Sunday 3 May 2009

Stand Up If You're Going Down

That was the chant sung by Norwich and Charlton supporters as this match drew to a close with Charlton winning 4-2 in front of a notional attendance of 22,020. Charlton looked by far the stronger side, but conceded a couple of soft goals as they so often have this season.

The Addicks were three up in thirty minutes. Bailey headed in a Sam cross on 9 minutes. Disaster struck shortly afterwards when Youga and Ward went down in a clash in front of goal with Canaries man mountain and captain Gary Doherty. Youga got up, but Ward had to be stretchered off to chants of his name and youngster Chris Solly came on. He showed plenty of confidence, anticipating moves and telling his team mates what to do.

On 25 minutes a rebound from a Lloyd Sam effort gave Burton a simple tap in. Five minutes later he made use of a cross from Bailey to put the Addicks 3-0. The deflated visiting supporters started up a chant of 'You're not fit not to wear the shirt' directed at their team.

Norwich pulled off Adrian Leijer and brought on Cody McDonald. Solly won a corner for Charlton. Four minutes of time were added on and Norwich won a corner just as the additional time was up. I said to Steve from Croydon that this might be when we conceded a goal and so it proved to be with Lee heading into the net past the stranded Elliot.

Half time: Addicks 3, Canaries 1

Elliot had to make a good save early in the half, but then, before the margin could be narrowed, Burton made it 4-1. Elliot had to make another good save. A Norwich corner drew a great save from the custodian.

Norwich were awarded a free kick in front of the 'D'. It was very well taken by Clingan who left Elliot with no chance to make it 4-2. An Addicks free kick led to a corner and a shot from Hudson went just over the bar.

Bailey gave Norwich a free kick just on the edge of the box. It was taken quickly before the referee was ready and slammed into the net, Lappin receiving a yellow card. Taken again, it went just wide of Elliot's post.

Zheng Zhi was taken off and Scott Wagstaff took his place. A Canaries corner entered a thicket of players in front of the goal, but somehow it was cleared. The ball went out of play at the Covered End and Shelvey dribbled it away from charm merchant Shackell. Just as the referee was about to have a word with Shelvey, Shackell came past and pushed him and received a yellow card for his troubles.

Lloyd Sam was taken off and replaced by Tamer Tuna. Butterfield sprang into action to clear the ball off the line. Elliot made a great save at the cost of a Norwich corner.

Shelvey had a chance to score, but hit the crosssbar. Tuna put in a great cross. Five minutes were added on, but although both sides won a couple of corners, the scoreline remained unchanged. The players received a generous ovation from the crowd.

It was good to see the Blackheath Addick at the station afterwards.

After the match, Phil Parkinson said. 'If I'm not here next season I'll walk away with my head held high. The club has had a lot of instability. If the board, or any new owners, want to start again I think that will be a big risk.'

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible awarded the Silver Bone to Chris Solly who came on as a substitute and delivered a bravura performance, starting some good attacking moves. Elliot made some superb saves, particularly in the second half. Hudson made some of his trademark defensive headers, although it would be interesting to study the video to see his positioning for the two goals. It was a shame that Darren Ward had to end his loan spell at Charlton on a stretcher. Kelly Youga's dad was a basketball star in Africa, and his mum and other family members played the game and one sometimes wonders if that is his natural sport. Certainly my heart sank when he had to switch to centre half, but in general it has to be said that he did what was asked of him. Butterfield was generally reliable and competent. Bailey is a class act and his baker's dozen goal was excellent, but I wish he would not give away free kicks in dangerous positions. Racon was less prominent than he sometimes is and committed a howler when he got in the way of a free kick from Shelvey. Sam put in a superb cross for one of the goals and was generally involved. Shelvey was harrying all over the pitch as usual, although he had a great chance to score towards the end of the game. Zheng Zhi got a standing ovation when he came off, but this was not one of his better days and he seemed anxious to avoid injury. Burton scored a hat-trick and although they were relatively simple strikes, it showed that he can find the goal. Wagstaff was not that much in evidence when he came on. I was more excited by Tuna who showed that he had pace, a good sense of where to collect or place the ball and an ability to put in a good cross. Definitely one for the future.

Hiss of the Match This has been awarded to Juneau the Soccer Cat to all three officials. The referee ignored blatant fouls, the West Stand linesman made some odd decisions and the East Stand one seemed incompetent, particularly when it came to throw ins.

Crowd rating The Addickted were in great form and enjoyed their last match in the Championship. 9/10

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