Karl Robinson praised the young players involved in his side’s 2-1 Carabao Cup win over Exeter City, but blasted referee Tim Robinson for the late red-card shown to Andrew Crofts.
Goals from Billy Clarke and Regan Charles-Cook, both their first for the club, turned the game around after Lee Holmes’ free-kick opened the scoring for the hosts early in the second-half.
For the second game running the Addicks ended with 10 men on the field after Crofts was dismissed for a two-footed challenge just inside the Charlton half.
“The players were very good,” beamed the Charlton chief.
“I thought their attitude was exceptional, our shape looked good. The disappointing thing for me, I thought we should have won the game by three or four after the first half. We missed far too many chances. This Exeter team made three changes from beating Cambridge at the weekend, they finished in the play-offs and got to Wembley last year, and we made 11 changes, with seven academy graduates on the pitch. We’re trying to have that inclusivity from the fans, the young players and the senior players to combine everything and keeping everyone physically fit and competitive.”
Academy products Anfernee Dijksteel, Charles-Cook, Karlan Ahearne-Grant and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild all played their part during the game.
“[Academy manager] Steve Avory is the best at what he does in the country,” said Robinson.
“Games like today away at a very good League Two team and in front of a hostile crowd, this is a very good learning curve for them young players and they came through with flying colours.”
Crofts became the second Charlton player in two games to be given his marching orders, following Lee Novak’s red-card over the weekend, and Robinson implied that his side are being targeted by referees.
“The referee was poor,” he moaned.
“I don’t care if I get done by the FA. The tackle on Saturday wasn’t a sending off and that tonight was disgusting. The assistant referee gave it, he was stood next to me. How’s that a red card? But it’s Charlton and they see we’re on the right way up and they don’t like it. So, keep doing it. I’m sick and tired – when people try and do things the right way, I tell my players not to dive, not to be aggressive surrounding the referee. It looks like a lack of discipline on me. And it’s not. It’s good, old-fashioned tackling. Imagine Matt Holland or Mark Kinsella. They’d be sent off every week if they played in that game today. It’s what we want to see, our players tackling, caring, showing a bit of passion.”