I don't know whether some wag put that advert up on the big screen at The Valley this afternoon, but the Charlton pitch certainly wasn't as the rain poured down. I had predicted in my preview that the forecast rain would play a big part in the match, but I didn't think it would give the Addicks a 'get out of gaol' card.
The referee suspended the match just after half way through the first half with Charlton 0-3 down. A team of ground staff then came on, but there is no longer a whale of the kind that was available in the Premier League. Instead there was a hand propelled roller which gathered a small fish pond size quantity of water which then had to be tipped away. Eager to double their lead, the Doncaster players started lending a hand.
The referee then deemed the pitch to be playable, despite every move splashing up water. I think that he would have abandoned the game then if it had been 0-0. (He may have taken advice during the suspension). As it was, a Simon Church goal made it 1-3 before the delayed break. The referee then came on the pitch at half time to talk to Colin Powell about his technique with the pitchfork. When the Doncaster players came out with the charm merchant Keegan who had been red carded to salute their fans, we knew that it was all over.
Charlton are now in the relegation positions at 22nd, one place above Millwall who secured a point at Sheffield Wednesday. They had to play in Wednesday's away kit from last year after the kit man forgot their own (or perhaps it was sold off at a motorway stop?) Yeovil lost at home and Barnsley went down 5-2 at Blackburn and are bottom.
I actually thought we played better than we did against 'Boro, although Doncaster played a nice passing game which secured their first goal after two minutes with a good cross and a header that left Hamer with little chance. Some around me thought that the throw in which led to the move should have been given to us. Their goalkeeper made two outstanding saves from Pritchard and Harriott. The conditions did not permit good football, and although one might say it was the same for both teams, it looked wetter in front of the goal we were defending and in front of the East Stand.
We looked better defensively in the second portion of the game, with a Donny goal rightly ruled offside. As one wag said, it was a half of two halves. Nevertheless, the initial defending was woeful and clearly needs attention.
This was supposed to be a first game for trainee match analyst Mustang from Compton Berks. but unusually for a Labrador he hates water and cried off. His cousin Henry was then brought in from Chilton Oxon and had to ring senior match analysts Ivy the Terrible to ask whether a Silver Bone should be awarded. Ivy ruled that it would not be.
I think that the defence rather than Hamer specifically were responsible for the three goals, although he protested strongly that the third one was offside. Morrison had to do some rather desperate defending at times. On one occasion if he had let the ball go out of play Doncaster would have not won a throw in. Cort was solid and put in some strong defensive headers, even if they were directionless at times. Wiggins had a torrid time on the wet ground in front of the East Stand. He was at fault for the first goal. When I made earlier criticisms of him, people said that it was just a dip in form, but it is looking like quite a long one. Solly looked much better than in the 'Boro match. Harriott was prominent in the attack, although on one occasion he should have crossed rather than shot at the keeper. Pritchard put in a good shot on goal which many keepers would not have saved. Cousins showed some nice touches and looks promising, winning the ball with real skill on one occasion despite the conditions. Gower got involved and picked up a rather harsh yellow card after a Doncaster player skidded on the wet surface. Kermorgant battled away and was the target of some fouls, not all of which were recognised by the referee, although one did lead to the first yellow for Keegan. One attempt on goal was way off target, but the keeper had to make a save from a header. Church was always a threat and took his goal well.
Rescue Cat Reg gave the Hiss of the Match to the indecisive referee, who seemed to have got water on the brain, but also spotted proof reading errors in the programme. Apparently we played Oxford City in the League Cup. I know they have been making headway and are only two divisions below their rivals, but non-league teams do not feature in this competition. Fans were also advised that a Mobility coach would be provided to Barnsley, but it is not clear what fans would find when they got there.