This article is part of Football FanCast’s Off the Bench series, which places in-game managerial decisions and squad selections under FFC’s microscope.
Charlton suffered their first defeat of the Championship season last time out against Birmingham, with Lee Bowyer’s side slipping to a 1-0 loss in front of their own supporters.
The Addicks boss was forced into making a change up top, with top-scorer Lyle Taylor dropping out for summer signing Tomer Hemed due to injury.
However, it was another change – this time unforced – that may have been a mistake from Bowyer.
In Jonny Williams, Bowyer has a player at his disposal who has enjoyed an excellent season so far, recording four assists in his seven Championship appearances.
Keeping the 19-cap Wales international on the bench and choosing summer signing Erhun Oztumer instead of him in a central attacking-midfield was a bold move by Bowyer – especially considering the 28-year-old had just 64 minutes of game time under his belt – and it was one which can be deemed a mistake.
Looking at things before the game, you could have argued that any player in the central attacking-midfielder role for Charlton would have an important job given the fact that Birmingham lined up in a 4-4-2 system, meaning that there would be space in between the lines for a No.10-type figure.
In hindsight – which is a wonderful thing, of course – Williams perhaps should have started the game given his impact off the bench.
The former Crystal Palace man matched Oztumer’s number of key passes, and also embarked on three dribbles while winning two free-kicks – his introduction allowed the south Londoners to move up the pitch and put pressure on their opponents through set-pieces and direct in-game play.
Of course, getting Oztumer up to speed and allowing him to build on his 64 minutes of game time prior to Saturday was important, but one can’t help but think it was a mistake to leave the Championship’s joint-top assist-maker on the bench.