HAR­RIOTT’S BACK TO BEAT THE DROP

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By An­drew Brook

ONE of the three head coaches Charl­ton had dur­ing Jose Riga’s 18-month ab­sence de­cided Cal­lum Har­riott was not needed, but Riga will be re­ly­ing on the lo­cal lad to keep the Ad­dicks’ sur­vival hopes alive.

De­feat for Charl­ton would have left a ten-point gap to safety, but Har­riott, who re­turned in Jan­uary from a loan spell at Colch­ester, in­spired his side to a rare vic­tory. He opened the scor­ing af­ter just 19 sec­onds and sealed Charl­ton’s se­cond win in 19 games with a sec­ond­half win­ner.

Riga said : “Cal­lum can do this kind of per­for­mance. He cer­tainly has the skills and phys­i­cal ca­pac­i­ties. I spoke this week with him be­cause most of the time he has to mas­ter his en­ergy. Some­times he rushes too much, but the more play­ers I have who do this kind of per­for­mance it is good for the con­fi­dence of the team.

“With the teams above us win­ning, you can imag­ine how bad the ta­ble would look if we lost, but we can­not af­fect the re­sults of the other teams.”

Charl­ton were not alone in ex­ces­sive re­liance on one in­di­vid­ual go­ing for­ward. No Cham­pi­onship player has been in­volved in a greater per­cent­age of his side’s goals this sea­son than Alan Judge and once more the Ir­ish­man was the ful­crum of ev­ery Brent­ford at­tack.

But it was Har­riott who pro­vided the game’s de­ci­sive touches. From kick-off Charl­ton at­tacked down their left and, af­ter Mor­gan Fox’s cross de­flected off Yaya Sanogo, Har­riott steered in the loose ball.

And later he coolly pranced around David But­ton and drilled his shot past three goal-line de­fend­ers, fol­low­ing But­ton’s half-punch, half-flap that half­cleared Jo­hann Berg Gud­munds­son’s cross.

The vic­tors in a low-qual­ity game rested on the dif­fer­ing per­for­mances of the sup­port­ing casts. For Charl­ton, Sanogo’s size made him a con­stant hand­ful and Gud­munds­son had his mo­ments too.

Judge and com­pany, mean­while, were like a pri­mary school team with one prodigy tak­ing the cor­ners and head­ing them in, then go­ing in goal for the penalty shoot-out.

Bees head coach Dean Smith said: “I don’t think we de­served to lose, but at the mo­ment our Achilles’ heel is tak­ing our chances. When we cre­ated good chances, we didn’t take them. We put some good balls across the face of the goal which we never got across the goal­keeper for.

“We’re con­ced­ing poor goals as well and those two things to­gether are not great in terms of get­ting re­sults.

“We’re on a run of re­sults that we don’t want to be on and each of the play­ers has to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own per­for­mances. I ex­pect bet­ter of the play­ers. They are Cham­pi­onship play­ers and that is why they are here.”

Brent­ford’s best spell of play – a flurry of chances mid­way through the first-half – was cour­tesy of Judge. He drilled a wicked cross across the goal-line that no one threat­ened to touch, and it needed Nick Pope’s full-stretch save to pre­vent his curl­ing shot creep­ing in­side the far post.

Af­ter Pope also de­nied Marco Djuricin one-on-one, Judge fi­nally found a team-mate to help him out, as his cor­ner was headed in by the un­marked Yoann Bar­bet, scor­ing his first Brent­ford goal.

Con­trast­ingly though, af­ter Har­riott’s se­cond not even Judge could pro­vide the spark as Brent­ford sub­sided.

Riga added: “The way we got this win pleases me a lot. The re­ac­tion even when we con­ceded was good. Some­times we go from dis­ap­point­ment to dis­ap­point­ment, but I saw my team keep­ing the mind­set for what we want.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

DERBY DE­LIGHT: Charl­ton Ath­letic’s Cal­lum Har­riotts cel­e­brates scor­ing their first goal In­set: Har­riott scores his se­cond

STAR MAN ALAN JUDGE Brentfo

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