With players returning from injury, the Lions are looking more solid than they have all season.
With summer centre-back signing Shaun Hutchinson having started three consecutive matches and partnering Byron Webster for the last two, pushing captain, Tony Craig to left back our leaky defence is looking the most water-tight it has all season.
Hutchinson is a strong defender who gets his head on most things and was unlucky not to grab a brace in the Swindon match on Boxing Day with a header from a corner hooked off the line and another bullet header drawing a wonder save from Town keeper Lawrence Vigouroux.
The renewal of the potent strike force of Lee Gregory and Steve Morison has seen our goal threat increase and has even prompted us to play a bit more football on the ground especially in the second half against the Addicks.
Charlton at home on the Wednesday before Christmas was just what we needed to get us back to winning ways.
With over 14,000 at the match including more than 12,000 passionate and vociferous home supporters, the atmosphere lifted the players.
They really got stuck into Charlton. Young midfielder Ben Thompson put in an excellent all round performance complimenting Shaun Williams alongside him.
But it was Morison who probably stood out as the man-of-the-match with a brace.
Charlton looked like a team devoid of confidence.
It’s always great to beat your neighbours to give you the bragging rights but given where we found ourselves in the table before the match it could be even more important than oneupmanship, hopefully kick-starting an assault on the play-offs that was looking unlikely.
The win over Charlton saw us with the same amount of points as this time last season.
With a fit squad and with a couple of additions in January we could go on another great run like last season.
As great as the crowd was against Charlton, it was disappointing to only pull in just over 8,500 against Swindon on Boxing Day.
December 26th has been the traditional day for football and large crowds for decades.
I know the opposition was not as exciting as playing a derby match, but that shouldn’t be the reason to get down The Den to support the Lions.
It does make you wonder how much the modern world with the increased competition for leisure time is affecting crowds and what things might be like in 10 or 20 years time.
Boxing Day is always a football day I look forward to no matter who we are playing. Sadly not as many others seem to share the same thoughts.
A brace this time from Lee Gregory was enough to see off the Robins and set us up for another home match against Gillingham on Friday, December 30, before the short trip to AFC Wimbledon on Bank Holiday Monday.
Both are key matches if we want to launch an assault on the play-offs.
The time for inconsistency in results and performances has passed if we want to make something of this season.
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