Charlton played as well today as I have seen them play this season but came away empty handed while Norwich celebrated automatic promotion to the Championship. The Addicks showed real commitment and skill, but a first half goal from a corner put the Canaries ahead. Charlton had Norwich under the cosh in the second half until the last phase when they started to tire a little, but they could not score. To be fair, Forster in the Norwich goal made three exceptional saves.
The pitch was watered before the match but this produced something of a crisis in the centre circle where a puddle appeared and the ground staff were engaged in frantic activity with pitchforks.
The teams changed ends which I always regard as a bad omen. Following two throw ins, Charlton won a corner within the first minute. However, this was unproductive as were all the many corners we had during the game. Many of them were put too close to the tall keeper so that he was just able to catch them. They should have been put further out and attempts should have been made to block the keeper's line of vision.
Darren Randolph slipped on the pitch and for a moment it looked as if he might have conceded a goal before he recovered. Sam was looking very lively and Semedo put in an excellent pass to him. Sam won a corner but it was caught by the keeper. Forster won a free kick on the edge of the D. Following an evident training ground routine, Semedo touched the ball to Bailey who blasted it over.
Norwich gave a warning of their intent when they scored a goal disallowed for offside. The quality of our crosses left something to be desired. Darren Randolph made a great save, but from the subsequent corner Norwich scored through Nelson.
Bailey put in an effort that was just wide. Akpo Sodje turned provider for Lloyd Sam leading to a Charlton corner. Akpo Sodje provided some pressure. Canaries charm merchant Drury received a yellow card.
Akpo Sodje was withdrawn in favour of Deon Burton. Bailey put in a great shot from an angle and Forster made a superb save to deny him. With two minutes added on Lloyd Sam created a Charlton corner, but once again it was unproductive.
Half time: Addicks 0, Canaries 1
Charlton created good pressure from the start of the second half, drawing another save. Nicky Forster, Lloyd Sam and Therry Racon were prominent in the action. Stephen Hughes received a yellow card for a foul. An effort from Bailey went over. Sam Sodje just missed with a header. A shot from Racon was on target but was easily gathered by the keeper and the same happened with an effort from Burton.
A Charlton corner led to an effort that was way over. The next Charlton corner was saved on the line. An effort from Forster was tipped over by the keeper. Burton shot at the keeper. Semedo had had a good game but he was taken off to allow room for Reid.
Forster had been time wasting and the referee gave him a yellow card. The problem is that referees always take too long to do this and they will never given a second yellow if the behaviour persists.
Bailey gave the ball away creating potential danger. Shelvey came on and replaced Bailey. Michael Spillane was the next Norwich charm merchant to receive a yellow card. Despite five minutes of time added on Charlton were not able to score.
Charlton had 68 per cent of the possession, nine shots on target on two and nine corners to one - and we couldn't score. Our lack of a clinical finisher has been our greatest weakness all season. It's a great shame we couldn't have put up this sort of performance against some of the weaker teams in the league.
Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Lloyd Sam. He was consistent for most of the game today and his dinking runs caused Norwich real trouble. Darren Randolph made one excllent save and generally did well, but I thought he could have done more to save the goal. Christian Dailly was once again solid and as the game went on played an increasing role in getting the ball forward. Sam Sodje was good in defence but a little disappointing up front in set pieces.
Borrowdale once again showed that he is a very professional footballer who knows what his role demands. Richardson made some good runs forward. Semedo had another good game, snapping at the heels of the Norwich midfield. Racon drew rare praise from Steve from Sidcup and showed some really nice touches. Bailey had some great efforts on goal but lost the ball once or twice. I assume Akpo Sodje was withdrawn because of injury (he took a blow to the face). He was winning more balls in the air than usual, but not all of them. Forster got in some good positions, but never came that close to scoring. Burton made some attempts on goal but they lacked power.
Reid was a threat when he came on and unhinged the Norwich defence.
Shelvey was competent but did not make a decisive difference.
Juneau the Soccer Cat was happy with the officials, the travel arrangements and the ball boys and has not given a Hiss of the Match.
Crowd rating Attendance was one short of the season record against Gillingham. Did their best to get behind the team, 8/10.