Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Charlton 4 Bristol Rovers 2 at the Circus.
I thoroughly enjoyed the game tonight.
It was high on entertainment but low on skill, intelligent play and consistent refereeing.
Despite the swirling wind, both sides persevered with the tactics of booting the ball high while going forwards or heading the ball up into the eye of the storm when trying to defend.
Before Rovers had offered a single shot on goal, we found ourselves on the cusp of an 'easy' victory.
Two nil up with only 15 minutes on the clock looked like the start of the goal fest under floodlights I had requested.
David Mooney slotted home with only 3 minutes played then Deon Burton scored from the penalty spot, not much more than 10 minutes later.
The referee gave Charlton a penalty for the kind of pushing we see all the time without any punishment but we loved him for it regardless.
Most people, including the scoreboard button pusher, were under the impression that the Rovers number 4, Chris Lines, had been carded for his part in the penalty. His high count and frequency of fouls prior to the episode just added to the general belief that this bad boy had been booked.
Youga went off with a foot injury. He was replaced by Omozusi who more or less straight away was given a welcoming yellow card.
Later on, referee Cook was to lose any friends he had made earlier with the most obvious case of 'evening up' I've seen all season.
Christian Dailly gave away a penalty kick that not even the Rovers players bothered to claim for. The referee was sure he had seen something though and pointed to the spot.
After the break, Rovers came out fighting and full of belief that they could grab something from the game.
Nostradamus Crispy got in on the act when he said "I can see them scoring soon", only around 5 seconds before they did.
At 2-2, most people were worried due to being 2-0 up and then being pegged back to 2-2 but not me.
Crispy had forecast a 4-2 victory so I knew we were alright.
Crispy's prediction started to come true when Mooney managed to hit the crossbar with a well placed, looping header.
Time seemed to stand still. The keeper seemed to have eons to collect the ball but somehow he didn't and Nicky Bailey was on hand to score.
I was convinced the fussy, 'look at me', referee was going to blow for a foul on the goalkeeper but luckily he kept his whistle away from his mouth.
Soon the game entered a completely farcical period.
The referee motioned Rovers Chris Lines over for a chat after one of his many, many unfair challenges, this time on Lloyd Sam.
We all held our breath or murmured excitedly as the big screen was showing Lines was already carrying a card.
Strangely, the referee showed him 'another' yellow.
Lines looked as if he was about to walk off.
He didn't though and the red card stayed firmly in the referees pocket.
Someone was at fault.
I can't really blame Lines as he is duty bound to keep playing for his team while he has the power to do so.
The error was either with the 'big' screen information or with the referee.
Had the referee suddenly left the field in a car where the other occupants were all wearing face paint, odd suits and size 32 shoes, only for the wheels to fall off and the engine to explode, not one of us would have been surprised.
He was a clown now and was roundly booed for his incompetence.
"We've got 2 Sodje's,
He's got 2 yellow cards" rang out around the Valley.
Mooney left the field with around 10 minutes of regular time left, to be replaced by Sodje the younger.
Only 5 minutes later Sodje was wheeling away in triumph after pushing the ball over the line from close range. His second time wearing a Charlton shirt and 2 goals already, both as second half substitutes.
It really was game over now but the referee continued to be reminded again and again of his perceived error with the yellow card(s).
In summary, a good win but some of the defending, from both sides, was more suited to a West End musical than our good old Valley pitch.
The Lacoste polo is awarded to Deon Burton. He ran and ran this evening, despite needing the delayed surgery.
It was the last game of Mooney's loan spell so I hope we can extend it from Reading. If not, he can leave us with a polo shirt in recognition of a fine period with the club.
The dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is going to either the scoreboard / big screen operator OR the referee. One of them made a howler.
The guilty party should hang their head in shame.