Gary Haines reports from The Valley
“It’s a Saturday and we’ve won a game at home - wow!” That was the opening gambit from happy Valley boss Chris Powell after his side completed a 2-1 win against troubled Blackpool.
It was, as Powell said, a first Saturday home success since the club’s return to the Championship, and a first double to boot, with opening-period efforts from Johnnie Jackson and Scott Wagstaff paving the way for maximum points.
Jackson steered home the first goal midway through the first half, and Wagstaff cracked home a second in stoppage time, and despite Blackpool claiming a late consolation though ex-Addicks loanee Nathan Eccleston, the hosts were worthy winners.
A first home league success of 2013 thus followed the epic January 1st win at Watford, and Powell was delighted to start the new year with a rare Saturday success.
“It’s great for everyone and it’s been a long time coming,” smiled the boss. “I’ve said for a while that if we just improved our home form a bit more, we could have had a better position in the league. But I’m really pleased for our fans because the majority of them come to The Valley and they want to see their team do well and set up their week.
“We did that today against a decent Blackpool team. Obviously they’ve had upheaval with their manager going, but football’s football and they will always come and play. It was up to us to combat that, and I felt the players worked ever so hard for the result today.”
The win secured a first league double since the final day of last season – and first in the Championship since February 2008 (against Crystal Palace, no less) – and Powell was happy to be reminded of that fact in the aftermath.
“I’ve just realised it was our first double,” he said. “We obviously had a number of them last year but it’s always good to have that, and it was fully deserved.
“We worked hard this week after the cup defeat [against Huddersfield Town] and one or two players came in for first starts in the Championship against a Blackpool team that has got some dangerous players.
“There are some wily old foxes like Kevin Phillips, who still knows the game. They play a certain way and they are one of the teams in the Championship that have their own style. But after maybe a bit of a pensive start, I felt we grew into it and got two very good goals to put us in front.”
The scorer of the second goal was winger Wagstaff, who returned to the side for his first Championship start of the season.
And Powell offered praise for the patient wideman and his late replacement, fellow academy graduate Callum Harriott.
He said: “I’m very pleased for him [Wagstaff]. He’s a good young professional who has been out on loan and has bided his time.
“He’s always been looking to get a chance but has trained ever so well, especially this week. We worked on one or two things, but I never told him where I was going to play him until today.
“I’m pleased for him as he’s a Charlton boy and he got a very good reception from the supporters, and he will always give you that 100 per cent endeavour.
“He’s got quality as well, and for him to come in on the left and play with Cedric Evina down that side, I’m really pleased he got his goal and put in a really good performance for 75 minutes.
“Then we brought on young Callum, who's an exciting young talent,” he added. “Fans have seen him before, but [U21s coach] Nathan Jones works really hard with him and the rest of those boys in the development group, and I had three of them on the bench today.
“Obviously young Callum came on and excited everyone for 15 minutes, so it was very pleasing for Scott and for Callum, and everyone really.”