Charlton will rue a number of missed chances, particularly by McLeod, after their 1-1 draw against Coventry at the Ricoh Stadium today. Given that there was a rash of draws in the Championship, the result leaves them in 2nd position, although the Baggies could overtake them if, as expected, they beat QPR at home tomorrow.
Lloyd Sam was scorer for Charlton after 15 minutes, but Coventry equalised late in the second half. A 1-1 draw was our prediction for this match and, on the balance of play, it was not an unfair result. We also had the pleasure of seeing how annoyed Iain Dowie was when the first goal went on.
The Sky Blues dancing girls came on waving some shreds of kitchen foil. I notice that when the teams came on to the pitch their moves were not coordinated. The Coventry chairman came on in a tasteless light brown suit and made some remarks that were drowned out by the jeers of the Addickted. A naff tune that could apply to any club called City was played.
Charlton made a couple of early errors. Semedo lost the ball allowing Coventry to attack. Reid made an unforced error, but he made up for it when he put a superb ball right across the pitch to Semedo. However, the Millwall hater could only put in a soft shot to keeper Andy Marshall who I am sure I saw play for Norwich City reserves at The Valley many years ago (Sky Blues have wisely dropped the hapless Whatawasteofmoneytopoulos).
Neither side was really in charge in the first fifteen minutes and it was therefore especially pleasing when Lloyd Sam scored at the other end. He controlled a high clearance well and put the ball past Marshall.
Chris Powell was in great form at this stage of the match and engaged in some excellent defensive work. Coventry have collected more yellow cards than any team in the league apart from Sheffield Wednesday and charm merchant Robbie Simpson was booked for a foul on Reid.
Luke Varney was brought down in the box and there was a strong penalty call from the Addickted. Pards has subsequently said that he thought it was a penalty which would have hopefully given Charlton a 2-0 lead from which Coventry would have found it hard to recover.
As the half hour was passed, hesitation by Fortune left the goal at Coventry's mercy but fortunately the shot came off the post. Sky Blues won a corner, Weaver punched out Doyle's effort and the Charlton defence started to panic, leading to two further corners (good news for the firm of builders sponsoring them).
Charlton won a corner but the delivery was too low and generally poor. It's an aspect of our play that still concerns me. Sam turned provider for Big Chris, but Marshall saved. Iwelumo then put in a header that was not too far wide.
Half time: Sky Blues 0, Addicks 1
At times the first half had been played at quite a relaxed pace, but the second half was more frenetic as Coventry searched for an equaliser. Semedo conceded a free kick in a dangerous position, picking up a yellow card. The free kick came off the Charlton wall. Another mistake by Fortune required Weaver to make a good save with his feet. Iwelumo won Charlton a corner and Reid put in a decent effort, but it was cleared.
Weaver had to make a save on the ground. Luke Varney burst through, but was ruled offside and the keeper saved anyway. A moment of danger in front of the Charlton goal led to a Sky Blues corner.
Dowie withdrew Leon Best, who was not and brought on Dean Adebola. Charlton applied some pressure, but Coventry broke away and won a corner. Former Quorn ace Luke Varney, who must have played nearby in more humble grounds, was withdrawn and replaced by McLeod.
Sky Blues won another two corners. McLeod won Charlton a free kick and Stephen Hughes was booked. McLeod burst through and was one on one with Marshall but his weak effort was easily saved, the keeper giving him a reassuring pat on the head. Coventry had a penalty call and both me and the bloke in front of me thought it was as good as that denied to Charlton.
Lloyd Sam was withdrawn in favour of Matt Holland and went straight down the tunnel. McLeod made another of his runs but put in a tame shot. Then on 84 minutes the Mosquito at last started to buzz. With a big gap opening up in the Charlton defence, he buzzed through and put the ball well beyond the reach of Weaver at the near post into the far corner of the net. The home crowd suddenly came alive.
A Charlton free kick led to a corner, but once again it was poor. Semedo was cynically brought down. Then Chris Iwelumo had a great chance to score from a header and we all thought that it must have gone in, but it went just wide. Someone said that it was reminiscent of the Lisbie miss at Watford.
Although Charlton won another corner in the four minutes added on, it was clear that the match was going to end all square. An away point at Coventry is far from a bad result, but many had hoped for more.
Ivy the Terrible and Hooch the Pooch conferred in the car on the way back and have awarded the Silver Bone to Lloyd Sam for his contribution througout the match as well as his goal. 'There's only one Lloyd Sam' sang the Addickted with fervour when he was substituted. Weaver made a number of good saves and was not really at fault for the goal when he was let down by his defence. Fortune showed a worrying tendency to be error prone and nearly gave Coventry an equaliser in the first half. Bougherra was not prominent although he seemed to do his job well enough. Powell had a great game until towards the end when arguably he was at fault for the goal. Can he last ninety minutes? Mills had another good game, powerful in defence and threatening in attack, although he collected an avoidable booking. Semedo had a good game, showing some silky skills. Reid made a good contribution, passing well, although some of his corners were a little disappointing. Zheng Zhi had some excellent moments, but also some less good ones. Varney played his heart out, but was sometimes lacking in that final ten per cent of skill that would make the difference. Iwelumo had been identified as the danger man by Coventry and was closely marked, but missed one golden chance to score from a header. McLeod was energetic when he came on, but his finishing was poor and the lack of skill needed for the Championship showed. Holland played reliably when he came on.
Hiss of the Match has been given by Juneau the Soccer Cat to Iain Dowie for being a plonker. The tracksuit may be intended to suggest effectiveness in contrast to Alan Pardew's sharp suit, but all it does is try to contribute to a pretence that he is a top line manager.
Crowd rating: 8/10. The large group of Addickted was in good voice and I particularly enjoyed the apposite chant of 'Your ground is too big for you.'