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.


WattO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ac said...

I agree 100 % with your comment Wyn that 'we're not better than this'. We've got an average league 1 bunch of players. We've no right to expect anything higher than mid table. Time for a reality check and time for cp to build a better squad. Let's all lay off the moans & groans. It doesn't help the club.

Anonymous said...

hooey! who said we were no better than this when they celebrated the unjustified dismissal of Phil Parkinson. Also we finished in the top 6 (relatively comfortably) with a squad of around the same quality, in a tougher league last year.

Jon said...

Actually we are better than this - and the fact that we consistently start playing better after about an hour shows that.

What we are doing, however is asking several players - notably Francis, McCormack and Semedo to pass the ball around as if they are previous incumbents like Young, Parker and Jensen. They simply can't do it. Francis got caught at least once more in possession(and it may have been twice) Semedo knocked a ball into space between three of our players and their striker got to it first.

Llera was OK, but for the third home game in a row Jenkinson looked the best player we had. Some of his alleged betters should have a serious think about that.

Sciurus Carolinensis Nemesis said...

The continuing selection of Francis defies any sense at all, he is quite simply one of the very worst so called players to have (dis)graced a charlton shirt. If Solly is fit enough to be on the bench then only a moron would fail to select him in preference to the inept and complacent Francis - we would be better off with Stu Francis from crackerjack. A similar level of intellect was evident in the decision to pull off free-scoring Wright-Phillips when Benson had contributed precisely nothing. A less dispiriting result but still very few causes for optimism.