Sunday, 11 September 2011

Over the Line.

Charlton Athletic 2 - Exeter City 0.

If I ever choose to think back on the events of yesterday, I won't be remembering a 2-0 win, I'll be remembering the feelings of injustice I experienced throughout much of the first half.

Until yesterday, I really felt I was a true 100% Charlton supporter, totally in support of our team and sod the rest.

I learned yesterday that winning isn't enough for me. It has to be done 'right'.

From our seats in the East stand, it was beyond clear the ball had trickled over the Charlton goal line after a bit of a defensive shambles. Daniel Nardiello really didn't catch the ball with a lot of gusto but it was enough for it to squeeze past Hamer, before he pulled it back, presumably to hide his shame at being beaten by such a tame effort.

We couldn't believe it.
 A clear goal but the linesman and referee seemed oblivious.
The Exeter team didn't seem to complain too much at the time, considering the circumstances but it was clear that we had 'got away with it'.

Five minutes later there was a break in play for an injury to be treated and Nardiello came over to the East stand linesman to have a chat.
Despite it all happening directly in front of us, I have no idea what he was actually saying but his body language didn't look aggressive, it was more of a general, "You've made a hash of that one mate and you'll realise it when you see it on television".

Whatever was said, the linesman took exception, called over the referee and Nardiello was having an early shower.
At worst, I was expecting a yellow card but off he had to go.

I was stunned.
It seemed to me, Exeter had been denied a perfectly good goal and then been double punished by the officials when the error was highlighted.
(Apparently, the error was highlighted using some choice language, which if true was a stupid thing to do but also if the officials had done their jobs, it wouldn't have been necessary at all).

At the time, I had no idea that Chris Solly also had a shot cross the line up at the other end of the pitch, which would have made me feel much better about the situation. I'd have been feeling that as the officials had been crud for both sides, let's just get on with it.
 Congratulations must go to Chris Solly who managed to bite his tongue and carry on playing without going off on one, if he realised his effort had also been wrongly missed by the men in black.

Just before half time, BWP ran on to push the ball past Pidgeley in the Exeter goal and give their  supporters yet another opportunity to abuse him for being an ex Plymouth player.

The teams left the pitch with Charlton 1-0 up.
Most of the talk over half time was how we were lucky to be in the lead.

The second half was frustrating as Charlton seemed incapable of breaking down the ten men from Devon.
The game only became 'safe' from a Charlton perspective, with ten minutes to go when BWP turned provider and teed up Dale Stephens.
Stephens managed to send an identical chance way, way over the bar on Monday night but he kept his head down and buried it this time.
2-0, game over and a chance to relax.

I was relieved the second goal went in as mentally, it had felt like a 1-1 draw up until then.
(As I said before, I had no knowledge of the Solly effort until I got home).

The performance was not a cracker but it's another 3 points and Charlton are currently in an automatic promotion spot.

Things could be far, far worse.

A Casual Rating.
From a footballing perspective, this wasn't one to remember but it will definitely go down as one of those "I was there" games.
I'm not sure the Exeter supporters will want to recall the game though.

I'm awarding the Lacoste polo to Chris Solly who had a fine game, whipping in a few crosses that Waggy now seems incapable of, being solid in the tackle, beating his man and, (as I now realise) fully deserving a goal.
The Primark novelty slogan t- shirt is being awarded to the 'Belmarsh Bullies' who act as our stewards for the away support.
Was it really essential to go in mob handed with at least 10 + running heavies to take out two rather weedy looking blokes who had been banging on the advertising hoardings?
Removing one of them head first seemed rather over the top to me.
Ref Watch.
If I use my usual criteria of not really noticing the officials as a barometer for their performance, added to getting most decisions right and any bad decisions not really changing the course of the game, I'm sorry to have to say this particular showing will go down as an 'epic fail'.

Before the game had kicked off, I remarked that we could be in for some problems as our short in stature referee looked like he was all set for a 'Napoleon' performance.
He generally tried to let the game flow but missed some critical events and did change the game.


Anonymous said...

An honest account. I agree with every word.
It was a real change to have a big decision go in our favour yesterday. I wonder how many bad ones we will have to make up for it?

Anonymous said...

our stewards have quite a reputation with other supporters. a crystal palace supporting work colleague has told me he will never come the the valley again after the treatment he and his young son got. if what he says is true and i do believe him, our stewards are ruining our reputation as a friendly family club.
maybe we only want to be friendly to home support?

sam said...

I don"t agree. I stand in the north upper and it looked close but i truly believe the ball was stopped on the line. Also of course it was going to be tough to break down ten men it always is. Sheffield united against Scunthorp for example. Charlton fans that booed at 0-0 need to have a think about what they want from the team. It makes perfect sense to pass the ball keep possession and work the ten men hard. I like to see the team with the confidence to play out from the back. To pass in triangles and frustrate apposing teams.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the sentiments but Nardellino should have been aware that his hectoring and use of language (I sit in East Stand and heard what he said to the linesman - he wagged a finger and said "you're a no good cheat, m..f.. c..t and you better watch your back". I was taken aback by his vitrol and so was the guys around me who heard it.
Secondly he wound up a fair number of us sitting in East Stand block D and E going back and from the linesman not just this once but at least three times!!
A paid professional should not lose his rag like that so the red card was, to me, correct.

Anonymous said...

From our vantage way up in N Stand Upper we were pretty sure the ball never completely crossed the line - it nearly did, but not quite. And Nardiello just lost it. That wasn't bad luck, just stupidity.

Anonymous said...

From our vantage way up in N Stand Upper we were pretty sure the ball never completely crossed the line - it nearly did, but not quite. And Nardiello just lost it. That wasn't bad luck, just stupidity.

Anonymous said...

If Nardellino was directly infront of you when he was chatting to the lino, then the position of your seat in the East Stand, from which you are certain the ball crossed the line,is not exactly level with the goal line. This therefore reduces my belief in your belief that it was a goal. You cannot trust your eyes from there mate, they are playing tricks on you.

Hungry Ted said...

On this occasion, Marco, I have to respectfully disagree with you. Not about whether the ball appeared to cross the line as I just couldn't tell from where I was in the centre of the east stand, but with Nardellino's sending off. It was 100% spot on and I applaud the ref for having the guts to do it. One things for sure, his manager will not quite have the same sympathy that you have shown towards him, I feel!!!!

Whether he made a mistake or not the lino should not be repeatedly berated in the manor he was (across the pitch and to his face), and in full view of everyone. When he approached the lino for a second time, Nardellino's face was contorted with anger and his use of industrial language left nothing to the imagination (I was considerably more conscious of this as I took my 5 year old son to his first Charlton game and I could have well done without having to explain that episode to him, if I'm honest).

Solly, who by all accounts was also robbed of a perfectly good goal, showed Nardellino how to react, and your observation ref. his performance was spot on.

Anonymous said...

This whole 'was that a goal/s or not' could be avoided so easily. If only the Luddites that run English football would wake up to modern technology.

Marco. said...

As I really wasn't anywhere near close enough to tell what was being said, I'm going to have to bow to the superior knowledge of those who did hear the words.
I also didn't realise he had come back 3 times to have a go at the lino.
If what has been reported is even the half of it, he deserved a yellow at the very least.
I think it's now been 'proved' that both non goals should gave been given.
As Daggs says, we have the technology so why isn't it being used?
All we want is the 'right' decision.

Sciurus Carolinensis Nemesis said...

I've rerun Exeter's "goal" many times and can't (subject to the limitations of the technology) see a frame where the ball is not touching the line, 'live' from our spot in the Upper West me & my 4 immediate nieghbours all "saw" it over the line. Who knows? As for Solly's "goal" we never had any clue it was close and the lack of reaction from Charlton players suggests they didn't see much either. The sooner Blatter accepts the appropriate fee from whichever goalline camera provider the better but we'll all have one less thing to enjoy arguing about. I think the performance only looked ropey (and it did) because we had so much possession against an understandably defensive opposition that the 3rd division limitations were writ large and repeated that often. £rd division by the way. We're 2nd on goal difference, we've got a 2nd eleven who've already won one cup game, how bad is all that really?? It's not like we're not used to watching ropey football - we've had 4 years of it. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt until (if) the wheels actually start falling off, rather than groaning on about how we're not watching Barcelona or Brazil or Ajax or whatever it is the boo-boys seem to expect. did I mention 3rd division??