Sunday, 23 September 2012

3 Points on the Road.

Ipswich Town 1 - Charlton Athletic 2.

Firstly, I must say I was very impressed with the number of fellow Addicks who made the trip to East Anglia.

The travel gods had made the journey an awkward one by refusing to lay on any trains from London, (unless you were prepared to keep switching between rail replacement bus services).
With this in mind, I used the Charlton 'Valley Away' bus service.

'Away' is a pretty good description of my day.
It did seem as if those people making the decisions were trying their hardest to keep me away from where I wanted to be.

We embarked at Charlton, then instead of heading along the A12 for a nice direct route to Ipswich, we whizzed up to near Stansted airport for a half hour stop over.
We'd only been on the bus 40 minutes when we stopped so unless your bladder is the size of a pea, there was absolutely no need for a break.

I was quite keen to get to Ipswich for a meet up and wander around but apparently this is 'verboten'. You buy a ticket on the bus knowing you are more or less sacrificing any chance of having a look at the place you are visiting.

The time dragged but I was amused by the pictures I was receiving from home. My pocket vibrated time and time again as a new fashion disaster arrived in my inbox.
Top Cat was being dressed in the clothes found at the back of a cupboard. They had originally been bought, many years ago from Build a Bear.
shamefully, not Adidas.
We arrived at Ipswich around 2:20pm and most of the anoraks headed straight to the ground, only about 400 metres away.

I headed to the Waterfront area to have the speediest drink ever and to stretch my legs in the glorious sunshine.

Ipswich does seem to be a really 'liveable' place.

I know I was seeing it at its best but it's a remarkably clean, quiet place with interesting architecture. The town planners of the 60's and 70's don't seem to have completely wrecked it and the previously mentioned Waterfront area is gorgeous.

In all honesty, I can see myself going there for a weekend break when the fixture list allows.

I met up with some of the RoD crowd, who had rather sensibly made the journey by car, and then walked back towards Portman Road.

I like Portman Road.
It's a proper 'football' ground, not one of the identikit bowls we see around the country at places like Boro, Southampton, Reading etc.
There's a sense of history about the place.

However much I like Portman Road, the environment is not worth the quite staggering £34 the away supporters were expected to pay.
I can't make up my mind if they are cunning chancers or disgusting thieves but the hierachy at Ipswich need to take a good hard look at themselves.

I know there are many people who refused to go, purely because they weren't willing to be so obviously fleeced.
When the travel problems are added to the mixture, it was an easy game to miss.

Those of us who did make it were rewarded with a pretty good display from the Addicks.
I've been to see Charlton play at Ipswich many times over the years. Yesterday I found myself in almost exactly the same spot we were when we played there in the Play Off semi in 1998.
An omen?

Who knows but the first half ended 0-0 with Charlton having the lions share of the chances and possession.
From our angle we 'scored' 2 goals but unfortunately the ball slipped the wrong side of the post and hit the side netting on both occasions.

At Half Time we were joined by 'Ted' from the Hungry Ted site and his company seemed to make all the difference.

Jackson scored a belter when it looked as though BWP had missed a wonderful cross.
We jumped about and Ipswich looked crestfallen.

Only a few minutes later, Ricardo Fuller pinched the ball and went on a mazy run, slotting the ball into the far corner.

Charlton went mad but so did Ipswich.
The boos around Portman Road were pretty nasty.

Ipswich looked a beaten side. They lacked ideas and even the moments of good play were coming to nothing when concentration let them down.

A moment of supreme good fortune gave Ipswich a way back into the game when a tame effort from Jason Scotland wrong footed Ben Hamer.
The savage deflection left him no chance.

A combination of poor refereeing decisions, 5 minutes added on time and Ipswich suddenly waking up made the last 10 minutes of the game seem much more stressful than they needed to be.
 Charlton held firm to claim the 3 points that were fully deserved.

The team plus Chris Powell came to acknowledge the Charlton support and love was expressed from both parties.

It was then back to the 'Magic Bus' for a Stone Roses marathon on my headphones.

A Casualty Rating
The regularly awarded Lacoste polo is going to Ricardo Fuller.
The injury in training to Yann Kermorgant definitely speeded up his inclusion in the starting line up. His appearances as an impact sub have been very good but I didn't really imagine him starting just yet.
Ricardo ran and ran, scored a goal and looked a handful all game.
Certainly a new Charlton hero has emerged.

My only slight annoyance is I'd attempted to lay a bet on him scoring while on my way up to Ipswich but I lost all internet strength as we headed through the farmlands.

I took that as a sign it wasn't to be and left it.
My original bet on Charlton winning stood but a very small part of me was annoyed when Fuller struck.

The Primark novelty slogan t- shirt award is clear cut.
I rushed back to the bus after the game and sat in my place ready for a speedy exit.

My companions sat too, waiting.

and waiting.

Eventually, two people who had got 'lost' strolled up to climb on board.
By the time they arrived, we were behind all the other people in the carpark and in a long queue to leave Ipswich.
I know the coach users have a reputation for being a bit simple, (in general the people who wouldn't be able to find their way there if they weren't dropped off outside the ground) but I found this ridiculous and also quite disrespectful to other passengers.

I've now realised why Charlton find it necessary to run coaches to places only a few miles away such as Fulham, Brentford, Palace, Milwall etc.

I sat in my seat, looking at the side of the football ground, trying to understand how it was possible to get lost on such a short journey.

Despite this hiccup, it was all worth it and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Suffolk.

No comments: