Sunday, 31 October 2010

Well Satisfied.

Charlton Athletic 1 - Sheffield Wednesday 0.

Walking back down Floyd Road after yesterday's game, Crispy and I remarked how different it felt from our previous trudge along the same route.

After the Brighton game, (or while it was still going on in truth), we really were rather down in the dumps.

On that day, it felt as if we were looking over a rather high precipice, fearful of tipping onto a free fall journey of no return.

We'd been given a rather harsh spanking by Brighton and we had some tough games coming up. It didn't look good.

Just 14 days later, Charlton have won away at Carlisle and beaten a highly fancied Sheffield Wednesday at the Valley.
A six points from nine haul, with the loss coming against the run away league leaders suddenly doesn't seem too tardy. As an added extra, we've now scraped into the final Play Off place, not that it means anything at all at this stage in the season.

It does seem rather incredible that Charlton have had a rather disappointing season so far, yet still nestle in the top six. Definitely a position to push on from.

Yesterday was a good day.

Waggy will get the headlines for his goal but it was the best team performance I've seen from our side in ages.
Semedo and Racon looked involved and creative rather than just hoping to nullify the opposition, Benson was moving into space with ease and wriggling into potential scoring positions, Jackson was finding his pass and move game again and the defence, (though very short of pace), seemed able to cover most of the dangerous situations.

Then there was Joe.

Joe Anyinsah was amazing. Without resorting too much to hyperbole, he was just too good for the opposition. He was everywhere, making a mischief of himself and a constant thorn in the side of the Wednesday defence.

I thoroughly enjoyed the game.
Wednesday brought a large, good natured and loud following, reminding us that like Charlton, they have been out of the limelight for a few years but they retain the 'Big Club' label that we never really had, even when knocking about in the Premiership.

Nicky Weaver kept the score respectable from a Wednesday perspective, making three fantastic first half
saves. He was always likely to play well at the home of his old employers. He looked a lot 'trimmer' than when we were seeing him each week.

So, full marks to Parky and his team. The knives were out and being sharpened but the two wins have now placed them back in the kitchen drawer.

The team are by no means the finished article but I do find it interesting that only a few weeks ago, we all thought our only way of playing well was Kyel Reid pumping in early ball crosses.

Reid getting injured looked to be a catastrophe. Since his absence, our team have got maximum points.

Who knew?

Casual Rating
As ever, my usual 'ref watch' threw up some annoying moments.

Semedo was yellow carded when the Wednesday player trailed his leg, making sure that Jose made contact. It was annoying as Wednesday had obviously done their homework; get Semedo carded and he'd be a weaker force. It was also annoying as far harsher challenges had been made earlier on Wagstaff but the referee had merely given a free kick at worst.

Lee Martin was booked for diving in the area. It did look fairly theatrical but it was difficult to tell what had happened from my angle. Perhaps the yellow was justified.

Strangely, when Clinton Morrison threw himself to the ground in an almost laughable attempt to win a penalty and salvage a point, our ref just waved play on.

Anyway, luckily the referee didn't cost us this week and in general, he had a fairly good game, tightening up on the second half attempts to send Waggstaff into the West stand crowd.

The Lacoste Polo is going to Joe Anyinsah.
Well done Joe.
 Speed allied with a decent first touch and the never say die attitude of a player who kept going, even when surrounded by three defenders all snapping at his ankles made him a joy to watch.
Wednesday must have sighed with relief when he was substituted late on.

The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is going to our ex neighbour, 'Billy Big Balls' Clinton Morrison. On the day his ex mates at Crystal Palace fell to the bottom of the Championship, he showed all of his worst sides.
Diving to hopefully win a dubious penalty, arguing with the linesman, arguing with the ref, having to be dragged away from Semedo after trying to get him sent off and finally, for wearing the most ridiculous custard colour boots.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

What A Ride!

Carlisle United 3 - Charlton Athletic 4 (FOUR!!!) 

Well, what a game eh?
With apologies to any local theme parks, cycle hire businesses or 'ladies of the night', there was only one ride worth having in Cumbria yesterday.
What a topsy- turvy afternoon.

Having a bad case of man flu, I was confined to bed with only a MacBook Pro for company.
As the time approached 3pm, I logged onto CAFC player.

Imagine my excitement when I found the commentary from Crystal Palace's visit to Preston was coming through the speakers instead of news from Brunton Park.

Eventually, all was sorted but it did take me a while to work out if the commentator was 'ours' or not, due to his Northern accent.

The afternoon went something like this.

23 minutes, Jackson scored.

38 minutes, Anyinsah scored.

47 minutes, Benson scored.
Easy, Easy!!

58 minutes, Grella scored.
Hmm. Consolation goal?

61 minutes, Curren scored.
Bit worried now.

77 minutes, Madine scored.
Oh, ****! 
Typical sodding Charlton.

Parky won't survive this.
How can we lose a 3 goal lead?
What a long way to go for our loyal supporters, only to have the team collapse.


90 +2 minutes, Benson scored.
Suddenly we love Charlton again and everyone is elated.

The result won't have dampened down any of the 'Parky Out' brigade.
They'll choose to highlight the 3 goal cushion that was snatched away.

Parky will remind everyone that his team scored 4 goals, away from home, won 3 points somewhere we lost last season and the player he chased all Summer ended up being the match winner.

Much will depend on our home game against Sheffield Wednesday next weekend.
A strong performance in front of our own supporters might ease Parky's journey into November.

A collapse and the knives will be sharpened by many.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

Charlton Athletic 0 - Brighton & Hove Albion 4.

 We all learned something yesterday.

I learned I have a tipping point.

I reached it yesterday when Crispy and myself joined the thousands of glum looking faces, streaming onto Floyd Road while the game was still going on, (though of course, the game had been up for quite some time).

Until yesterday I didn't realise I could attach a number to my Charlton misery.

The number is 4.

As a general rule, I don't leave Charlton games early, preferring to hang on until the bitter end.

Back in December 2006, (is it really such a short time ago?) a Charlton team under the stewardship of Les Reed crashed to a 5-1 defeat at the Lane.
I headed back down Tottenham High Road soon after their 5th goal settled in our net.

Last season, I was part of the mass exodus, except we couldn't exit, at the home of our genteel neighbours Millwall.
It was the 4th goal that prompted me to move on.

I now know that I'm prepared to stay until there is a 4 goal deficit.

It hasn't always been like this.
I stayed until the final whistle when Leeds United hammered us 6-1 at home back in 2003 and also when Manchester United knocked 4 past us at the The Valley, without reply, in 2005.

Perhaps as I've got older I'm less inclined to put up with the crap?

I would say that something died inside me the day I found myself leaving Spurs early.
A point had been reached and I'd decided to cross it.
I could never go back.

So, I learned something personal but did Charlton Athletic learn anything from yesterday's debacle?

Probably not.
We learned we aren't good enough but we don't look like we know what to do about it.

I've slept on it after having a few pints of 'cheer up juice' in one of my favourite pubs but the sad fact remains.

We were outplayed and out thought.

Brighton weren't that great, they were just better at the simple things.

They stroked the ball about, looking comfortable, even on the edge of their own penalty area.

Why someone didn't pressure their goalkeeper when he had the ball at his feet I couldn't explain but time after time he was left with the ball, playing as a sweeper.

Through the first half, Charlton were more than in it.

We had enough chances to be in the lead at halftime but as the teams plodded back to their cup of tea we were 1-0 down.
A well worked corner had left an unmissable chance that looked so easy I felt it must be offside, though it probably wasn't at all.

The second half was:
 i) A terrible defensive cock up give away goal.
ii) A fantastic free kick that was so well executed it had me clapping an opposition goal at The Valley.
iii) A goal that was the result of our team having already given up.

So, a 4-0 defeat.
At home.
Against Brighton.

If I'd known what I know now, as I was walking back to Seven Sisters tube station in December 2006, would I have tried to enjoy the moment?
We were still a Premier League team, playing in a sold out 27,000 stadium for most home games with current and future international stars pulling on our team shirt.

On that day, I felt it couldn't get much worse.

Please tell me that in a few years, I won't be looking back on mid October 2010 as a period when I should have been taking the time to look about and smell the roses.

A Casual Rating.
Where to start?
I think Parky and his team should do the honourable thing and contact me to claim their own Primark novelty slogan tee-shirts.
What a load of cock.

The Lacoste polo is going to our Radostin Kishishev.
Whoever Kish plays for, he will always be ours. I feel he shares the sentiment.
It was good to see him at his spiritual home yesterday but it would have been better if he had been playing for us.
We more than need him.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Welcome Home Kish

Today we welcome back to The Valley, in my eyes, a true Charlton hero.

Never the most skilful or prolific of players, he carved out a reputation with us as being the one who did the donkey work so more flamboyant players could "do their stuff".

Kish was a Marmite player.
Many fans chose to ignore his tireless work for the team and focused on his wayward shooting or occasional erratic distribution.

I saw him as the player who gave the rest of the team, especially the midfield, the confidence to go out and play, safe in the knowledge that should they make a horlicks of it, our man Radostin was there to clean up.

Kish loved Charlton.
It's fair to say that he still does.

Reports have circulated this week attributing quotes to him that must give all of us a warm feeling inside.

Radostin is bringing his family to the game today, such is his strong bond with our club.

Everyone has their favourite incidents from watching Charlton.
I know I have many.

I enjoyed it when a bloke near me in the East stand used to refer to Kish as 'Great Uncle Bulgaria'.
 Over time, this got reduced to merely "Unc".

Definitely somewhere in my top 20 memories will be the time our man Rad came up against a preening and pouting C Ronaldo who was wearing a Manchester United shirt.

Ronaldo was just starting out on his road to fame and footballing fortune.

Ronaldo was a cheating diver on the day. 
Though he could have taken on our team and skinned them with pace and skill, he decided to throw himself to the floor whenever one of our players came near.

We knew it was happening, the players knew it was happening, I'd imagine the officials knew it was happening but they still played along and gave free kicks.

Kish had seen enough.

He rightly concluded, the next time he went near Ronaldo, the little weasel would launch himself skywards yelling in pain.
If the United winger was going to get a free kick for nothing, he may as well give away a real free kick!

The image above was taken as Kish made the sort of agricultural tackle that normally would make me wince with shame.

In this instance, I stood up and cheered.

I was not alone.

Around 20,000 people all cheered too and Ronaldo was a broken man for the rest if the game.

Welcome Back Kish.

A (nameless) Charlton manager made a real error in my view when you were shipped out to Leeds United.

The 7 years you spent at the Valley were also one of the best times Charlton have ever had.

A coincidence?

Maybe...... but Charlton would have been a much weaker prospect without our Kish.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Plymouth Parity

Plymouth Argyle 2 - Charlton Athletic 2

There was never a danger of me making it to Devon yesterday.

I salute those 600 or so hardy souls, who were already on their journey West when I was deciding it was far too early for the first Saturday morning cup of coffee.
The fact that those same people didn't return to London until after the pubs were shut, just proves what a long old 'poke' it is.

I turned on BBC London to hear the same commentary CAFCplayer were offering.
I was a little tardy getting my act together and the game was already 15 minutes old before I realised we were 1-0 down.
Bad defending apparently.

The first half seemed to be more about chances spurned by Argyle but I was able to shout "Get in there!"  when Benson stabbed the ball into the Plymouth net, with the aid of an upright.

Part two of the game was just the opposite.
Our commentary team managed to paint a rather rosy picture whereby it seemed it was only a matter of time before Charlton got their just desserts and scored a hatful.
Needless to say, Argyle grabbed back the lead with a quite tremendous strike, "against the run of play".

With only a few minutes left, it seemed as if it was to be another Charlton disappointment on the road.
We've only won away once in the league and this looked like another kick in the teeth.

I was hoping for Charlton to fight back but I didn't really think it would happen.

My neighbours were treated to another yelp of euphoria as Benson, (again), managed to equalise after a perfect header back across the goal by Doherty.

Many will be a little flat at the result but I'd rather be sunny and say that this is just the kind of game we could have won but in recent seasons would probably have lost.

It's now all set for the game at home to Brighton next weekend.
I have family in Brighton and I was somewhat 'ribbed' by their win at the Valley last season.

Please Charlton.

For me.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Franchise Flushed

Franchise FC 1 - Charlton Athletic 2.

What a fickle bunch we are.

Two minutes into tonight's Paint Drying Cup game at Stadium:MK and it was all gloom and doom.

We're rubbish, we're doomed, we're the worst Charlton team for a generation etc. etc.

By the end of the game it was smiles all round, players hugging each other and the warm feeling of accomplishment we get when our team win, and win well.

As the first half progressed, Charlton came more and more into the game and probably shaded it in terms of general play, despite 'Spotty' Chadwick's extremely early leading strike.

The second half was all Charlton.
Most people with any interest in the game, would have either seen live, or on Sky, the way Kyel Reid imposed himself on the second period.

Reid's sublime ball for Abbott to head home was inch perfect.
Without bragging, I think I too could have scored from such a perfect cross.

As there was to be no extra time, penalties were looming when Reid crossed again, this time using his right foot, for Waggy to steal in at the far post and touch the ball over the line.
A perfect run onto another perfect cross.

A few more performances like this one from Reid, especially on television, might mean a bid we can't turn down in January.

Charlton ran the clock down and are now into the next round, which I believe is the Quarter Finals.

A Casual Rating
No surprises here, Kyel Reid gets the Lacoste polo for his match winning performance.
I make it that our last 4 goals have all come from KR crosses.
Keep it up Kyel!

The Primark novelty slogan t shirt is being awarded to whoever decided the optimum kick off time was 7:15pm.
How many people turned on later, only to find they'd missed the first half an hour?

I also want to award a novelty slogan t shirt to the commentators who were so Premier League-centric, they were able to summise the following while discussing the slippy pitch,

"Even at this level, the players will own a few pairs of boots".

Even at "this level" ???
Come off it fellers. It's hardly playing against the bins behind the car park.
The players might only be tier 3 players but it is their job.
Most people have possessions that help them with their work.
Having said that, even parks players probably have a couple of pairs of boots kicking about at home.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Bee Flat

Brentford 2 - Charlton Athletic 1.
I could tell it was going to be 'one of those days'.

Firstly, a stroppy blonde tried to push onto the train at Greenwich, secure in the knowledge that :
1) her posh accent
2) she looked good in a pair of tight jeans,
usually meant she got what she wanted.

She was most put out because the traveling public didn't part like the Red Sea, so she could get into a more comfortable position in a completely packed out carriage.

Not five minutes later, a rather wizened old Asian lady turned on a young man who was mildly reading a book while listening to his iPod.
He removed an earphone to enquire why she was prodding him and wildly waving.
Apparently, he had "No manners" and he had been pushing her.

He was balanced next to me so I knew she was mistaken.
I told him not to worry as she had completely made it up.
There followed a torrent of abuse where I was called a c*** and a  b****** by the coffin dodger.

Ah, the joys of Network South East.

The rest of the journey was pain free.
Plenty of familiar faces on the train out from Waterloo, who all managed to exit at Brentford just as the rain began to fall.

The sounds of Status Quo met us as we entered the ground.
Obviously it wasn't "Down Down" they were playing as it might have seemed rather harsh at the basement club.

The girl at the fizzy pop and pie stand couldn't count and tried to charge me 20p too much. In fairness she was very smiley and repeated 3 times how sorry she was when I pointed this out.

The Charlton end was packed out. There was an expectant atmosphere and our crowd were on good form.
Some youngsters were rather sneakily smoking some 'jazz woodbines' near me which mixed rather nicely with the smell of flatulence from the bloke in front.

The game kicked off and within seconds we were under the cosh.

Ex Addick Weston tormented Francis all afternoon.
Francis was all at sea against the pace and changes of direction he was subjected to. He may as well have stayed at home for all the use he was at defending.

We were 1-0 down after our players seemed more concerned about, (ex Millwall), Alexander blocking and pushing than making any efforts to stop him. A powerful drive into the roof of the net was no more than Brentford deserved.

The rest of the first half went by in a wave of Brentford attacks.
By half time it was 2-0 but it really could have been at least 3 or 4.

I'm struggling to recall a single meaningful Charlton attack until the last minute of the half.

The team received a rather 'mixed' response from our crowd as they trudged past us on their way to the changing rooms.

Martin had been awful and he was withdrawn at half time for Reid. Fry went off too and Abbott came on up front instead.

We looked more attractive and also more dangerous too after the changes.

Reid was the focus of everything good about Charlton and eventually his good work on the left lead to Wagstaff firing the ball home.
(I saw him shoot, I saw the keeper dive, unfortunately I didn't see the ball hit the goal as the surge of bodies on the terrace blocked my sight line.)

There was just too much to do.

Brentford thought they'd scored a third but the referee disallowed it. Still not sure why as it was up the other end.

Akpo Sodje came on to try and bulldoze an equaliser but it just wasn't to be.
He ran about a bit, then collapsed and was carried off by a couple of people, one of whom was possibly unused substitute Llera.

What a load of cock.

A Casual Rating.

Charlton really didn't deserve anything from a game they lost in the first half.
Our crowd turned up.
The team didn't.

Kyel Reid can have the Lacoste polo for his second half display. An honorable mention must also go to ex Addick Myles Weston who was almost unplayable in the first half, (admittedly against a very poor Francis).

The dreaded Primark novelty slogan t shirt is going to the previously mentioned Francis.
Out. Of. His. Depth.
......and this is tier 3.