There was no birthday cheer for Bob Peeters as Charlton succumbed to a 0-1 defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion at The Valley this afternoon. Peeters said in the programme that there was light at the end of the tunnel, but one fears that it is the train coming the other way (and no longer from Charing Cross).
I tried to buy some luck by getting my Voice of the Valley from Rick Everitt and pushed my way through the throng of admirers (well, actually, Dave from Barnehurst), but it was to no avail. I was surprised to have my ticket checked as I entered the East Stand and even more to be asked if I knew where my seat was, hopefully I do after getting on for twenty years.
The pivotal point of the match was when a shot from Solly rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and the Seagulls then went down the other end and scored, albeit in a well-worked move from a free kick which Etheridge should have dealt with more effectively.
The problem was once again the lack of any cutting edge. Vetokele is clearly out of sorts. When Tucudean went off injured and was replaced by Watt, he at least showed some energy and some nice touches, despite being widely derided before his arrival as a Standard Liege cast off. I also thought that Gudmundsson put in some really good corners, but despite some goalmouth scrambles, we were unable to make anything of these opportunities.
Brighton looked as if they were going for an early goal, but despite some dominance in the early exchanges, were unable to score. We then came into the game a bit more, but all our attempts to mount attacks in the first half lacked pace. Consequently, the momentum of potential opportunities was lost and the Albion were able to mount an effective defence. We showed more pace and determination in the second half, but it didn't bear fruit.
The one bonus was when a notice at Coventry Station said that the car park ticket machine was only accepting notes. I hit the jackpot with more coins pouring out than the five pound note I had tendered.
Etheridge was not impressive, he should have dealt with the goal better and put Bikey in difficulty with a toe poke out earlier on. Bikey gave away a needless free kick from which the Albion scored and looked ponderous at times. Ben Haim got the ball forward well at times, setting up one useful attack, but looked a bit sluggish in defence. It was good to see Wiggins returning. He did get forward well and delivered some good balls into the box. Not surprisingly, he looked tired by the end of the match. If we were still giving silver bones, Chris Solly would have one to add to his substantial collection. He looked our best player. We were concerned when he had to switch to midfield after half time, but he performed his role there well.
It was evident in the first half that Jackson was injured from his running and I am surprised that Bob Peeters started him, but I suppose that it reflects the lack of alternatives. I thought Gudmundsson did well, but an alternative view is that he was 'Below his usual standards, crossing was poor and his corners often going to the first defender. Cousins got involved, managed to maintain his position most of the time and made some useful contributions. Wilson had a simply shocking game.
Vetoekele is a shadow of the player we saw at the beginning of the season. He never threatened, his control was poor and he has clearly lost confidence. Tucadean was a waste of space.
Gomez did well when he came on. Not surprisingly, interest is being shown by bigger clubs but Gomez said in the programme that he intends to stay put as he could get lost at a bigger club. His best development path is at Charlton. Watt was greeted with a chant of 'Watt, Watt, Watt' and looks as if he can do the business. Not clear why Church came on or what he contributed apart from running around a lot, also meant that Vetokele was pushed out wide left which didn't work.