Saturday, 5 October 2013

Clean sheet at The Valley

Charlton achieved a rare clean sheet at The Valley this afternoon with a 0-0 draw with Blackpool. While it wasn't exactly a bore draw, the passion and commitment of Tuesday night was missing, although sometimes the evening games under the lights at The Valley are the best.

The Addicks continued to feel the absence of Yann Kermorgant with a lack of firepower up front. The first shot of goal was a tame effort by Simon Church in the second half. For their part, Blackpool disappointed, given their position in the table and their performances in the past. Bolton's win at Birmingham means that Charlton slip to 21st in the table.

I heard that some fans had problems with trains, being told to get out at Blackheath because of a broken down train at Woolwich Arsenal. They then had to pile on to buses. I came via Greenwich so was ok. Be warned that there will be a limited train service on the day of a Wigan game, which is helpful for an anticipated big crowd.

Charlton started brightly and the Bloke Beside Me remarked me after ten minutes that he had never enjoyed football so much at Charlton this season (though he wasn't at Notts Forest). However, it didn't last, as our first twenty minutes was our best and then the Tangerines started to get into the game more.

We had an early chance when we were awarded a free kick near the 'D', but although it was well taken by Dale Stephens it ended up on the roof of the net. Rhoys Wiggins was displaying real skill, Morrison put in a great defensive header and even Harriott displayed some nifty footwork. We were playing a good passing game. Ricardo Fuller, who had been greeted with warm applause, was caught offside to the shocked disbelief of the crowd.

We had a really good spell around 25 minutes but we were unable to make it count. Blackpool were starting to counter attack more effectively and won a corner but it was claimed by Hamer. Poor defensive work put Hamer under pressure with a back pass in a crowded box. A Charlton free kick was poor. Rhoys Wiggins put in a cross but it was not placed so that anyone could use it. Blackpool won another corner, and the Bloke Beside Me thought the game was tipping their way, but Stephens cleared with a good header out.

Under pressure, Wood put in a great defensive header to Hamer. The referee showed that he was on top of his game by remembering a series of fouls by Kirk Broadfoot and giving him a yellow card, much to the latter's annoyance who looked as if he might throw sand in the referee's face. In stoppage time Hamer had to save on the line from Fuller.

HT 0-0

Sordell was lucky not to be yellow carded for a poor attempt at simulation. A Blackpool free kick led to a corner for the visitors. Wiggins fought well for the ball. Gower was taken off for Pritchard. Following a good cross, we won our first corner of the game and, after a Charlton throw in, this was followed by a second.

Sordell won Charlton a free kick, but this was dismissed as lucky by the row behind. Cousins put in a great shot, but the keeper was able to tip it round the post. The ball from the corner was just over and I did think it might have last been touched by a Blackpool player. The Tangerines were making increasing use of their long throw in routine, but to no great effect, in part thanks to Hamer. They took off Osbourne and brought on their loan signing from Newcastle, Gosling, who is their great white hope. Simon Church was taken off and replaced by Stewart. Ince got a yellow card for a foul. Fuller went off to warm applause which he acknowledged and Davies came on.

Despite the late attempt by Blackpool, this was a match that had 0-0 written all over it and it is difficult to complain about the result.

Incidentally, one Addick drew my attention to the professional way that Chris Powell handles himself at the end of the match, making sure he shakes hands with all the opposition players.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Jordan Cousins for an accomplished performance which included the best shot on goal in the game. It's good that he is now on a three year contract. The Football League Paper said of him, 'a calm presence, anchored the midfield.' Hamer wasn't really tested by Blackpool, except at a few corners which he claimed well. I wish that he would roll the ball out sometimes when the opportunity presents itself. Morrison had a good game, in particular put in some great defensive work in the first half. Wood was also good and showed some real skill. Wiggins is getting back to his old form and got forward well, although his crosses were not always as precise as one would like. Wilson had a decent game, although his decision-making failed him once or twice. He made a particularly serious mistake at the end of the game which nearly saw Ince score. However, the FLP thought that he marshalled the balding Bishop well. Stephens was much more active and committed and even used his talents in defence. However, he did fade in the second half. Gower was a bit anonymous and was eventually taken off. However, our midfield was then relatively inexperienced and possibly we controlled the ball better when Gower was there. Harriott showed some real skill on occasions, but he was also muscled off the ball by the stronger Blackpool players. FLP gave him the lowest score of any Charlton player and thought that his final ball was often poor. Church does put in the effort, but whether he has sufficient quality is an open question. However, perhaps he deserved better service. FLP noted that he won some intelligent free kicks. Sordell quickly became public enemy number one as far as the row behind me was concerned and even when he did do something decent it was put down to luck. However, I do think they have a point, as I would like to see a striker hungrier for the ball and more eager to get involved. FLP thought that 'he shielded the ball well against the bigger frame of MacKenzie. Once again, the opposition players seemed bigger than ours.

Pritchard had a reasonable game when he came on, but I am not sure that he added that much. Stewart was far from a game changer, despite getting a big write up in the programme. Pigott had a cameo, but did his best to get involved.

Pleased to see a photo in the programme of a match against Stoke City sixty years ago in which Stanley Matthews featured. We won that game, which attracted a crowd of 56,000, which we won 4-2. I seem to recall that my father thought Matthews was well past his best.

I thought that the referee Keith Hill had a good game, and has been presented with a Silver Biscuit by Ivy, but Rescue Cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the East Stand lino who didn't seem aware of what was going on in front of him.


Anonymous said...

Hamer can only roll out the ball to the full backs if they are looking at him, and want it.
Mostly they are looking elsewhere,posibly lacking in confidence as a team as is Ben Hamer.
Constructive critism from cblock to a well written blog

Wyn Grant said...

Fair point, I was probably thinking of the only time a full back was available.