Saturday 29 December 2007

Leicester reject secures a point

A 90th minute goal by Leicester reject Paddy McCarthy gave Charlton a share of the points at the Crisp Bowl today after the Foxes had gone ahead with a poorly defended opportunistic goal. For much of the game neither side looked particularly crisp, but rather like two mid-table sides who couldn't get on top of the other and were happy to settle for a goalless draw. All credit to Charlton for battling for the point, but we should be able to beat a side like Leicester and we need to do better than getting three 1-1 draws in a row.

On two minutes Leicester won their first corner but this was cleared. Two Foxes went to ground and there was a long delay while they received treatment. Foxes going to ground became something of a pattern in the match.

A succession of throw ins for both sides was revealing of the quality of the match. Some light relief was provided by the very fat Leicester drummer who was stripped to the waist in the biting wind. Charlton launched their first effective attack, but it ended in a Leicester free kick. Chris Iwelumo received a yellow card for an incident on the wing.

Joe Mattock was withdrawn in favour of Alan Sheehan who was himself substituted later in the match. A Fox went to ground as if shot. Collins John was replaced by Jonathan Hayes.

Luke Varney won the Addicks a corner. Taken by Thomas, it was played out and Matt Holland put in a strong shot from distance that was just wide of the post.

A Chris Powell cross led to another Charlton corner, but this one was unproductive. Chris Iwelumo advanced and was brought down in the area, but it was not a penalty. Magic Bougherra burst down the wing, but ultimately the move led to nothing.

A Leicester cross flashed across the goal and the move ended with the ball in the side netting. A Leicester corner was cleared. Following a foul on Bougherra, Charlton were able to apply some pressure from the free kick but it ended in a goal kick.

A Leicester corner ended in an Addicks free kick. With three minutes added on, Thomas burst forward but had no support. Weaver came out of his goal and was exposed and the ball had to be cleared off the line by a Charlton defender.

Half time: Foxes 0, Addicks 0

The Foxes came out to an extended play of the post horn gallop, but were confronted by some good defending by McCarthy. A Fox went down again. Thomas made a good run and created a chance for Varney but he blasted the ball over the goal.

A Fox went to ground again and this time Leicester were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position. Weaver made three saves in succession, one with the palm of his hand and two by punching out, keeping Charlton in the game.

Leicester applied some pressure but it was ultimately ineffective. Good defensive work by McCarthy averted a corner and the Addickted burst into a chant of his name. Fortune had picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Mouto2. Leicester won a corner but the ball was punched out by Weaver. Zheng Zhi won the Addicks a corner.

The lino on the far side was flagging for a Charlton free kick in a promising position, but the Addicks kept on playing. A Fox managed to break with the ball, but then dived in front of goal. His appeals for a free kick in a dangerous position were waved away by the referee, but no yellow card was given for simulation.

Weaver spilled the ball from a shot, but Mouto2 retrieved the situation well and charged away down the wing. Varney won Charlton a free kick on the touchline. Sheehan was subbed by Wesolowski. Varney put in a strong shot from the wing but it was repelled by the keeper.

Charlton lost the ball in their half and put themselves under pressure. Weaver did not position himself well for the shot and although he was able to get a hand to it he was not able to stop it going into the back of the net, Clemence celebrating a soft goal.

Hayes administered a trip to stop a quick Charlton response and got a yellow card. Semedo was replaced by Sam. A Charlton corner was unproductive. A Leicester corner was taken short but led to an Addicks free kick.

Zheng Zhi was fouled, another yellow card was awarded, from the free kick there was a scramble in front of goal and McCarthy was named as the scorer. There were quite a few minutes left to play and Charlton looked as if they might score a second, but an effort from Zheng Zhi was wild and wide.

Walking away from the stadium the Foxes around us were bemoaning how poor they were, but we should have hunted them down for three points.

Match analysis

'If you had said a few weeks ago that I would be awarding a Silver Bone to Paddy McCarthy I would have said you were barking' commented match analyst Ivy the Terrible who had made the journey up the M69. It was awarded not just for the goal but for stalwart and intelligent defending throughout the match to a chorus of boos and chants of 'Leicester reject'. 'He never did that for us', grumbled a crestfallen Fox after the game. Weaver was partly to blame for the Foxes goal, but also made a few good saves. Bougherra still gives rise to some doubts and is very fond of hoofing the ball out of defence, although that is better than surrendering possession. Fortune was solid and competent until he was withdrawn because of injury. The Foxes tried to exploit a supposed weakness down their right, but Powell stood firm and was rarely discomfited. Semedo displayed some fluent passing. Holland was as solid as ever and had one good attempt on goal. Thomas was our most effective attacking player, although the final product was lacking. Zhi provided some good passes and tracked back well when he was needed in defence. Varney made some decent attempts to provide crosses and shots, but they were not very effective. Iwelumo was largely marked out of the game, although he did his best to connect with goal kicks. Moutaouakil looked effective on the wing when he came on and provided something of an attacking punch. Sam was presumably brought on to strengthen the attack, but was not very involved.

Hiss of the Match This was given by Juneau the Soccer Cat for the totally inadequate provision of ladies toilets (not to mention litter trays).

Crowd rating: A good turnout by the Addickted and they were in quite good if not very inventive voice. 6/10

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