Saturday, 9 February 2013

Time Added On Agony

Yann Kermorgant's devastated expression at the end of the match said it all. On 87 minutes he had scored a well-worked goal to apparently secure the three points for Charlton against Birmingham City. But the Addicks have the worst record in time added on in the Championship and Birmingham were able to equalise. It was Charlton's fault because we invited pressure on to ourselves.

The first half had been something of a stalemate. We had played some nice football, passing the ball well, but we lacked that extra something that was needed to unlock the Birmingham defence. In the second half, keeper Jack Butland helped to keep the Blues in the game. The goal came when hope was ebbing away, but Charlton failed to move beyond four home wins this season.

I arrived at The Valley to buy Voice of the Valley off one of Rick's elves, but someone told me later they had bought their copy from the Rickster himself. Rick confessses in the issue that it is still a little 'dry', but hopefully it will get back its fizz and become part of the Valley scene once again.

The Old Bill were much in evidence and there were rumours of three arrests, although whether that was for money laundering was unclear.

Referee d'Urso started as he meant to go over by awarding the visitors a dubious free kick, but it went off the wall and then over. Fuller won Charlton a corner taken by Dale Stephens, followed by a second which ended in a questionable free kick for the Blues. Chris Solly was fouled, but the free kick taken by Jackson was unproductive. City broke, but their effort at the other end went over. In general, they didn't seem to be very accurate when it came to shooting.

Fuller was fouled on the edge of the box and the Jackson free kick led to an Addicks corner. Ensuing play led to another corner which Butland punched away. Fuller then drew a fingertip save from the impressive Butland. The ball flashed across the box, but no one was able to connect and put it in the back of the net. It was one of the best chances of the half.

Another good save from Butland led to a Charlton corner and for a moment I thought that the ball was in the back of the net. Fuller was then not too far wide with an angled shot. An effort from Wilson drew a save.

HT: Addicks 0, Blues 0

Kermorgant showed intent by winning the ball well. A shot from Wagstaff led to a Charlton corner. Fuller was just wide with a shot. Cedric Evina had a go, but put the ball over. Solly won Charlton a corner. Jackson put in a good tackle. The Blues made the first of their substitutions. The Bloke Beside Me thought that we were running out of steam and ideas and Green replaced Wilson. The visitors won a corner and we failed to clear our lines leading to a second, but Hamer was able to make the save. Blues won a free kick just outside the 'D', but Hamer dealt with it comfortably. Reilly received a yellow card for a foul.

Kermorgant was just wide. Good work involving a number of Charlton players then set up Kermorgant who nodded the ball home. We then made two substititions, Wright-Phillips for Fuller and Dervitte was also brought on. On the face of it this look sensible, but perhaps it disrupted our play.

The Blues made their last substitution, bringing the big man Zigic on. Wright-Phillips was booked for kicking the ball into the goal when the flag had gone up. Instead of kicking the ball into Row Z, we tried to be clever, and lost the ball. Elliott was unmarked, the Football League Paper blaming Morrison, and he fired into the back of the net. I seem to remember him scoring a similar goal against us for Burnley at Turf Moor.

The joke doing the rounds is that Charlton players have been banned from taking their dog for a walk because they will lose the lead.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Ricardo Fuller. He showed some real skill and quality, as well as commitment, even though he was unable to score. Hamer had to make some decent stops, but nothing really testing, the goal just flashed in. Cort really got involved and his towering presence looks intimidating, but he always judges his interventions well. Morrison did a solid job and got forward well once to set up an attack. Evina was on top form and made some good interceptions. Solly was not as outstanding as he sometimes is, but he had a very good game. Jackson made some good interventions. I don't think the pitch really suited Stephens and not everything he tried came off, but top marks for effort and commitment. Wagstaff played well and came very close to having a decisive impact. I thought that Wilson had a good game, he has an excellent engine and can unsettle the opposition, but perhaps the final product was lacking. Kermorgant had an excellent game, topped by the goal. Green did offer something a bit different when he came on. The two cameos are not worth commenting on.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to referee Andy d'Urso. As was to be expected with the banker from Billericay, he made some baffling decisions.

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