Prior to this re-arranged Sunday lunchtime fixture which although convenient for the Sky TV cameras was a big inconvenience for the travelling faithful, we had only lost in one of our last seven league visits to this venue since 1979
On the strength of this impressive past record coupled with our current rich vein of good form, Alex Neil’s troops should have marched “Into The Valley “as the old punk band The Skids advised brimming with confidence.
However, the disrespectful approach by Stoke City to prise Neil away from his post on the eve of such an important game had threatened to put skids of a different type on our hopes of finally reaching the promised land of the Premier League in May next year.
This did not appear to be the case for the large travelling away contingent with the managerial situation barely mentioned by most of them as business continued as normal with an opening enthusiastic chant of “we've got Bauer”.
The majority of the home fans in the famous old stadium already knew this with the summer signing being introduced affectionately as the BFG to rapturous applause from both sets of fans as the team line ups were announced. Bauer is in my opinion our best free transfer signing since Youl Mawene and is already held in the same regard having become a cornerstone of our defence.
Charlton were no mugs having beaten Leeds and put three goals past Derby as well as drawing away recently at West Brom and Fulham another two of the league’s bit hitters but we just shaded an entertaining and open first half in which both sides had chances.
The second half saw an impressive display from North End in a bruising encounter with Paul Gallagher’s penalty giving us a deserved three points which delighted our fans as it also had the bonus of sending us to the top of the league in this division for the first time in over 10 long years.
In case the home fans were unaware of this fact they along with the local residents in the surrounding streets were informed of this by a vocal away following as they left the stadium.