Monday, 30 December 2013

"...Wake Up Your Sleepy Head……"

Charlton Athletic 1 - Sheffield Wednesday 1.

If I'm trying to grab the positives from the afternoon at the Valley, I'd have to include, (along with the happiness that at least we didn't lose), the fact that I didn't have far to walk to witness a painful example of Yuletide football.
Those poor sods who made the journey to SE heaven from anything beyond the distance of Dartford were ripped off miserably.

I gave up buying programmes a few years ago when I had to get rid of about 15 years worth, clogging up the spare room.

Yesterday I really wished I had something to read.
It was pretty dull.

There's always some strange/magnificent results at this time of year when form seems to be found and lost with coupon busting results.
After a quick perusal of the odds I noticed we were 175/1 to win 5-0.

I've never been more wrong in my life.

The exuberance and confidence we witnessed just hours before at the Boxing Day win over Brighton was sadly all gone by the time the Wendies rolled into town.

The two teams probably wanted to stroke the ball about and give the crowd a bit of entertainment but the rapidly collapsing pitch meant there wasn't much chance of the ball rolling properly.
I dread to think how awful it will be after the storms this week and the FA Cup game at the weekend.

The first half was poor from both sides, though Wednesday were coping better with the conditions.
Precious little happened though and at half time the teams trudged off with the score still 0-0.

The second half started with a bang when Dale Stephens faked to shoot, made the space and blasted past Kirkland.

At 1-0 up, Charlton were far from home and dry.
Wednesday came back and by the end of the game, Charlton were hanging on.

Wednesday had some good moments and on balance of play deserved to end the game with a point.

Despite this, it is most galling to report that Charlton managed to repel all the Yorkshiremen attacks, except one, that was as clear as day offside.

The referee and the linesman must have been picking their noses as it was a simple, clearcut, obvious no brainer, made all the easier by the 'goal' scorer turning to look at the linesman, obviously expecting a flag before starting his celebration.
We can't blame Wickham, he just poked the ball over the line, it was the officials who made the mistake.

There were some poor decisions all afternoon but only the one that really changed the result of the game.

Later, with both teams hoping for a winner, the officials made another howler that seemed pretty amazing at the time after Kirkland made a fine save.

Semedo was busy congratulating Kirkland on his stop and all the players were busy positioning themselves for a corner.
Yet somehow a goal kick was signalled!

The North, East and even the West stand erupted with anger as everyone, (except the people who really mattered) could see what had happened.
It was just another example of the officials making a hash of it.

We can't blame the officials for our inability to get the ball into the opposition net and we can't blame the officials for our team deciding they'd be quite happy with a draw with 15+ minutes still to play.

Church missed a bit of a sitter so close to the end Wednesday wouldn't have time to respond but it just wasn't to be.

When all is said and done, four points from two home games isn't a terrible return.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Here We Go Again

Charlton Athletic 0 - Derby County 2

I've never witnessed a training session at Sparrows Lane but I've come to believe the players are regularly to be found herding black cats, stepping on the cracks in the carpark, walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors and smashing mirrors.

There must be some reason events continually conspire to poke us in the eye.

Yesterday, 'Shteve' McClaren and Derby were the glad recipients of Charlton's woeful luck.

Derby had been expected to give Charlton a right hammering, and those not at the game might look at the result and think that's what happened.
What actually happened was Charlton gave as good as they got and were looking towards edging it all over the pitch, (except in front of goal of course).

The turning point for me was when the referee gave Charlton a free kick.
It wasn't a free kick - it wasn't even close.
Obviously, it came to nothing.
That's the way it's gong for us lately.

Almost immediately, Derby also received an extremely soft free kick.
Our Christmas present from the referee just a minute earlier had turned out to be the wrong size, wrong colour and a bit of a let down.

Derby ended up opening their dream gift, only to find the shop had mistakenly put the days takings inside while wrapping it beautifully.
Lucky, lucky.

A rather feeble free kick deflected off a Charlton player and the ball rolled over the line.


The second half was very little to do with Derby. They were on the back foot for huge periods (whatever McClaren may say) as Charlton marauded forwards time and time again.

Unfortunately, we never really looked like scoring.
How many of 'those' days do we have to endure?

Morrison managed to squeeze a header past the post that 99 times out of 100 he'd have buried.
 Yann was grabbed around the neck in the penalty box and pulled to the floor, yet somehow he conceded a free kick.
It went on and on.

The referee gave Yann Kermorgant nothing all game.
When eventually he was forced to award the Frenchman a free kick, we all cheered sarcastically and Yann gave the official a small round of applause, -and promptly got booked for his efforts!
Whatever he said to the referee he thoroughly deserved it.
 He was crap.

Derby started wasting time as they knew Charlton were getting a grip on the game.
A player being substituted almost pigeon stepped off the pitch. If he'd left any slower they'd have put the stretcher on for him, assuming he'd collapsed.

On chances created Charlton should have been comfortable with at least a point but it just wouldn't roll for us.

A final throw of the dice meant chucking on Sordell to go three up front, which obviously left a gap in defence.
I'm ok with that as I'd rather lose another goal while chasing the game than just sit back and wait for the end.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened.
On 87 minutes Derby scored the killer goal and that was that.

It's been a poor time lately to be an Addick, especially as Laurel and Hardy seem to have blown our chances of getting any cash to spend before the end of the season, when we could already be scanning the fixtures on the League 1 page rather than the Championship page, if things don't turn around.

Chris Powell tried something new against Derby and it didn't really come off for him.
Pritchard tried and tried but he's not really suited to the role of playing in the hole.

We all have to realise that we are now stuck with this group of players. That's your lot, there's nobody else arriving unless the greedy clowns find a suitcase of cash behind the sofa.
I can't see any white knights on the horizon.

If you constantly try the same things, how can you expect different results? I'm pleased Powell was brave enough to have a go at something different, even though it somewhat backfired.

I became more and more irritated as the game went on by the fat bloke next to me, (taking up a seat and a half), talking rubbish and abusing the players for lack of application.

He was your typical once a year bloke, who moaned all game, probably because he wasn't seeing Charlton cruising to victory in the Champions League.

In my opinion, the players could possibly be spoken about with reference to lack of quality but NEVER lack of effort.

Don't come back Fatty.
Your presence is not required or requested in future.

100% Support

I forgot to mention the Charlton Upbeats who were the highlight of the afternoon.
Those kids are amazing.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Don't Buy A Lottery Ticket This Week.

Yeovil Town 2 - Charlton Athletic 2


Yet more testing times to be a Charlton supporter.

2-0 up and cruising to a well deserved away victory, in total control and with the game inside the final quarter.

All was looking positive.

In just the time it takes to boil a kettle, make a cup of tea and then settle down with a magazine, Charlton contrived to throw away 2 points.
 Our team managed to concede (yet another) flukey deflected own goal and then to compound the misery, a penalty that was naturally tucked away.

Can anybody remember the last time we received a lucky break?
We had a couple of instances in our promotion season from League One but not much since.

It got even worse today as once Yeovil equalised, they quickly found themselves playing against ten men when captain Johnnie Jackson received a 'straight red' for a strong challenge.

It's a draw that feels like a loss. 

It's never easy being an Addick but we'll all be back at the Valley next week, supporting and hoping for Lady Luck to finally smile on the team in red.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela.

I first became aware of Nelson Mandela when I was a young boy of 12 and he was still held captive on Robben Island.

Mandela walking out of prison, not triumphantly, just happily, hand in hand with his then wife Winnie, was probably my generations 'JFK moment'.

In these times of unmerited hyperbole, Nelson Mandela is someone who really does deserve to be remembered as an inspiration.

Rest In Peace.

Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Same Old Song

Reading 1 - Charlton Athletic 0

Nope, nothing has changed.
It's still the same state of affairs.

The team who released 3 proven goalscorers at the end of last season, now find themselves in the position where barn doors are the safest place on the training ground.

This is not a criticism of the players we retained.
I'd add that 'Churchy', who was brought in at the start of this season, has all the attributes I require of a player wearing the Charlton shirt, those being honest endeavour and 100% commitment to the cause.

However much I respect Simon Church, he hasn't got the kind of goalscoring record a team can hang their season on.
Kermorgant has been struggling to regain the fitness and agility we saw last season and Sordell has been more or less shoved into a corner where chances on the pitch are limited.

The goals that were added to the team from midfield last term seem to have dried up too.


So, splitting my time between the BBC Radio London commentary, Sky Sports and #cafc twitter I learned that:
                   a) Charlton worked their bloomin socks off.
                   b) The referee denied Charlton a very good shout for a penalty.
                   c) The second half and much of the first belonged to Charlton.
                   d) Charlton went down to an against the run of play sucker punch goal.
                   e) The Charlton support sang and shouted without cease.
                   f) Reading were poor - but took their chance.
                   g) Charlton deserved more but in reality one goal is enough to beat us.
                   h) I'm irritated by this beyond belief.

Without some kind of cash injection to help poor Chris Powell, this season is going to be extremely bum clenching.

Yeovil away is going to be interesting to say the least.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Smash & Grab

Charlton Athletic 0 - Ipswich Town 1

Much like the action of any impact yesterday, this won't take long.

Ipswich arrived at The Valley and started as if they'd been drinking triple espresso's, chased down with cans of Red Bull on their journey down the A12.

Within 3 or 4 minutes, they'd already won a few corners and forced stand in 'keeper Ben Alnwick to pull off an agility testing double save.

The powerful onslaught was just too much and eventually Smith smashed home a headed goal, from yet another corner.

Ipswich had crushed any chance the Charlton support were going to manage the 3:07pm round of applause, commemorating 21 years since the return to The Valley.
Most people had their heads in their hands, amazed at the one way traffic we'd witnessed.

Had we all nipped off to the pub at that point, we'd have missed very little.

While not exactly parking the bus, Ipswich didn't really force too many chances of note going forward- though they certainly had the best of the first half.

Other than Dale Stephens audacious overhead cross field pass, there was little to get excited about from a Charlton view.

The second half belonged to Charlton but as is becoming a bit of a worry, the ball just wouldn't run when in a dangerous position.

It looked like it was going to be one of those days.

We couldn't blame the officials, our players lack of effort, Ipswich's negative tactics or the state of the pitch as I thought the referee had a fairly good game, (playing advantage when needed), our team huffed and puffed without cease, Ipswich played a 'typical' away team way and the pitch was fine.

Suddenly, for me, the main chance we had all afternoon was snatched away by a terrible decision.

For the entire game, the referee had made a point of letting play continue to see if there was any advantage, before halting the action for a free kick.

Then, in added on time, there was the one time we needed him to do just that and he had other ideas.

With Stewart speeding onto a 1:1 with the Ipswich 'keeper, without a defender in sight, our hapless referee decided he needed to blow his whistle for a Charlton free kick, back in the centre circle.

A massive let off for the Tractor Boys.

Of course, Stewart may have sent the ball over the stands but we'll never know will we?

A game we were about to lose due to our inept finishing suddenly became a game where we had been 'robbed' of a point!

It's the football supporter logic.

Luckily, a few pints of local Hop Stuff at Greenwich after the game was enough to make me revert to the calmer person I'd been before.

Well done to Ipswich.
Captain BirdsEye  Mick McCarthy played his cards just right and we can't really complain at the result.