Team comes first for Lee Bowyer as 10-man Charlton earn win
Lee Bowyer praised the team spirit of his Charlton side as they defeated Oxford 2-0 at the Valley with 10 men.
Goals by Conor Washington and Andrew Shinnie earned their fourth win in a row, with their fifth successive clean sheet, although Ryan Inniss saw red.
The south London outfit made four changes from their previous outing but Bowyer was pleased with their performance.
He said: “One thing I demand from my players is togetherness. That’s the most important thing – the team.
“That tonight, with a team that has just been put together, to graft and fight like they did at the end, I like to see that.
“It makes me excited for the rest of the season.
“We got the first goal, it was a great goal by Conor and a great pass. He took it well.
“The second half with the sending-off made it more difficult. But the way we managed the game the way they did, there were a lot of men out there.”
After a quiet opening, where neither side created a chance, the visitors had the first opportunity on 26 minutes. Anthony Forde took the ball from inside his own half and was able to go on a powerful solo run which deserved more than him firing over the bar.
Charlton took the lead on 31 minutes, when Washington picked up a through-ball by Shinnie and was able to slot home past goalkeeper Simon Eastwood.
The lead was doubled just before the break when Shinnie delivered a superb free-kick from the edge of the area into the top left of the goal.
It was a somewhat comfortable second half for the hosts, but the only sour note for Charlton happened on 66 minutes. Inniss received a second yellow for a somewhat rash foul on Matty Taylor to earn a dismissal.
Oxford looked for a way back, but to little avail, and the hosts were able to hold on comfortably despite the man disadvantage.
The visitors remain second bottom but manager Karl Robinson felt his side deserved better from the contest.
He said: “There was nothing in it apart from the one thing that is really important – the result.
“We’ve probably been the best team in every game we’ve played, apart from Sunderland which I’ll leave out.
“But in the two boxes we’re not as good as the opposition. That’s us attacking and defending.
“But it’s not individually, it’s collectively.
“We dominated the first period of the second half, they had a man rightly sent off for two clear bookings. Then we miss far too many chances.”