Saturday, 1 May 2010

"We Only Need One Goal"

Charlton Athletic 1 - Dirty Leeds 0

Today's game was a throwback to happier days.

The large crowd, the opposition and the general positivity of our support, transported me back 5 or 6 years to a time when we were mixing it successfully with the big boys in the Premier League, in front of an adoring public.

A thoroughly entertaining afternoon could have started badly had Sam Sodje's misplaced backpass been punished but Randolph stood firm in the resulting 1:1 to deny Leeds United the dream opening.

Becchio and Co. worked hard at conning an extremely gullible, supposedly 'Premier' referee, Lee Probert.

Leeds seemed to be a Teflon side for much of the first 45 minutes, winning dodgy free kicks and getting away with pushes in the back, holding and plenty of examples of the much reported 'Dirty Leeds' shenanigans.

Leeds were marginally on top throughout the first half in my opinion, though I did feel we were partly playing the referee as well as the Yorkshire side.

In the second period, it was all different.

The referee had a change of heart with his halftime cup of tea.
He suddenly started to notice the niggly pushes and fouls the Leeds team were dishing out and amazingly we started to win a few free kicks too,- one or two that seemed rather fortuitous.

Forster and Burton had been running tirelessly upfront but their hard work had nothing to show for it.

We were however, starting to dominate and whatever Simon 'Larry' Grayson said after the game, Leeds did not look totally in control.
Sam Sodje managed to head the ball over the bar while all around me were already celebrating the 'goal'.

The volume of the crowd lifted the players and Parky made a brave triple substitution, swapping Mooney for Forster, Akpo Sodje coming on for Forster and Kyel Reid replacing Racon.

Charlton were going for it and it was wonderful to see.

I did fear that it was going to be another game like our recent match against Norwich, where we had chance after chance without troubling the scoreboard.

Leeds talisman Jermaine Beckford had entered the play only a few minutes before the Charlton substitutions.
Sanchez Walt and finally Mike Grella were to join him for the final ten minutes leaving Leeds with 5, (FIVE!) forwards pushing up.
The game became stretched and Leeds understandably started to look even more jittery at the back.

The Leeds supporters implored their team to attack, chanting "We only need one goal!"
They were right of course.
Millwall were losing at Tranmere so a win at the Valley would have promoted them.

They got the goal, just not at the end they hoped.

Akpo Sodje's headed effort was deflected off Richard Naylor to send 3 sides of the Valley into raptures.

Leeds have made a habit of getting out of jail when the clock has ticked rather closer to 100 minutes than the more normal 90, so when 5 minutes of added on time were flashed up we could have been forgiven for fearing a comeback.

Jermaine Beckford missed his chance, though it was more to do with what looked an impossible save by Darren Randolph from point blank range.

Kyel Reid was unbelievably unlucky not to crush Leeds completely when his swerving free kick hit the post and then spun clear.

When Lee Probert finally decided to blow his whistle, it was time to celebrate our win but also the chance to stick one on Leeds.

The Leeds online support had been rather cheeky in the week before the game, surmising they only needed to turn up with 11 fit players and clean kit for us to roll over in awe of the mighty Leeds.
We had little to play for you see.

There was a distinct lack of respect.
Their supporters had been making plans for their 'inevitable' promotion at the Valley and where they were going to celebrate in London.
With 'Away' tickets scarce, some had apparently managed to secure vast sections of seating in the home areas of our ground to kick off the promotion party.
Yeah, right.
All baloney of course.

The bunch of Yorkies who were in and around the Rose of Denmark before the game seemed friendly enough, (who was the bloke dressed as a whoopee cushion and why were many Leeds supporters wearing head bandages akin to Terry Butcher in Sweden?) but in general, the United support were especially up themselves.

Yup, schadenfreude.
I'm not proud of it but I did enjoy seeing the Leeds miserable faces in the drizzle after the game.

We may only have delayed the Yorkshire celebrations by 7 days but at least they didn't have them on our patch.

.....................................................................................Jonjo who?

Casual Rating
A whole box of the regular Lacoste polos are being awarded today.
Every single player who pulled on the Charlton red shirt, even the much maligned, (by me again), Mooney who was fantastic when he came on, can have a polo shirt.
Parky, Kins and all the backroom staff can have one too, plus the ballboy who gave a mouthful to a Leeds player who was yacking at him can hang one in his bedroom as well.
The crowd were supportive and loud.
As I said above, it was like the old days.

The referee can carry the dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirt home with him, partly for his fussy, preening performance, fully believing in excess of 23,000 people had turned up just to see him. He was conned too often, - how on earth did Semedo get booked and he missed too much in general.
As I've said before, 3rd division football has 3rd division officials but today we had a 'treat' of a supposedly top dog to show us what we have been missing.
Can't say I noticed.

In the last few weeks we have outplayed Norwich and beaten Leeds, - the current top two.
It's all looking much more positive for the Play Offs.

Tomorrow we'll all be glued to the BBC as they show the stripey Nigels attempting to avoid a relegation down to our current standard of football.
Luke Varney might, just might, find himself a Charlton hero again if he scores another double against Palace.


Anonymous said...

Luke Varney?
I think we know it's foolish to pin our hopes on Luke Varney!

Dave said...

Marco - good point re Jonjo I think. never has a departed star been so completely forgotten about in the following game. Says a lot I think. I also thought the timing of the rain was more than a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

Jonjo came in after 5 mins and shoke all the hands offered to him, sitting just in front of Peter Varney, who looked worried as the second half progressed. Jonjo also looked pleased when we won, so not totally forgotton about. Great day anyway, just like the old premiership days.
Crowborough Addick