Olly Groome reports from The Valley
Karl Robinson was left disappointed after Fleetwood Town's injury-time equaliser saw Charlton share a 1-1 draw at The Valley on Saturday.
Although the Addicks came under some late pressure from the visitors, it looked as if Ricky Holmes' first-half opener would be enough for all three points until Amari'i Bell struck a 94th-minute leveller.
Speaking to BBC London post-match, Robinson also revealed his frustration at the 10 minutes of injury-time awarded at the end of the game.
Question: A point this afternoon against Fleetwood – what were your thoughts on the game?
Karl Robinson: ““It’s disappointing to come away with only a point, but for the last 20 minutes we maybe defended deeper and deeper and there was a 15-minute period where I thought we would turn the screw, but we didn’t.
“All of our substitutions today were forced, we weren’t able to make one tactical decision and I thought the refereeing decision were poor.
“I don’t even need to speak about it too much, because the fans could clearly see that today. I don’t know where he got 10 minutes of added on time, plus two more. It took four minutes to bring the linesman off, and when they had a player down injured the game could have restarted, but they waited for two minutes for their player to come on.
“Yes, the goal came within five minutes of that, but when you see 10 minutes go up it’s a sucker-blow to the players.
“Their goal has taken a deflection through Crofty’s legs and fallen to their man perfectly. I don’t remember too many more chances for them.
“Any team that has come up against them recently, they’ve been bowling them over, but that certainly wasn’t the case. We looked a very good side.
“Jake Forster-Caskey felt his calf, Adam Chicksen felt ill and Ricky Holmes only had so many minutes left in him, so it was always going to be difficult knowing that those players couldn’t carry on, but the players showed everyone in the stadium that it really mattered to them. They put their bodies on the line and I can’t ask more as a manager of a football club than the appetite and the dedication to get on the way of things, and we certainly did that.”
Q: Fleetwood stepped it up when that board went up and you put your bodies on the line. There was a lot of heart there wasn’t there?
KR: “It was always going to be the case when you’re holding onto the lead. The substitutions we would have liked to have made would have been pure pace and if they got on top we could have caught them on the counter attack. But we had to make different subs for various reasons.
“It is what it is, but we’re six games unbeaten now. We’re on a ‘won one, drawn one’ pattern and that’s enough to get promoted, but we’re coming in from behind with a lot of catching up to do so we’re a bit adrift of things.
“I think the players showed what it took to wear the Charlton shirt. Ok, at certain times the quality wasn’t always there, but certainly the hunger was there for all to see.”
Q: Ricky Holmes made his return to the side today. How much difference did he make.
“I thought Jake Forster-Caskey was one of the best players on the pitch until his calf went, but having these players back in the team makes a difference. Obviously having Nathan sent off, we’re going to miss him next week and we’re getting used to playing with 10 men, but it’s because my players care.
“They have to make tackles and accept the consequences of that. The fans don’t want them to pull out because we want to keep going and if you get sent off doing it, then so be it. We have to make sure we put our bodies on the line for this football club and the players did that.
“I’ve not really seen the red card clearly yet.”
Q: You have a busy schedule coming up with a lot of games. Is the squad strong enough and fit enough to get through that period?
KR: “It’s certainly fit enough. Josh Magennis will be back for next week, hopefully. He’ll train with the team on Tuesday so that will be a big bonus for us.
“We’re playing decent football, we just need to maybe take our chances when they come along. Today, what more can I say, they put their bodies on the line and their goal happened to be a deflection that dropped to somebody’s feet. I can’t control the uncontrollable, I can only control what we can control and that’s the effort and the passion.”
Q: Six unbeaten now. Are the play-offs still a possibility?
KR: 100 per cent. I will never throw the towel in, it’s not in my DNA and I don’t want it to be in the DNA of my players either.
“Some might say it’s too far away, but I don’t believe it’s out of reach. People can certainly see I’m starting to put my stamp on the team of the way I want them to play.
“I want to thank the fans today. They were unbelievable. The passion they showed was fantastic. I met some fans on Thursday and had a really good conversation about what it took to be a Charlton fan and I’ve seen that week-in-week out.
“It means a lot to me. I love football because of the passion and the tribal nature that we have to support our teams and this club certainly have that in abundance.
“Thank you to the fans, I apologise that we couldn’t get those three points for you, but hopefully you can sit at home tonight and at least say that your players did everything they possibly could.”
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