Of more concern to me was Solly. It was blatantly obvious that Flahavan had been told to hit his wing at every opportunity, and for the first fifteen it seemed a sensible thing to do, as Solly rarely managed to win first ball possession, and under pressure squandered what possession he did have on a couple of occasions. If ever a riposte was required to show that our diminutive home grown right back intends to be a threat to Hughes for the slot, then Solly certainly delivered that in the 23rd minute.
A constant theme of the afternoon was that Charlton did not allow Bournemouth to settle, and chased and harried the player on the ball at every opportunity. Solly epitomised that ethos when he robbed a Bournemouth player in possession just inside the Charlton half, and fed Wright-Phillips down the right flank. Not content with that, Solly hared forward to receive the return pass from our number ten, and then cleverly dummied the delivered ball into the path of Stephens who placed his ball precisely beyond the Cherries goalkeeper's right hand into the bottom corner of the net. It was the confidence booster he required, and with a little judicious help from Taylor on high balls, his flank was rarely threatened again.
What I liked most about the team was that they were just that; a team. For me, there was no standout performance, but what we got was a display that was both industrious, and in flashes inventive beyond anything Bournemouth could control. One such moment came with the second goal which Wagstaff lashed on the volley into the top corner of the net from twenty yards out from a Stephens pass from the left hand side of the box. Now we all know that most of the time, that sort of effort is more likely to find row Z, but like Solly, Wagstaff has a player ahead of him in the pecking order. What better way to deliver a message to the manager than a contender for goal of the month definitely, if not the season.
Elsewhere, Wright-Phillips and Hayes played with an intelligence that I have not seen from a Charlton forward line for some time now. They may not have had standout performances, but Wright-Phillips can be justifiably pleased with his days efforts, making one goal, and winning the penalty for another. His applause for his fellow strike partner Hayes when the latter was substituted was his recognition that the former Preston man is a good foil for our number ten, causing the Bournemouth rearguard problems aplenty with his movement, distribution and hold up play.
This Charlton team is very much a work in progress, and there were times when only the paucity of Bournemouth's attacking options didn't test our new look back line more seriously. The goalkeeping situation is an odd one as well. Although I didn't know that Hamer was injured, I would still have put Sullivan ahead of the wantaway Elliott. I do like the civilised way both keeper and club are maintaining the "We don't want him to go", and "I don't want to leave" routine, but the fact is that for money (lack of), or ambition (over), reasons, he does want to go, and with the signing of Hamer, the club are saying he can. I hope it gets resolved soon, but judging by his continued presence, there is no queue for his talents.
As for Bournemouth, I do feel that they will become this seasons Swindon. Over achievement in their first third division term, they have been stripped of most of their crown jewels in the close season. With the exception of the substitute Molesley, they had little to offer yesterday. I wish them well, but if I was a Bournemouth fan I would be worried about the lack of reinforcements. No consolation I know, but I don't think Charlton should be looking at Ings. A good player, certainly, but another little 'un. We need something a lot bigger as a fourth striker.
So a good start for the Addicks, but let's not get carried away, as there will be far harder tests than yesterday to overcome. On the evidence put before us yesterday though, it looks promising. Top of the table clash next week anyone?