Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Stephens Rocket!

Charlton Athletic 1 - Bury 1.

The game tonight was going to be 'one of those games.'

You know the kind.

They're those games where you race out of work to get there in time to take your seat seconds before kick off, your belly is grumbling all through the match as you haven't eaten since lunch, you are losing all feeling in your fingers and toes due to the cold and to add insult to injury, the opposition have been for the most part outplayed yet their one effort on target has sneaked through your keepers hands.

The first half was all Charlton.
As people started to stretch their legs for their half time snacks and hot drinks, Bury managed to split the defence and John Lewis 'sold' Hamer a shot he will surely feel he should have stopped.

HT and 1-0 down.
It had been a while since we'd been behind at home.

The second half plodded on in the same fashion.

Things just weren't clicking for the Addicks.

Possession might be nine tenths of the law but unfortunately, Charlton just couldn't transfer the dominance into meaningful attempts on goal.

Pritchard and Haynes came on for Hollands and Clarke as Charlton looked to grab something from the game but we'd all seen this script played out many times before at Charlton.

We know the story.
After beating our rivals, we fall to a team of strugglers.

I'd resigned myself to our unbeaten home record disappearing and I imagine most others had too.

As the game entered added on time and Bury were attempting to waste every second of it, Dale Stephens scored one of the best goals I've seen at the Valley.

He sent in a proper Roy of the Rovers screamer into the top corner from around 40 yards out.

The Bury players fell to the floor in despair and the sparse crowd of under 14,000 celebrated as if we'd won the game.

I'm off to warm up.


Anonymous said...

I've only just warmed up!
The cold weather plus accidents on the A2 surely contributed towards the poor attendance?

Sciurus Carolinensis Nemesis said...

A point well earned when all's said and done but the very special nature of the equalising goal distracts from the reasons we were still behind in the 92nd minute.
Green was awful, he doesn't help Solly at all and doesn't seem to have much idea where his colleagues are or where he needs to be when he doesn't have the ball, with it at his feet he clearly has ability but he sadly lacks the rest of what's needed. For all Dale Stephens vision and very neat passing, I don;t think our midfield works as well with him in it, everything is too slow, Stephens plays too deep but isn't naturally a defensive player, he also doesn't follow up his good forward work. There was one classic example last night - he played a good pass up the right wing for Green, Bury retreated to the 18 yard line leaving 30 yards of space in front of Stephens to go for the return from Green in the inside right channel, Stephens stood still admiring his pass, Green of course fluffed his cross and the opportunity was lost simply because Stephens didn't jog forward 10 or 20 yards.
Stephens relative lightness of industry and deep-lying role also makes Hollands' life twice as hard, he has to dig in when the opposition has the ball and bomb forward when we do. Bradley Pritchard ain't quite the player Stephens is but we work much better with him. Stephens has got to put in a proper shift in that lineup or we're gonna be watching games like last night's for the rest of the season.
The least said about Leon Clarke the better.
Solly Morrison And Taylor were all as good as we've come to expect and Bradley Wiggins is just immense - by some distance the player of this season.
10 points clear and most things are very good indeed, roll on Saturday and Rochdale welcome to SE7