Saturday 8 December 2007

Charlton win at home

Charlton secured three points at The Valley today by beating Ipswich Town 3-1. The Addicks were 3-0 up at half time, Darren Ambrose opening the scoring after five minutes, followed by the second by Chris Iwelumo and an excellent goal by Ambrose for the third.

The Tractors revved up a gear after the break and won a penalty which was saved by Nicky Weaver. They secured a consolation goal but, despite some nervy moments and over six minutes of time added on, Charlton held the score to 3-1.

The victory was not without its price for Charlton as Danny Mills got a fifth yellow card, joining Lloyd Sam among those suspended for next week's match at The Hawthorns, while Jon Fortune was sent off after the match after a brawl broke out. Pards later made it clear that Fortune would be disciplined for his actions.

The match started with myself and the Bloke Beside Me almost being hit by a ball hoofed into the East Stand by an Ipswch player. Sam won Charlton a corner but Andy Reid's effort went straight to the keeper. Chris Powell won Charlton a corner which was taken on the East Stand side by Ambrose, but the referee blew for a push. Holland provided a great cross and Ambbrose was able to head into the back of the net to make it 1-0 on five minutes.

Fortune put in some good defensive work. An effort from a free kick taken by Reid was just wide. The Ipswich keeper was involved in a collision and required treatment. Charlton were given a free kick when Iwelumo was pushed over, but it was over hit by Mills. There was a shout for a Charlton penalty for handball, but the referee gestured that it was ball to the top part of the arm. Good play by Sam led to a shot that was just wide.

Reid won the Addicks a corner, there was a scramble in front of goal and Iwelumo managed to put the ball away to make it 2-0. Ipswich manager Magilton had seen enough and took off Gavin Williams and replaced him by Pablo Counago. Why the Spanish striker had not been one from the beginning was a bit of a mystery was he was far more of a threat.

However, it was not avail as Andy Reid turned provider for Darren Ambrose who put in a great strike along the ground to make it 3-0 on 39 minutes.

Reid blasted over in front of goal when Steve from Sidcup reckoned he should have scored. Ipswich were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position but it led to an offside decision. The Covered End started to chant 'You might as well go home now' which was a bit of a hostage to fortune.

Half time: Addicks 2, Tractors 0

Magilton withdrew Gary Roberts and brought on Danny Haynes immediately after the break while Harding was replaced by Rodriguez. Charlton fans were asking afterwards what had happened to their team in the first ten minutes of the half but, with nothing to lose, Ipswich decided to storm their way back into the match.

The referee awarded Ipswich a penalty for a handball in front of their fans and charm merchant Alan Lee stepped up to take it but Nicky Weaver made a vital save. Ipswich won a corner, but Weaver punched it out.

Ipswich continued to threaten and a shot that looked as if it was going in came off the underside of the bar. Darren Ambrose made a great run, but was brought down by De Vos who received a yellow card. Charlton were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area, but it came off the Ipswich wall. Holland advanced on goal and his effort hit the post from some 20 yards out.

The referee pointed to the spot for a penalty, but then went over to consult the linesman who advised him against it and all Charlton got was a corner. Reid won Charlton a free kick but it went over the bar. An Ipswich corner was followed by play in which the ball flashed dangerously across the front of Weaver's goal.

Charlton were living on the edge and a sequence that started with a mistake by Chris Powell on the wing and poor defending by the Addicks saw danger man Counago score for the Tractors on 69 minutes.

Ipswich won a corner, but Pards took the opportunity to take off Sam and bring on Semedo. Although I can understand why Semedo was brought on to give more defensive capability, I and those around me were a bit puzzled why it was Sam who was taken off. The Ipswich corner was headed out. Fortune received a yellow card for a foul.

Zheng Zhi went down and required treatment. Mills made a defensive error but as able to recover. Ambrose put in a shot that went over the bar. On 87 minutes Reid was withdrawn to prolonged applause in favour of Varney. Ipswich won a free kick and Danny Mills got a yellow card. Bougherra was brought on in place of Chris Powell.

The officials announced five minutes of additional time, although more like seven was played. An Ipswich corner was punched out. Alan Lee received the yellow card he had deserved all game. Luke Varney was brought down and David Wright received a yellow card. A final Ipswich free kick preceded the whistle and the trouble which led to Fortune being red carded.

It was an exciting game and unlike many other teams that had come to The Valley this season Ipswich did try to play football rather than kick us off the park which was probably their undoing.

On the tube I got into conversation with a Grimsby fan and we swapped Clive Mendonca stories. Once a real competitor in what was then Division 1, Grimsby have had two successive relegations, are near the bottom of League 2 and are in real financial trouble.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Darren Ambrose for two goals against his former club, the second one being particularly excellent. Nicky Weaver saved a penalty and was not really at fault for the Ipswich goal when he was let down by his defence. Chris Powell was running out of puff by the second half and starting to make mistakes. Danny Mills is a skilled footballer but gets himself into avoidable arguments. Sodje had another excellent game at the heart of the central defence and when he made one error he quickly recovered from it. Fortune was stalwart, but spoilt everything by losing his temper at the end, admittedly with a bruiser who had been causing trouble throughout the game. Holland provided the assist for the first goal and was generally effective against his old club. Pards paid tribute to Reid's performance at Cardiff and said that he had rewarded him with a steak and onion pie after the match. He had another very good game yesterday and the concern must be whether a Premiership club will come in for him in the transfer window. Sam gave the Tractors some trouble and we will miss him at The Hawthorns. Zhi looked dangerous on occasions, particularly when powering forward. Iwelumo scored a rather scrappy goal, but they all count. Once again he was being persistently fouled and the referee only intervened when he was pushed over. Semedo displayed his silky skills when he came on. 'Reg' Varney certainly does not lack for pace and threatened to score at least once when he came on. Bougherra had a cameo and made one clearance even if it was high into the air. The thought of him back in the central defence does not fill me with confidence.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to Ipswich bruiser Alan Lee.

Crowd rating: I wish the crowd could get a bit more confidence in the team. In the second half when Ipswich stepped up a gear, the crowd was very nervous and predicting a 3-3 and so on and this communicates itself to the team. 6/10.

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