Charlton Athletic’s woes continued as they exited the FA Cup following a 3-1 defeat at Stockport County.
The League Two hosts were clearly the superior side on the evening and Will Collar’s hat-trick set up a home third round tie with Walsall.
Charlton, with Anthony Hayes in caretaker charge after Ben Garner’s sacking on Monday, once again carried little end product.
The South Londoners took the lead in fortunate fashion, Akil Wright nicking a corner into his own net after seven minutes. But it failed to settle down the visitors.
Collar’s instinctive finish after Ryan Rydel’s full-blooded hit came back off the base of the post in the 25th minute.
Stockport deservedly went ahead on 73 minutes with Collar driving a shot underneath Craig MacGillivray after his run was not tracked by Sean Clare.
George Dobson, who replaced Chuks Aneke at half-time, then conceded a penalty when he clipped Ollie Crankshaw. Collar slightly scuffed his kick but it evaded MacGillivray to hit the bottom left of the net.
“It was a scrappy affair,” said Hayes. “I didn’t think there was much between it in the first half. It probably deserved to be 1-1 at the time. There was a lack of flow to the game, for various reasons – lengthy stoppages, with collisions.
“I actually thought at one stage in that half we started to get a foothold. They changed shape, I tried to change our attacking shape a little bit. It was really disappointing to concede from a second phase of a wide free-kick and from a penalty. It was a similar story to the first game, really.
“Our line from their free-kick is too deep [for the second goal]. We don’t track a run because we ball watch and by the time Macca sees it, it’s probably a little too late. The damage has already been done. It’s something we have to eradicate from our performances if we’re going to have any chance of picking up some points and winning games of football.
“They are a team that is in good form. They are very good at what they do. Second half, after the collision down on the end line with George [Dobson], it gave them a little bit of a lift, in terms of their crowd.
“We didn’t move our feet well enough and gave away too many fouls. They are very effective at what they do – they get bodies in the box and have got good profiles. They do a lot on second phase and that’s where we’ve come unstuck.
“We have to be better at dominating games by creating more chances than the opposition. Tonight we haven’t worked the goalkeeper anywhere near enough.
“The players are hurting in there. We’re not winning football matches – I think it’s our sixth match without a win and we’re out of the FA Cup, a competition we wanted to get a minimum to the third round for a club of our size.
“The staff and club are hurting as well. The only way we can move forward is by pulling together.”
PICTURE: KYLE ANDREWS