The first half of this match was like watching a match pre Sir Chris, with aimless hoofing and squandered possession being the order of the day. I was still surprised to hear the booing as the whistle went for half time though. As short lived and half hearted as the discontent was, it served as a reminder that while the love affair with the manager continues unabated, the desire to see better performance levels remains just as key to supporters.
It would be unfair to lay the blame for the abject first half performance totally at the players door though. Peterboro took the fight to Charlton in an injury disrupted first half, pressing all over the pitch, and could easily have gone in at the break two or three goals to the good, rather than just the one that actually separated the teams. It was down to a half time team talk, and the introduction of Abbott for the subdued Wagstaff that saw Charlton's fortunes transformed in the second half.
Abbott has never really won the hearts and minds of Charlton supporters, but his performance yesterday will have gone some way to changing peoples perception of him. It was an intelligent display, and really brought the best out of Eccleston in particular. For me, he was man of the match, closely followed by Semedo, who even took time out from defending the back line to clip Tomlin round the ear, out of sight of the replacement referee, but in full view of an enraged Peterboro bench.
What this game showed though, was the team's new found strength instilled by Sir Chris, and the age old weaknesses, which need to be addressed if Charlton are to challenge until the end of the season. As immense as Doherty in particular was at the heart of the defence, both he and Dailly were vulnerable to the pace of the Peterboro front line. The glaring weakness though was in the middle of the park. Whether it is McCormack or Racon, and Sir Chris currently seems to favour the former, the reality is that neither really hits the spot.
But, played four, won four is a stat that cannot be argued with, and the top of the third division gets ever tighter. With results elsewhere going the way of the top six, Huddersfield and Oldham fighting out a draw being the only exception, Charlton hold station in fifth, and those games in hand become ever more crucial.