Charlton keeper learns quickly from Derby County mistake

Addicks stopper Nick Pope. Picture by Keith Gillard.

Addicks stopper Nick Pope. Picture by Keith Gillard.

First published in Sport News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by

Nick Pope was happy to put his error against Derby last week behind him and help Charlton secure a valuable point at Huddersfield on Saturday.

The keeper’s mistake late on in the 3-2 victory over the Rams had given the home side a slightly nervier ending than desired.

But following an inauspicious first 20 minutes in Saturday’s 1-1 draw in West Yorkshire, he grew in stature and got his team out of a few sticky defensive situations.

Huddersfield played the second half with 10-men after Murray Wallace was red carded just before the break, although this didn’t prevent Nahki Wells firing the hosts ahead on 50 minutes.

However, Igor Vetokele rescued a point in stoppage time to ensure the Addicks’ unbeaten start to the campaign remained intact.

With regular number one Stephen Henderson still not fully fit in time to face the Terriers, Pope was grateful he was able to play his part in Charlton’s dramatic draw at The John Smiths Stadium.  

Recalling his earlier mistake during the Derby game, Pope said “That’s just going to happen for goalkeepers, it’s how you react.

“Everybody probably looked at that and thought of Rob Green at the World Cup. I certainly did!

“You’ve just got to brush it off.

“When you’ve made a couple of saves in the match, it makes it feel like it was worth it.” 

The Addicks, and Pope, had two lucky escapes early on in Saturday’s game at Huddersfield.

After just two minutes, a probing ball over the top was misjudged by Andre Bikey and Pope, quick off his line, was beaten by an awkward bounce, although he was adjudged to have been fouled by Wells.

Then a woefully short back-pass found the young stopper hesitating on his goal-line, before Wells again took it past him, but this time was denied by a fine last-ditch tackle by Tal Ben Haim.

Pope admitted: “A few things happened early on which didn’t go how you like, but that happens in football.

“You’ve just got to show yourself as a character, grow into the game and take it from there.”

Two saves from Harry Bunn in the first half were followed up by an equally impressive stop to deny James Vaughan’s rising drive late in the second.

Pope added: “It was nice to make some saves and get a point out of it at the end of the game.

“As a goalkeeper you’re going to make saves throughout the season.

“The defence can’t stop everything, even though Tal Ben Haim and Andre Bikey have been excellent in front of me.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing with them two.”

Pope admitted the timing of Vetokele’s dramatic point saver had given everyone in the Charlton camp a lot to celebrate.

“When you score one late on it feels like a real boost.

“Everyone is delighted to get there in the end, although it’s probably a missed opportunity if you look at it from half-time (v 10-men).

“But how it panned out, it was great to get a point in the end.” 

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