So, having failed at Wimbledon tonight we emerged from Welling with the victory by the only goal. It was a chance to see the new faces (Doherty, Jackson, McCormack), to get a glimpse of some of the trialists, to welcome back one expected returnee (Basey, although according to others it’s not clear if he’s extending his stay), and one not so expected, a prodigal son in the form of Jonathan Fortune. Whether that proves to be a fleeting appearance depends I guess on his contract expectations and whether or not Dailly agrees terms and whether Sam Sodje has indeed left (I’ve still seen no confirmation, but neither of the two were listed as in the Charlton squad).
Was there much to be learnt from the exercise? Well, the defence lined up at the start may well prove to be that which starts the season: Elliot, Solly, Jackson, Doherty and Llera. McCormack seemed to be captain for the game and in the first half gave a decent enough account of himself. There don’t seem to be any pretentions here, does what it says on the can. No bad thing, but if Semedo is still around it would be hard to see a central midfield accommodating them both. Racon started alongside McCormack, with Wagstaff and trialist Esajas (I’m led to believe, the tannoy left a little to be desired) providing the width, while another trialist Bauza started alongside Akpo Sodje.
The first half proved to be all about whether Akpo could adjust the sights sufficiently to finally put the ball in the net. The first chance that came his way saw his effort clear not just the bar but the road behind, then it was a miscued shot, a wayward header when the goal beckoned, and finally a failure to get on the end of a low cross to convert. Eventually good work by Solly down the right produced a perfect ball in and this time he buried the header. A lot seems to rest on Sodje’s shoulders this season, if Burton departs and if McLeod doesn’t reemerge. In between Bauza almost converted another low cross. He looked useful and intelligent but if one was critical it wasn’t clear that he’s a poacher or blessed with pace. Aside from one mazy dribble which embarrassed a few there were no alarms at the other end.
The half-time entertainment was provided by a group of Welling youth players going through a warm-up, including a coach firing shots at a goalkeeper from short range just by the goalline in front of the Charlton fans. Which was fine, except for when he misdirected the odd shot. Unsuspecting and unaware supporters felt the force.
At the break Fortune and Basey came on, for Doherty and Jackson and not long afterwards came the deluge of subs that left me clutching at straws. Tuna came on for Wagstaff, but then five at the same time saw the stadium announced give up. I’m pretty sure that Semedo and Mambo came on, quite possibly Stavrinou, but for the other couple I’m going to have to check the club site. One bore more than a passing resemblance to Mark Robson. And to round things off a goalkeeper came on for Elliot. Just who it was is a mystery to me, but he was a noisy one. Not surprisingly thereafter we lacked some cohesion and Welling came into it more as they sniffed the chance of a draw. That created plenty of space at the other end, but passes were misplaced or wrong options taken. All part of the pre-season process.
So the positives were decent run-outs for the three newcomers and the appearance of Fortune. Seems Welling have a game at home against Arsenal coming up if the programme is to be believed. I wonder what Fabregas will make of World Cup final to Welling in the space of a few weeks. But maybe not. I guess it’s not just us who aren’t sure who will be donning the shirt when the serious stuff begins.