Thursday, 27 December 2012

Grimacing in the Rain

Charlton Athletic 1 - Ipswich Town 2.

The score line hints at a close run game.
It wasn't.

Ipswich were handed the win in the first half by a lukewarm Charlton performance.
They didn't need to raise their game to beat a very poor Charlton effort that lacked any kind of spark.

Congratulations to the Ipswich supporters who made it to the Valley on a day when there were no tube trains running and overland trains were not stopping at Charlton.

We had a similar state of affairs when we played at Portman Road.
On that day the train line between London and Ipswich was being worked on.
I know this effected our turn out, even though it wasn't a nasty rainy day when people might want to stay at home with their families.

We should have been 3-0 down at halftime.

Frimpong made a stupid challenge- just the kind I was warned about by when he arrived by an Arsenal supporting friend- and Lee Martin who made a name for being a Tom Daley when he was on loan at the Valley didn't even need to pretend.

As solid a penalty as you could ask for.
(Nearly as solid as the one we were denied at Sheffield Wednesday).

DJ Campbell fluffed the kick though and we had a huge let off.

The two goals that arrived before the break should all have been defended better.
A bit of pinball in the Charlton penalty box and some sleepy defending meant the Half Time break couldn't come quick enough.

Stephens had our best chance.
A wonderful free kick curled around the wall to hit the base of the post.
Had Lady Luck not deserted us this season, the ball would have come back to an onrushing forward but of course, it returned at just the wrong angle to be useful.

Pritchard and Jackson appeared for the second half.
Jackson could have scored with his first touch.
He was just shaping to nod home an inswinging cross when Fuller got in his way and the chance was gone.

Pritchard was lively and linked up with Haynes well.
Solly had more chances to run forward as Ipswich looked to protect what they had.

When Solly was upended and Haynes stuffed the resulting penalty high into the net Charlton should have pushed on.
Ipswich looked rattled for the next 5 minutes but our players didn't look capable of taking the initiative.

The East stand linesman was in dreamland for much of the game, missing clear touches of the ball to award throws the wrong way and lifting his flag for offside even when defenders were covering.

As rubbish as he was, he had no effect on Charlton being beaten.

Ipswich are one of the weakest sides I've seen this season yet they didn't have to do much to grab the 3 points at the Valley.
They've improved 100% since Millwall Mick took over but I can still see them around the bottom come the end of the season.

Unfortunately, we'll probably be there too but as I said at the start of the season, anything better than relegation is what I'm after.
This is a consolidation season for us.

It's not as much fun as last year when nearly every game was one we were at least likely to win but that's what you get from moving up a division.

So, a poor turn out on a poor day to witness a poor performance.

There'll be better days.
We just have to Keep the Faith and remember what a fantastic season we had last year to get us to this position.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Season's Greetings

I've had a bit of a blogging hiatus over the last few weeks.

Since our game at Millwall, I've been ridiculously busy at work and home.
The prospect of spending time in front of the old MacBook, chucking out my platitudes connected to a draw against Brighton and two away defeats up North didn't figure too highly on my list of priorities.

Today is Christmas Eve and for the first time in a while I've had time to kick back and take it easy.

My main reason for writing something on here today is to say a big THANKS to all the Addicks (and followers of other clubs) who have taken the time to read my thoughts over the last year.

When I started this blog, I made a conscious decision not to include a counter recording how many hits I received.
I'm a fairly competitive person and I knew I'd end up writing stuff just to bump up my figures rather than because I had something to say.

I can of course, check up very easily on how many people have swung by, as well as whereabouts on planet Earth they were sitting but I don't have this information on general display.

Today, I was astounded to read that over 1,300 people had clicked onto Charlton Casualty between midnight and 2pm, even though I hadn't written anything for ages.

So again, thankyou everybody and roll on the 'Tractor Boys' on Boxing Day.

Happy Christmas.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A South London Love In.

Millwall 0 - Charlton Athletic 0.
Sometimes, as the calendar swings into December, you are forced to acknowledge the neighbours you try to forget for most of the year.

You may even find yourself having to visit them, if only to remind yourself what it is about them you find so repellent.

They of course think of you as soft, well spoken nerds, only concerned with the minute details of life.

You look down on them for still having that pile of dog crap on the living room carpet, 3 weeks after it was dropped.

On a totally unrelated subject, yesterday Charlton went to Millwall.

Now Millwall have a reputation for being pricks but yesterday, before kick off at least, they seemed to be making the right noises and had decided to call the game Jimmy's Day.

Millwall had their biggest crowd for a generation, (remember families have a quick turn around in those parts), and there was barely a gap to be seen at the Tool Box beyond the areas forcibly kept empty.

Before the game started, I noticed there was something 'different' about the Charlton support.
Nobody seemed even remotely intimidated by the feral locals.

When they sang "No one Likes Us" we joined in, pointing out exactly why.
When they did their "Miiiiiiiiillllll" chant, we joined in, adding Joey Deacon style hand movements.

Charlton are a family club.
We pride ourselves on having women and children as part of our support, as well as welcoming new comers from everywhere.

Yesterday, there was barely a woman to be seen near me and certainly no children.
Around 3,500 mostly blokes, all intent on giving it back.

This Charlton crowd were not going to be a push over.

The teams came out and I realised i was in the thick of it when a few seats away a red smoke bomb went off.
The taste stayed with me for a while.

I'm not a fan of smoke bombs but I can't deny it looked absolutely magnificent.

Yes, it's childish and dangerous and copying the Italians, (not to mention those from Norwood ) but for 40 seconds or so, it was the focus of the entire ground.

The Millwall fans were livid.

The game itself is easy to summarise.

Millwall, as the home team and on an unbeaten run were in command for long periods.
Charlton, without the suspended Morrison and injured Fuller had set themselves up to 'not lose'.

Many would say Charlton parked the bus and it wouldn't be too far from the truth.
The Charlton performance was all about solid defending and this was done in spades.

Charlton rarely threatened the Millwall goal.
Millwall were by far the better team yet ended it with just a point.

A point away from home is never a bad result and when our previous diabolical performance at the same venue is added into the mix, it felt like a win.

We could have nicked it of course with a couple of breakaways but they came to nothing.

With around 8,000 day trippers added to the regular Millwall support they had to learn quickly what to shout.
They seem to have decided upon "Handball!" which was bellowed with gusto whenever the ball went off the deck, near a Charlton player.

Their players seemed to have a problem with gravity too.


When the game ended, it felt good.

We hadn't crumbled and could leave with our heads held high.

A few more coloured smoke bombs were launched at the pitch which seemed to wind up the Danny Dyer wannabes to our left.

We had green laser pointers shone in our eyes, bottles and coins thrown at us as well as a few seats.
Needless to say, there were missiles returned and for a while it got a bit lively.

Last time we went to Millwall, we were penned in after the game.
This time there was no such event.

We came outside the ground, into the darkness with the Charlton support bellowing "We're the Red and White Army".

This was no time for shrinking violets.

As the two sets of supporters converged, I bumped into Jim and we hastily decided upon a drink.
We snuck away from the main body of Charlton support, heading directly into the mass of Millwall.

We kept our eyes down as we went by a self styled Millwall 'general' commanding their support to "Stick together" and seek out the Charlton.
He could barely focus he was so full of anger.

Silence from us as we walked through the hundreds of Neanderthals, all hopping mad that Charlton had come to their patch and forgotten to break down and cry.

Eventually, we jumped on a bus on Old Kent Road, heading for a drink near London Bridge.

Some pints of Doombar, Sambuca, a telling off from the bar staff for singing loudly and a good laugh ended the evening in time to fall asleep in front of Match of The Day.

An old school football day.

I wouldn't want it every week but it was fun yesterday.

Casualty Rating
Millwall were on top for most of the game but didn't really make Hamer work too hard.
This was due to the immense defending from our team, especially Solly and Cort.
Both were stars for me, though I also appreciated hearing about defender Michael Morrison being in with the Charlton support along with John Sullivan.

Good work fellers.