Friday, 12 April 2013

Addicks face on form Barnsley

When I had lunch with a Sheffield United fan a few weeks ago, he said the view in Yorkshire was that Barnsley had made a sufficient recovery to avoid the drop. At home they will be looking for their fourth win in a row and an extension of their nine match scoring sequence at Oakwell, the joint longest current run in what is admittedly a very competitive division. Since the turn of the year when David Flitcroft took charge, they've picked up 28 points out of 48. They are currently 6th in the form table, one place above Charlton. Even so, they are just three places and two points above the relegation zone.

Their home record has a nice symmetry about it: won 8, drawn 4, lost 8. Their away record is less good, but one of their five wins came at our expense at The Valley, a defeat that I found particularly frustrating.

For the Addicks this is their 1,800th away league fixture, the first having been a 2-0 defeat at Gillingham on Wednesday 31st August 1921. Charlton have not lost on the road since they went down 1-0 to promotion candidates Hull on 18th February.

We have not picked up three points at Oakwell since December 1995 and last scored an away goal there in December 1999. We did manage a goalless draw in 2008/9 and the 1999 match ended in a 1-1 draw, but we lost 3-0 in 2007/8.

It could well be the same line up as against Leeds with Leon Cort still doubtful. Obika could be given a start, but I think that he is more likely to appear from the bench.

Barnsley is at the heart of the old South Yorkshire coalfield, so there is no warmth for 'southern softies'. What has often been forgotten in this week's discussions is that Harold Wilson's governments closed more coal mines than those of Mrs Thatcher.

As befits the occasion, the referee is from County Durham and a former Sunderland season ticket holder. Geoff Eltringham is one of the more vertically challenged referees, coming in at 5 ft. 7 ins. He started off in park football and was spotted by an assessor and has had a rapid rise since then.

Odds (Coral) are 5/4 for a home win, 23/10 for a draw and 11/5 for a Charlton win. I am going for a draw. 12th is hardly a relegation position, but it does not represent complete safety in this crazy division.

There's a fascinating post on Charlton Life about the 1978 season when a lot of teams were also in the relegation mix and we only survived on the last game of the season at Orient away: Survival. As one of the comments points out, the probability of relegation is only 0.5 per cent and if we won all five remaining games we would have a 36 per cent chance of being in the play offs. I will stick to what I have believed all season, this looks like a lower mid-table side.

Quite a bit of my focus will be on Leamington tomorrow. If they win and Stourbridge drop points then they will be champions and will have won promotion to the Blue Square North.


Anonymous said...

About Harold Wilson and mine closures: his government was shutting pits at a time when the economy was booming, and there were plenty of jobs available in other industries. He was not setting out to destroy the industry as an act of political revenge. To compare the two prime minsters' actions without context is very misleading.

Wyn Grant said...

The other piece of context is that the NUM failed to hold a ballot on its strike action which undermined its legitimacy and made it easier for Mrs Thatcher to pursue her policies. I'm not sure that even when the economy was doing well, mining skills were that readily transferable.