Saturday, 22 September 2007

Simply the best?

'Simply the Best' was the slogan on the shirt of a Leicester City fan seen at London Bridge. In fact Leicester City were very poor and one might have hoped that Charlton would have inflicted a major defeat on them. As it was a 2-0 win took Charlton to second place in the table. But once again it was a game in which Charlton really only shone in one half, this time the first half.

One can speculate about why the Addicks faded in the second half. The arrival of N'Gotty after the break strengthened the Foxes defence with his experience helping to remedy some of the first half shortcomings. Kishishev also gave their midfield a bit more steel while our midfield, which had been excellent in the first half, started to go back to its bad old ways. We were forced back too much rather than continuing to take the game to Leicester. But we got the three points and that's what counts.

Juneau the Soccer Cat (who enjoys American nationality and is named after the capital of Alaska)

Our departure to Charlton was delayed by a Cats Protection League coffee morning where I think that our football shirts did not fit in too well with the elderly clientele. I remember that at one of these occasions in the past that I mentioned an organisation called Avon Cat and Dog Rescue. The temperature fell several degrees and back came the hissed reply, 'They're doggist.' I also missed a Bloggers event at The Valley to which the Blackheath Addick refers this morning.

I had a bit of a shock to the system before the match when some chump tried to evict me from my seat on the grounds that it was his. I knew I was in the right spot as the Bloke Behind Me was behind me and I have sat there since not long after the East Stand opened. Eventually he found his own seat further along the row.

Leicester started the match with early pressure, but I have to agree with Inspector Sands that they are one of the worse teams we have seen at The Valley for some time. When they were with us in the Premiership, they were a team that had to be respected and which always gave us a quality game. Not any more. Their main tactic seemed to be to put in shots which were way over or way wide.

Nevertheless, they did put in an early shot which Weaver had to save at the expense of a corner. They also showed an ability to break, which they did early on, leading Weaver to save. The tireless and ageless Chris Powell showed great skill in evading a Fox. Even so, it was still end to end stuff and Jon Fortune displayed real skill in avoiding a Leicester corner.

Sam had apparently been a real menace on the right against Norwich and he broke through but his shot went into the side netting. Chris Iwelumo opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a well taken goal, although it has to be said that the Foxes defence appeared to have dispersed as if they were being hunted. Varney made it 2-0 on 23 minutes with his first goal for the Addicks. This was the first time I had seen him playing and I can see why the Addickted rate him.

Chris Powell picked up a rather unnecessary yellow card which no doubt gave the referee a perverse pleasure at booking a senior statesman of football. A Charlton free kick led to a Charton corner. Subsequently, Iwelumo put in a header that was just wide. He then scored a goal which was rightly judged to be offside, the flag having gone up well before the ball went in the net.

Weaver then made his major contribution of the game when he saved at the post at the expense of a Leicester corner which was followed by a second. An effort by the somewhat disappointing Andy Reid went over. Iwelumo won Charlton a corner.

Half time: Addicks 2, Foxes 0

Leicester shored up their team by bringing on the veteran N'Gotty and Kishishev at the expense of Hume and Sheehan. Kish received warm applause from the crowd, reflecting the fact that he always gave one hundred per cent when he wore the shirt.

The referee gave the Addicks a free kick for a foul on Varney and Reid produced a corner out of this. However, our corners, although they are getting better, still fail to pose a real threat. Semedo was given a talking to by the referee for shirt tugging, not that the official was interested in similar offences by Leicester. Good play by Sam ended in a shot at the keeper.

I think it was Kish who put in a fierce shot from distance that tested Weaver. He momentarily spilled the ball, but the defence was on hand to offer protection and it was cleared to safety at the expense of a throw in.

Danny Mills powered down the right and put in a first rate cross, but no Charlton player was able to connect. Mills and Sam combined superbly to win the Addicks a corner, but Leicester were able to break although all it led to was a throw in for the Addicks. I thought that Mattock was the one Leicester player who looked as if he might do something, but later he put in a wild shot.

Varney won Charlton a corner (Luke not Peter). Leicester made their last throw of the dice and took off Matty Fryatt in favour of former Yeading ace D J Campbell. Yeading may be higher up the non league pyramid than former Leamington opponents Quorn, but I have no doubt who is the better striker.

The referee was giving Leicester a lot of free kicks and one looked potentially dangerous but came off the wall. Luke Varney had a shot: it was worth a try, but the keeper saved it. Semedo showed his skill and determination as he fought for the ball.

On 75 minutes Varney was taken off and McLeod brought on to give us more pace. The tiring Reid was subsequently taken off in favour of Sodje. Iwelumo made a great run down the centre, but he should have passed the ball to McLeod who was free on the left and understandably frustrated. Lloyd Sam was taken off in favour of new father Darren Ambrose. For some reason time added on was not announced, but the referee blew up and Charlton had gone 2nd.

Pards sounded some well chosen notes of caution in the programme about excessive expectations. Perhaps I expected too much in the second half and, having read through my notes, it was not as negative as my overall impression. We have a lot of testing matches coming up and perhaps it was better to slow down a bit rather than exhaust key players, although hopefully we will put out a largely different side against Luton.


They won 2-0 away against Evesham United at Worcester City's ground, but are behind Charlton in the places race, being only 3rd in the BGB Business Midlands Division (Southern League). Both goals were scored by former Coventry City ace Ben Mackey who is now under contract as much bigger clubs are watching him. One might ask why Coventry let him go, but one alleged answer is 'birds, burgers and booze.' He is a little podgy, but he can turn like a Football League player.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Danny Mills thus reviving the collection he started in his first spell at Charlton. He gave one hundred per cent throughout the game and was a real threat in the first half. Weaver was not called on to do much by the wayward shots of Leicester, but did make a couple of good saves. Chris Powell combined very well with Andy Reid and was his old sparkling self. Fortune seems to be more confident and to be taking more responsibility, although he should let Weaver claim the ball when he wants to. Bougherra had one moment of magic, but otherwise was relatively anonymous. Semedo shows great ball skills and is a play of considerable promise. Reid did not have his best game, but produced some well worked moves. Apparently Sam sparkled against Norwich, but seemed to tire today. Zhi had some nice touches, but was less dominant than is in some games. Varney impressed me not just with his goal, but also with his runs forward and his ability to make a defensive tackle if needed. Iwelumo took his goal well, but seemed to tire a little in the second half. He often failed to win the ball in the air. McLeod might have been able to do more if Iwelumo had hogged the ball less. Sodje and Ambrose had cameos.

Hiss of the Match has gone to referee Mr Tanner who was not worth two pence. He managed to give out two yellow cards to Charlton players, whilst ignoring a number of offences by Foxes, not least holding back and repeated handballs. He is probably one of those refs who errs in favour of the visitors to show he is not a 'homer'.

Crowd rating: Strong in the first half, understandably got a little restive in the second. 6/10.


Anonymous said...

Iwelumo had a good game and won most things in the air, until the defenders spent most of the second half climbing all over him.

Anonymous said...

You say Chris Powell 'picked up a rather unnecessary yellow card', but I don't think he had a choice. It is a sign of his loss of pace that once the guy was past him, he had to pull him back. Although he is playing well generally, I will be happier when Thatcher is back.

Wyn Grant said...

On reflection what I said was a bit ambiguous. I should have said 'rather harsh', although I did think that it in part arose from the problems that you identify.