Saturday, 12 February 2011

Chris Powell's barmy army

This was the chant of the Covered End towards the end of today's game against Peterborough United which saw Chris Powell extend his winning run as manager with a 3-2 win. It didn't move us up the table as the teams around us won.

In the Rose of Denmark before the game I met the Blackheath Addick and his charming partner Suzanne, as well as the Swedish Addick. I suspected there would be plenty of goals and chose 3-2 in the sweepstake, as did three other people, so the result was hardly a surprise.

Charlton were woeful in the first half. They did not manage a shot on goal and it was no surprise when Peterborough went 1-0 ahead after 28 minutes. The Charlton midfield had gone awol and the forwards were getting very little service. Some boos were heard as the half time whistle went.

The half started with three Charlton corners, but then Peterborough made a break in which McCormack was at fault. A Peterborough corner saw the ball subsequently go dangerously across the front of the Charlton goal. Peterborough were adopting a very direct style of play, although Bessone also tried a direct run down the centre of the pitch. Charlton were having difficulty in holding on to the ball. Too many of their passes were directionless. I wrote down 'Think!'

Elliot made a great save in which the post came to his aid. Posh captain George Boyd got a yellow card for a relatively innocuous foul. Charlton won a free kick in a promising position just outside the area, but it was unproductive. Posh continued to be very fast on the counter attack. The referee evened things up by giving Bessone a yellow card for a minor offence.

A smart series of moves on the left saw Peterborough score their opening goal through Lee Tomlin. It was hardly against the run of play.

Referee Mr Webb went down in a collision with a Peterborough player. He rolled in agony on the pitch. The stretcher was called for and he was taken off with a splint on his ankle.

Peterborough won a free kick on the edge of the area, but a confident Elliot punched it out. Four minutes of time were added on, but despite more poor play from McCormack and a Peterborough corner, Charlton survived without conceding what would have been a fatal second goal.

Half time: Addicks 0, Posh 1

At half time Chris Powell took off the anonymous Wagstaff and brought on Pawel Abbott who provided an inspired performance.

Peterborough won an early corner and the ball went dangerously along the goalline, but no one was able to connect with it. Bradley Wright-Phillips picked up a yellow card.

The match turned some twelve minutes in the second half. First Johnnie Jackson was set up with an excellent cross from Francis and headed the ball in the net at the far post. Great work by Eccleston with a run and cross set up Bradley Wright-Phillips to make it 2-1 with a header a minute later.

Bessone was stretchered off and replaced by Fry. The game opened up with both sides winning corners, Bradley Wright-Phillips winning one for the Addicks.Then Pawel Abbott made it 3-1 with a volley which admittedly took a deflection.

Bradley Wright-Phillips went off to a warm ovation and was replaced by Kyel Reid. Peterborough won a couple of corners and then a free kick in a dangerous position. They brought on their free kick specialist Grant McCann to take it, but Elliot was up to the task.

Six minutes of time were added on. However, Posh got back in the game with their unmarked leading scorer Mackail-Smith putting the ball in the net from a corner. There were some nervous moments, but Charlton proved capable to the task in hand.

On the train two Addicks were having a conversation about values in Plutarch. Only at Charlton.

Match analysis

I saw the Blackheath Addick again at the end of the match and we were debating whether Abbott or Semedo was man of the match. Ivy the Terrible went for Pawel Abbott who put in his best shift ever for the club with some great dummies and dinking moves as he sowed confusion among the opposition.
Elliot made some great saves and could not have done anything about the two goals. Dailly made a few errors and some of his balls forward were of poor quality. He took a real clattering towards the end of the game. Doherty did the basics reasonably well, but conceded unnecessary fouls. Bessone made some good runs forward, although sometimes he should have laid the ball off. It was not good to see him strechered off. Francis put in some great crosses, providing the assist for the first goal. Semedo was always actively involved, dispossessing opposition players and making some good passes. McCormack did not have a great game and gave the ball away more than once. Jackson looked below par in the first half, possibly even tired, but he improved as the game went on. Wagstaff was just shut out of the game, making virtually no contribution and had to be withdrawn.
Eccleston has a nice turn of pace, is not afraid to take players on and created the second goal. Wright-Phillips kept up his goal a game record, showing that he is a good acquisition. Fry did what as required of him when he came on as a subsitute. Reid wasn't on for long, but didn't make a great impact, except in time added on.

Hiss of the Match This goes from Juneau the Soccer Cat to the Bloke Behind Me who proclaimed 'I don't see how we are ever going to score' just before the first goal went in.

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