Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Morrison may leave

The following report has been carried by Sky Sports.

Sky Sports understands Charlton face a battle to hang on to star defender Michael Morrison this summer. Morrison has been one of Charlton's shining lights this season and he is out of contract at the end of the season. Charlton are yet to tie down Morrison to a new deal and a number of clubs are monitoring his contract situation.

The 26-year-old is regarded as one of the best defenders outside the Premier League, having made over 300 league appearances already in his career. Morrison, who has only missed three league games since 2011, has played a key role in helping the club climb out of the bottom three in the Championship in recent weeks their last ten games.

Charlton are expected to offer Morrison a new deal, but they may struggle to match offers from elsewhere as his suitors look to lure him away from The Valley.

It's not over until the fat lady sings

So they say, but Charlton made the task of staying in the Championship by losing 1-2 at home to Barnsley in front of a crowd of 16,320. We have another chance to redeem ourselves against Bolton on Friday, but I am not holding my breath, as we have strikers that can't score and defenders that are prone to lapses of concentration that give the opposition the chance to score. As the BBC put it, 'The home side were dominant, but struggled again in front of goal.' Possession was 54-46 in our favour, but two of our seventeen (that many?) shots were on target, whereas for Barnsley four were on target out of nine attempts.

I must say that I was a bit worried when I heard the team selection. I would have played Wilson in front of Solly. Although Wood is competent, I would have retained Morrison who can help us to defend from set pieces and can be a nuisance to the opposition when we have them. However, I have been told that he had illness problems. Reza has his limitations, but I would have preferred him to Sordell up front.

I thought that the first half was even, although Barnsley started to edge it a bit before their goal. Shortly beforehand Harriott had fluffed a great chance to score. Barnsley then advanced through a series of throw ins, won a corner and scored from it. Only once this season have we come back to win when we have gone behind.

We started the second half in storming fashion as we searched for the equaliser, but poor communication between Dervite and Hamer gifted Barnsley a throw near the corner flag. From there they scored what looked an impossible shot which went in off the corner of the bar and the post.

The game was then effectively lost with Astrid scoring a late consolation, but not enough time or opportunity to make it 2-2. By this time we were down to ten men, having used all our substitutes and Rhoys Wiggins have been helped off. The word is that it is a broken bone in his foot, another blow, as he has been one of our better players.

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Jordan Cousins who had an excellent game and did try to get through on goal and put in a shot. He was unlucky not to win a foul late on. Hamer set up the chance for the second goal by dithering and then let the ball sail over his head, although admittedly it is difficult to defend a cross that turns into a fluke goal. Otherwise, he didn't have much to do. Dervite was involved in the mix up that led to the first goal. Wood was competent. Wiggins was one of our better players, his injury is a big blow. Solly looked as if he had never been away. Jackson worked hard, but his effort on goal did not succeed. Harriott had a great chance to score, but put the header wide. Some of his other contributions were poor and he was eventually substituted. To be fair to him, he can't play on the right and looked better on the left in the second half. Poyet was serenaded by the Covered End when he walked past them after his substitution. Once again signs of real class, although the odd error which reflects inexperience. Sordell once again showed that he is not much of a striker, he gets into good positions, but isn't decisive or quick enough. Obika has pace, but he needs to do more with what he creates. Reza showed some nice touches and it was his shot that rebounded for Astrid to score. However, he isn't physical enough to cope with a team like Barnsley. Even so, I would have preferred him to start rather than Sordell. Wilson added something when he came on. It would have been good to see Ajdarevic from the start, but he is not well enough. He took his goal well.

Rescue Cat Reg agrees that we can't blame the referee for our own failings, but he was inclined to not award a foul in Charlton's favour and then give a free kick a minute later to Barnsley for a similar offence. He also created an opportunity for Barnsley by playing the ball, but at least had the decency to blow up for a free kick from the resulting corner. Nevertheless, the Hiss of the Match goes to Iain Williamson. A supplementary one for the drunk who woke me on the train to say 'Up the Addicks.'

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

More than a six pointer

A crucial game that could determine Charlton's fate takes place at The Valley tonight against bottom club Barnsley. Win their game in hand and the Addicks could breathe more easily in their relegation battle, moving ahead of Blackpool and Doncaster, and leaving them looking forward with confidence to the Good Friday game against Bolton. Lose and relegation to League 1 beckons. A draw would put them ahead of Blackpool could leave everything relying on the outcome of the last match of the season against the Tangerines.

Charlton are currently 11th in the form table and Barnsley are 16th. They have lost more games away from home than any team in the Championship, 13 in all, winning just three and drawing four.

The away fixture ended in a 2-2 draw at Oakwell in August. Charlton have won only one of the last eight meetings between the two clubs, drawing four and losing three. Their only win since 1999 was 6-0 at Oakwell last season. Barnsley are unbeaten in the last three meetings at The Valley, winning the last two. Charlton's last win at home was 3-1 in the old Division One in August 1999.

Chris Solly may make a start for Charlton, depending on whether he is judged to be fully fit. This would allow Lawrie Wilson to push forward more and use his creativity which we badly need. Even Diego Poyet seemed to below his usual standard in what was generally seen as a dire performance against Brighton, but Charlton always have difficulty with highly mobile sides that outwit them in counter attacks.

One fan is coming to a game for the first time since 2007. He had a row with his mates before a game in 2007 and left without going to the game. He bought a season ticket for the 2007-8 campaign and never used it! Let's hope his return is a lucky omen.

Odds are: Charlton 11/10, Draw 12/5, Barnsley 13/5

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Wipe out at Brighton

Chris Solly was on the bench as Charlton faced Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium. The masked Wilson replaced Wood and Obika was left out altogether. The attendance was 28,670 with 1,869 Addickted.

Brighton tried early snap shots, but to little effect. They also tried balls over the top. Unfortunately, a terrible mistake by Poyet gave Lua Lua a free run on goal giving Ben Hamer no chance and putting Brighton 1-0 ahead on 12 minutes through Lingard. Hamer saved as LuaLua threatened again.

Charlton won their first corner after a mix up between Brighton defenders, but it was ineffective. The Addicks tried to keep up the pressure, but nothing came of it in the end. Poyet fed Sordell, but the tackle came in. Nevertheless, Charlton were having a go.

The crowd quietened as the match entered something of a lull on the 30 minute mark. The Brighton fans sang an uncomplimentary song about Palace and the Addickted joined in. Brighton won a corner after a shot deflected off Wiggins. Brighton kept up the pressure after the corner and Hamer had to read the chip well.

Dervite put in a great run and ball, but Sordell’s control was appalling. Brighton advanced, but Poyet won the ball. Jordan Cousins got past three men, but Reza hit the bar in the 42nd minute after a deflection. Brighton counter attacked, they were way offside but made it 2-0 through top scorer Ulloa.

HT: Seagulls 2, Addicks 0

Astrid was brought off for the second half and Harriott came on. The keeper dropped a cross from Harriott, but there was no one there to take advantage. A cross from Lingard was blocked by Dervite.

Ben Hamer read a long ball forward well and made the claim. Lua Lua put in a shot that went just wide after a deflection off Morrison leading to a corner take by Dale Stephens. Ben Hamer put the ball behind for a second corner. Hamer punched not too convincingly. The ball was provided for Lingard, but with only Hamer to beat he swept it over the bar.

Brighton won another corner after Lingard beat the offside trap. Morrison got his head to Lingard’s corner and Reza completed the clearance. Wilson conceded a corner. Ben Hamer deflected the ball away. Lua Lua was taken off by Brighton. Of more importance to the Addickted, Solly came on in place of Reza.

A Jackson free kick went out of play for a goal kick. Solly defended well for Charlton as the Seagulls threatened. Dervite conceded a free kick on the edge of the ‘D’. Hamer injured his shoulder when he defended the free kick. Jackson came off and Church came on.

Charlton won a late corner, but it was unproductive. Cousins won the ball off Stephens and was then fouled. Sordell almost got to a free kick. Brighton counter attacked and made it 3-0 with the ball taking a deflection off Dervite.

Millwall got a last minute equaliser to salvage a point and are now just one point behind us. However, we are just one point behind Blackpool, who lost at Leeds, and Doncaster also lost. It's a crucial game on Tuesday.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Big task on the coast

Charlton face a big task on the south coast tomorrow when they face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium. The Seagulls are just two points off a play off place and play Charlton on the back of a 4-1 in at league leaders Leicester. However, that was their win in six games and Charlton are 10th in the form table while Brighton are 20th.

Brighton's home form is a bit mixed, having won eight, drawn six and lost six. Charlton have quite a good record against them away. Charlton are unbeaten in the last four meetings at Brighton, winning two. Last year's encounter ended 0-0. Brighton's last home win was 3-2 in the old Division Two in September 1990.

Dale Stephens is expected to be available for Brighton. Lawrie Wilson should be able to play with a mask after he injured his eye socket.

Odds are Brighton 8/11; draw, 13/5; away win, 4/1.

Leicester in for Hamer

Leicester City are considering signing Ben Hamer in the summer as a No.2 to Schmeichel if he stays or to back up Speroni if he comes in from Crystal Palace: Hamer

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Is José Charlton's special one?

This is the question posed by the Evening Standard which discusses the bond he has built with his players (although French speaker Dervite does seem to have received quite a lot of attention from the coach): Riga