Charlton drew 1-1 with 10-man Huddersfield at The Valley today and slipped back to 15th in the table. Next Saturday's opponents Millwall moved into the play off places after a win at Blackburn.
It's not necessarily easy to play against ten men, especially on a very wet surface, but I don't feel we took as much as we could have done from the notional advantage. When a team is down to ten men you need to harry them, pressure them and tire them and we didn't really do that. There was too much neat passing of the ball around at the back while we tried to make our mind up what to do.
Haynes and Seaborne both picked up knocks in training which did not help us, particularly with Haynes currently on form. Kerkar was slotted in at left back which is a position he is far from comfortable in.
Whilst not exactly scrappy, the first half was far from inspiring and it would not have been much of a game for the neutral. Charlton finally went ahead on 60 minutes through Hulse taking advantage of a pinpoint cross from Bradley Pritchard. However, after failing to deal with a series of crosses, we conceded the penalty that gave the visitors a chance to level.
When I read in the programme that the last time Charlton had won four second tier games in a row was 2007, I knew that the chances of equalling that record were not good.
Huddersfield won an early corner following an error by Solly in midfield that gave away possession. The corner from Northern Ireland international Norwood was dangerous and was played back in before being over the bar. Ricardo Fuller launched a counter attack. Charlton won a corner but it was caught. The visitors then broke, but put the ball wide. A Huddersfield corner on eight minutes was caught authoritatively by Hamer.
Jackson put in a good tackle to break up an attack. Dale Stephens over hit a free kick. Hunt looked dangerous on the right. Huddersfield started to step up the pressure as the half hour approached. Lynch went down in apparent agony, something to be repeated later in the game. Fuller won Charlton a couple of free kicks. Charm merchant Dixon got a yellow card, I think for dissent. A Charlton corner was tipped over the bar. Huddersfield launched a counter attack but good work by Bradley Pritchard won Charlton a free kick.
A Ricardo Fuller run ended with the ball going across the face of goal. Hamer was able to claim the ball at the second attempt. Southern put in a high challenge on Morrison in midfield, I thought it was going to be a yellow, but referee Mr Collins had no hesitation in showing the red. Chris Powell said after the game that it was not a red card.
Bradley Pritchard got a yellow card for nothing in particular. Morrison conceded a rather unnecessary corner.
The half time was enlivened by the news that Rick Everitt had won one of the smaller Valley Gold prizes which should be a useful supplement to his jobseekers' allowance. Huddersfield won a corner but Hamer saved confidently. Stephens won Charlton a corner, but the move ended with an offside decision. Chris Solly put in a poor cross. But he redeemed himself on 59 minutes with a nice shimmy which allowed Bradley Pritchard to put in a great cross from which Hulse scored.
Ricardo Fuller broke away, he was fouled but continued to advance. Unfortunately, his shot was just wide. Adam Clayton won a yellow card for his attentions on Fuller. Kerkar put in some good work. The attendance was announced at 20,012 which was encouraging, particularly given that some regulars were on the Lewisham A & E march.
A Huddersfield corner led to some frantic play as the crosses came in. Solly was judged to have committed a foul. Simon Grayson said afterwards that he did not think it was a foul, but the referee was keen to even things up. Clayton dispatched the ball past Hamer into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Charlton did apply some pressure in the last four minutes, drawing a save from Smithies and winning two corners, but they were unable to score. It was a disappointing result and performance and the moaners have been out in force blaming Chris Powell's ineptitude. However, it is difficult to see who else he could have played at left back, as moving Solly across would have meant moving Morrison to right back, where he is not comfortable, and bringing in Dervitte. Just too many changes. It is four games unbeaten which is good for a team with mid-table ambitions.
Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to debutante Emmanuel Frimpong who fully lived up to his billing, showing commitment, energy and some really nice touches. Our play lost something when he had to go off after picking up a knock, apparently it was just cramp.
Hamer dropped the ball in the build up the penalty. In the first half the ball slipped out of his hands and he had to pounce on it. If the attacking player had been more alert, he might have scored. Morrison was solid throughout and moved the ball forward nicely on occasions. Some of the headers by Cort were insufficiently powerful or well directed and nearly got us into trouble. Kerkar was uncomfortable at left back, was unable to contribute to attack in his normal way and was given a torrid time by Hunt. Solly contributed well and set up Pritchard to deliver his cross for the goal. The penalty was awarded against him, but I don't blame him for the preceding chaos and confusion. Pritchard was his useful busy self, but sometimes lacks pace. Stephens did not contribute that much and one potentially promising free kick was disappointing. The contribution by Jackson was also relatively limited. Hulse was anonymous for much of the game, but did what was required when the scoring opportunity presented himself. Fuller shows real touches of quality and good pace, just needs a little more accuracy in the final delivery.
Bringing Danny Green on posed some interesting questions. He looked lacklustre and rusty at first and didn't get forward enough, although admittedly he was at risk of being caught offside. His team mates seemed reluctant to pass to him, which perhaps suggests a lack of confidence in his abilities. He did come into the game much more in the last few minutes, but by then it was too late. The arrival of Yann Kermorgant was warmly greeted by the Addickted as a promise of better times, but he did not have many opportunities to contribute.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to charm merchant Jack Hunt. He is not lacking in ability, but spent the whole game arguing with the referee and was lucky not to get booked.