Saturday, 1 December 2007

Simply not good enough

That is the only description that can be applied to Charlton's performance today which saw them go down 1-3 at home to Burnley, continuing their poor home record at The Valley. Personally, I think it was a mistake to drop both Thomas (assuming he was not injured) and Sam as, despite the efforts of Varney and Mills, we often lacked width.

The first moaner about Pardew has already been on 606 and we should remember that it is the players that are on the pitch. It was sloppy defending that gifted the Clarets two early goals. Andy Reid's strike gave us hope and our second half performance was much improved. But after Danny Mills had needlessly conceded a penalty, the game was effectively put beyond our reach.

Deptford Creek was very low on our way to the game which I always regard as a bad sign and then the teams changed ends which I also regard as a bad omen.

Charlton won an early corner but to no effect. Burnley then launched a very fluent attack with good passing which, although it ended with nothing more than a throw in by the corner flag, showed that they were a team to be reckoned with.

They were then awarded what I regarded as a very dubious free kick in the edge of the box. This was poorly defended and their leading scorer Andy Gray was able to put a header past Weaver with consummate ease to make it 0-1.

They were then given another free kick in a similar position and this time it was Chris McCann who rose to the occasion to make it 0-2 on 12 minutes. From then on Charlton were chasing the game.

Charlton were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, but it came off the wall. Unsworth tripped Iwelumo as he raced down the wing and received a yellow card for his troubles.

Varney put in an excellent cross, creating a scoring opportunity for Matt Holland, but his header went wide. A Burnley free kick was saved for a Burnley corner which was taken short. Ambrose scythed through the far from impressive Burnley defence, but Charlton's effort was saved.

Zhneg Zhi put in a tame shot from distance which was easily saved by ex Palace player Kiraly in the Burnley goal. Then almost out of nothing a chance was created for Reid in the box who blasted the ball past the Hungarian to make it 1-2.

A row broke out over a free kick given to Burnley and charm merchant Jon Harley kicked out at Mills. The referee was probably unsighted, but the hapless East Stand lino had a good view but, as is often the case, failed to assist the referee by pointing this out to him. The free kick was just wide of the Charlton goal.

There was a mad scramble in front of the Burnley goal and the Bloke Beside Me thought that there might have been a case for a penalty, but the visitors were awarded a free kick.

Half time: Addicks 0, Clarets 2

Charlton looked more impressive after the break, but it took them a long time before they won a corner. Good work by Chris Powell enabled Luke Varey to win a Charlton corner. Zheng Zhi put in a fierce shot from distance which troubled the keeper. The ball came out to Iwelumo, but he could do no more than head it at Kiraly.

Alan Mahon was withdrawn and replaced by Joey Gudjonsson. A Danny Mills free kick went straight to Kiraly. A foul on Iwelumo was at last recognised by the referee and from the Reid free kick, Iwelumo scored, but it was rightly ruled offside.

Charlton fans were still hopeful of an equaliser, but then Danny Mills deliberately handballed in the box for which he received a yellow card (one more and he will miss a game). A confident Andy Gray had no difficulty in blasting the ball past Weaver to make it 1-3.

Varney put in a shot which was tipped over by the keeper. Once again the Charlton corner was unproductive, being caught by Kiraly. Sodje was taken off for Bougherra and Zheng Zhi, who may have been fading a little, was replaced by Sam. Gudjonsson received a yellow card, although worst offences had been ignored. Then it was Reid's turn to be booked.

Sam went down in the box and thought it was a penalty. He was still arguing the case with the referee at the end of the game, but I do not think that it was a penalty. A final Charlton corner failed to provide a means of salvaging some dignity.

Of our last five home games, we have won only one. Any team that comes to The Valey must fancy their chances. At least we have an away game on Tuesday to try and get back into things.

As the rain came down in the second half, Steve from Sidcup said 'and so our season comes to an end.' There is a long way to go, and it is a very open division, but we have to get to the roots of our inconsistency and overcome it.

Cocky Palace fans were claiming on 606 that they were as good as back in the Premiership. If nothing else, this shows the dangers of overreacting to any one result, good or bad. However, although I can remember some bad defeats at home, I can't remember when we last had such two bad ones in a row.

After consultation with senior match analyst Hooch the Pooch, match analyst Ivy the Terrible decided to take the exceptional step of withholding the Silver Bone. Weaver probably could not have done anything about any of the goals, but he seemed somewhat off form, kicking one ball out dangerously. Chris Powell but in a professional and remarkably tireless performance at left back. Danny Mills was in live for the Silver Bone for his energy and enthusiasm until he conceded the penalty. Fortune looked competent enough, but it would be interesting to see his positioning for the two goals. Sodje also looked solid most of the time, although he did give the ball away in a potentially dangerous position. Holland was competent and workmnanlike and Captain Cleanpants even got his shorts dirty as the result of one reckless challenge. Apart from one good run, Ambrose failed to impress and for me he is a player who has never lived up to his supposed promise. Reid scored a well taken goal and was one of the better players on the park. Zheng Zhi looked threatening once or twice and was at least prepared to have a go from distance, but did not look at his best. Views over Varney seemed to differ after the game. At least he had one good shot at goal, but his energy still seems greater than his skill. Iwelumo was persistently fouled by being grabbed round the neck or otherwise held back, but apart from one occasion, this was ignored by the referee. Sam really didn't have much time to make a great difference, although he had a penalty shout. I suppose that Bougherra was brought on as a more 'attacking' defender, but there was little to show from his appearance. McLeod confirmed my view that he runs about a lot to no great effect.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to referee R Shoebridge who displayed his League 1 standards with his dubious decisions.

Crowd rating: The Addickted did their best to get behind the team. 7/10.


Anonymous said...

Complete and utter rubbish, 4 home defeats in 5 home games, no passion pride or quality, too many players performing below their capabilities. Ambrose was a completely useless and what was Mills thinking about when he handled the ball, up until that point I could see us getting an equaliser, that even that Muppet of a ref could not disallow.

Anonymous said...

That says it all 4 out of 5 home defeats. Not good enough. The team had no balance from the off. Humping long balls to Iwelumo, is easily countered.
Ambrose still hasn't produced the goods. Shouldn't Pardew try using REID in a more forward position,as Rooney does for Manure, not on the wing, and occassionally play some balls along the floor. Both Varney and Izale have pace to unlock defences.
Supposedly Thomas and Sam were carrying knocks. I'd still rather se Semedo that Holland, whose best years are behind him.

Anonymous said...

A fair and accurate report, Wyn. However, I was mystified by the following: "A confident Andy Gray had no difficulty in blasting the ball past Iwelumo to make it 1-3."

I must have missed that tactical change!!

Wyn Grant said...

Now corrected. I would like to pretend that it was a deliberate mistake.