Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Run Ends.

Stevenage 1 - Charlton Athletic 0.

Not much to be proud of up in Hertfordshire this afternoon.

The day started off well with a few drinks in the town centre before a (not necessarily by the most direct route) walk to the ground.

If you weren't there, the Stevenage set up is a bit like Welling, only with a fairly decent stand for the away supporters.

The reported crowd of around 4,700 seemed ridiculously small. It really felt like there were many more inside but I guess the cramped surroundings just made it difficult to tell.

Even before the game had kicked off I was shaking my head in embarrassment.

Charlton 'supporters' were fighting among themselves. It went on for a good five minutes, with all the usual posturing and threats making the atmosphere quite unpleasant.

We were close enough to feel we might get sucked in if the problem escalated. The stewards didn't seem interested in intervening so it carried on until the protagonists ran out of steam.

It was all a bitter disappointment as Crispy's young daughter Hannah was experiencing her first Charlton away game. This was most certainly not a good introduction.

Once the game started, the morons stopped squaring up to each other and spent most of the first half abusing the stewards.

Stevenage started well and really did try to spread the ball about. They were keeping pace with the league leaders and not letting Charlton settle on the ball.
Even their most ardent supporters would have to admit their goal was down to 99% luck.

A tame shot was never going to beat Hamer but for the second week running, a savage deflection left him with no chance at all.

Stevenage now reverted to type and became the pub team of cloggers we had been warned to expect.
This isn't a criticism of Stevenage, just an accurate description of the tactics they employed.

Crunching tackles, pushing off the ball, shirt pulling and time wasting were now what the hosts were dishing out to the guests.
The officials were pretty poor and just seemed to accept this was the way Stevenage played but when Charlton tried to mix it, suddenly the whistle was blown or the flag raised.

I was most annoyed by our duffers in black when Cort used his strength and guile to shepherd a ball out for a goal kick, right in front of the Charlton support.
Oddly, despite over 1,500 people baying at the error, a corner was given.

Though on the receiving end of a very physical approach, Charlton ended the game with 4 yellow cards while Stevenage had just the 2.
Go figure.

Charlton were better in the second half and on another day could have gained at least a point.
When BWP raced through on goal, we could all see the net billowing as he pulled the trigger but for once his shot beat the keeper but not the far post.

The keeper Day, (named after how long it takes him to take a goal kick?), made a few fine saves, not least the one from Cort, who really must have thought his header was goal bound.

Late changes bringing on Evina, Hayes and Waggy were somewhat nullified by the dreadful time wasting.
Even the Stevenage ballboys seemed to have been briefed to be as slow as possible when handing the ball back to the Addicks.

When the final whistle blew, (with still a full minute of the 6 added on to play, not including the probable 3 minutes that could have been added for time wasting within that period), the Stevenage players celebrated with their supporters as if they'd won the league.

The Charlton players seemed more interested in rounding on the officials.
The picture at the top of this piece is the officials waiting to leave the pitch.

The officials were crud but we didn't lose because of them.
We lost because, for the second week running, the team failed to find a way to unpick a side with no interest in playing football, only in getting points by any means necessary.

If we want to get out of this league we need to be able to stick it to teams who are tugging shirts and kicking off the ball. We can't moan and say this isn't fair, believing we deserve better.

We are in tier 3 for a reason. We were bad enough to fall down this far, we now have to prove we are good enough to climb out.

A loss isn't always a bad thing. Purely from a mathematical perspective, a win and a loss is better than 2 draws.
We just need to win next week against Carlisle.

A Casual Rating.
Due to apathy on my part this will be brief.
Stevenage deserve respect for having a game plan and keeping to it. It wasn't pretty (at all) but today it proved successful.
The Lacoste polo is going to Jackson who was tireless in his running, never giving up right to the end.

The Primark novelty slogan t- shirt is going to the idiots who were fighting in our section.
Sod off to follow Millwall.


Anonymous said...

I've become more and more depressed over the last few seasons about the general attitude of some of our awayday supporters.
I've nothing against having a laugh but direct abuse to people who are just doing a job, on minimum wage probably is just not on.
Rant over.

Anonymous said...

You were stuffed by a better team