HARRIOTT’S BACK TO BEAT THE DROP
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.”
DERBY DELIGHT: Charlton Athletic’s Callum Harriotts celebrates scoring their first goal Inset: Harriott scores his second
STAR MAN ALAN JUDGE Brentfo