Monday, 17 September 2012

London 0 - Croydon 1.

I've been having a bit of a hiatus of late.
I didn't go to our game at Nottingham Forest and I don't really care enough about the football played during the international breaks to crank up the aging MacBook.

Even the truth finally emerging about the Hillsborough disaster didn't get me going, though of course I instantly remembered where I was when I heard the news all those years ago.
(I was walking with a mate on Queen Street, Cardiff as I was a student there at the time).

Friday night didn't really inspire me to rush away and make any notes either.
 I went to the Rose of Denmark after the game but I was probably the first to leave.
I just wasn't in the mood.
A relatively early night, studiously avoiding all social media as I was convinced there'd be mass wrist slitting and daft accusations from sections of the Charlton support.

I've now collected my thoughts a little so here goes.

When we came down from the Premier league, one of our first games of the new season was an away trip to Selhurst Park.
How we laughed at Palace!
They seemed slow, unable to cope with the skills our players possessed and we absolutely battered them, despite the score finishing just 1-0 to us.

The gulf between our two sides was just too huge. Andy Reid ran the show on the day and Palace were chasing shadows.

On Friday there was another gulf in class.
We may have been streets ahead of anything put in our path last season in League 1 but we are in danger of becoming a team who gives it a go, only to fall just slightly too short if a few problems aren't ironed out.
Only when Danny Green came on late into the game did we properly penetrate down the wing.

There will be many teams much better than Palace who will be knocking at the Valley this season so we should use Friday as a cautionary tale.

Palace looked by far the stronger team for long periods of the game.
They could have been two up within ten minutes but luckily their players seemed more interested in showing how fabulous their close control was than letting off shots at Hamer's goal.

When Palace did shoot, the fashion in their dressing room for smothering the front of their boots with vaseline came to our rescue.

Despite their inarguable dominance, I don't really remember Ben Hamer having to make a proper save all game.
There were quite a few glorious opportunities that ended up being calmly caught in his chest but no diving full length pushes around the post, or 'one on ones' against an onrushing forward.

As the first half went on, Charlton came more into the game, this despite Wiggins going off injured and Chris Solly having to switch to left back.

Probably against the run of play, Charlton had the ball in the net, only to find the linesman was out to make a name for himself and (incorrectly) raised his flag for offside. BWP timed his run to perfection and nodded the ball home.

Had the goal stood, Charlton would have had something to build on but what actually happened was the team looked deflated.

The Palace goal, when it came, was a cracker.
The chesting of the ball onto a volley combination is just the kind of 'goal' I like to score when messing around with balloons.
The Palace crowd went wild as well they should.

A few thoughts on their crowd.
Despite quite obviously not caring about us at all, they filled the Jimmy Seed stand and made a racket all through the game.
I'm not really a fan of the 'Ultras'.
It all seems a bit sad and suburban to me.
Perhaps if I was a spotty teen, the thought of turning up at football all in black, wearing a scarf across my face in an attempt to look menacing might appeal.

As I'm a middle aged fart who started going to football in the early 80's, I fear my window of opportunity has closed.
Can't say I'm that bothered.
I'm sure there'll be many Palace supporters who are painfully embarrassed by their group of cheerleaders.

I wonder how the choir rehearsals go?

"Ok lads, after 3, I'll let off a smoke grenade and then it's straight into Glad all Over......."

Despite them not caring, I have to acknowledge the Palace support was one of the best I've seen and heard at the Valley for many a year.
The flares, bangers and smoke must have made quite a spectacle on the television but I have to question the wisdom of bringing them inside a football ground.

I'm old enough to remember the horrors of the Bradford fire and I was under the impression that such items were forbidden.
Whatever the case, it does seem pretty stupid that kids are having the lids of their fizzy pop taken from them under the guise of Health and Safety but in another part of the ground you're in danger of having the back of your legs burned off - in a non smoking stadium!

A final flurry of activity, all in the Palace penalty area gave the game an exciting climax.
Fuller could have made himself an instant hero but his snap shot squirted just the wrong side of the post.
Fuller also made the keeper pull off a finger tip save to push the ball onto the crossbar but it wasn't to be.

It comes to something when probably the best goal scoring chance Charlton had all night was when Hamer ghosted into the area and had his strong header saved on the line, after it had beaten the opposition keeper!

Despite the Palace superiority, a draw should have been the result but again duff officiating ruined our day.
Our last home game saw another perfectly good goal chalked off.
That's TWO in two home games! Those extra 3 points would make us look far more comfortable on the league table.

The hapless linesman was good enough to apologise to Chris Powell but of course it was too late to do anything about it.
SCP was measured and calm when dealing with the media.
I can only imagine how 'Colin' currently at Leeds United would have reacted in similar circumstances!

Crystal Palace are geographically one of our nearest teams and whatever their supporters pretend, we are a team they'd love to beat.
Friday was the first time they have won at the Valley in the League since I was a babe in arms.
We haven't done so well in the derbies recently.
(I'm not counting the Orient and Brentford 'derbies' of recent seasons. They were fun but only because we took huge crowds and we could all get home on an Oyster card.)

We failed to beat Millwall either home or away last time we were paired with them and our previous meeting with Palace also ended in 1-0 defeat.

I hope we have more luck against Derby County on Tuesday evening.


ChicagoAddick said...

Some good measured thoughts. Thanks Marco

TOWIWoolwich said...

A great read as always. I can't allow you to call yourself middle-aged tho :)