The battle of the capital cities ended at The Valley with a 3-0 victory for Charlton putting them back into the automatic promotion places, at least until Monday. The Addicks showed that they could both score goals and keep a clean sheet and seem to have regained the fluency of movement and passing they displayed earlier in the season.
Unfortunately, Maggie tripped on a broken pavement in the Woolwich Road after the game and ended up with a gash on her forehead which eventually required treatment at Warwick A and E. Hence, this report is later than usual.
I always think it is a good sign for a match when our journey goes well and when it is full tide on Deptford Creek. I am not so sure about whether a team huddle before the match really raises my or their morale.
Nevertheless, Thomas drew an early save from the kid Schmeichel in the Cardiff goal. Then Cardiff put in an effort that was just wide, leading to the first corner of the game. Sam put in a good cross to Big Chris, but his header was just over. Then the striker was brought down, leading to a Charlton free kick.
The Addicks gave the ball away, leading to a counter attack. Good football led to the ball going in the net, but it was disallowed for a push. Cardiff were given a rather dubious free kick on the edge of the box when they probably should have been ruled offside. In the subsequent play, Hasselbaink put in a stinger of a shot, but Weaver was able to palm it over the goal with his hand at the expense of a corner.
Charlton won a corner, but Reid's effort was poor. A well taken Charlton free kick led to a corner. Sam drew a save on the ground from Schmeichel with a speculative shot from distance. A Cardiff corner was headed out. Hasselbaink felled Semedo leading to chants of 'you fat bastard'. When the Dutchman took his time moving out of the way for the free kick, Reid gave him a friendly shove. It has to be said that Hasselbaink looks less fat than when he was with us when he had possibly the biggest posterior in top flight football.
Tony Capaidi held back Sam as he advanced down the wing and effective referee Michael Jones had no hesitation in awarding a yellow card. From a Charlton corner, Sodje headed over. Andy Reid showed real skill in front of the East Stand, playing the ball over a defender so that he could collect it himself.
A Cardiff free kick in a dangerous position came off the wall. Grant Basey cleared the ball from danger for an opposition throw in. As the game passed the half hour mark, Basey put in a good cross but it was caught by the keeper. The referee was not impressed by McPhail's simulation and awarded him a yellow card. He then gave a rather harsh booking to Sam. Sodje went down and required treatment. Thomas won a free kick in front of the D, but Reid put it well over.
It looked like the game was heading for 0-0 at half time, and some people started to go out for a break, but there then followed what Cardiff manager Dave Jones subsequently described as 'two minutes of madness', but I would describe as two minutes of sublime skill.
Charlton won a free kick in a good position, Reid's ball was well placed and Sodje was able to convert from six yards out to make it 1-0. Then Iwelumo struck from 25 yards out to make it 2-0.
Half time: Addicks 2, Bluebirds 0
The second half started at a furious pace and for a while the visitors put Charlton under the cosh, forcing them back into their own half leading to despairing cries of 'too deep' from the Bloke Behind Me. An early opportunity fell to Iwelumo after Andy Reid had turned provider, but the Scottish B international missed the target.
At one point the Addicks had to clear the ball off the line. Steven Thompson was booked. End-to-end play continued and on 64 minutes the visitors received a free kick at an angle to the box. This led to a corner, but the shot resulting from subsequent play was deflected over. The Cardiff corner ended in a Charlton throw in and this was one of the last spells of sustained pressure by the visitors.
Hasselbaink spectacularly fell over, causing a large dent in the ground. Cardiff took off Paul Parry and replaced him by Peter Whittingham. A good run down the wing led to a Charlton corner and the ball flashed across the front of the goal.
On 75 minutes Sam, who had perhaps been tiring a little, was taken off and replaced by Ambrose. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was taken off and replaced by Robbie Fowler. As Steve from Sidcup remarked, 'One carthorse replaces another.'
Making use of a ball supplied by Reid, Zheng Zhi headed the ball in the net to make it 3-0. A Cardiff corner found Ambrose in difficulties. On 83 minutes Iwelumo was replaced by Varney and Zheng Zhi by McLeod. A Charlton corner was taken short and the resultant ball squeezed past the edge of the post.
With four minutes of time added on, Thomas put in a great run but missed and a Cardiff free kick went over. With Watford drawing at home and Bristol City losing 6-0, the crowd of nearly 23,000 could go home happy.
Ivy the Terrible returned to her duties and awarded the coveted Silver Bone to Sam Sodje for his goal and for a lionheart's performance in defence. Weaver was not that much troubled by Cardiff, but he did make some decisive saves and demands for him to be replaced by Randolph seemed to have subsidided. Fortune, now our longest serving player, looks much more comfortable in central defence alongside Sodje. Basey had another solid performance and put in some good passes.
Mills was abused by the visiting supporters, but gave his answer with his football. Semedo was perhaps less prominent than he sometimes is, but did his job effectively. Reid is recovering his form, although he still made a few errors, such as passing to an opposition player. But we judge him by the high standards he sets himself. Zheng Zhi had another impressive game, including a well taken goal. Sam was a threat down the wing as was Thomas who had a good game. Iwelumo was a constant threat, scoring an excellent goal. Varney was not greatly involved when he came on, but at least unlike Ambrose his involvement was not limited to errors. McLeod tried to look busy but to no great effect.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to charm merchant Darren Purse who was constantly mouthing off at the referee and anyone else in earshot.
Crowd rating Despite chants of 'Charlton is a library' from the visiting boyos, the Addickted generally kept up a good volume and 'To the Engerland 1-0' etc. was an inventive chant. 7/10