Saturday, 27 November 2010

The last thing we wanted

When I previewed this match in the week I was worried about Luton getting a draw. It's not so much the risk of going out of the FA Cup, but the way in which the replay will add to the demands on our squad.

Our reporter at today's FA Cup tie against Luton, Philippa Nicholson, reports that she is wearing an old sheepskin coat to the game. 'It makes me look like Ron Knee,' she says, 'but it helps to keep out the cold.'

Charlton's central defence has a makeshift air with Llera and Fortune replacing the injured Doherty and the suspended Dailly. Elliot stays in goal wearing his pink top and Jackson replaces the suspended Fry at left back. In the middle of the park, McCormack replaces the injured Semedo which may give us more mobility. Anyinsah returns from his spell of injury to partner Benson up front.

There were about 3,000 Hatters in the Jimmy Seed stand out of a total attendance of 8,552 and they made a lot of noise in the opening minutes.

Luton won a free kick in a promising position after a challenge by Racon. The ball struck by Drury went over the three man Charlton wall and Elliot had to make a fingertip save from the curling shot at the expense of a corner. The Addicks eventually cleared.

Kyel Reid whipped in the ball in from the left, the Luton defence were frozen and the completely unmarked Anyinsah nodded the ball calmly into the back of the net past Tyler in his green top to make it 1-0.

A Luton free kick led to a corner for the visitors, but it was unproductive. McCormack provided a hoof to deal with some continuing pressure.

Benson challenged Howells who went into the advertising hoardings in front of the enraged Hatters. Howells was unhurt, but Benson received a yellow card.

Barnes-Homer struck from 30 yards out, Elliot touched it on to the post and the result was a throw in for the Hatters. Crow put in a strike from just outside the 18 yard box.

The ball was up in the air too much and Charlton needed it to get on the floor. Howells tried to lift the ball over Elliot, but it went over the crossbar. Gnakpa was caught offside.

Francis took a Charlton corner. The Addicks tried to build on the corner but without success. Crow was caught way offside. Then Reid was caught offside for Charlton.

Elliot did well to stop Crow and collect the ball at the striker's feet. Barnes-Homer was caught offside. Keane received a yellow card for a handball. Luton were caught offside yet again. Then Reid was caught offside.

Morgan-Smith went down in the area and Luton were given a soft penalty. No one was shown a card. Elliot saved the ball, but it came back to Drury who headed it in at the second attempt with Elliot prone on the floor to make it 1-1.

Luton put the ball in the net but the flag had gone up. Charlton advanced well, Wagstaff put in a shot, the keeper saved it, the ball bounced around in the penalty area and top scorer Johnnie Jackson headed the ball in the net to make it 2-1.

Francis conceded a corner which was taken short. Elliot gathered the ball. Gnakpa dropped dramatically to the floor after a tussle with his fellow Frenchman Racon and Luton won a free kick, but the ball went straight to Elliot.

Luton's play had become less fluent, but I had doubts about how well Fortune and Llera were combining. Barnes-Homer was penalised for a tug on Llera. Luton mounted an attack as the game entered its last minute. Three minutes were added on. Luton kept possession, but eventually Luton were caught offside once again.

Half time: Addicks 2, Hatters 1

Anyinsah won a corner off Kroca. The corner from Francis was almost touched in by Benson. Francis put in a cross which almost went in under the crossbar. Jackson took the resultant corner. McCormack picked up the ball, Llera forced a save from Tyler. It just needed a bit more power on it.

Crow advanced and captain Jon Fortune conceded a corner. Drury's effort was headed away by Francis.

Gleeson was shown a yellow card for a foul on Reid in front of the Charlton technical area, Parky letting the referee have his views.

Benson raced forward past the Luton defence, but lost control of the ball. Luton attacked, but an effort by Gnakpa was off target. McCormack fouled Drury and received a yellow card.

Reid broke quickly, but the final ball by Francis was a disappointment not being close enough to the available Charlton players.

Racon hesitated in the penalty area and the ball was taken off him by a defender, allowing Luton to press forward.

Francis put a ball in, Benson tried to turn and shoot, but Czech defender Kroca put it out for a Charlton corner which led to a Luton free kick.

Luton took off Danny Crow and brought on Atieno who had been bigging up Luton's chances in the local press during the week. Charlton won another corner taken by Jackson. Luton eventually cleared.

Reid lost possession, Jackson won possession back off Atieno and Charlton won a free kick.

Morgan-Smith had a chance in the form of a free header, but he put the ball wide of Elliot's post.

Elliot had to punch the ball away. Neither side was dominating possession. Wagstaff did not seem very involved. Charlton launched an attack and the build up was good, Jackson turned provider for Racon. His effort was on target but it lacked sufficient power.

Akpo Sodje was brought on for the last 15 minutes and Anyinsah went off. Luton took off Morgan-Smith and Dan Walker was brought on. Reid turned provider for Johnnie Jackson, but the Luton defence managed to block the ball. Sodje collected off Reid, but his advance was unproductive.

Drury got the equaliser by lifting it past Elliot from 30 yards out to make it 2-2. At the other end, there was almost a chance for Akpo Sodje, but the angle was tight and the ball went across the goal mouth.

Luton attacked through Barnes-Homer, but Jackson cleared the danger. Luton continued to press and Barnes-Homer put it into the side netting when he had better options.

Francis put in a free kick and Benson's header was on target but it went straight to the keeper. Jackson pushed Ghakpa down in the area, but the referee did not award a penalty.

Four minutes were added on. Francis had a free kick, it was almost flicked in by Llera and the last touch was by a Luton player. However, the Charlton effort from the corner went over the crossbar.

Llera got to the ball before Atieno at the expense of a corner kick. Elliot tried to take the goal kick quickly. Luton kept possession as the clock ran down. Luton won a final corner. The ball was pushed away by Elliot and the whistle blew.


Anonymous said...

another game that showed the management in a poor light. Benson picked up an unnecessary yellow card, was ineefective through out yet finished the game AGAIN.

McCormack to his credit avoided getting sent off, but to be honest he could have gone with half an hour to go and his inability to tackle added to the pressure we were under.
However there was no decisiveness from Parky. His sub was wrong (barring an injury) - and no urgency. A third goal would have seen Luton off, but no, we struggled on at 2-1 with no ambition. Frankly the way their defence played we could have racked up double figures if we had decent strikers. Paul Benson tries very hard, but he isn't good enough - I'm all for effort, Garry Nelson is one of my favourite ever players, but Benson combines the pace of Andy Jones with the physical prescence of Claus Jensen. Yet he has played every minute of every game since we signed him.

Geoff said...

Let's face it, Luton were more effective and most of the time they looked better both in midfield and attack. Fortunately their defence went AWOL often enough for us to threaten and score. The subbing of Anyinsah was a surprise, but maybe he needed a shorter game on a cold day post-injury. The real problem was that, with a bench of juniors, the scoreline inhibited PP from making a sub to a midfield that played either too close or too far from its next line, leaving Luton's energetic opposites to pick up loose stuff the whole time. In particular Waggy had a non-game; no creation, no attack and no more than a couple of attempts to track back. And so it is that the faithful face a trip to one of the remaining Waste Tip grounds.

For all that, the mighty CAFC was undefeated in all comps in November. Back in the day the saying was, "The clocks go back and so do the Addicks". OK, we were dominant in the league just one year ago, but had the national disgrace of a televised cup exit to Northwich. Benson has already told us that PP said nothing to the players after the Brighton debacle, but we have to give him credit for better selection since then. Most of all, I put it down to the brown cords and orange jumper which came in with the November weather, as well as the forswearing of CAFC insignia. The clothes will get washed but they are not missing a game until they lose their magic spell.