RIGA CONFIDENT THEY’LL SURVIVE
Battling Charlton hold off Cardiff
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.”
HELD: Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson claims the ball
STAR MAN ANTHO