.

Moore spent four years play­ing for Charl­ton, but club of­fi­cials were forced to apol­o­gise when they dis­played a pic­ture of Alan Camp­bell on screen in­stead.

The mood around The Val­ley was one of de­jec­tion and it took just 42 sec­onds for Cardiff to earn their first cor­ner of the game.

But de­spite Cardiff’s bright start it was down-in-the-dumps Charl­ton that should have taken an early lead.

Matthew Con­nolly got him­self in trou­ble, tread­ing on the ball in the box, but he re­cov­ered to block Zakarya Bergdich’s shot.

Peter Whit­ting­ham’s de­liv­ery then got Charl­ton goal­keeper Stephen Hen­der­son in trou­ble with 20 min­utes played. Hen­der­son came fly­ing out to deal with a cross onlt to flap at it, but Sammy Ameobi failed to con­vert the un­ex­pected chance – much to their re­lief.

Ameobi’s miss didn’t seem to mat­ter when An­thony Pilk­ing­ton beat the off­side trap and lobbed the ball over Hen­der­son. Ref­eree Iain Wil­liamson, though, had other ideas, mis­tak­enly chalk­ing it off de­spite re­plays show­ing the striker was on­side.

Calls for the board to go bel­lowed from the Charl­ton sup­port­ers through­out the game.

With Riga even­tu­ally re­spond­ing and get­ting brave enough to bring on Premier League duoYaya Sanogo and Diego Poyet to try and steal a win­ner.

Si­mon Makienok was put through on goal min­utes later to win the game and make Riga look a mas­ter, but he saw his ef­fort blocked, much to the fans dis­be­lief.

Both sides had to make do with a point but Cardiff man­ager Rus­sell Slade said: “When you en­gi­neer a goal in a tight game from a great bit of play and it’s ruled out it’s frus­trat­ing.

“Pilk­ing­ton is on side and I feel hard done by be­cause it’s what we de­served.

“I thought for much of the game we were in con­trol and re­duced them to very few chances un­til the last ten min­utes.

“We were get­ting in good po­si­tions. I think we had 22 shots but we didn’t work the goal­keeper enough.

“There was some re­ally good foot­ball be­ing played by us and we took a real hold and we were open­ing Charl­ton up.

“We hit the post, we hit the bar but it wasn’t to be.”

PIC­TURES: Matt Red­man/Pro Sport

HELD: Charl­ton goal­keeper Stephen Hen­der­son claims the ball

STAR MAN AN­THO

NY PILKIN

GTON Cardiff

City

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