Sunday, 27 December 2009
Charlton (9 men) 2- Swindon (12 men?) 2.
Most of us are aware that 'Fortress Valley' has not been breached since March 2009 but another record, going back much further, was kept intact due to Llera's last gasp lob over the onrushing David Lucas.
Crispy's daughter Hannah was present for the visit of the Swindon Robins and she has the enviable record of never having seen Charlton lose!
Get her a Season Ticket Crispy!
As the clock ticked into added on time, we all feared the inevitable.
The scenes of jubilation around 3 sides of the Valley really did come from deep inside our souls after what had seemed an unlikely comeback only moments before.
I defy anyone not to scream like a banshee after experiencing anything similar.
Charlton started off the game completely in control. Burton missed an absolute sitter when he headed over the bar from an unchallenged position.
Burton has been 'Mister Consistency' lately but yesterday he not only let himself down, he also let his team mates down.
The referee had an absolute stinker yesterday. He sent Sodje off after only 20 minutes, though for around 10 of those he had been off the pitch anyway having his head stitched up.
Sodje's challenge may have been 'wild' but as Crispy said at the time, perhaps his reputation for getting sent off preceded him. The straight red did look harsh but these things happen. It seemed an odd position to perform a last gasp challenge, (just outside the opposition penalty area), but SS dived in and didn't get much of the ball. The referee made no friends but it was an understandable decision.
The referee was at least half to blame for Burton's dismissal.
Had he had his eyes open, he would have seen Akpo Sodje clearly fouled inside the penalty area.
Burton decided he would remind referee Miller of his duty to control the game, rather than just jog around, trying to work off his Christmas dinner. Burton was duly carded.
Shelvey put the Addicks one nil up with a very well placed shot from distance and despite their superiority in numbers, Swindon were chasing shadows.
Unfortunately, with only 5 minutes of the first half to play, Burton had a moment of madness and made the most obvious attempt at pushing the ball past the keeper with his hand.
The referee put down his white stick and gave Burton his obligatory second yellow card, meaning we were down to 9 men.
At 10 against 11 players, I still felt we had more than enough for a very poor Swindon side. With 2 players having an early bath it was going to be tough leading to impossible.
The second half should have been a walk over for Swindon but they created very little. They scored 2 goals but neither came from stroking the ball around in an attempt to tire our side, they just came from us not having enough players to cover all the options in our own penalty area.
Parky should be praised for really giving it a go and sending on Dickson, McKenzie and Wagstaff to give us some bite and legs up front.
The game seemed to be up as the clock touched 90 minutes.
I thought to myself that we may have lost but we haven't really been beaten. Despite being 2 players down, we had fought and showed resilience that none of the Charlton Pardew teams even hinted at.
Then the most dramatic of endings that had supporters hugging and high fiving all around the Valley.
Swindon should be ashamed of themselves.
A Casual Rating
The Lacoste polo shirt is being awarded to all the Charlton players, (except Sam Sodje and Deon Burton), who ran and ran and made us all proud to 'be Charlton'.
The crowd were, as usual, fairly slow to get started but by the second half, were really getting behind the team despite the setbacks.
The Primark novelty slogan tee shirts are awarded to Sam Sodje and Deon Burton for losing us the extra 2 points.
At 11 v 11, Charlton would have won at a canter against a poor side. As it was, it became a very tough game.
The referee is getting another Primark tee shirt.
He entered into the spirit of the Disney link up with Swindon by being completely Mickey Mouse.
He might have had little choice with the sendings off but for the rest of the game he was almost Swindon's best player.
He broke down Charlton attacks to stop play, he waved play on when there were obvious fouls and throughout the entire game, never gave Charlton the benefit of the doubt in a 50:50 decision.
Even had he not reduced Charlton to 9 men, he still would have been complete pony.