Charlton drew 0-0 with Bolton at The Valley this afternoon to secure what might have been a useful point if they had beaten Barnsley on Tuesday. As it is, they have gone ahead of Blackpool on goal difference. The Seasiders lost 0-1 at home to Burnley and sound as if they are in free fall. Their assistant coach was sent to the stands after he shoved a substitute in the face as he was about to go on the pitch and fans halted the match by throwing hundreds of tennis balls on the pitch in protest at owner Karl Oyston.
By contrast at Charlton fans got behind the 'sea of red' day. I paid the price for wearing an old CASC top by being stopped by someone at London Bridge with a question about the CAS Trust. Director Katrien Meire came on to the pitch before the game to address fans and was listened to respectfully and was politely applauded, although in the excitement she almost left her capacious handbag by the dugout.
In the first half I felt that we were giving Bolton too much space to attack, especially down their right. Our own efforts to score were way off target. We started to get on target more in the second half, but the key moment was when Church took the ball off the keeper and appeared to be ready to score when the keeper brought him down with his leg. However, the portly referee did not award a penalty and his linesman rubbed it in by repeatedly shaking his head in front of the East Stand.
Astrit Ajdarevic, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Simon Church and Johnnie Jackson all squandered first-half opportunities. David Wheater volleyed over for Bolton and Matt Mills had a header cleared off the line for the visitors. Ajdarevic fired wide and keeper Adam Bogdan did well to block Ghoochannejhad from having a shot. Church also missed a header and Ajdarevic, Ghoochannejhad and Jackson all failed with poor efforts.
Wheater and Mills had chances for Bolton either side of half-time, with Diego Poyet clearing the latter's effort on the goalline. It took 63 minutes for Charlton to have a shot on target, with Bogdan saving Ghoochannejhad's weak shot, and moments later the keeper had to make his second save, this time from Church. Ajdarevic had another effort saved and Jordan Cousins, Jon Obika and Michael Morrison all missed the target. The Addicks would have been made to really pay had Danns done better after Bolton charged down the pitch to find space in front of goal but he scooped his effort over the bar.
Once again we played some neat football, but failed to find the back of the net.
There were a number of strong contenders for the Silver Bone but Ivy the Terrible finally awarded it to Michael Morrison. It was good to see him back and he was strong when he needed to be. Hamer did not have a lot to do, although he did dither unnecessarily once or twice. Dervite was very solid, although one or two attempted passes were poor. Fox had an excellent debut at The Valley, dealing with his opposite number well, making himself available and putting in some good crosses. Wilson got forward well and put in some good passes. One Addick commented rather cruelly that watching Jackson was like seeing a family pet at the end of his life. He did try his best, but he is slowing down markedly. Cousins is knackered, having played too many games at his age at this level. It showed, for example by giving away an unnecessary free kick in a dangerous position. But he did make some good contributions. Poyet once again displayed his natural talents. Astrit is clearly affected by his chest infection, but put in a good shift and was warmly applauded when he was substituted. Reza is disappointing in terms of speed and reaction for someone who is an international player. Church was very involved and was unlucky not to win a penalty. Green seemed to be peeing in the dugout before he came on. He was completely clueless, wandering out of position and making no real contribution. Obika changed very little when he came on. Hughes is often a substitute, but rarely makes it on to the pitch. This was one of the exceptions and he was brought on to shore up the defence and hang on to the point.
Rescue Cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the East Stand linesman who displayed some poor decision-making. The referee was also reluctant to notice pushes in the back.