Sunday 23 December 2007

Not very festive

Our pitch announcer said before the game that we were going to have a 'festive football match'. But the players did not appear wearing the Santa hats for sale at £2 each in Floyd Road, nor were the ball boys kitted out as elves. Instead the Addickted got little festive cheer from one of the poorest games this season which ended in a 1-1 draw. Danny Mills celebrated his last game at The Valley by being sent off for using unparliamentary language to the referee. For me the outcome was not a surprise and at least I was able to get a little consolation from my winnings from the jackpot at the pub.

To me this match demonstrated how important Andy Reid to us as one of our few creative quality players. Combined with the financial figures in the programme, it was another reality check for those expecting automatic promotion. However, most of the other teams in the Championship aren't much good either so we remained in 5th place.

Hull won an early corner, but Bryan Hughes provided some early festive frivolity by playing the ball along the line and out of play. Darren Ambrose was brought down and Charlton were awarded a free kick in a potentially promising position but his effort was well wide. Ambrose lost the ball, but then Charlton kept losing possession all game. A Charlton corner taken by Ambrose was easily caught by the Hull keeper.

Charlton provided a rare spell of pressure. Sam did very well to keep the ball in play. Ambrose had a half chance but blasted the ball well over to add one to the 'shots off target' stats. Hull were awarded a free kick against Bougherra and the ball was eventually cleared.

There was a mix up in defence with Weaver hesitant. He then redeemed himself with a good save on the ground. An offence against Iwelumo produced a Charlton free kick, but the offside flag was raised. Sodje had to be taken off to warm applause and was replaced by McCarthy.

Weaver made a great save with his leg. Chris Powell showed his skill by defending the ball out of play. The Addicks were awarded a free kick after Iwelumo was held back and there was nearly a Hull own goal. But then a confused Charlton defence froze and Fraizer Campbell was able to put the visitors ahead.

Thomas was brought down on the edge of the area and Charlton were awarded a free kick. In the closing minutes of the half Folan and Hughes received yellow cards.

Half time: Addicks 0, Tigers 1

After the break McLeod replaced Sam. The Tigers were still very much up for it and won two early corners. For their part the Addicks kept giving their ball away and when they did have it started hoofing it into the area instead of playing ball to feet and capitalising on their strengths.

Bougherra performed his falling over trick and conceded a corner. From the corner McLeod broke down the wing, but had no support and was tackled fairly. Charlton won a free kick on the West Stand side and after the ball was played in Bougherra was able to score a scrappy goal. But they all count.

Charlton won a couple of corners, one through Thomas, but to no effect. Campbell got a yellow card and Mills received one for dissent. Garcia was withdrawn and McPhee came on. Thomas won the Addicks a corner, but it was a poor delivery. It remains one of the most disappointing aspects of our game.

Poor defending by McCarthy led to a Hull corner, but the referee then ruled that there had been a foul on Weaver. After another tangle with a Tiger, Mills used a four letter word to describe the referee and received the seventh red card of his career. Powell was replaced by Semedo, while Hull withdrew Hughes and brought on Barmby.

Weaver provided a great stop. Campbell was replaced by Damien Delaney. Hull won a corner and for a moment I though that the ball was in the net, but it was just wide. A Matt Holland effort from distance went wide. Weaver made another good save and the point was secured. At least Charlton now have two away games to look forward to.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible awarded the Silver Bone to captain Matt Holland for honest endeavour. Nicky Weaver made some important stops to prevent another home defeat, but was criticised in the pub afterwards for not commanding his area. Mind you, he is always going to have some trouble from the 'let's play our own youngsters' tendency. Mills is an accident waiting to happen. Wind up merchants, of whom Hull has its fair share, will always go after him and around us we were forceasting that he would be off before the end of the game, although we thought it would be a double yellow. Sodje had to be withdrawn injured early on, quite possibly also his last appearance at The Valley. Bougherra did score the goal and was reasonable throughout, hoofing the ball forward when necessary. But Fortune is better. Powell attracted some criticism, but I thought that he had a reasonable game and combined with Thomas quite well. Sam was withdrawn at half time, although I thought that he was reasonably competent in the first half, but did not make a great impresion. Ambrose simply failed to contribute enough. Zhi continues to be below his best and was making mistakes all over the pitch. Thomas showed us on occasion what he can do, but not often enough. Iwelumo was as usual continually fouled throughout the game but got little protection from the referee. My expectations of McCarthy are low, so given that he performed quite well when he came on and only got into trouble once or twice. As usual McLeod rushed about the pitch to no effect whatsoever. Semedo came on after the sending off and slotted in competently.

Juneau the Soccer Cat gave the Hiss of the Match to the annoying pitch announcer. Not only did he put the mockers on the game with his festive remark, but he also proclaimed that the 7-6 victory was 'one of the most incredible games ever played on the planet.' What planet is he from? Planet Hyperbole, no doubt.

Crowd rating The turnout was quite good given the day and the opposition, but they were not in great voice. 6/10.

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