Tom Rubashow reports from the Ricoh Arena
Charlton Athletic Manager Karl Robinson reserved special praise for Addicks’ goalkeeper Declan Rudd following his side’s 1-1 draw away to Coventry City.
Charlton were 1-0 down at half time but Robinson was pleased with the way his side rolled their sleeves up to secure a crucial away point with Patrick Bauer equalising in the 55th minute.
A string of saves from Rudd earned him the Man of the Match award from his proud manager. Robinson said: “I thought Declan Rudd was Man of the Match. He really cares, you can see at the end of the game how emotional he is.”
Robinson also praised Chris Solly and second half substitute Jake Forster-Caskey: “Jake made a difference when he came on in midfield, he slowed the game down a little and got on the ball. A note for Chris Solly too, Chris had a migraine at 11.30am today. He never ceases to amaze me, he’s a top, top player.”
The point takes Charlton above Northampton to 15th in the table. Robinson said: “I don’t think we got going. What I am pleased about, we’ve played better and lost. We dug in today.
“They’ve won four of the last five, we always knew we were going against a team with a bit between their teeth and we knew we had to be on our A game. We weren’t on that and the last 15 minutes the game was kamikaze. They needed a goal to stay up and it is about reverting to try and do your best, relying on the bounces to fall for you and you to win the second ball. I thought the players did that in the last 10 minutes.
“Up until the 90th minute our keeper was still trying to get us on the front foot, to install a winning mentality. Draws aren’t acceptable for us. It’s not there yet but we’ve got to chase teams ahead of us. That what teams who go on to be successful worry about.
“For us, with the nine team table (Robinson has previously talked about) we’re now top of the 10 team table (with Charlton going ahead of Northampton). We’ve got to stay ahead of Northampton and catch the next team.”
Charlton could have taken an early lead when a beautiful cross from Jay Dasilva found Nathan Byrne free in the box. The winger rattled a header against the crossbar. “Nathan should score,” Robinson said. “If we made the goal three inches bigger, higher, that playoff place would be a lot closer but we’ve got to be better than that and take our chances when they come along.”
George Thomas then gave Coventry a fortunate 28th minute lead from a short corner. Robinson explained: “One of our players left his man and the first strike took a deflection, their strike we think was missing and we’ve deflected past Dec. That’s two key deflections that went against us.”
The game had been delayed when a number of sponge pigs were thrown on the pitch. Robinson said: “We knew regardless of the issues that we had a job to do. I don’t think we were great, I felt we can play much better than we did.”
Charlton have been training at The Valley but will return to Sparrows Lane to train on Sunday ahead of Easter Monday’s home game against Gillingham. Robinson joked: “The groundsman is not happy with me. He’s banned me from it on Sunday.” He added: “The good thing is there isn’t a lot of people there (Sparrows Lane) on a Sunday, so we can focus on what we want to do.
“Hopefully we can get one or two wins and we can start looking ahead for the fans. Hopefully we can give them a little bit more pride in our performance.”
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