CHRIS Powell believes Saturday’s performance at Bolton is a strong indication of how far his Charlton side has come over the last 18 months despite a 2-0 defeat.

Last season the Addicks and Bolton were two divisions apart, but at the weekend Powell’s side frustrated their hosts and had the better of the game for long spells until David Ngog settled the tie with two late goals.

And even though it was a first Championship defeat since November 3, the Addicks chief admitted his side could take some heart from their display.

“I said to the players afterwards that we had played a side that were in the Premier League this time last year,” said Powell.

“We were more than a match for them, so we can take a small amount of comfort from that.

“But we came here to win and I don’t like having to leave here with a 2-0 defeat.

“It shouldn’t have happened that way, but that is football and we move on.

“It’s a good indication for us.

“We can take heart from playing a side that has got a lot of Premier League players in it and we definitely more than matched them.”

The home fans were restless until Ngog struck the 74th minute opener and Powell revealed frustrating the Reebok crowd was what side set out to do.

He said: “It was part of our game plan, “We frustrated them and had a bit of possession.

“I said to the boys just be calm because they’ll give the ball to us.

“They must’ve given it to us four or five times where we almost set a trap and we were able to counter.

“You’ve always got to back your team.

“It could have quite easily turned for them because if we had taken one of our chances, we could have been one, two or even three nil up and they wouldn’t have got the result they have gone away with.”

Powell added: “They’ve got a new manager as well, so they have to show a bit of calmness because he’s obviously trying to get his team playing the way he wants and I think our supporters have learnt from that.

“Our fans were terrific again, they were singing for a good hour. Our away form and support have both been good.

“We just need to make sure that we transfer those chances into wins.

“Bolton have a big wage bill, they have a lot of players used to the Premier League and they need to get their heads around being in the Championship.

“I think they’re just above us on goals scored, so we’ll go again and there are teams below that we want to keep below us.

“But I keep saying to everyone let’s look high, why not?

“Let’s aim to get in that top 10 and see where it takes us.

“It’s very tight, it’s small margins as shown today.

“We’re nearly halfway through the 46 games season and we’re doing OK, but I’m disappointed we haven’t got a point or three here.”

Saturday also saw Charlton’s seven-match unbeaten run come to an end, as defeat at the Reebok was the Addicks’ first away from home since mid September.

But Powell isn’t looking to dwell on the loss, already having one eye on this weekend’s trip to Hillsborough.

He added: “We’ll make sure we’re ready for Sheffield next week and the Christmas period, so it’s all about that now.

“We’ve had a terrific run and now we’ve got to have another one.

“That’s what you’ve got to do in the Championship, you have a spell where everything is going for you and then you’ll have a spell where it doesn’t.

“We really need to get back on it next week in Sheffield.

“We can take heart from a good run which we had and a good result we had at Sheffield last year.

“We’ll be looking to get straight back on it and I’m sure my group of players will do that.”

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