Charlton's season stuttered to a close with a 0-0 draw against Hartlepool at The Valley this afternoon. Charlton were not helped by the referee's tolerant stance towards some dirty play by the visitors; their keeper made some good saves; and they rode their luck at times. But, taken overall, it was a desultory performance by the Addicks. As Steve from Petts Wood commented, 'It sums up our season.'
I had quite some difficulty in energising myself to make the journey down to London. Charlton started brightly, as they often do, and won an early corner. A good long ball was put through to Wright-Phillips and he nearly made use of it. But then the pace started to drop on a muggy afternoon. For a diversion there were the antics of the Hartlepool fans in the Jimmy Seed dressed as Oompa Loompas or Santa Claus.
Harriot put in an effort that was just wide and then had another go. No one could fault the youngster's work rate or commitment. A Hartlepool corner was caught by a confident Elliot.
Before the half hour Fortune went down injured with a recurrence of his achilles problem and had to be stretchered off. Although he has been a shadow of his former self this season it was sad to see what could be a career ending injury.
Semedo and charm merchant Neil Austin collided and it all kicked off. There were calls for Austin to be shown a red, but he received a yellow as did Semedo and Gary Liddle who had chosen to get involved.
Harriot won Charlton a corner. Fabian Yontorno received a yellow card for a foul. Bessone won Charlton a corner, but we have rarely scored from corners this season. Four minutes were added on, but they were played at a slow pace by both teams.
Half time: Addicks 0, Hartlepool 0
Just after the break, an effort by Wright-Phillips was tipped over by Flinders for a Charlton corner, followed by a second. Wagstaff put in a good cross, but Benson was unable to connect. A Charlton corner produced a good save from Flinders off Semedo's header, but Llera put the ball over from the follow up. Following a corner, an effort from Collins came off the underside of the crossbar.
Wright-Phillips put in a good run that took him through the Hartlepool defence, but his effort from distance was well wide of the target. A good angled long ball to pick out Wagstaff led to a Charlton corner. Good work by Wagstaff won Charlton another corner.
Harriot was replaced by Racon and the departing youngster received warm applause. Shortly afterwards Wagstaff was replaced by Eccleston.
Llera did well to clear a header from Andy Monkhouse off the line. Bessone put in a fierce shot from 20 yards out which came off the post, but the offside flag went up before there could be any follow up. Racon lost the ball, leading to a Hartlepool corner. A Charlton corner went straight to the keeper. Solly received a yellow card.
Elliot made a good save as fears grew around me of a 0-1. Solly gave away a corner to Hartlepool. Then it was all over and Charlton ended up 13th, their seventh successive decline. Probably the highlight of the afternoon was applauding the women's teams for their successes. Well done Morts!
Many people were saying that next season will be make or break for Charlton. The chairman tried to give us hope and inspiration in the programme. However, I am not sure that I agree with him that there is not much difference between League 1 and the Championship. The latter is now like a de facto Premiership 2. Television revenues have gone up substantially and relegated Premiership clubs now receive four years of enhanced parachute payments.
Ivy the Terrible has awarded the last Silver Bone of the season to Rob Elliot. At least we kept a clean sheet and the keeper made some good saves. Fortune was having a decent match until he was injured and stretchered off. Llera (now returning to his native Spain) did play some good balls forward, but also some aimless ones. Solly played his part, but he does seem to lack pace at times and conceded avoidable corners. Bessone performed his part well enough, but I'm not sure I wouldn't want to retain him, especially if Youga can regain his fitness. Semedo snapped like a terrier at the visitors and showed some nice touches. Harriot did well on his first start, although he was fading a little in the second half. Stewart still does not look 100 per cent match fit and faded in the second half. Wagstaff had his moments and was particularly effective in the second half. Benson did his best to get involved when he wasn't being held back by a choke hold but couldn't find the back of the net. Wrght-Phillips was a little lacklustre and many of his efforts were off target, but he came as close as anyone to scoring. Doherty didn't make any serious errors after he came on, but his repertoire is based on the header which can go anywhere. Eccleston once again had a relatively limited time in which to display his talents. I liked his salute to the fans at the end of the game. Racon didn't offer much, apart from giving the ball away once and creating a chance for Hartlepool to attack.
Hiss of the Match This was given by Juneau the Soccer Cat to all the officials who didn't seem to be able to recognise offences or act on them.
Incidentally, I hear that the injury prone Anyinsah may be leaving and that Worner may be going to Aldershot. In that case Sullivan (featured in the programme today) may come in to give more competition to Elliot.