The Warm Down: Defeat sees Charlton move into the bottom three
Photo by NurPhoto/Getty Images 

Charlton are in the Championship's bottom three for the first time this season after defeat at home to Middlesbrough. 

The Addicks were back in SE7 after two tough and disappointing results in South Yorkshire, a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday was followed up by a 4-0 defeat against Huddersfield last Saturday. 

Lee Bowyer made three changes to his side, Ben Purrington, Darren Pratley and Jonny Williams came into the team for Alfie Doughty, Aiden McGeady and Erhun Oztumer.

The magnitude of the game was there for all to see, Middlesbrough arrived in South London looking for their first win since New Year's Day. 

The Teessiders themselves had dropped into the bottom three after defeats against both Luton and Barnsley in recent weeks. However, they turned up with the fight and hunger to get themselves out of the bottom three and re-ignite their survival hopes.  

It was Jonathan Woodgate's side that started the better. Boro were on the front foot from the start and Charlton were given a huge let-off early on. Adam Matthews just managed to deal with a cross aimed for Hayden Coulson who ended up tumbling into the advertising hoardings.

Andre Green and Lyle Taylor both went close both forcing saves from Middlesbrough stopper Dejan Stojanovic. 

The visitors took the lead before the 20-minute mark. Purrington's poor pass was intercepted, the ball found it's way to Rudy Gestede who crossed for Paddy McNair who slotted past the helpless Dillion Phillips.

The visitors should have made it 2-0 moments later, this time with McNair looking to provide for Gestede but the big striker was unable to make contact with his low cross. 

Into the second half, Lyle Taylor was booked for simulation after going down off Harold Moukoudi's challenge. 

Macauley Bonne had two chances to get the Addicks level, his first coming from a cross from Lyle Taylor but his flick fell straight at Stojanovic. The former Leyton Orient man then saw a free header go over the bar late on from Deji Oshilaja's cross. 

  • Tom Lockyer a big miss

He has missed the last two games for Bowyer's men and it is evident to see. The Charlton backline was at times very unorganised, something that when Lockyer is there very rarely happens. 

Naby Sarr is also a big miss while he is an unorthodox centre-back and can make errors he is someone who is not afraid to make a challenge and someone who will put their foot in when needed. 

Defensively, Charlton have suffered. Huddersfield's first goal last weekend came from a defensive mix up and the first goal at the weekend again comes from a defensive mistake. A poor pass by Purrington that was punished something that frustrated Bowyer.

“We have to learn from it. You can't afford to just gift them goals. Same as last week ... it's a schoolboy thing, just basic. So poor.

“Ten-yard pass? Could I ask you to go out there and make the ten-yard pass that he [Purrington] missed? And you would do it? It's not hard.

“That's what frustrates me because I see them every day in training and they make those passes, and we didn't take our chances. Second half, we had three clear-cut chances and we didn't take them."

  • Another six-pointer

The six pointer's keep on coming for Bowyer's men. They face Hull City next weekend in what really is a must-win game for the South-Londoners. Should Hull secure their first victory since New Year's Day at the KCOM Stadium next weekend they will move five points clear of Charlton. The worst-case scenario for Bowyer's men by the end of next weekend is they could be sitting five points adrift of safety with just eight games to play. 

Bowyer is confident though his side will have enough to avoid the dreaded drop back to League One. 

“The second half showed that we're a decent side when we do things properly. We've got a lot of games [left], nine to go, and we've got enough points there to keep up in this division.

“I still believe we'll do it.

“Today was game that everyone though, on paper, 'Middlesbrough at home. This is game that you have to win'. Nothing changes. It would have been better if we won, it would have been easier if we won, but football ain't like that sometimes.

“Sometimes you have to do it the hard way and we're definitely doing that at the moment. We're definitely making it harder for ourselves."

 

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