Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Put All the Blame on Bailey

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Put All the Blame on Bailey

Article excerpt

Byline: Ian Gibb

CHARLTON 2 SWINDON 1 aet, aggregate 3-3, Swindon win 5-4 on pens IT IS difficult to imagine a sadder sight in football. Charlton captain and midfield hero Nicky Bailey, tear-stained face head down in shame, being led, almost dragged from the pitch, supported by teammates Deon Burton and Lloyd Sam. And all because he was the only player to miss in the penalty shoot-out, so Charlton would not be going to Wembley and won't be going back up to the Championship.

There were fine words from Charlton boss Phil Parkinson about his team having put the pride back in the club, how they should be proud of themselves and no more could have been asked of them. But the fact is Charlton messed up as a team.

Nothing to do with Bailey's spooned spot-kick high and wide. How about Swindon losing goalkeeper David Lucas to a shoulder injury in the second minute? Charlton holding a winning aggregate lead by half-time thanks to Simon Ferry's own goal and David Mooney's first-time strike? Swindon losing the gamble of playing 29-goal hamstring troubled Billy Paynter by the 64th minute? Having captain Gordon Greer sent off to leave them with 10 men? And even the penalty shoot-out conducted in front of Charlton's own fans with Swindon's 3,000 band of followers way up the other end? Charlton choked in a second half when they should have put Swindon to the sword. They sat back in numbers, wracked with self doubt and caution, when even their own manager was acting like a demented traffic cop, urging them to push up.

But Charlton's long suffering fans have seen it all before in big games when their team have tried to protect a lead by attempting a mass retreat.

Swindon could hardly believe their luck as Charlton's negativity allowed them to rebuild their shaky confidence by knocking the ball around despite being a man down. …

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