Addicks columnist MATIAS GREZ feels some of the criticism directed at Callum Harriott last night went too far for someone still in the early stages of his professional career.
It was almost a year to the day – a year and two days to be precise – since a buoyant Charlton side with the fourth best away record in the Championship travelled to Barnsley and hit their hapless northern opponents for six.
Now, just 12 months on, although Barnsley are still no less hapless than they were, we have somehow sunk to their level.
Surprisingly, seven of the starting XI from that memorable day at Oakwell were also in the starting XI last night and ten in the squad overall.
This includes Ben Hamer, three of the back four, two of the midfield four and one half of the striking pair – the spine of the team, you might say.
So where has it all gone wrong?
Perhaps what is more telling is three of the six players who scored that day are no longer at the club, and one is playing so little he might as well not be.
Ricardo Fuller and Salim Kerkar were sold in the summer without adequate, or any, replacements being signed and Bradley Pritchard has seen barely any game time since his early season blunder cost the side a 1-0 home defeat against Millwall.
Then of course there was the sale of Yann Kermorgant in January which relieved our squad of any attacking potency it had left after the summer clear-out, and left us with the shambles of a front line we now have to endure twice a week.
Last night I really felt for Callum Harriott.
From the moment he made his first mistake he was hounded by fans all night, culminating in the extremely unnecessary sarcastic cheers and applause when he was substituted.
What I found strange was Jose Riga’s decision to keep him on for the second half.
Perhaps substituting him in the quiet of the dressing room would have been a better option, only to haul him off ten minutes into the second half after he finally began to produce a couple of moments of quality.
Imagine being aged just 20 and hearing a large number of your own fans jeering with delight as the fourth official holds your number up on the touchline?
If we want Harriott to develop into the player we know he can be, consistently produce the fleeting moments of brilliance we have seen over the last three years and be of a benefit to our club, we need to support him when he is not at his best.
Not berate him and put anymore unnecessary pressure on his already laden young shoulders.
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