Charlton won a rare home victory when they beat Bolton Wanderers 3-2 at The Valley this afternoon. Although most of the teams below them won, it still gave a platform to build on to pull away from the threat of relegation. The Addicks had gone behind in the third minute and were soon 0-2 down, a goal greeted by a chorus of boos. The row behind me decided that the only issue was whether we would finish 23rd or 24th. However, Charlton started to get back into the game and Johnnie Jackson sent them in just 1-2 behind at half time.
After the break they equalised and Yann Kermorgant put them ahead with a penalty with Bolton down to ten men and finally to nine. (Possibly they they ended up with eight after the game as Knight was shown a yellow on the pitch after the end of the game and continued his argument near the tunnel where it is suggested that he received a second). After we had gone 3-2 ahead, we took our foot off the pedal somewhat and were forced back more than I would have liked. Seven minutes added on, largely because of the substitution of one of the linesmen provided some tense moments, but we held on and the Bolton fans, and indeed some of their players and their manager, blamed referee Kettle for the result. But it was the indiscipline of their players that was the underlying problem for them. For us, the presence of Suzanne, the charming partner of the Blackheath Addick, did not cast a spell on us after all and she saw her first win at The Valley.
As someone who travels a distance to the game, I am perhaps too inclined to put emphasis on the journey itself as a signifier of what might happen in the game. Whether Deptford Creek has the tide in or not is really irrelevant, although a higher tide does seem often to work in our favour. Yesterday, however, by journey was a little unusual, suggesting to me that the game would not be a straightforward one. Virgin Trains decided to celebrate the Easter holidays by putting on a smelly and labouring diesel unit from Coventry, even though the electric wires were functioning normally. Then the Northern line via Bank was closed and I decided to stay on the Jubilee to North Greenwich. I caught a 161 and the driver drove as if a white van full of Millwall fans was behind him and we got to the Woolwich Road in less than the advertised nine minutes (often it seems interminable particularly for an evening match with tired commuters travelling).
Within 47 seconds Bolton had won a corner. Pritchard should have cleared the ball, but he didn't and it came back in and was not far off target. Bolton then broke with Ngog and Hamer have to save. The inevitable happened on three minutes with Dervite in 'apres vous' mode, the visitors were given loads of space to allow Sordell to score.
Some hope was provided by the way in which Harriott and Wiggins were combining down the left. We then had a penalty call when Pritchard was tugged back by charm merchant Knight as he was about to score, but referee Kettle had still not got up steam. Charlton won a corner and, after some intervening play, a second. But Bolton were able to break and they always looked dangerous when they did so and Chris Solly had to come to Charlton's rescue. Some good play led to a Charlton corner that was eventually cleared. Bolton countered again and Solly had to put in an excellent defensive header.
Then on 19 minutes Kamara scored for Bolton from distance. I thought that Hamer should have done better, but the Blackheath Addick says that it looked a more testing shot from the North Stand than it did from the West or East. In any event we should have closed them down.
One Addick commented, 'It felt a bit Cardiff like this game - we kicked into gear after going 2-0 down and rarely looked troubled afterwards.' Harriott put in a delicious cross right in front of the goal, but unfortunately there was no one there to collect. Harriott put in some good work, but Jackson was slow to take advantage. But shortly afterwards he redeemed himself when following play involving Harriott again he seized the opportunity to make it 1-2 with a captain's goal. In many ways this was the crucial goal of the afternoon as it meant that the match was no longer beyond our reach.
Ricketts made a meal of it to claim a Bolton free kick. Fuller was not creating very much at this stage of the game or taking advantage of what was created for him. Pritchard and Solly provided some good defensive work. Hughes created an opportunity for himself but then put the ball wide. Ricketts fouled Harriott. Referee Kettle had by now got steam up and awarded what was probably a rather harsh yellow card which was to be important later. From the free kick Solly won a corner for Charlton which he took himself. Harriott then won the Addicks a corner and it was again Solly who provided a good inswinger. Hughes got a yellow card.
Half time: Addicks 1, Trotters 2
Good work by Harriott won us a corner, but dithering by Morrison nearly cost us. Referee Kettle was then seen running to the side of the pitch making strange gesticulations to the players and it was unclear whether these meant 'I'm boiling over' or 'I've lost the plot and I'm giving myself the red card.' It turned out that it was the West Stand lino who was to receive the red card and there was then a great delay while the fourth official was readied, including great efforts to see that he was neatly turned out. Referee Kettle was still simmering when he gave Ricketts a second yellow card and sent the Welsh international off for bringing down Fuller. Kermorgant's free kick hit the post but Dervitte was there ready to pounce and equalise to the delight of at least one Frenchwoman in the crowd.
Fuller was then obligingly brought down to give us a penalty. Sacre bleu! It was Yann Kermorgant who stepped up, not captain Jacko. The Breton was seeking to exorcise the memory of that penalty miss at Leicester which is engraved on the hearts of Leicester fans. Kermorgant scored emphatically to make it 3-2.
Harriott continued to be lively, winning the Addicks a corner. But Bolton were still pressing hard and Solly was once again called on for his defensive skills. Hughes was withdrawn and Gower came on for his Valley debut. Dawson received a yellow card. As normal time came towards an end, the Addicks made a double substitution. Harriott and Fuller went off and Wilson and Haynes came on. It looked as if the referee was in a competition to issue cards as Solly was the next to receive a yellow, although he seemed to think it was a fair cop.
With seven minutes added on, the Bolton keeper had to tip the ball over the bar. The referee wanted a Breton for his collection and gave Kermorgant a yellow card. The indiscipline of Craig Davies led to a yellow card for arguing and then he too was sent for an early shower with a second yellow. Spearing got a yellow card from the referee who was now shrouded in steam. After the game ended Zat Knight gave it large to the referee and got a yellow card.
We had a long wait at the station while a door problem was dealt with and the Bolton fans were full of complaints about the referee. He did overheat, but then we have had our share of poor refereeing decisions. For once fortune was on our side. I missed my usual train at Euston and had to get a Preston train which had its complement of distressed Trotters. My day was made complete by the news that Leamington were ten points clear at the top of the Southern Premier, having beaten Cambridge City away 4-1. This included three penalties so they got the rub of the green as well.
This morning the sun was shining as I went to a church that served an abandoned village in a beautiful remote spot in the Warwickshire countryside for the Easter Day service. For once, having been to a Charlton game the day before, I was at peace on a Sunday morning.Match analysis
There were a number of candidates for the Silver Bone but Ivy the Terrible selected Callum Harriott. Sometimes he tries to do much, and he didn't score, but he really put the Bolton defence under the cosh. Hamer should have done better for the second goal, but he did make some decent saves later. Button had a mare against Millwall, but the goalkeeping issue remains one for thought once the season is over. Solly had another great game, making some great defensive interventions. It was also good to see him take some inswinging corners. Player of the year again? Wiggins is shaking off the rust and looked the best I have seen him since his return. Morrison has not been at his best recently and once dithering by him nearly set up a goal scoring opportunity. Dervite was slow and error prone early in the game, but improved as it went on and he did score, so all is forgiven. Hughes took a little while to get into the game on his return, but then he started to put in a performance that was workmanlike and then went beyond that. Got a generous acknowldegement when he went off. One Addick commented, 'He started to get into the game with his low fuss passing, easy control and general Kish-like hassling of the opposition.' Jackson was an early target of the moaners and his lack of pace is a worry, but what people often forget is that he can score goals. Pritchard is a player I like because of his commitment, but I still worry that the skill level isn't quite high enough at times. The moaners in the row behind argued that Fuller only looks interested when he has sight of goal, but I thought that he put himself about quite a bit, getting a bashing for his troubles. Sometimes he does make a sublime move and then a poor one minutes later. Kermorgant started to lose his rag again in the second half and he needed to score the penalty to boost his confidence. Wilson made an efficient contribution when he came on. Haynes tried to get involved, but didn't contribute a lot. Gower looked cultured.
Rescue Cat Reg stopped me writing the match preview yesterday by bashing the keyboard and placing himself in front of the screen until I agreed that he could give the Hiss of the Match instead of Juneau the Soccer Cat. Reggie did indeed act as a lucky talisman and has awarded the accolade to Bolton manager Dougie Freedman who clearly took particular exception to being beaten by Charlton and argued with the officials all the way to the tunnel. He has complained about the referee being 'part-time', but they all are at this level.