Monday, 16 September 2013

We do have a match at Bruddersfield

While thoughts are already turning to Saturday's derby with Millwall, we do have a match at Huddersfield tomorrow night. J B Priestley's novel The Good Companions starts with a cloth clapped crowd streaming away from a football match at 'Bruddersfield', a thinly disguised Huddersfield. Town also have the distinction of having been supported by a prime minister, Harold Wilson, the man who kept us out of the Vietnam war. Edward Heath, despite being the MP for a constituency containing many Addicks, was a Gooner.

But enough history. This is going to be a competitive game, as was shown by our 3-2 defeat there in the League Cup. The two teams are actually next to each other in the form table, although that contains one match from last season. In the real table, Town are currently 11th with three more points than Charlton. They are unbeaten at home, where they have conceded only two goals, but this record involves two draws and just one win.

On Saturday they had a goalless draw with Doncaster in what was described as a typically feisty Yorkshire derby. Having been cheated by the weather at Charlton, Doncaster charm merchant manager Paul Dickov went ballistic about a denied penalty after a handball in the area was judged to have not been intentional by the referee.

For Huddersfield, keeper Alex Smithies was the star player, denying the visitors a tenth minute lead with an acrobatic save from Chris Brown. For the Terriers, it was very much a game of two halves with the home side upping their game in the second half.

Apart from Smithies and Adam Clayton who tried to rouse the team and drive play forward, most of the Town players seem to have had a torrid time. In defence skipper Peter Clarke occasionally had mix ups with his defensive partner Anthony Gerrard who made life easy for Doncaster in the first half by dropping off, but showed he was made of stern stuff by playing on with a bandaged head.

Even for those Addicks who live up 'oop North, and there are quite a few, a mid-week evening kick off is not ideal, although I still remember a 3-0 win there on a bleak Tuesday night. I have a good friend who is a Huddersfield fan, but for one reason or another, we haven't got together for a pre-match drink for some years.

Huddersfield are too canny to think they just have to turn up to claim the points, but I think this game might end in a draw, possibly goalless. Last year, of course, we won by the odd goal and once again it might be the case that one is enough for either side. This prediction will no doubt turn out to be hopelessly wrong.

Odds (Coral) are: Huddersfield, 5/4; Draw, 9/4; Charlton, 11/5. The referee, Stuart Attwell, is from Warwickshire so it's case of 'I know where you live' if there are any poor decisions. The linos are both from the north, while the fourth official, Mr Wigglesworth, is from South Yorkshire.

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