Sunday, 20 December 2009
A Visit From The Neighbours
What a horrible bunch of arseholes some of their despicable 'supporters' were.
I encountered a group of (ticketless?) thugs, roaming around the Victoria Way and Delafield Road area around twenty minutes before kick off.
They were quite clearly searching out an opportunity to have a ruck. Finding no like minded idiots they resorted to following and chanting at local residents who just happened to be outside their homes.
To say it was intimidating is rather the understatement.
Due to the snow and ice on the paths, I was already feeling a little unsteady as I walked towards the Valley but having a group of around 20 to 30 morons shouting "Charlton, Charlton, you're a C***" at me was hardly the start to the afternoon I was after and only made it more likely I would take a tumble due to anxiety.
The dickheads then played up to their deserved reputation by abusing an Asian supporter who was mildly walking with his head down.
(I'd imagine Millwall will try to justify the abuse by saying the Asian guy was "asking for it".)
By the time I took my seat, I was desperate to send them home with their tails between their legs.
It didn't really turn out that way though.
Fairly rapidly the day turned very bleak.
Two awful errors lead to the Lions going 2-0 up.
The first error was a complete howler in defence whereby young Wagstaff ended up playing the ball through for Morison to score.
The second error was by referee Jones. The whole ground could see that the ball was being shepherded out for a goal kick yet he gave the buoyant away side a corner.
Of course they scored from the corner, leading to the second wave of Millwall supporters jumping up and down in home sections.
We had been lead to believe that Charlton would deal severely with any Millwall supporter found in home areas.
What a useless bunch of lightweights the stewards turned out to be.
Surely after the first Millwall goal it was obvious who the miscreants were?
They were left in their places to jump up and down a second time.
Crystal Palace supporters complained last season about our heavy handed stewards, yet yesterday they welcomed the away supporters and did nothing, even when they were mouthing off in home sections and visibly antagonising home supporters.
Unbelievably, the few Millwall 'fans' who were removed, were just taken to the Jimmy Seed stand and left there.
Gently, gently wasn't really what was needed in my opinion.
The Jimmy Seed stand had some advertising boards ripped off by jubilant Lions but, again, the advertisements were "asking for it".
Considering how much guff we have read about Charlton taking every possible step to keep the rival fans apart, it was rather surprising to see and hear Millwall supporters celebrating in and outside one of the corporate boxes in the East Stand.
We can't be too puritanical about all this though as Charlton had supporters all over the ground when we played at Priestfield. The major difference though was to my knowledge, Gillingham only decided while the game was in progress that it was a crime for away fans to be in home sections.
I heard at half time that some people had been attacked by Millwall plums in the toilets throughout the first half, (classy eh?).
The game turned on its head due to two penalties.
Mooney was tripped as he made his way towards goal but the fairly obligatory card of any colour wasn't produced by the out of his depth referee Jones.
At the time, I wasn't too sure of the validity of the penalty but having seen it again, it seems a fairly clear cut.
Burton scored the penalty to bring the home support some belief.
Later, Forde the Millwall keeper, came rushing out to the right side of the his area and got beaten. Mooney shot from a tight angle, the ball hit the post and bounced back into the six yard box. As Lloyd Sam shaped to tuck the ball away he was scythed down from behind.
Unbelievably, the Millwall defenders tried to say that he had dived and due to this, some people near me thought the referee was going to book Sam for diving!
With the benefit of TV pictures, it is clear that Sam would have much prefered to score.
Abdou was shown the red card and Burton scored the resulting penalty.
Surely this was now going to be our day?
The second half started in the most perfect way possible.
Bailey scored a rasping volley with less than a minute on the clock. It was the kind of goal worthy of winning any game.
We all know what happened next.
Despite Charlton having a one man advantage it really didn't show.
At 3-2 up, the game was 'won' and we really should have pushed on.
The team took their foot off the gas and a combination of good saves by the Millwall keeper Forde and the extra lick of paint on the woodwork denied Charlton the opportunity to take the game away from the visitors.
A ridiculous end to the game saw Millwall score an unlikely equaliser due to more sloppy defending and then Charlton to go ahead with only 5 minutes to play, from an own goal.
When the signal came that there would be 5 more minutes as the clock clicked on to 90 minutes played, I just knew what was going to happen.
Millwall visibly stepped up their energy levels and due to more shambolic 'defending' the final goal was scored, leading to the visiting supporters going ape.
They celebrated like they had won a major title rather than merely drawn a league game.
They don't care about us of course but as their boss Kenny Jackett said afterwards, they are really pleased to get a point at such a "big club".
It felt like a loss to us, but at 2-0 down I would most certainly have grabbed an opportunity to end on a draw.
It might be 2 points dropped but we are still in a promotion spot at half way point in the season.
We can just win on Boxing Day instead!
Walking home, I heard some awful reports of a disabled Charlton supporter being pushed out of the way so some ticketless Millwall fans could gain access to the West Stand, while the gate was open for him.
If this is true, I am appalled.
(No doubt the disabled guy was asking for it.)
As a game, it had everything.
Two penalties, a sending off, too many lectures from a very fussy referee, yellow cards more prevalent than Christmas cards, 8 goals and one own goal.
I'm disappointed that Charlton didn't win but relieved that a draw was the result after being 2-0 down.
The Lacoste polo shirt is almost impossible to award as it was a game of errors, connected by poor decisions but purely for the technical brilliance, Nicky Bailey is the recipient for his perfect and unstoppable long range volley.
Get in there!
The Millwall team deserve some credit for making it impossible to tell which side had the man advantage in the second half.
There's a whole raft of Primark novelty slogan tee shirts being awarded this time.
The stewards can have one for being chocolate tea pots, our defence can have one for letting in 4 goals at home, (though we were of course playing without both of our first choice full backs), the referee can have a whole outfit of poorly made Primark clobber for getting completely carried away and getting too many basic decisions wrong, the Millwall supporters can have one each for being just the stereotypes they try and tell us are all in the past, plus I'm giving one to myself for completely losing the faith at 2-0 down.
The crowd were fairly lively throughout, though the Millwall support were very disappointing.
Around 3 or 4 outings of "No one likes us", one outing for "Let 'em come" aside, they really didn't take advantage of the fantastic sound that the Jimmy Seed stand delivers.
To have around 3000 souls crammed in and then to keep quiet was very surprising.
But then they don't care about us do they?