Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Back on Track

Charlton Athletic 2 - Doncaster Rovers 0
Oh Donny……..

Doncaster Rovers supporters have every reason to whinge and moan.

Back in the 'Summer', their Rovers team came to the Valley and kicked off a game that really should never have started due to the appalling conditions. They then gave us a bit of a spanking with 20 minutes of fast and confident play.

The Charlton team really didn't know what had hit them.

At the point the referee called for proceedings to be halted, Rovers were 3-1 up. 

Anyone not at the game would have probably thought "c'est du poisson", (especially if they were French), but it wasn't quite so clear cut.

Rovers had gone down to 10 men, Charlton had just scored and were now due to be attacking the 'dodgy' goalmouth that our blokes had found nearly impossible to defend. 

I fully believed on the day that had the game continued, we would have got at least a draw.

The circumstances and overall picture of the way the game was panning out didn't stop plenty of online harping about Charlton 'cheating' of course.

What cannot be denied is there is a serious problem with the pitch drainage, especially on the East stand side and around the North stand goalmouth.

I feel especially sorry for groundsman Colin 'Paddy' Powell, who's image has changed from somebody who was winning awards for his prowess, to someone who fans of other clubs are blaming for games being in doubt.

Throughout all of the Premiership years, and prior to that if I'm honest, the pitch was more suited to a decent game of carpet bowls or somewhere to practice your putting. It was amazing.

We had similar weather to now for all those years yet the pitch retained the immaculate playing surface.

Sometime during the intervening years there's obviously been some hard financial decisions to make by the club and poor Paddy is now reaping the dividends.

I'm generally fairly pessimistic about Charlton's chances on the walk to the game.

I'm usually the one who is convinced we are going to be on the receiving end of a hiding.
Last night however, I was as sure as could be that we would be claiming the 3 points.

I figured Doncaster had already enjoyed their chance to take Charlton to the cleaners and our team wouldn't fall for it twice. There's also the Sods Law aspect to factor in, along with Donny missing some of their key players.

The Valley was under half full.

It could even have been less than that. Awful transport chaos for anybody not driving to the game meant many, many people never made it to Charlton. The reported attendance of 14,000 was laughable, though I suppose that's tickets and Season Tickets paid for rather than actual bums on seats.

Unfortunately for their hardy bunch of supporters, the Doncaster Rovers team never made it either. They were completely missing.

As good as they were in the original fixture, they were awful last night.

We know to our cost they have the ability to attack with speed and venom yet this time they looked like they'd just stepped off the Red Eye, having crossed the Atlantic budget class, with a fat bloke on one side and a crying baby on the other.

The lack of crowd gave the game a rather odd atmosphere. It honestly felt a bit like a pre season friendly at times or one of those meaningless early rounds of the Cup we generally get knocked out in.

To say the game was rather one sided would not be stretching the point. 

Charlton could/should have been 3 or 4 goals up before Dale Stephens unleashed an amazing volley. 

The ball was always destined for the back of the net, the Donny keeper stood no chance.

The chances kept coming (and coming) before Church managed to get the ball to (finally) go between the uprights when he found himself 1:1 with the 'keeper.

Of the chances Church had, it was one of the more difficult to tuck away yet it was the one that had him wheeling away in triumph.
Odd game eh?

The game was so one sided, instead of having a good moan when Churchy failed to knock the ball into an unguarded net, (somehow contriving to copy one of my golf air shots and finishing up on his rear end), we all belly laughed, safe in the knowledge it wasn't going to be a costly miss.

Danny Green made an appearance late on, fresh from stretching his legs on loan in League One.

He wasn't on the pitch long enough to make an impression and neither was Sordell who also ran about a bit when the game was already up.

The original game against Doncaster Rovers was an odd affair and last night also felt strange to me. Yes we won but I didn't walk away from the Valley with that extra bit of pep in my stride that I normally have after a win.

I'm assuming 'normal' service will be resumed on Saturday when Ipswich Town, now managed by Millwall Mick come calling.

I'd settle for a point and I know if we do grab one, I'll feel more elated than I did last night after the win.

I'm a complicated old fart.

No comments: