Appleton on draw in FA Cup first round

Michael Appleton claps supporters

Michael Appleton was disappointed with his side’s performance as the Addicks were held to a 1-1 draw by Cray Valley Paper Mills in the FA Cup first round on Sunday evening.

“It was a hard watch at times,” he told local and national media after the game. “I don’t want to give any excuses to the players at all. The reality is we have to be better, and in the important moments of the game we weren’t.”

Charlton took an early lead through captain Scott Fraser, but seemed to take their foot off the gas after that.

“Up until the [Cray Valley] goal it was okay,” said the boss. “The disappointment was after the goal really. There was a lot of anxiety with a few of the players in the group and they really struggled after that.”

Appleton made 11 changes to the side that won at Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night, but it was a line-up that still had lots of quality and experience.

“I take full responsibility,” said Appleton. “I pick the team and clearly it was the wrong one today.

“Sometimes you’ve got to manage and balance the group as best as you possibly can. I certainly felt that the starting XI was more than capable of winning again tonight. And I still do, regardless of how poor some of the performances were.”

The main positive the gaffer was able to take was the performance of Jamaica international Karoy Anderson, who made an excellent start to the season but has not featured as much under Appleton.

“He was certainly one who was definitely asking a question and staking a claim to be in and around [the first XI for league games],” said the boss.

The draw means the two sides will meet again in a replay. “At least we’ve got a second crack at it,” said the boss. “At least we’re still in the cup and we’ve still got an opportunity to get the job done.

“When you get a second opportunity, you very rarely see a group of players not take that opportunity. I’m hoping that will be the case.”

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