With today's match off, it seems appropriate to re-live the match against Cardiff City on 20th March 1954 when I was among the crowd of 20,717. The East Terrace seemed pretty full and, as I recall, it was a dry, cloudy and fairly chilly day.
What particularly stands out in my memory about this match is that Sam Bartram was not in goal. Apparently, he had been injured in training, Bartram being the only player in those days who was allowed to train with the ball during the week. He was still out the following week when Charlton went down 4-1 at Huddersfield, but when he returned the following week the Addicks kept a clean sheet.
So it was stand in keeper Eddie Marsh in goal. Loyal servant of the club though he was, he looked like a rabbit in the headlights and was having some trouble with his shot stopping. I remember that he managed to stop one ball right on the line.
Nevertheless, Charlton went ahead with goals from Hurst on 16 minutes and Eddie Firmani on 23. Cardiff managed to score just before and just after half time. Fortunately, Leary was able to score the winning goal in 72 minutes. It was quite an important result as Charlton finished just above Cardiff in 9th place with a better goal average. They had been beaten 5-0 at Ninian Park, but had played with ten men for most of the match and finished with only five fit players.
The home tie was also characterised by foul play and both O'Linn and Leary were injured. However, Cardiff received their come uppance when a clearance by the indominitable Jock Campbell went high up into the West Stand. It then bounced off the roof and hit Cardiff president, Sir Herbert Merrett JP, right on the nose. He had to receive treatment for a bloody nose.