Saturday, 24 August 2013

What A Strange Afternoon.

Charlton Athletic 1 - Doncaster Rovers 3
(Match Abandoned at Half Time).

This game started with a Rovers goal.

Barely two minutes had been played when some statuesque Charlton 'defending' lead to a strong headed goal.

It all happened in slow motion.
I felt like rubbing my eyes, sit com fashion, such was the absurdity of what I had witnessed.

It was to get much, much worse.

The area in front of the Valley East stand and especially the North stand penalty area (being defended by Charlton) had collected water so there was a distinct splash to the players running. 

It was, at times, impossible to make out the matchball if two or three players were challenging for it.
This wasn't really too much of a problem but when the ball also refused to roll over large sections of the field- and throw ins landed on the pitch and stopped still, it was plain to see that any kind of passing game was impossible.

Before long, Doncaster had scored two more.

Both goals can at least in some part be attributed to the state of the pitch, though for one, the East stand linesman was so far behind the play he was nowhere near able to make a decision on what looked to be an offside in the build up.
The Charlton defence really hadn't adapted to the ball getting stuck in the soup but were also neglecting  their basic jobs such as marking and blocking.

The game was suspended with each and every Charlton fan hoping the referee would see sense, and every Doncaster supporter hoping the game would continue, despite the atrocious conditions and danger to players.

I'd have been exactly the same in their position. Imagine being 3-0 up, away from home and then to hear the game might be void?

After about half an hour, the players returned and despite the work done on the pitch, the rain had continued while the players were back in the changing rooms.

The surface had not improved.

Church managed to score for Charlton to put a little bit of respectability on the scoreline but the game was turning into a farce.

Keegan got a chance to enjoy an early bath when he proved how footballers can sometimes be remarkably thick and infuriating to their supporters.

Why pull down an opposition player, who is in their own half (and isn't posing any kind of threat), when you are already on a yellow card and the referee is only metres away?

What a doofus.

Yann went to ground and Keegan went to have first go with the (Brut?) shower gel.

Charlton came into the game more and more as the clock ticked towards half time.

The break lasted longer than normal and finally the Doncaster players came out onto the pitch, clapped their support and lobbed their shirts into the crowd.

Soon afterwards, the Charlton team came out, clapped and waved and it was clear we'd seen as much as we were going to get today.

People who weren't there will probably think Charlton, and Chris Powell in particular, dodged a bullet today.

This might be the case but the momentum had turned towards Charlton and who's to say the ten man team would have been able to defend that North stand swamp/penalty area?

In summary, poor Charlton defending cannot be denied but the game really shouldn't have got past the first ten minutes.

I felt sorry for the Doncaster supporters who made the journey but the correct decision was made in the end.

For all the crowing from Yorkshire about Charlton 'cheating,' it wasn't the home sides decision to end the game. 
The referee Lee Collins had to make a safety decision and (eventually), though it was clear he was under immense pressure, he did call off the game. 

Yorkies might need to remember that God may be a Londoner but we really have no sway when ordering the weather.

waterlogged pitch. 

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