Charlton Athletic bolstered their League One play-off ambitions with a huge victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Sunderland on Saturday afternoon, and arguably, midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey ran the show.
Nigel Adkins’ side made it three games unbeaten under his tenure and eight unbeaten overall, moving the Addicks to within one point of the top six, with only seven games left to play this season.
An own goal from Josh Scowen and a close-range finish from Alex Gilbey saw the Black Cats’ own 14-match unbeaten run come to an end.
After the match, The Valley faithful voted for their ‘Man of the Match’ on social media, and goalkeeper Ben Amos won it, taking a 65% share of the votes.
Indeed, that was rather deserved considering SofaScore graded him as the Addicks’ best player on the pitch with a rating of 7.8, only Aiden McGeady from the home side managed better.
However, it was Forster-Caskey who put in an industrious performance in the heart of the pitch, so much so that he merits far more plaudits and perhaps was their unsung hero on the day.
The 26-year-old dynamo recorded more touches (52) than any other Charlton player, merely showing the sort of influence he has on this side – everything ran through him, and it paid off.
In return, Adkins saw his box-to-box maestro deliver three key passes, which ended up being a solid chance created once every seven passes, as per SofaScore. Only one other player bettered his 73% passing accuracy as well.
Once again, no other Addicks starter was able to match this creativity, whilst defensively, he proved to be just as productive.
Forster-Caskey made a squad-high four tackles, which was double the amount of the next best Ian Maatsen, and one more than the whole Addicks defence combined. He also put in two interceptions, thwarting the league’s third-best midfield, whilst he won seven of his duels, too.
Previously lauded as “unbelievable,” the 5 foot 10 ace has always been noted for his pressing and high work rate.
Ex-Charlton boss Lee Bowyer said to LondonNewsOnline last month: “If you do see your teammate running and fighting and pressing then it has a natural reaction. You have to go with him because if not you stand out like a sore thumb. He does have that impact. He’s been here since day one when I was here. He does have that aura in the dressing room.”
Forster-Caskey was dominant for the Addicks on Saturday afternoon, as evident by his lucrative returns above. Amos may have made the standout impact between the sticks, stopping the Black Cats in their tracks but the long-serving midfielder deserves plenty of praise.
He was Charlton’s unsung hero.