Thursday, 31 March 2011

Dale view of the game

Those Addicks who went to the Rochdale game thought that we played quite well, particularly in terms of passing. We did fail to take our chances and that perhaps reflects a team lacking confidence.

The view of the match taken by the Addickted who were there is confirmed by this report written for us by a Rochdale fan:

Super. Two teams going for it. One suffering from perhaps a little over anxiety and some wayward shooting at times, and coming up against a goalkeeper in superb form, the other benefiting from a great and slightly uncharacteristic strike from Jason Kennedy and a nice hook home for Craig Dawson, from a slightly fortunate corner.

The game reminded me somewhat of the game where we beat Huddersfield earlier in the season 3-0 despite being under the cosh for long periods. This was not quite as one sided, but Charlton made a host of great chances and fluffed them, and Owain Fon Williams made four superb saves, including two from substitute Paul Benson that were out of this world, and kept Dale 1-0 up. Dale played some superb football.

Chris Powell has not really given Rochdale any credit in his slightly blinkered post match comments but some of the passing Dale played on the night was first rate. They also defended like Trojans against what I have to say is a very good Charlton side. A fair result would have been a draw. I would go so far as to say in terms of entertainment value it is probably the best match I have seen this season, with the outcome in doubt right up to the last kick. When Benson came on and Charlton had ten to fifteen minutes of sustained pressure I could only see one outcome and that was an equaliser, But we held out and it didn't happen. Four wins on the bounce with four clean sheets. Am I dreaming?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

First ever league defeat to Rochdale

There was just one change in Charlton’s line up tonight at Rochdale reports Paul May with Anyinsah replacing Nouble who had picked up an ankle injury. Benson was on the bench where he was joined by Michael Stewart.

Llera had to head out an early Rochdale attack. Wright-Phillips put in a decent cross. An error occurred in the Rochdale defence but Wagstaff was unable to take advantage. Parrett appeared to be fouled in the area but the referee saw nothing in it. Racon put in a shot and a deflection saved it from entering the Rochdale net.

Done put an effort well over the bar as the end-to-end exchanges continued. Rochdale threatened through O’Grady and Atkinson after Solly slipped, but the attack petered out. Racon made a good run and Charlton won a corner. The Addicks kept up the pressure from the corner but the move ended in a goal kick. Llera might have done better after a good cross from Parrett.

The game became something of a midfield scrap. Rochdale won a corner, Llera defended well at the expense of a second corner.

Anyinsah drew a save from the best chance of the match so far on 25 minutes, Wright-Phillips had a chance but it was blocked by a Dale defender.

Wagstaff was looking good on the wing, advancing the ball well. Dailly defended well as Rochdale advanced. Rochdale threatened momentarily, but the attack petered out.

Rochdale won a corner off Solly which was cleared by the Addicks. Rochdale attacked again and Kennedy drilled the ball home along the ground from 30 yards into the bottom corner of the net. This was the home side’s first shot on target. Elliot may have been unsighted as he did not make an effort to save it.

Rochdale had a chance for a second but Done put the ball just wide. Parrett put in a good tackle to hold up Rochdale with Dailly out of position. A Charlton attack petered out with Anyinsah in danger of being caught offside. A shot by Semedo was blocked and Rochdale counter attacked.

Half time: Dale 1, Addicks 0

Llera put in an absurd shot from 40 yards out. There was a tight offside decision against Charlton. Benson replaced Anyinsah who had not looked fully fit.

Benson had a chance, put in a good volley but the keeper tipped it over. The corner was unproductive. Racon put in an effort and won another corner kick. The corner was poor. The ball richocheted around in the area but the keeper was able to gather.

Benson hit the ball straight at the keeper and it was tipped over the bar. Thompson came on for Atkinson. Llera did not deal with a cross well. Wright-Phillips was not able to make use of a long ball from Llera.

A cross from Thompson was headed away by Bessone. Charlton won a corner kick after Wagstaff was not able to get his shot away. Llera put in a good cross but Fon Williams was able to claim. O’Grady advanced well but was unable to put his shot on target.

Akpa Akpro came on for Rochdale. The home side won a corner kick, the ball bobbled around and it went over the line, Dawson making it 2-0. This was poor defending. Eccleston replaced Wagstaff. Elliot saved from the substitute Akpa Akpro. Michael Stewart made his debut for Charlton with Semedo going off, but Charlton were deflated.

An effort by Racon was pushed away by Fon Williams who made a good save. The corner kick was poor. Racon fed Wright-Phillips and his effort was deflected for a Charlton corner.

Eccleston raced down the pitch, Racon put in a shot, but it was blocked on the line by a defender. A volley by Wright-Phillips was just wide.

A crowd of 2,589 saw Rochdale’s first ever win over Charlton in the league.


I wonder how many fans are happy with how their football club is doing at the moment? In League 1 Brighton fans should be and the Norwich fans I have talked to recently are happy with their first season back in the Championship. Super Hoops fans should be satisfied with their impending return to what they regard as their rightful home.

Quite hard to find happy supporters in the Premiership though. Manchester United should win the Premiership and could even do the treble, but they haven't been playing at their best this season. And there is no sign of the hated owners budging.

Arsenal look like they are facing another season without a trophy. Chelsea have surrendered the title, although they are still in the Champions League, as are Spurs, against expectations. But whether they can qualify next season remains to be seen. One thing is certain: the moment something goes wrong Spurs fans will be flooding the airwaves moaning.

Manchester City look like a collection of talented but petulant individuals, not a team. Liverpool have had a nightmare period, but at least are coming out of it with new owners and a new, much loved manager. Down at the other end, Villa fans have real cause for concern.

So who are the happy campers? Stoke City should be as they have consolidated their position in the top flight, albeit with a style of play that has won them few friends. But no doubt the complaint in the Potteries is about 'mid table mediocrity'. Possibly Blackpool fans have the greatest cause for enjoy because, after a roller coaster season with some spectacular results, they could well stay up.

In our division, Rochdale fans have every reason to be pleased with what they have achieved this season. It's going to be a tough game for us tonight. The bookies favour a home win and who could say they are wrong? I find this a difficult match to call, but if we do win I will be over the moon.

Monday, 28 March 2011

A Dale fan writes, Part 3

Hopefully it will be third time lucky at Rochdale tomorrow night and the game will go ahead. Our friendly Dale fan has updated us on the team's progress and give us his thoughts about tomorrow night's game when he will be supplying a report as well as one by our very own Paul May:

With ten games to go we are now safe. We have 54 points. We can raise a smile and think about the fact that almost everyone outside , and some inside, Rochdale thought we were certainties for relegation this season. We are above clubs such as Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday in the league table. We are living the dream. The Keith Hill bandwaggon rolls on. Two play-off appearances, including a first ever appearance at Wembley, followed by the glory of the elusive promotion, and now a very good chance of a top half finish in the third tier for only the second time in our history, or even better.

Since Christmas we have lost only three times in seventeen games, winning nine and drawing five. Talismanic midfielder Gary Jones is now on a personal best of 18 for the season in all competitions, and his most regular goalscoring partner is centre half Craig Dawson, who is off to West Brom at the end of the season and has to be replaced. Recent games have seen a 4-5-1 system deployed to great effect, with Chris O'Grady holding up the ball superbly and bringing in runners such as Jones, Matt Done and Nicky Adams to great effect. The idea of playing Charlton in a league game still does not seem real, it is only a few years since there were 3 levels between us as we all travelled down to watch you beating us comfortably 4-1 (despite a few scares after Grant Holt pulled one back for us early in the second half) in the FA Cup in 2005.

I know that Charlton have been on a poor run after the initially euphoric reaction to Chris Powell's appointment, but they seem to be steadying the ship with good results against Bournemouth and Southampton, and with the threat of Bradley Wright Phillips I think it will be a tight game, possibly settled by one goal.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Scunny in for Parky

Phil Parkinson's spell without a job may be coming to end after he was short listed for the managerial vacancy at Scunthorpe. His main rival is Danny Wilson who recently left Swindon. Less favoured short listed candidates are Kilmarnock's Mixu Paatelainen and Bury's Alan Knill.

Parkinson is thought to have already been interviewed. It will be difficult for Scunny to avoid relegation with visits to Norwich and QPR coming up. However, if the club is relegated, Parkinson with his 'impressive' record in League 1 is thought to be the man to lead the yo-yo club straight back up again. [What are they on in Scunthorpe?]

So it could be a return to The Valley for Phil Parkinson next year.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Charlton blogger passes away

I have just received the news of the passing of Paul Weaver who posted as Charlton North Downs on 5 February 2011. He suffered a heart attack whilst playing tennis. When one looks at the last post on his blog, it is very poignant.

Our condolences go to his wife Jill, his sister Carol and other members of his family and friends.

Good, bad or indifferent?

There are a number of ways of looking at Charlton's 2-2 draw at Bournemouth. It was their 10th game without a win, but an away draw at promotion chasing Bournemouth is not the worst of results.

However, the Cherries seem to have dominated the action. They had 54 per cent of the possession and 13 shots on target to seven by Charlton. They also had 15 corners to just three for the Addicks.

Wagstaff put the Addicks ahead from close range on 28 minutes after a shot by Nouble was blocked. But two minutes later the home side equalised after a poor back pass by Racon allowed Pugh to score forom a header.

On 57 minutes Danny Hollands put the Cherries ahead with a deflected shot. But Bradley Wright-Phillips replied on 81 minutes with a strioke into the bottom corner of the net.

In the five minutes added on, Pugh hit the underside of the bar and then Semedo had to block a shot on the line.

Former Addicks give their view on Cherries

Phil Parkinson gives his assessment of the Cherries: Parky

Interesting that a Cherries fan thinks in the comments that Charlton could make a late run for the play offs from the chasing pack. If only.

Working class hero Steve Jones who played for both clubs also give his views: Jones

Friday, 25 March 2011

Cherries boost squad

Bournemouth have brought Donal McDermott in from Manchester City as a loan signing for the rest of the season to boost their squad. He can play up front or any position across midfield (and he also knows how to put up the goalposts): McDermott

The Cherries signalled that they would be serious competitors at the beginning of the season when we managed to beat them 1-0. They have been fading a bit recently and if there really was a turning point for Charlton on Tuesday, we may be able to get something out of this match.

Midfielder Michael Stewart will be joining the Addicks at Bournemouth. If things work out for the 30-year old former Scottish international who is a free agent he could be offered a longer-term contract at The Valley: Stewart

I have managed to get the scores of the last two matches right, so I am going to blow it by forecasting a 2-1 in for the Addicks.

Incidentally, the letter from the chairman (which I thought was good) seems to have pushed the right buttons with a lot of fans who are now renewing their season tickets.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Farewell then, Carl Jenkinson

According to the official site Carl Jenkinson has turned down a new and improved contract with the Addicks (Chris Solly has signed a two year deal).

He was not in the squad last night and I understand that he will not play for the club again. Of his suitors, he may prefer the Gooners over Manchester United as he is an Arsenal fan.

Stuff happens.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Honours even at The Valley

There were quite a few changes from last Saturday’s team for the game against Southampton, reports Phillipa Nicholson from The Valley. Elliot returned in goal with Worner sidelined because of an injured finger. Llera was retained as centre back with Doherty on the bench. Solly and Bessone featured in the full back positions. Parrett made his home debut and Racon also featured alongside Semedo with McCormack dropped. For Saints, former Addick Frazer Richardson was on the bench.

Parrett provided a great delivery from a free kick but Llera was not able to connect. Parrett covered well to stop an attack after the Saints keeper threw the ball out. Nouble looked lively and Charlton’s play was positive. Elliot dealt well with a Saints attack. Wagstaff appealed for a penalty after a Llera free kick, but there wasn’t much of a case.

A Southampton counter attack petered out. A Southampton free kick was headed clear by Llera. Parrett provided good pressure. Solly put in a decent ball to the box after a good run, but it was cleared. Bessone got away with some no nonsense defending to the annoyance of the visiting fans.

Semedo took a blow in a sensitive area. Southampton were getting into the game a little more. A free kick for a supposed foul was awarded against Racon. The shot went in and Llera had to concede a corner, Elliot was reluctant to claim. Parrett was able to clear from the corner, but Saints attacked again. Racon put in a good tackle but Charlton were not able to take advantage of the attacking opportunity.

Charlton conceded a corner after Elliot dropped the ball. The header went wide on 25 minutes. Semedo put in a poor pass, allowing Southampton to attack. A free kick went through the wall and was saved well by Elliot.

The match quietened down with neither side dominant. Saints had to make a substitution because of injury, N'Guessan replacing Lallana who headed straight down the tunnel. Racon played the ball across goal after a flick on from Wright-Phillips, but no one was able to connect.

Wagstaff started a counter attack. Solly provided some good play. However, the attack came to nothing.

Wagstaff was pulled back cynically by Harding. Parrett put a decent ball in from the free kick. Racon over hit the ball for a goal kick. Two minutes were added on. Barnard shot and it took a deflection, leading to a Saints corner. Llera headed clear.

Half time: Addicks 0, Saints 0

Saints came out of the traps looking determined. Wright-Phillips kicked the ball away after an offside decision and received a yellow card. Charlton advanced through a succession of throw ins. Racon gave away possession, but he won the ball back well.

Bessone did well against Oxlade-Chamberlain. A free kick by the loan player was poor. Saints won a corner through a counter attack. Llera put off Fonte and Charlton got the goal kick. Bessone took the ball off the advancing Barnard.
Racon put in an effort but it went straight at the keeper. Bessone defended well. Nouble tried to advance, but he was a bit selfish with Wright-Phillips advancing. Elliot made a good athletic save from Barnard at the expense of a corner.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was limping after a legitimate challenge from Bessone. Parrett went down inside the centre circle, but he seemed to be ok. Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken off. Lambert was beaten to the ball by Semedo. Saints won their sixth corner and Llera conceded a seventh. The Tunisian centre half Jaidi made no mistake in slotting the ball home from 15 yards out on 64 minutes giving Elliot no chance. The 3,098 Saints fans out of a crowd of 16,550 celebrated.

Barnard won a corner for Saints, but Charlton were able to clear. Eccleston was brought on with Wagstaff, who had not been all that involved in the second half, went off on 73 minutes. Bessone put in a cross but Wright-Phillips was not able to make sufficient corner. Solly won Charlton’s first corner of the game. Llera’s header was just wide of the target from a good delivery from Parrett.

Racon was fouled by Butterfield. Parrett put in a great delivery, Semedo got there with a volley, but it came off the underside of the bar. Lee Barnard picked up a yellow card for a foul on Parrett and was substituted.

Anyinsah came on with the game entering its last ten minutes. Wright-Phillips put in a speculative effort from distance which went wide. Racon put in a sloppy pass and Elliot was put under pressure.

Wright-Phillips secured the equaliser. Parrett lofted the ball with spin over the defence for the goal poacher to put the ball under the keeper.

Chris Powell was spoken to by the fourth official after he threw the ball away. Parrett made a good challenge and Racon and Parrett combined well. The Addickted came alive. Saints put the ball in the net, but it was ruled offside. It was a tight decision.

Anyinsah broke forward and Davis had to use all its skills. Bessone put a ball in, but it was headed clear by Fonte. Charlton kept up the pressure, but eventually Chaplow was able to clear. Four minutes were added on.

Semedo challenged well as Saints advanced. Chaplow used the elbow on Semedo. Racon put in a good through ball but Wright-Phillips was caught offside. Parrett, who had a great game was taken off and Doherty came on. Elliot claimed well.

Parrett received the Silver Biscuit. This was a great fight back and gives us hope.

The Charlton defence had been well organised, but little had been created going forward.

Half time: Addicks 0, Saints 0

Saints look for three easy points

Saints boss Nigel Adkins is looking for three easy points at The Valley tonight: Saints

Saints have not beaten Charlton at The Valley for 33 years. The last time they beat us at home was in 1990 at Selhurst Park.

If you look at the comments by Saints fans, they do not think it will be an easy game and some of them would settle for a draw. One argues that Charlton may not be a good team, but they are a strong one. However, another points out that an early goal for Saints would drain our confidence. Much may depend on who scores first (I don't think it will be 0-0).

Matt Fry has now returned to West Ham, no steps having been taken to extend his loan.
The club is constrained by the number of loan players it now has. Fry has been a solid enough performer for the Addicks without being outstanding and Bessone offers a better option.

Bradley Wright, Wright, Wright

Former Saints player Bradley Wright-Phillips is interviewed by the Southampton Echo ahead of tonight's game: Wright-Phillips

Some of the comments are interesting. One labels Wright-Phillips 'a lazy so-and-so', but I'm not bothered what strikers do for 90 per cent of the game as long as they put the ball in the net.

Another Saint says that they have a habit of helping teams end their losing streak. Let's hope that's the case tonight, although Saints have the incentive of going 2nd if they win.

Saints alive!

Three things irritate me about football (well, not just three, but it's a start). Number one is the excessive focus on the manager. Of course, the manager is very important: he selects the team, oversees training, chooses the formation, decides when to make substitutes etc.

But it is the team that are on the pitch. And the fact of the matter is that, taken as a whole, the current Charlton team is not simply good enough. It's not a lack of commitment or effort. It's a lack of skill. And that lack of skill is compounded when a bad run drains the team's confidence.

The second irritant is short-termism. A comment on another blog said, 'Powell out? Obviously.' Leaving aside the fact that we are becoming a bit of a laughing stock with the frequency of our managerial changes, any manager needs 18 months to be judged fairly. As Alex Dyer pointed out in his interesting interview the other week, the pre-season is crucial. Hopefully Chris Powell will be giving the opportunity and the funds to reconstruct the squad. Unfortunately, some of the more hopeless members are on contracts until 2012.

Much is being made in some quarters of Powell's inexperience. But there are plenty of experienced managers who fail. And Powell has Keith Peacock to advise him. One thing I am sure of: if Chris thinks he really can't hack it, he will honourably walk away.

The third irritant is the excessive pessmism of Charlton fans. Already the gloom merchants are forecasting relegation. As has been pointed out elsewhere, all we really need to stay up is a win and a draw.

The draw could well come tonight against an admittedly rampant Southampton. I am going for 1-1. However, I would drop Worner and bring in the Millwall stopper.

Monday, 21 March 2011

More mid-table mediocrity

At least last season I got some consolation from Charlton's eventual failure from the fact that Coventry Blaze won the Elite Hockey League championship. They played their last game of the regular season last night losing 2-7 at home to the Belfast Giants and have finished 6th in the table. That qualifies them for the play offs, but they are unlikely to progress as they meet the Giants again.

With Charlton heading down League 1, my remaining hopes are with Leamington who are still in a play-off position in the Zamaretto Premiership.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Fergie in for Jenkinson

Sir Alex Ferguson has had Carl Jenkinson watched for two years and is expected to make a move for him in the summer. The 19-year old will then have a choice of staying in London with Arsenal or heading north to join Newton Heath.

Although he had an off day yesterday, he has been one of the few bright spots in Charlton's recent performances. He is out of contract in the summer so there will be no financial gain for Charlton.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Charlton lose again

As we forecast, Charlton lost 2-1 at Dagenham and Redbridge this afternoon and are now 13th in the table.

Daggers were 1-0 at half time and went 2-0 ahead on 55 minutes. Nouble scored a late consolation for Charlton from close range.

Possession was almost evenly divided, but the Daggers had 12 shots on target to six by the Addicks.

Some comments on players from those who were there:
Worner, no command of his area, arguing with Llera.
Dailly, no longer up to it.
Llera, back to hoofing, aimless hoof led to second goal.
Jenkinson, below his recent standard.
Reid, terrible.
Semedo, anonymous.
Wright-Phillips, negative body language.
Nouble, can't hold up ball.
Two bright sparks were Perrett and Solly.

The only player who gets a rating above 6 from The Football League Paper is Wagstaff on 7. The paper commented in its report, 'While Charlton boast technically skilful players, their young team looked naive and seemed bewildered about how to deal with the narrow confines of Victoria Road.'

Many of the Addickted have been critical of the inclusion of McCormack, arguing that the side looked unbalanced. There was no shape and pattern.

The Dagenham fan quoted in The Football League Paper stated, 'I could not believe how poor Charlton were.' Unfortunately, we can. Some long-standing Addicks reckon this is the worst team they have ever seen.

But for a morale boosting post by author Charlie Connelly: Connelly

'Your cathedral is falling down!'

That was the chant in the Sheepside Stand as Leamington soundly beat table-topping Salisbury City in front of a crowd of 664. Brakes recovered well from a disappointing 4-3 mid-week defeat at the hands of the Glassboys.

The visiting Whites applied some early pressure, but Jacob Blyth showed good movement to connect with a free kick on 21 minutes to head the ball in the back of the net and put Brakes 1-0 ahead. The referee added about six minutes on to the half but Brakes were able to go in ahead at the break.

Half time: Brakes 1, Whites 0

Salisbury had to clear off the line just after the re-start. Then Brakes were not able to make the best of an opportunity which saw the Whites keeper stranded.

An off-the-ball incident which I did not see properly saw City's James Turley shown the red card. Player-manager Darrell Clarke came on, but after the referee ordered him off to have a head wound bandaged, he let fly at the official and received a yellow card. Captain Stewart Anderson was also subsequently booked.

On 86 minutes James Rowe burst through and placed his shot well to put the game beyond doubt at 2-0.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Gooners in for Jenkinson

Arsenal are tracking Carl Jenkinson and are thinking of making a move for him in the summer according to various media sources.

Jenkinson has impressed the Addickted since he earned a regular team place.

In another development, former Charlton keeper Darren Randolph has been called up for the Republic of Ireland squad.

Daggers drawn

A friend of mine who supports Huddersfield e-mailed me this morning to say that the top of League 1 looked 'interesting'. Interesting for Huddersfield no doubt, but with Charlton in 12th place, their interest in the promotion contest is now limited.

Injury worries seem to be easing ahead of tomorrow's game. Anyinsah may have recovered, although I would expect him to start on the bench. Doherty looks like being available, although I think that Llera has acquitted himself well, not least in front of goal. Bessone has resumed full training this week. However, one of our key players, Johnnie Jackson, remains injured.

Dagenham and Redbridge always remind me of that humiliating FA Cup tie when we were in the Premiership with Salako saving our blushes. The Daggers are poised just above the drop zone and will be looking to extract maximum points from tomorrow's game.

Bad runs come to an end eventually, but I am not confident that this will happen for Charlton tomorrow. Drinking During the Game has suggested that draws are the new win and that is a possible outcome. However, I am going for 2-1 to the home side.

The focus now has to be on reconstruction over the summer.

Woolpack Wanderers take title

The Woolpack Wanderers won the Isles of Scilly league title this season, but only after the title race had gone down to the wire. The Garrison Gunners failed to win the last match, allowing the Wanderers to win on goal difference.

Edited highlights from the final match at the Garrison Field are available here: Final game

Look out for the referee. He is a study in economy of effort.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Millwall stopper in on loan

Millwall reserve keeper John Sullivan is being brought to Charlton on loan: Sulliavn

It is understood that he will compete with Ross Worner for the goalkeeping role. Fulham recalled Neil Etheridge because he was not getting a game.

Alex Dyer interview

An interview with Alex Dyer in which he talks about why he came to Charlton and his memories of playing for the club: Dyer

One point he makes that the real foundations for a season are laid in pre-season and that coming on mid-season is very difficult. I don't think any judgement can be made on the new team until they have had the opportunity to reconstruct the squad.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Down the Football League we go!

Charlton slipped to 11th in League 1 after a 0-1 home defeat to Brentford. After a largely lacklustre first half, the second half was somewhat more interesting to watch, but the Addicks were unable to take any of their chances and the Bees made good use of a corner to score the winner in the 88th minute.

After a long absence, my wife accompanied me to today's game, although someone suggested that it was mental cruelty. She thought that the Addicks were very poor and it is impossible to disagree.

The game did not start well with Fry missing a simple ball. Racon then gave away a silly free kick. Fortunately Craig Woodman put it well wide. McCormack put in a good ball right across the pitch. Scott Wagstaff and Carl Jenkinson combined to win Charlton a corner.

Ross Worner had to make a good save from Bees striker Lewis Grabban after the ball had been given away once again by Charlton. The Brentford corner was headed away at the far post.

Wright-Phillips fed Nouble well. Racon put in a good shot which Lee had to push over the bar. Wagstaff burst through and shot over the angle of post and bar. Jenkinson won Charlton a corner and Semedo put in a shot that was just over.

A Brentford corner was dealt with well by the alert Llera. A Brentford corner was sloppily conceded. The Bees won a free kick in a dangerous position, but it was saved.

In the time added on Brentford were awarded a free kick and Christian Dailly was given a yellow card. Worner saved well from the free kick.

Half time: Addicks 0, Bees 0

Dailly had to be pulled off after the break and replaced by Fortune. Brentford took off Saunders and brought on former Addick Myles Weston.

Wright-Phillips turned provider for Racon, but although he had plenty of time to line up his shot he blasted over six minutes into the half.

A free kick led to Llera hitting the crossbar, how he managed to get a shot in at all in the mad scramble in front of goal is an interesting question. A Charlton corner led to a save and former Watford stopper Lee had to make a class save from Llera on the line.

Myles Weston received a yellow card for a foul on Jenkinson. Brentford took off Byrne and brought on Marcus Bean. In this period of the match Charlton were living dangerously and under pressure from the Bees.

Jenkinson had to come off and was replaced by Solly. Grabban was withdrawn in favour of Bignall by Brentford. Racon was replaced by Reid.

A Bees corner was caught by Racon. Brentford won two corners in succession and from the second Legge rose to head the ball in the net from Weston's effort. Four minutes were added on, but if Charlton were not going to score in 90 minute, they were not going to manage in 94.

Reflecting on the match, a draw would not have been an unfair result. Neither team was that inspiring. There have been the usual calls for Chris Powell to go, but if one thinks that an experienced manager would have done better, Nicky Forster has no more experience and is younger. The fact of the matter is that the players are simply not good enough and we need a major reconstruction in the summer.

Leamington also won away with a last minute goal at Evesham and have gone third in the Zamaretto Premiership.

Ivy the Terrible initially withheld the Silver Bone. However, having chewed on a bone overnight, she felt that a deserving recipient was once again Miguel Llera.

Match analysis

Ross Worner made some decent saves and I wouldn't fault him for the goal. But he is very hesitant about getting the ball out again once he has saved it which allow Brentford to assemble their defence. Chrsitian Dailly had a competent first half, I think that he may have strained a muscle when he made a defensive run from one end of the pitch to the other to prevent a one-on-one with Worner. Llera was one of the better players on the pitch and came close to scoring. Jenkinson was very capable in his preferred position of right back but had to be taken off because he picked up a knock. Fry was competent enough without being very impressive. Semedo made a few errors, but picked up as the match went on.
Racon weaved his way through on occasions, although he is not really a left winger. However, the final product was disappointing. Wagstaff put in some good runs, but again there was not enough final product. McCormack at least showed some commitment and effort even if there was not much finesse. Wright-Phillips had a few promising moments, but was not involved that much. Sometimes he seemed to be half asleep. Nouble was disappointing and at times didn't seem that interested. At times he seemed to be a less skilled version of Carlton Cole.
Fortune was competent in a ragged sort of way when he came on, although I am not sure where he was for the goal. Solly showed that he is a work in progress with some good interventions but also sending the ball high in the air in a moment of panic when he should have cleared it. Reid was hardly an impact player.

The officials generally did well and no Hiss of the Match has been awarded.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Irons striker is latest loan signing

Charlton have signed West Ham striker Frank Nouble on a month's loan and he will go straight into the squad against Brentford tomorrow. Born in Lewisham to Ivorian parents, he was originally with the Chelsea youth set up and turned down a professional contract with them in 2009.

The 19-year-old had only been back at the Hammers for a week after a similar spell at Barnsley, and captained the reserves in their 1-1 draw away to Sunderland on Tuesday.

The move will reunite Nouble with club-mate Matthew Fry, and also assistant manager Alex Dyer - who left the club last month to become Chris Powell's No. 2. In all, Nouble played four times for Barnsley, having previously been on loan at Swindon Town earlier this season.

Dean Perrett in on loan

Charlton have brought in 19-year old midfielder Dean Parrett in on loan from Spurs. Tottenham sources speak of him as a 'golden boy', but there seems to be some doubt about whether there is potential yet to be fulfilled or whether he has lost interest/peaked. At any rate Spurs fans seem aggrieved that he has to force his way into 'a side like Charlton'. Read more here: Perrett

Spurs signed him fom QPR at the age of 15 for £2m and he is said to be 'highly rated' and an 'engine roomer'. If this is so, he could be just what we need, even if he is not the new Scott Parker.

He was supposed to have been on a season long loan to Plymouth but it was cut short in November after discussions between the two clubs after his red card for an awful tackle on David Prutton, apparently the low point in an unhappy time there. There are suggestions from Plymouth forums that an inflated ego arising from his transfer fee at a young age etc. meant he struggled to adapt to the realities of a smaller club.

Charlton appoint director of football

Jeff Vetere, who formerly worked with youth teams at The Valley and has most recently been Aston Villa's chief scout, has returned to Charlton as director of football: Vetere

He also had four months at Real Madrid which seems to have been the highlight of his career. What his role at Charlton will be remains to be seen.

'Looking forward' to Brentford

Morale is rock bottom among the Addickted at the moment and I am not particularly looking forward to my trip to SE7 tomorrow. I usually start the day optimistic, which you have to if you are making a long trip, but this may be an exception.

Brentford have acquired a new manager in the form of one time Charlton loan player Nicky Forster. A busy Bee of my acquaintance comments: 'Despite the premature sacking of Andy Scott, the period since his departure has brought some stability to the team. A good run of results has meant that a relegation battle is less likely (though still a possibility). That, combined with the forthcoming Wembley appearance in the JPT Final (for which, I understand, we have already sold 20,000 tickets) means that there is an air of optimism at the club that belies our rather inconsistent season. Nicky Forster has been appointed until the end of the season, which is sensible, but it would not surprise me if a reasonably high profile replacement was brought in over the summer (high profile for League One, that is).'

In a not uncommon sign of desperation, many of the Addickted are calling for youngsters to be played on the grounds that they couldn't be even worse. Well, they could be and I don't think these outbursts of Academy oriented sentimentality do us any good.

In the specific case of Calum Harriott Chris Powell has made it very clear that starting him at this stage would harm his development. Having him on the bench is part of that development, but he will only be brought on in exceptional circumstances. Replacing Francis with Solly is a different case as the latter already has first team experience which was only halted by injury.

We have a team at the moment that is drained of confidence. Unfortunately, the crowd is likely to get on their back at the first sign of a misplaced pass or a hoofed ball. If they ever needed our backing, it is now.

I am going for a 1-1 draw.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Greatest Charlton XI

The latest issue of Four Four Two includes a special supplement on the Perfect XI for each Football League club. The line up for Charlton is:

Goalkeeper: Sam Bartram
Defenders: John Humphrey, Richard Rufus, Chris Powell
Midfielders: Robert Lee, Mark Kinsella, Scott Parker, Allan Simonsen, Eddie Firmani
Forwards: Clive Mendonca, Derek Hales
Manager: Jimmy Seed

There are one or two names from the 1950s that might have been added and there is no one from the team that won the FA Cup. Simonsen was brilliant, but his stay was a relatively short one. And is Chris Powell's inclusion a nod to his present status as manager?

Who would you include?

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Mid-table mediocrity

Good, crisp passing played to feet; very little hoofball; movement on and off the ball; and some great goals, even if a penalty was missed. No, that wasn't Charlton. It was Leamington who scored the old five against Bedford Town in a 5-0 victory at the New Windmill Ground last night. Only 345 people were there to watch them play as well as they have done this season and consolidate their claim on the play offs.

As for Charlton they have slipped into mid-table mediocrity after a 2-0 defeat at MK Dons. The Addicks managed to hold on to 0-0 until half time but the stats tell their own story: possession 69 per cent to 31 per cent to the Dons and only two Charlton attempts on target. What was apparently a 4-5-1 set up didn't help there.

Benson got himself sent off for a lunge on Stephen Gleeson. Apparently he lost control of the ball and lunged after it, clattering their player. As that is his second straight red, he will be out for four games. No great loss in my view.

Those who were there once again saw a team totally lacking in confidence. The verdict was that Worner was OK and made one decent save. Llera and Daily were OK. Jenkinson was decent, but didn't get forward enough. Francis was absolutely dire, missed at least crucial tackles and his passing and crossing were woeful. Bring on Solly!

Semedo offered his usual strong performance. McCormack contributed little, especially in the second half. Racon put in a typical performance, some good, some bad. Wagstaff was hard working but not effective going forward. Reid was like Racon, some good moves, but too much dross. Once again the midfield seems to be at the heart of the problem.

Benson had very little service, but nothing much that came his way stock. There was little chance for either Wright-Phillips (who apparently has a knee problem) or Eccleston to make much impact.

Already people are on Chris Powell's back, pointing out that Bristol Rovers sacked their manager Dave Penney after 53 days. Changing the manager won't do anything if you don't change the team. It's a rebuilding job for next season.

Charlton have sunk to 9th behind Carlisle and Orient. My season ticket pack arrived yesterday at last and I will be renewing. But will all the 9,000 existing season ticket holders renew after this run?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Addicks sign keeper as cover

Charlton Athletic have signed Fulham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge on a month's loan to provide cover in Chris Powell's squad. Etheridge links up with the Addicks in time to be available for this evening's match at Franchise FC. Rob Elliot is injured while Ross Worner has also been carrying a knock.

Philippines international Etheridge is effectively the No.3 at the Premiership side. He has yet to make a first-team appearance for Fulham, but was on the bench in January during Mark Schwarzer's absence at the Asian Cup.

Injuries plague Addicks

Injuries plague the Addicks as they face MK Dons tonight. MK Dons are on a good run that has put them into the play off places. On Saturday they demolished Rochdale 4-1 away due to superior finishing.

Rob Elliot has a hip injury so Ross Worner is going to have to deputise despite picking up a dead leg against Tranmere. Worner looked error prone on Saturday but may be better prepared tonight. Let's hope so.

Doherty, Fry and Bessone are all out, but after a good performance on Saturday Llera will surely be picked against his old club. Jackson (achilles) and Anyinsah (ankle) are both unlikely to play and we miss both of them. The Benson/Wright-Phillips combo does not really work.

MK Dons have central defender Sean O'Hanlon suspended, while forward Angelo Balanta is back in training but not match fit and likely to start on the bench.

One can see what Chris Powell is trying to do: get the players to pass the ball, keep possession and build up an attack. Unfortunately, most of them quite not up to it and we often end up passing the ball backwards and moving it among the back four. Our most effective attacks are often on the right flank.

I am far from optimistic about tonight and am going for a 3-1 win for the home side with Llera scoring the consolation.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Perry backs Powell

Chris Powell's former team mate Chris Perry backs the new manager in an interview in The League Paper today. Perry, who made 84 appearances for the Addicks between 2003 and 2006, believes that Powell can take the Addicks into the Championship.

'He's pretty much made for that job,' said Perry. 'It's a shame what has happened with the club since I left but they've got the right man now. He's served his apprenticeship and deserves to do well.'

The 38-year old defender has resigned himself to retirement after he left Southampton last summer and has failed to find another club. He has his eyes on an eventual management role, noting 'coaching is definitely something that appeals to me.'

Saturday, 5 March 2011

'You're better than this Charlton'

That was the despairing cry of a fan in front of me as Charlton lumbered through their dismal first half performance against Tranmere Rovers this afternoon. The problem is: they're not better than that. The squad is going to need serious reconstruction before we can challenge for promotion from League 1. We need a team that can challenge for 90+ minutes rather than put on a performance for one half as happened today.

Of course we have been beset with injuries. Practically everyone in the squad who was not in the starting sixteen today was injured including some key players. Hopefully we can have better luck soon in bringing in loans to cover the gaps.

Charlton started the game in desultory fashion and it was no great surprise when Tranmere seized on an error by Francis and broke down the middle to go 1-0 ahead which remained the score at half time.

The Addicks came out with renewed determination in the second half which relieved the pressure on substitute keeper Ross Worner after Elliot had gone off injured at half time. The equaliser came through a free kick from Miguel Llera but despite maintaining almost relentless pressure and creating a few chances, the winning goal never came.

Llera had to make an early key block in the game. Elliot punched a free kick out. Dailly was resolute in defence. Semedo may a good intervention and Racon shot just over. Jenkinson conceded a corner. Racon put in a good cross but no one was available to connect with it. Wagstaff made a good run.

A mistake by Francis, which was typical of a somewhat casual attitude on the part of some members of the team allowed Showunmi to storm down the middle of the pitch and Elliot was unable to prevent him putting the ball in the back of the net to make it 0-1.

Welsh received a yellow card for a foul. Wagstaff put in a good shot but it was straight at the keeper. Elliot had to make a save at the expense of a Tranmere corner. Elliot went down with what appeared to be a thigh injury.

Half time: Addicks 0, Tranmere 1

Worner came on in place of the injured Elliot. Semedo provided good defensive cover. Charlton won a free kick and Llera put it in the net, although it may have taken a deflection.

There was a push on McCormack in the area which the referee saw but he blithely waved play on. Wright-Phillips won Charlton a corner but the keeper caught it. After another Charlton corner, the keeper was at last given a yellow card for his antics.

Racon was tackled behind from Labadie in a typical example of Tranmere tactics and the charm merchant received a yellow card. Worner made a good save, although it led to two Tranmere corners in succession. McCormack put in a good tackle. Wagstaff won a free kick.

Once again carelessness in the middle led to the ball being given away and Tranmere won a free kick as an attempt was made to retrieve the situation. Charlton made a double substitution with Wright-Phillips and McCormack going off and Eccleston and Reid coming on.

Wagstaff put in a good cross and the ball was cleared off the line for a Charlton corner. Dailly's header went wide. A good ball was put in by Francis which went at an angle across the goal. This was the golden chance to go ahead, but three Charlton players advanced and none of them was able to make contact.

Semedo received a yellow card, I'm not sure why, perhaps because he is Portuguese. Four minutes were added on. Eccleston was cynically brought down as he advanced down the wing. McChrystal received a yellow card, but it was a cheap price for what could have become a goal scoring opportunity.

Charlton remain 7th but they are seven points behind MK Dons where they play on Tuesday. There are rumours that Worner is injured as well as Elliot. The play offs look like an increasingly distant prospect.

My day was made complete by encountering returning Millwall fans at Euston. 'Are they Stoke?' asked a police officer.

Match analysis

The coveted Silver Bone has been awarded by Ivy the Terrible to Miguel Llera who not only scored but provided some good balls forward and defended well. Elliot was one-on-one for the goal and it would have been a high quality goalkeeper who stopped it. Apart from that he had to made one save before he was injured. Dailly was scrupulous in defence and actually powered forward at times. Apart from gifting Tranmere their goal, Francis made some other errors, but he did put in some good crosses. Jenkinson is playing out of position at left back, but performed his role well. Semedo made some good and important defensive interventions. McCormack was more involved than is often the case and made some good interventions. Racon was lively and had a shot on goal and put in one very good cross. Wagstaff made some good runs and was particularly impressive in the second half. Benson contributed very little in my view.
Wright-Phillips failed to maintain his scoring run and often did not seem that involved. Worner made one good save at the post, but showed a worrying tendency to drop the ball. Reid made very little impression when he came on Eccleston was cynically fouled as he made excellent progress down the wing.

Hiss of the Match The time wasting Tranmere goalkeeper, former Spanner Tony Warner was one candidate, but Juneau the Soccer Cat selected the referee, the appropriately named D Coote. Tranmere had come to play for the draw as exemplified by their fans singing 'Tranmere are staying up' after the match. They set out to achieve this by a mixture of spectacular diving agonies (no surprise that they have a physio as a manager), blatant time wasting and cynical fouling. The referee simply failed to get a grip on the game although he was fussy enough about exactly where a spot kick was taken from.

The time wasting was aided by two balls often appearing on the pitch and in the end the Charlton bench asked for all the spare balls to be gathered in.

The crowd was announced at just over 14,000, but I doubt whether there were 12,000 in the ground.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Hayes loan blocked

An Addicks loan move for Preston striker Paul Hayes has been blocked by the North End chairman. The Dagenham-born striker was apparently very keen to move to The Valley. Derby County are also in the frame, but Preston may want to retain him for their relegation battle.

I would have thought that the priority was a playmaking central midfielder or a mobile central defender.

The view from the Wirral

A comprehensive Tranmere preview of the match, although its credibility is somewhat undermined by naming Gary Doherty as 'one to watch'. First, he's injured and, second, he is 'one to watch' only if you are a fan of the directionless defensive header. Anyway: Tranmere

Apparently the choice to replace Doherty is between Forch and Llera. I would prefer the latter, the league having turned down Chris Powell's request to place the central defence on mobility scooters.

The Tranmere forecast is 1-1 and a lot of Charlton blogs are forecasting a draw, either a dreary 0-0 or 1-1. I think the gloom is being overdone. Tranmere don't have much of a record at The Valley and I am going for 2-0.

Admittedly the clean sheet may be a bit optimistic given that Elliot seems to be having some problems. He is still has a Dracula problem and at set pieces some of the confusion and panic in the defence may be down to a lack of confidence in him. Possibly one of Parky's mistakes was not to see the potential in Randolph.

My biggest concern is actually the crowd. One of the main arguments for getting rid of Parky was that the majority of fans lacked confidence in him, but the negativity has soon come back. With a side drained of confidence, they need the support of the Addickted, not moans and groans the first time there is a misplaced pass.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Benno puts his case

Paul Benson has put his case for a place in the team on Saturday whilst heaping praise on Chris Powell in the Sub-Standard: Benno

Gary Doherty is out for at least a couple of weeks with a muscle injury: Doherty

Whether this is a 'blow' as the News Shopper describes it is a matter of opinion, although perhaps it is when you look at the alternatives. Chris Powell is rightly cautious about who will replace him on Saturday, particularly after what was apparently an unimpressive performance by Jon Fortune on Tuesday night.

It may be a case of step forward, Miguel Llera. Steve from Petts Wood saw him storming away from The Valley when he was not even on the bench one Saturday, but although the Spainard is error prone, he is also capable of scoring from set pieces. And he is probably more mobile than Fortune.

I may not go to the game

Although I have a season ticket, I may not go to the next game. The team has slipped down towards mid-table and hopes of progress in the play offs are evaporating. There has been a series of humiliating home defeats.

The team I am referring to is not Charlton but Coventry Blaze who won the Elite League championship last year. This year it's all gone pear shaped with the team losing 2-4 on Sunday to Brahead Clan, a team of upstarts from a shopping mall in Glasgow (25 hardy Scots ventured with them to the southernmost point of top flight British ice hockey).

The team no longer seems to able to dominate the middle of the rink and is prone to defensive errors. There is a resort to the long puck game, a hopeful flick forward that might generate a lucky rebound off the boarding. Some of the players seem to have lost motivation.

And to cap it all the normal Sunday evening game which provides a conclusion to the weekend has been replaced this weekend by Friday and Saturday evening games.

So I will be going to Charlton v. Tranmere on Saturday. So far I haven't been able to find any useful information about the opposition from the Wirral Globe. However, it is worth bearing in mind that losing runs eventually come to an end. We may be mediocre, but so are most other teams in the division. If Chris Powell can inject a little more motivation and confidence, it could do the trick.
Posted by Wyn Grant at 06:27 0 comments

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Fourth defeat in a row

Chris Powell faced a test of his managerial skills after Charlton suffered their fourth defeat in a row, going down 1-3 at The Valley to Carlisle United, their second successive home defeat by this scoreline.

Kyel Reid and Scott Wagstaff started on the wings for Charlton at a bitterly cold Valley tonight reports Philippa Nicholson. With Anyinsah sidelined because of a training ground niggle, Eccleston and Wright-Phillips started up front.

Carlisle managed to snuff out the early attempts by Charlton. On 9 minutes Eccleston provided the assist for Wright-Phillips who provided a clinical finish to put the Addicks 1-0 ahead. Francis advanced down the right and his low cross was put behind for a corner. Reid’s corner was not initially cleared.

Carlisle won their first corner after 12 minutes off a block by Francis. A shot from Noble was blocked and eventually Francis was fouled to give the Addicks a free kick.

Reid laid off the ball to Jenkinson creating a good chance but the youngster blasted into Finn air.

Reid and Jenkinson provided good overlapping play, but Carlisle counter attacked. A throw in was cleared by Dailly, but Francis made a mess of his clearance. Carlisle won a dubious free kick off Semedo some 25 yards out. Amid some jostling, Murphy went to ground dramatically in the box, but the free kick was unproductive.

Carlisle won another free kick, but it was gathered very well by Elliot with two Carlisle players around him. Wagstaff was dispossessed and stayed down as Carlisle counter attacked. They advanced again through the middle of the pitch and Marshall put the ball beyond Elliot who was wrong footed by a deflection to make it 1-1.

Carlisle continued to dominate. As Reid advanced down the left wing he was fouled and the Carlisle right back received a yellow card. Reid’s free kick was plucked out of the air by the keeper. A cross by Marshall with the Charlton defence caught out was headed towards Elliot by Noble. Once again the defence was caught out as Doherty laid off the ball and no one picked up. Fortunately, it went through to Elliot. The Addickted were getting restless.

Reid and Jenkinson applied some pressure. Wagstaff had a half chance in the box, but he didn’t get hold of it. Carlisle counter attacked, but Elliot gathered comfortably. Doherty was feeling his hamstring and the physio was allowed on. Fortune came on in Doherty’s place on 41 minutes.

Carlisle won a corner. There was a real scramble and it was bundled behind for a second corner. Wagstaff headed it away and Charlton won a throw in. Charlton attacked, but the cross from Francis was too close to the keeper.

Three minutes were added on. Carlisle won a free kick 30 yards out which hit the wall and gave the visitors another corner. Murphy’s header was tipped over the bar by Elliot who punched away the second corner.

Half time: Addicks 1, Carlisle 1

Jenkinson put in a cross and Racon tried to shoot but there was a line of blue shirts in the way. Reid put in a good cross, but the sting was taken out of Eccleston’s shot and the keeper gathered. The unmarked Curran had a chance, but Elliot pushed the ball away. Charlton counter attacked.

The play was end to end as both sides looked for the goal that would put them in the lead. Reid put the ball way over the bar. Carlisle won a corner after Charlton surrendered possession. It was headed off the line by Racon but Charlton were given a free kick anyway.

Fortune conceded another corner but Elliot should have taken the initiative. Reid advanced well in a good counter attack and put in an early cross. Wright-Phillips put in a good volley but it was blocked more through luck than judgement.

Wagstaff went down under a challenge from Murphy who just got a talking to from the referee. A block from Francis led to another Carlisle corner. It was punched away, there was a real scramble and Curran got it in to make it 1-2, the ball trickling under Elliot’s body.

Marshall made an attempt from 20 yards out and Elliot had to go to full stretch to put it round the post. Carlisle won a second corner, their tenth of the game. Eventually Elliot was able to gather.

Wagstaff was brought down just outside the area, giving Charlton a free kick in a promising position. The ball went into the far post, the one area where there were no red shirts. Charlton kept up the pressure and won their second corner of the game. Somehow the ball found a blue shirt. The ball went into the box and found a blue shirt again. A free kick was taken quickly and Reid’s effort led to another corner.

Paul Benson was brought on and Eccleston came off. Reid broke forward, Jenkinson put in a cross, but Carlisle were able to clear. Marshall’s shot was pushed away by Elliot but not convincingly and Lloyd was able to score in the top corner to make it 1-3. The Addickted started to leave in numbers.

Wagstaff’s cross was too far in front of Benson and the ball was snatched out of the air. Charlton won a corner. It was headed away and a cross from Francis failed to find a Charlton player. Our set pieces had been poor all evening.

Benson nearly met a good cross from Reid at the far post. A Racon effort was deflected and led to a corner. Wright-Phillips headed over the top. Curran shot from long range and nearly made it four, but Elliot just managed to push it away.

After the Carlisle equaliser the confidence drained out of the team. There was no lack of effort, but there was a lack of skill. Once again Charlton showed themselves vulnerable at set pieces.