Saturday 31 October 2009

Charlton stay 2nd after 3-1 defeat

Charlton suffered a 3-1 defeat at Carlisle today, but stay 2nd on goal difference from MK Dons. Charlton started with a 4-4-2 formation with Burton and McLeod up front and Carl Ikeme preferred in goal to Darren Randolph.

Bailey had a chance on 29 minutes from just inside the area, but his effort went over the crossbar. A penalty was awarded against the Addicks on 40 minutes for a foul by Burton, Carl Ikeme saved, but Harte scored for Carlisle from the rebound. On 44 minutes Charlton were awarded a penalty for a foul on Burton who slotted the ball home to make it 1-1 at half time.

Shortly into the second half, Sodje missed from inside the box. Then on 62 minutes Kavanagh scored what was described as a 'brilliant' goal from 35 yards out to make it 2-1. Parky boldly tried a triple substitution at 70 minutes: Basey replaced Omozusi; Maloney took the place of McLeod; and Shelvey came on in place of Semedo.

All to no avail because Kavanagh scored another long-distance goal on 82 minutes to make it 3-1. In all, Carlisle had ten shots on target to Charlton's six.

House of horrors at Harbury Lane

Brakes ended up with nine men and went down 3-5 at home at the New Windmill Ground to Didcot Town in a crazy match that suggested that suggested 'Touch the Clown' had stopped 'doing his stuff' (as the announcer put it) in the clubhouse and arrived on the pitch, most likely as the referee who had a bizarre game. Both teams saw players score hat tricks, Bello for the Brakes.

On 16 minutes Bello put the Brakes 1-0 ahead after he connected with a neat cross from Luke Corbett to head the ball in the back of the net. Brakes then had two more chances to go ahead. Brakes burst through, but the Didcot goalkeeper svaed at the near post. Then a looping shot that left the keeper stranded was cleared off the line by a defender.

With the linesman flagging for a Didcot handball, the visitors equalised on 23 minutes. Kiely saved well from a shot following a corner, but the ball fell well for the visitors and they went ahead on 27 minutes. This sent the opposition supporters behind me into screams of 'Diddy' which throws light on my eldest granddaughter's question who was puzzled why there was no segregation when she went to watch the egg chasers last week.

On 39 minutes Didcot went 3-1 ahead, another intervention from the Sheepside lino being ignored by the referee.

Half time: Brakes 1, Railwaymen 3

Brakes made a storming start to the second half and on 51 minutes Bello made it 2-3 with a decisive shot from a free kick. On 62 minutes he secured his hat trick and made it 3-3.

The referee then sent off new player Dale Peckham for bringing down a player with a goal scoring opportunity. Bizarrely, he awarded a free kick rather than a penalty which came off the wall. Brakes fought strongly but Didcot were able to make it 4-3 from a one on one with the keeper.

Brakes hit the post, but Didcot went two goals ahead. Jacko was then sent off for a second yellow in an incident in which a Didcot player was also booked. Although Brakes were still in the game, all hope was effectively lost.

Brakes went down 4-3 in a cup match midweek and once again this match emphasised their defensive frailities. Chris Kiely punches the ball out when he should catch it.

Fans head north

Dedicated Charlton fans are already on their way north to this afternoon's fixture at Brunton Park. The enforced changes in the squad have produced some uncertainty about this game, particularly unsettling what has been a reasonably solid defence. I hope that Darren Randolph starts in goal and that we revert to a 4-5-1 with Jonjo Shelvey recalled. Given that we do not have a proven striker, and the defensive reorganisation, we are going to rely more than usual on our midfield in this match. I am going for a 1-0 win for the Addicks with Bailey scoring to the chagrin of the Carlisle fans.

I will be watching Leamington play Didcot this afternoon, joined by my son-in-law who supports the Railwaymen and Joe the Saint. Once again we will be the only Charlton blog covering this match. Paul May has not made the journey north and we do not have a reporter at Brunton Park, but will provide a summary.

Friday 30 October 2009

Parky signs new contract

Phil Parkinson has signed a one year extension to his contract which now runs until the end of the 2010/11 season. The board have showed their confidence in him, but he is still not receiving chants from the fans as Alan Pardew did. Some other bloggers also have doubts about him.

It will be interesting to see how he does in the Championship if he does take us up.

Omosuzi in at right back

19-year old (some sources say 20) England youth international Elliot Omosuzi has been brought in as right back on a month's contract. He is out of contract at Fulham, but they still hold his registration. He goes straight into the squad for Carlisle.

He has been training at Sparrows Lane this week and played in the reserve game at Dagenham and Redbridge. He has played eight Premiership games for Fulham and also made 24 loan appearances for Norwich.

BTW, I have followed the Charlton official site's spelling of his name, but most sources such as the PFA give it as Omozusi. We had better get this sorted before we print his shier,

Thursday 29 October 2009

Carlisle look forward to Calamity Carl

Carlisle United are hoping that the goalkeeper they call Calamity Carl will gift them three points on Saturday. Last time he appeared at Brunton Park he let in six goals: Calamity Carl .

Of course this scenario overlooks the possibility of Darren Randolph being in goal. Many Addicks think he is not far behind Elliot in ability. However, Wolves presumably loaned us Ikeme as a keeper on the understanding that he would get some first team action.

Carlisle supremo resigns

Carlisle United have been thrown into disarray after their owner resigned from the board: Carlisle

Charlton face on pitch problems with no right back for Saturday which may mean an emergency loan. Frazer Richardson is unlikely to be fit to play while Chris Solly has suffered a major setback with the news that he suffered a knee injury in training. An operation will keep him out for three months, interrupting a promising start to his career.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Charlton visit seen as a big pay day

Charlton's visit to the Ultima Thule of the third division, Carlisle United, on Saturday is seen as a big pay day for the financially struggling club. At least that makes a change from being seen as a big scalp to collect: In The Money

Check out some of the news stories in the box on the right hand side of the page and you will see that Carlisle is not the most savoury place you will have ever visited.

Elliot blow

The news that Rob Elliot is out for six weeks with a torn adductor muscle sustained in the match at Gillingham is a real blow. Although not faultless, Elliot has generally been a reliable custodian.

Carl Ikeme has been brought in from Wolves on an emergency loan, but it is not clear from the official web site whether he will be preferred to Darren Randolph. Randolph will, in any event, get his chance in front of the cameras against Northwich Victoria as Ikeme cannot play in this FA Cup match.

The club has acted swiftly, but this does not alter the fact that this is not good news.

Increase your word power

Iain Dowie now seems to be the point man for Sky Sports News for any second rank match being played in the north-west. Last week it was the winter delights of Blackpool, last night it was Blackburn versus Peterborough in the Carling Cup.

Dowie managed to replace the word 'chagrin' by 'changrin'. Perhaps he was trying to convey what Charlton supporters thought of him. Just keep it simple, Iain.

He then managed to give the wrong name to a penalty taker. The goggle eyed presenter could be seen well before the watershed, but viewers were not warned.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Public Enemy No.1

That is the status of Nicky Bailey at Carlisle. Apparently he denied them automatic promotion at Southend a couple of seasons ago. Nothing to do with their own team's failings of course. Read more here: Bailey

Cup game on television

Charlton's FA Cup game against Northwich Victoria will be live on ITV. It will be played on Sunday November 8th.

This will increase the humiliation in the event of a defeat, but Charlton are one of the few teams never to have been beaten by a non-league outfit (although Dagenham and Redbridge came close). Also, Northwich have a modern ground which removes one advantage that many non-league sides have.

Monday 26 October 2009

9-1 victory in Charity Shield

The official football season on the Isle of Scilly started with a 9-1 win for the Woolpack Wanderers in the Charity Shield, reports Radio Scilly. Martin Tomlinson is new captain for the Reds and was sent off for hand ball. Neil jenkins scored the lone goal as a penalty for the Garrison Gunners.

In the Radio Scilly sports show in coming weeks we shall be offering pen portraits of some of the players. Some controversy is being caused by the fact that one team has imported an off island player from Tresco.

Don't forget you can see the latest episode of Island Parish on BBC tonight.

Brittle steel

Sheffield Steelers have been the dominant force in British ice hockey for some time, winning last year's championship title. But they have a lost a number of their better players and went down 5-2 to a resurgent Coventry Blaze at the Skydome last night. Blaze scored some good goals but the best one was when the Steelers net tender tried to hide the puck under his leg after it had crossed the line.

All credit to Blaze net minder Hirsch for some good saves. However, Blaze still need to take better advantage of power player opportunities. One of the goals scored against them came when they had a numerical advantage.

The game was finished in two-and-a-quarter hours which reflects its pace but also a referee that kept it moving, overlooking minor infringements and avoiding any fights.

Sunday 25 October 2009

Charlton away in the salt country

Charlton have been drawn away to Northwich Victoria in the FA Cup. One of the oldest teams in football, Northwich are currently in the Blue Square North. They would be near the top of the table if they hadn't been deducted ten points for going into administration last May. The cash strapped outfit are seeking to get out of administration but have had a CVA turned down by the Inland Revenue. They are located in Cheshire's salt country.

While there visit the Northwich Salt Museum, as the slogan says, 'It's more than salt': Salt

There are 474 standing places for away fans on a terrace and some seats available as well, but they may make a larger allocation if they think there is some money in it for them.

Saturday 24 October 2009

A2 derby ends in draw

Today's A2 derby at Gillingham ended in a 1-1 draw which means that Charlton stay in second place, writes Erith Addick Paul May. With Leeds losing at Millwall, Charlton are one point behind the leaders, but just one point ahead of Colchester United who won with the assistance of Kevin Lisbie. However, MK Dons lost at Southampton and Bristol Rovers went down at home to Yeovil.

Charlton started again with a 4-4-2 formation with McLeod and Burton up front and Shelvey on the bench again. As expected, Semedo started in place of Spring and Sodje retained his place.

Racon had an early attempt from just outside the box which went wide of the post. Elliot saved from Bentley. Burton received a yellow card. An attempt by Sodje went way over the bar. McLeod blazed wide from the deep inside the penalty area. Fishlungs charm merchant Nutter received a yellow card for fouling Sam.

Semedo blocked a shot by Oli. A corner was cleared by Sam, leading to a second, which was dealt with by Richardson. Another Nutter corner threatened danger but Richardson was able to clear. Semedo took a shot, but Gowling was able to block it.

Half time: Gills 0, Addicks 0

Elliot saved from an early effort by Jackson. Youga cleared from a Gills corner taken by Nutter. This led to a second corner and this time Burton made the clearance for a third corner. This time Racon got the ball away.

Following a Charlton corner, the Addicks received a free kick for a foul on Semedo. Bailey's effort was saved by Royce. Elliot saved from Barcham. Youga cleared from a Gills corner. From the following corner, Bentley took a shot but Richardson was able to block it. Richardson was then replaced by Basey.

Youga had a try from outside the box but it went wide of the post. Sodje was booked for a foul. This was followed by a booking for Weston and then for Christian Dailly for a foul.

Burton had a shot, but Royce saved at the expense of a corner. This was taken by Basey, but Dailly's headed effort missed the target. Elliot made a succession of saves from Bentley, Oli and Nutter. The last one led to a corner, but the reliable Youga cleared. Mooney replaced McLeod on 76 minutes.

Charlton went ahead on 78 minutes when Gills centre half John Nutter sliced a clearance from a Racon cross into his own net. But just two minutes later Jackson equalised with a goal from inside the box low into the middle of the goal.

A long range effort from Youga went wide of the target. A shot for the Gills by Lewis also went wide. Former Addick Barry Fuller tried a shot but Sodje blocked it.
At the end of normal time Wagstaff replaced Sam while former Addick Rashid Yussuff replaced Oli. The four minutes of time added on never looked like producing a winner for either side. It might have been a different story if McLeod had not had an early penalty appeal waved away.

Match report to follow.

Brakes back to winning ways

Under the watchful eye of interim caretaker manager, Wayne Powell Leamington secured a 2-1 win over third placed Brackley Town at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon in front of a crowd of 651. Wayne Blossom anchored the defence, while Welsh non-league international Nathan Davis, brought in on a month's loan from Newport County, bolstered the midfield.

Brakes went ahead on 18 minutes after Luke Corbett pounced on a through ball. Two minutes later Bello made it 2-0 from an incredibly tight angle. Former Brakes keeper Richard Morris was serenaded with a chant of 'dodgy keeper'.

Brakes were unable to capitalise on two further chances to score. Then on 41 minutes another former Leamington player, Ben Mackey, scored a well taken goal for Brackley to put them back in the game.

In the second half Leamington saw the ball come off the junction of bar and post while at the other end of the pitch Chris Kiely had to make a great save on the line to deny Brackley.

The inept referee dished out nothing more than words for blatant Brackley fouls, even when Nathan Davis had to go off for treatment to his bloodied nose after an elbow was smashed in his face.

Brakes were playing better than they have done recently and were able to hold out for all three points, taking the game to Brackley in the closing stages.

Friday 23 October 2009

Looking down the river on a sunny morning

Il capo called me to an early morning meeting in London today. The meeting was inconclusive and I have to go to his home in Italy for another meeting. But it was a lovely mild autumn morning in London and from the penthouse floor of the Tower Hotel it was possible to look down the river towards Greenwich with Shooters Hill visible in the distance.

What this reminded me is that Charlton are, always have been, and always will be a London club. We have many supporters in Kent, but we are not the Kent club that plays in London. Hence, all talk of a Kent derby tomorrow is nonsense. However, apparently Gills' boss Mark Stimson has been dreaming about tomorrow's fixture since the play off final at Wembley: Dream

One of the problems we face in this division is that smaller teams see us a 'scalp' to be secured, turning our match against them in to their cup final where their rag, tag and bobtail sides play at a hitherto unknown level of determination and achievement.

Asked which team he most wanted to beat this season in the 4-4-2 pre-season preview, Gillingham fan Matt Gill [sic] named Charlton. Gillingham are certainly not that high up my list. Millwall, Leeds and even MK Dons come before them. Indeed, I am indifferent to the Gillingham match other than that it offers three points that need to be secured for our promotion push.

Can we win tomorrow? There are no injuries tomorrow, other than chronic crocks Leon McKenzie and Dean Sinclair. Will Parky be brave enough to try out a 4-4-2 formation away from home? I would like him to, but I suspect he will go for 4-5-1.

Will Gillingham beat us in a league match for the first time in 85 years? I doubt it? Will they manage to secure a point. That's more likely. Nevertheless, I think that we have enough skill, quality and (yes) motivation to take all three points and I am going for a 2-1 win for the Addicks.

I have recorded a slot on Plymouth Argyle for tonight's sports show on Radio Scilly (5-6 p.m., listen online) and the view certainly looks better from second in League 1 than second from bottom in the Championship. Let's hope we can consolidate our position tomorrow.

BTW, the official football season in the Scillies kicks off on Sunday with the Charity Shield match between last year's top two teams, Garrison Gunners and Woolpack Wanderers. Radio Scilly tell me tickets are still available.

We expect to be the only Charlton blog providing coverage from a shell shocked New Windmill Ground tomorrow of the clash between Leamington and Brackley Town. A caretaker manager from Somerset has been brought in while the Brakes board ponder who should replace Jason Cadden as manager.

Thursday 22 October 2009

Needle match

A Gillingham view on why the so-called 'Kent Derby' is a needle match, trying to make something out of the 'invasion' of Gillingham territory by the Rickshaw (there are probably more Arsenal fans in Kent than Gills) and the Chris Dickson affair:

From a Charlton perspective, Gillingham are not Millwall and they are not Palace.

Coming next: are Charlton a threat to Dover Athletic's support base?

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Dowie alert

The Addickted should be warned that Iain Dowie now appears to have joined the ranks of other former managers who act as 'stringers' for Sky Sports News at key fixtures around the country. Last night he was at Blackpool. However, every time he offered his insights on the lines of 'Blackpool are winning because they have scored more goals', a drummer standing behind him wearing a tall hat which loomed above Dowie would start up a roll on his drums.

Obitutary of loyal Charlton Athletic fan

It's unusual to see the heading 'loyal Charlton Athletic fan' across an obituary in The Times but this obutuary of Peggy Fenner is a nice tribute with substantial Charlton content: Peggy Fenner


Rickshaw proprietor Rick Everitt will have the unusual experience of Saturday of a shorter ride to the match from his home in the Isle of Thanet. Gillingham have been somewhat resentful of the network of Valley Express services that Charlton has created.

However, the most likely destination for Addicks leaving the two boroughs is Kent. This has been a constant challenge for Warwickshire Addicks who have been seeking to commandeer one of Racing Club Warwick's 'Racing to Get You There' minibuses. However, messages and E mails I have received indicate that the Jockeys are in turmoil and their buses can no longer be seen in affluent Warwickshire villages engaged in a vain search for the socially excluded.

Most Gills supporters are in the meaner, chavtastic streets of the Medway Towns, although they have to cope with a large branch of the Spanners supporters club in Maidstone prison. Nevertheless, Gills boss Paul Scally would like to relocate the club, although presumably not to Dubai where he lives.

Inspector Sands once wrote a spoof of the Gills' response to the Rickshaw which consisted of a battered Ford Escort thundering down the A2. It was almost as good as his spoof of the attempts to launch a Rickshaw service in Boulogne and Dunkirk. Unfortunately, he does not index his best posts unlike the New York Addick. The projected closure of the latter's blog after his pending move to beechy Bucks is a major blow to the Charlton blogosphere.

When one thinks of Paul Scally, one is glad that one has the likes of Richard Murray in charge at The Valley. The ex-Spanner is certainly a colourful character and although this piece is dated it still has some relevant information: Scally

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Draper sticks his oar in

Dave Draper, kingpin of Warwickshire non-league football

Former Director of Football at The New Windmill Ground, Dave Draper, has intervened in the controversy over the sacking of Jason Cadden. Double 'D' has suggested that he will try and get the chairman who carried out the car park sacking, Jim Scott, and Jason Cadden to appear on his weekly round-up of non-league football on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire (but not at the same time). Some hope and Draper's intervention has not been universally welcomed by Brakes fans.

More takeover speculation

I was in Switzerland yesterday looking for prospective investors in the Addicks. Not really, of course, and I see that while I was away another takeover story has broken, this time involving tax drivers' favourite Dennis Wise.

Other bloggers have dealt with this more than adequately while I was in Switzerland. All I would say that if there is going to be a takeover, I hope it happens soon as all this speculation doesn't help the club.

Breaking news is that Ebbsfleet United may have to share our training ground as their facilities have been deemed 'unfit for purpose'.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Sullivan to buy Charlton?

Make what you will of this report that David Sullivan has decided to buy Charlton as he thinks that it represents better value than West Ham and that he might even bring Curbs back as manager: Takeover

Saturday 17 October 2009

Parky's Plan B works

Phil Parkinson answered those critics who have said that he has no Plan B with Charlton's 2-1 defeat of a spirited Huddersfield Town side. He rested Jonjo Shelvey on the bench and replaced him with Izale McLeod. Miguel Llera was dropped in favour of Sodje and it was the Greenwich-born Greenwich resident who opened the Addick's account with an early goal and McLeod who scored the winner after Huddersfield had equalised. Parky also had the tactical skill to take off Spring, who had had a decent first half, at half time and replace him with the returning Semedo who upped the quality of Charlton's play. The win took Charlton top of the table, albeit Leeds have two games in hand.

We noted that it was high tide in Greenwich Creek, putting us in an optimistic frame of mind for the match. The Rose of Denmark was full of Terriers in full song, apparently they had piled off the coach. Someone was filming them from a house opposite, perhaps to complain to the council about the noise.

Charlton won a corner in the first minute, but a decent effort by Spring went over the bar. A Youga run led to a Charlton thrown in near the flag and then Racon won a corner which was well delivered by Spring. Sodje made no mistake with his strong bullet header and the Addicks were 1-0 ahead.

There was concern when Sodje needed treatment, but he was fine. A break involving Sam led to a Charlton corner, followed by a second. The ball was played out, but the lively Youga won it back. The move was a good one, but the Wiltshire Whistler blew up to bring it to an end.

Huddersfield were awarded a free kick and Racon was given a talking to, but it was a case of 'Je ne comprends pas' with the geezer from Guadeloupe. Burton played the ball out of defence well and then Bailey provided good defensive work.

It was end-to-end stuff and the Terriers won a corner. Elliot should have been more decisive and come out to claim the ball in the resultant play. The Terriers continued to press forward, with a shot flashing across the face of the goal.

After the Terriers broke, Youga dealt with the threat well. Huddersfield wre awarded a free kick in front of the D and Elliot made a good save at the expense of a corner which was caught by the keeper.

He then had to make another save, and with the Terriers continuing to apply pressure, Elliot got a fingertip to the ball. The corner led to a a scramble in front of goal, but the referee blew up for an Addicks free kick. Parky was not happy with what he was seeing and screamed instructions at Sam and others.

The Terriers were awarded a highly dubious free kick at an angle to the 'D'. It was well taken by Pilkington and it went off the post and into the back of the net to make it 1-1, the away support going beserk.

Lloyd Sam tried to forge through a forest of defenders when he should have passed the ball and consequently lost it. Matt Spring received a yellow card for a foul to his disbelief.

With one minute of time added on, Charlton had a free kick but it was unproductive.

Half time: Addicks 1, Terriers 1

Semedo replaced Spring. Although they kicked off Charlton were unable to get the ball out of their half and the Terriers won a corner. Elliot punched the ball out and Racon tried to run through on the break when he should have passed.

A blatant foul on Bailey was ignored by the referee. However, he did then award Charlton a free kick and this started a move that allowed McLeod to put the ball in the back of the net. He received a yellow card for his exuberant celebrations. If he goes on like this, he will end up suspended for goal celebrations.

A move started by Bailey led to a Huddersfield defender nearly putting the ball in his own net, but Smithies in the goal was able to tip it over the bar.

A Terriers corner was taken quickly, leading to a second. The ball was put in the net but the referee had already blown up for an infringement. Richardson was involved in a clash of heads and required treatment.

After a Terriers free kick, Charlton broke to win another corner. The ball was played back in, but the move was ultimately unproductive. Semedo won a free kick near the flag and this led to a Charlton corner. The Addicks maintained good pressure, but a Huddersfield handball was ignored by the officials.

Sodje performed well in defence. An effort from McLeod went just over the bar. Huddersfield won a corner when Dailly should have kicked the ball out for a throw in. The ball was played back in from the corner and the Terriers effort was just wide of the post. There was still everything to play for.

After a cynical trip on Youga who was powering down the wing, Gary Roberts was booked. The Terriers looked like scoring, but Elliot saved well by kicking the ball out. Bailey was involved in a collision and Peltier received a yellow card.

Huddersfield made a double substitution, while Wagstaff replaced Sam. Bailey put in a poor shot. The Terriers took the still groggy Peltier off. Elliot created danger with a poor kick out. An effort by Racon was saved. Huddersfield were awarded another dubious free kick and before it was taken Mooney replaced McLeod.

Five minutes of time were added on. Huddersfield won a corner, but it was punched out by Elliot. After last week's bore draw, this was a much more satisfying match to watch.

Leamington are now without a bench, even the physio has gone, and they went down 1-2 at home to Stourbridge in the FA Trophy.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible had to check the rules for the award of the coveted Silver Bone but it is not customary to give it to a player who came on after the first half, so once again the award went to Kelly Youga who was incisive in attack and skilled and resolute in defence. As he has received the award three matches running, he now qualifies for the ultimate honour of the Golden Bone. It just shows what a change of haircut will do for you. Elliot made some good saves, but he nearly created danger on one occasion when he hesitated rather than coming off his line. Dailly generally did his job well, but there was one point when he created danger by trying to re-gain possession rather than hoofing the ball out for a throw in which would have been preferable to conceding the resultant corner. Sodje scored an excellent goal and carried out his defensive duties admirably. Richardson was very much involved and managed to combine well with Sam most of the time. Bailey made some good interventions in defence. He does his best out on the left, but he is not really comfortable there. Spring played well in the first half, his corners being particularly good. He then picked up an unfair booking from the referee. Taking him off seemed a tad harsh at the time, but reflected the fact that Parky does not know what he is doing tactically. Steve from Petts Wood is sceptical about Racon, 'I am told he is marvellous, but I never see it.' His contribution was quite limited. Sam made some good contribitions from time to time, but faded as the second half went on. McLeod took his goal well and generally made himself a nuisance to the opposition. Burton playing through the pain barrier contributed relatively little, but he was constantly being held back by the Terriers defence. All the referee was interested in was finding reasons to award fouls against Burton. Semedo and his silky skills definitely made Charlton stronger in the second half. Wagstaff slotted in well when he came on. Mooney, rushed to the ground via the Bakerloo Line yesterday, only had a cameo, but looked strong and vigorous.

Juneau the Soccer Cat awarded the Hiss of the Match
to the 'Wiltshire Whistler' referee R East who was boooed off the pitch after the end of each half. Any infringement against a Terrier was immediately met with action, however marginal the decision, while handball appeals were brushed aside. It was one of his dubious free kick decisions that led to the Huddersfield goal.

Crowd rating The substantial Huddersfield contingent in a crowd nine short of 17,000 were a noisy lot, but the Addickted managed to hold their own for much of the time. 7/10

Friday 16 October 2009

Mooney signed on emergency loan

Reading striker David Mooney has been signed on emergency loan after Leon McKenize encountered problems in training. It means that we could start with a 4-4-2 tomorrow, but more likely Mooney will be on the bench.

The 25-year old Irishman is a big lad, 6ft. 2 ins. high. He signed for Reading from Cork City in the summer of 2008. He was Irish player of the year in 2007 after being the top scorer in their league so he knows where the back of the net is.

Terriers confident of getting all three points

Huddersfield Town are confident of securing all three points at The Valley tomorrow and thus taking what they regard as a 'major scalp'. This view held by a number of teams of the match against Charlton as the equivalent of a cup final doesn't help us at all. However, it is evident that the Terriers are not going to play for the draw, so that should make for a higher quality game than against Oldham: Scalp

Striker Robin Simpson (thigh) and Tom Clarke (knee) are not available, but the Terriers are travelling south with what they regard as a strong squad.

With Semedo hopefully back tomorrow, I would stick with the 4-4-1-1 formation as I don't think we have a viable 4-4-2 to start with. McLeod unsettles the opposition with his pace, but Shelvey unsettles them in other ways and McLeod misses sitters in front of goal. Tuna is a work in progress and McKenize is not fully match fit.

I find this a difficult match to forecast, although some other bloggers have settled on 2-1 which seems reasonable. However, it could be 2-1 in the other direction and I will settle for another draw at 1-1.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Burton has hernia

Lone striker Deon Burton has been playing with a hernia strain. Eventually it will require an operation and three weeks out of the squad. But with no obvious replacement, Burton will keeping playing with the injury for now. Phil Parkinson has said that Leon McKenzie will not be rushed into action which means no 4-4-2 on Saturday.

Parky accused of ref rage

Phil Parkinson's comments about the failure of the referee to deal with Oldham's time wasting last Saturday have caused a bit of a stir oop north: Ref Rage

All seems pretty mild compared with Sir Alex down the road.

Congratulations to Christian Dailly on making the Coca Cola League 1 Team of the Week. You often don't notice what he is doing, but that is because he does it effectively and competently.

Turmoil continues at Leamington after the shock car park sacking of Jason Cadden. 10th in a new league hardly seems like a bad position. Morton Titterton and Paul Eden are also leaving and over 80 per cent of fans disapprove of the decision in an online poll. However, the board insist that they have received a number of good applications for the vacant position.

I suppose if Dennis Wise can go to Chalfont St. Peter, Iain Dowie can go to Leamington.

Brakes have the boost of a home draw against Birmingham City in the Birmingham Senior Cup.

Monday 12 October 2009

Knives out for Parky

A negative report in the Mail on Sunday has been seized upon by Phil Parkinson's critics:

Having gone into the game knowing a three-goal victory would take them to the top of League One, Charlton produced a performance which spoke volumes for their inadequacies.

Oldham, who arrived seeking nothing more than a point, achieved their aim on an afternoon high on scuffle and sweat - woefully low on excitement or craft. The first half produced one lone chance when Matthew Spring clipped a 38th minute shot beyond the far post of Oldham keeper Dean Brill. [What about the save from Llera?] The blame for the boredom lay as much with Charlton manager Phil Parkinson, as with his players.

Opting to leave Dean Burton as a lone striker, with the usually purposeful [?] Jonjo Shelvey hopelessly lost in a roaming role was, in the circumstances, a desperately negative move.

With three strikers on the bench, Parkinson then neglected to alter his mis-firing plan until the 63rd minute, which ensured Charlton achieved little more than they deserved.

The gifted [but below par] Shelvey was eventually sacrificed for Izale McLeod, on a day that was more suited to piano shifters than piano players. The two chances which followed, as Miguel Llera put a header narrowly over the bar and Kelly Youga sent an overhead kick against the woodwork, were the best Charlton managed all day.

“I’ve got to be happy with a point,” said Oldham manager Dave Penney. “ This is a really difficult place to come for a result.” [They all say that]

As over-cautiousness goes, it was a statement to contend with the best of them. On the evidence of the afternoon, ‘difficult’ was the one thing Charlton were not. [Difficult to score against]. But Parkinson was also oddly keen to stress the tricky nature of the afternoon.

“Oldham made it difficult for us,” he said. “We had chances, and you need one of them to go in. The final bit, putting the ball in the back of the net, was where we fell down.”

That Charlton failed to score was a statement of the obvious, that they created any real chances at all is a more contentious claim. [More than one was missed by McLeod, the best one created by Racon].

After three league games without a goal, the impetus Charlton enjoyed after their impressive start to the season may be starting to fade. Their squad looks poorly equipped to withstand any major absences and, with a long season remaining in front of them, the lack of guile they demonstrated in their attempts to break down a resolute Oldham side, sorely lacking in ambition, suggest that maintaining that early momentum may be a considerable challenge.'

So we are second in the table, only unbeaten once in the first quarter, and yet there is a readiness to blame Phil Parkinson. Quite why support for him is so shallow is difficult to work out.

Probably the main factor is an unrealistic expectations level. I was expecting something between mid-table and the fringes of the play offs, but I have adjusted my expectations upwards to a play off place. Automatic promotion is a big ask with one place booked by Leeds and probably not attainable with Norwich improving all the time (I am less convinced that Colchester will stay the course, Super Kevin Lisbie notwithstanding).

Admittedly, the 4-4-1-1 does not work so well without Semedo and a tired Shelvey. Other teams have sussed it out and it is time to try something different against Huddersfield.

Manager's shock sacking

After Leamington's 3-0 defeat at Halesowen on Saturday, Brakes manager Jason Cadden has been sacked by the board: Cadzy

Whilst Leamington have had difficulty adapting to a higher level they are still mid-table. Cadzy brought them from tier eight of the non-league to tier three. Things at Harbury Lane will never be the same again.

Go Blaze!

After seeing a low quality and dispiriting goalless draw at The Valley on Saturday, my spirits were restored by an emphatic 5-2 victory by Coventry Blaze over table topping Nottingham Panthers at the Skydome last night.

The first period ended 0-0, relatively unusual in hockey in my experience. It was, however, highly competitive and a fight broke out after ten minutes when two players squared up, the Panther eventually flooring the Blaze player, at which point the inept referee, whose name had been greeted by a chorus of boos, threw himself on top of the player on the ice.

Blaze had been unable to take advantage of a 5 on 3 in the first period with the Panthers crowding round their goal, but Blaze had been displaying some fluent and speedy passing and went 3-0 ahead in the second period.

It looked like game over when they made it 4-0 in the third period, but Panthers got two goals back. However, Blaze sealed the match with a fifth. The second and fourth goals were particularly brilliant examples of a rapid attack out of defence.

The Elite League is down to eight teams this season, Manchester and Basingstoke Bisons having dropped down to the Premiership. There are no teams from the London area and haven't been since the London Arena was demolished. Rumours of a Kingston team came to nothing.

Saturday 10 October 2009

Valley of frustration

Charlton missed an opportunity to go top of League 1 after a 0-0 draw with Oldham at The Valley. For the third league game in a row, the Addicks failed to score. Oldham had come with a clear game plan to go for the draw and possibly sneak a winner. They succeded with the aid of considerable time wasting which was not penalised by the referee until late in the game. The Addicks showed considerable energy and determination in the last part of the game, after a rather lethargic performance for much of the match, but although they were virtually camped out in front of Oldham's goal, they could not score.

The tide was very low in Deptford Creek which did not give me optimism about the outcome of the match which was played on a mild and sunny autumn afternoon. I didn't see any watering of the pitch, but our players kept falling over - which may suggest a studs problem.

Oldham were awarded a dubious free kick by the tunnel which set the standard for the refereeing all the match when any marginal decision was given to the visitors. Apart from being inept, I think this was a referee who was determined to show that he is not a 'homer' by favouring the opposition.

Bailey put in a shot from outside the box and it was not far wide. Llera put in a shot from distance which was saved by Brill at the expense of a Charlton corner, but Shelvey's effort was caught.

Charlton were engaging in slow builds ups, possibly trying to replicate the goal against Brentford. The approach work was good, but there was no final product.

As danger loomed, Youga put in good defensive work to clear. Sam burst into the box, but keeper pushed the ball out. Youga and then Bailey won Charlton corners, but they were unproductive. A piece of cheating by Oldham won them a free kick in front of the D but it came off the wall. Racon put in a good ball, but it was blocked.

Oldham won a corner and for a moment there was danger but the move ended in a goal kick. Another Oldham corner also posed a threat, but the offside flag was raised. Spring put in a shot from distance that was not far off target. The half ended with a corner for Charlton, followed by a second, but the whistle was blown before it could be made use of.

Half time: Addicks 0, Lactics 0

Sam and Colbeck had an animated but friendly conversation before kick off. Youga won Charlton a corner. An Oldham free kick saw the ball in the net but the referee had already blown up.

Shelvey won Charlton a corner but it was taken short and wasted. A good Richardson cross led to an Addicks corner, but it was also productive. Our corners often seem to lack something.

Shelvey was taken off and replaced by McLeod. McLeod burst throught, but his effort was wide. From a Charlton free kick an effort by Llera skimmed the bar. Time waster Kelvin Lomax no doubt claimed he was still recovering from his dizzy spells, but even this referee had had enough and showed him a yellow card for delaying a throw in.

Leon McKenzie came on for his first appearance replacing Deon Burton. A Charlton corner was overhit. McLeod was fed well and had the goal at his mercy, but his effort went wide. Parker sauntered off the pitch for the Lactics and was replaced by Lee.

Lloyd Sam was replaced by Scott Wagstaff. Youga put in a bicycle kick which hit the bar. At long last Brill was shown a yellow card for his time wasting. Five minutes of time were added on, but despite increasingly desperate efforts by Charlton they could not get the ball in the net.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone once again to Kelly Youga. He was a real threat in attack, hitting the woodwork with a bicycle kick and performed well in defence. Elliot did not have a lot to do given the general inaccuracy of Oldham's shooting, but the communication between him and the defenders does not always seem to be of the best. Balls that could have been headed back to the keeper were hoofed out of play or played up field when this was not the best option. Llera was particularly at fault here and maybe his ear covering headgear means he can't hear Elliot's shouts - or Elliot has to shout louder and generally be more commanding. On the whole, Llera had a decent game with two good shots on goal, which is not to say I would not prefer Sodje when available. Dailly had a competent game. Richardson made some good forays down the right and put in some decent crosses. I thought that Spring had one of his best games for the club so far which is not to say that he necessarily links up with Racon that well: Racon had some sublime moments, but drifted in and out of the game. Bailey was lively and contributed in defence as well as attack, although it was not his best game. Shelvey is asked to do too much, he is too young for a free roaming role and, as Steve from Petts Wood pointed out, there was not as much huff and puff as usual. Some considered that Sam was below par because of his injury, although I thought he generally did well. I notice that he changed his boots after the break. Opinions were divided about Burton. In many respects he did not have a good game, but there are limits to what he can do when he lacks support and plays in an isolated position. McLeod brings pace, but one of the key requirements for a striker is to seize golden goal scoring opportunities which he fails to do. McKenize looked lively and may be a better option. Wagstaff continues to develop as a player and made his contribution after he came on.

Juneau the Soccer Cat gave the Hiss of the Match to time wasting Oldham goalkeeper Dean Brill. This was on two grounds: his time wasting tactics and his offensive lumimous kit borrowed from the Highways Agency.

Referee G Horwood has been awarded a re-training voucher. He is probably a hopeless case, though: the worst referee we have seen at The Valley this season.

Crowd rating: 'The natives are getting restless' commented the Bloke Beside Me and, although it was a frustrating and low quality match to watch, the crowd could have done more to lift to the team. 6/10.

Friday 9 October 2009

Sub-Standard stumped

The poor old Sub-Standard, now to be given out as a free sheet, can't find anything funny to say about Charlton any more: 'Charlton are no fun anymore. Focus found there was no shortage of gags to be had at the Addicks' expense last season, when they were lurching from disaster to disaster with all the grace of a drunk at chucking out time. Now they are resolutely sticking by their manager, winning every week and flying high at the top of League One. Where are the jokes to be found in all that? They will probably go and spank Oldham tomorrow just for good measure. Come on, lads - at the very least you could give us a chance by sacking Phil Parkinson and giving Les Reed another go.'

The hot news from Oldham is that Kelvin Lomax is available for selection after suffering 'dizzy spells' against the Glovers. The mind boggles.

Unfortunately, we will not have a full strength side tomorrow. Semedo will still be out and Spring has been a decent but not equivalent replacement. Unfortunately it looks as if we will also be without live wire Lloyd Sam and Frazer Richardson - who in my view has played a key if understated role.

Like other bloggers, I would bring in Wagstaff for Sam, although he is not the same kind of player. But as Parky has pointed out, he shouldn't worry about doing fancy staff and beating his man, just get some decent crosses in. Sound advice. As for Richardson, I would shift Youga to the right and bring in Basey at left back.

I am less confident than others about this match and see it as a 1-1 draw. At least I can say 'Enjoy the game!' with new meaning now that Peter Varney is back on the board as a non-executive director. Welcome back! (Not that you ever went away)

Don't forget to listen to Radio Scilly's new sports show at 5 p.m. Studio gossip says that Katy Smith of 'I can't wait for the weekend fame' fears that she will be upstaged by her dad who is hosting the new show.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Oldham hope for all three points

In form Oldham Athletic think that they might be able to secure all three points at The Valley on Saturday. This local newspaper story has as its headline 'Go out and enjoy it' which is usually code for 'We haven't a hope, so give it your best shot' but it isn't actually justified by the content of the story: Lactics

The article mentions that it wasn't a million years ago when Charlton when in the Premiership, but it seems that is a million years since the Lactics graced the top flight. Oldham is one of those towns which has the football life sucked out of it by the proximity of the two big Manchester clubs.

I don't know much about Oldham, but its MP was once Duff Cooper who was a kind of 1930s version of Alan Clarke. Cooper thought that one of the good things about Oldham was that when visiting his constituency he could stay at the Midland Hotel in Manchester which, somewhat to his surprise, had good food and a decent wine cellar.
Cooper had little interest in 'manufactures', which was somewhat unfortunate as Oldham was then a cotton town, but he did find the mill girls quite agreeable.

Fame at last

I've done an interview on Charlton for a website (90 Minutes) and they asked me to publicise it. Don't expect anything very original, but here it is: 90 Minutes

Radio Scilly are re-vamping their sports show which goes out from 5 to 6 on Fridays. Most people on the islands are more interested in the Premiership (or Plymouth Argyle) than the weekly clash between the Garrison Gunners and the Woolpack Wanderers. I am recording two pieces today which you will be able to hear online on Friday (link on the right). No Charlton content, though.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Tuna puts Addicks ahead

Can we aspire to it?

Tamer Tuna and Izale McLeod are the attacking duo in tonight's 4-4-2 formation for the Johnstone's Paint match against Barnet, reports West Malling's Philippa Nicholson from The Valley. Wagstaff comes in for Lloyd Sam and Grant Basey replaces the ill Llera in central defence. Chris Solly gets a start in place of Frazer Richardson. Yado Mambo, Luke Holden and Alex Stavinrou feature on the bench, alongside Jonjo Shelvey and Darren Randolph.

Bailey fed a good ball to Tuna but he was unable to control it and it went to the keeper. McLeod put in a decent shot, it took a deflection and went over the bar and Charlton won a corner. The ball was cleared from the corner taken by Basey.

McLeod burst into the box, but Barnet defended well. An effort by Jake Hyde took a deflection giving them their first corner of the game. Charlton failed to clear, Bailey not covering himself with distinction, and O'Flynn scored for Barnet at the far post to put them 0-1 ahead.

Barnet's lead lasted four minutes. Izale McLeod had plenty of space to take a shot and, after a deflection, it went into the back of the net. Barnet boss Ian Hendon went ballistic and didn't recover for several minutes.

Jarrett put in a good cross and it was headed behind by Basey for a Barnet corner. The corner went wide at the far post.

Barnet appealed for a penalty after a challenge and might have had a case. Charlton won a corner at the other end which was unproductive.

A Jarrett cross was blocked by Solly at the expense of a corner. It looked dangerous, but Elliot was able to make the save. A shot from Spring went over the bar into the Barnet fans who contributed in their hundreds to the attendance of 4,522.

Solly was brought down by Jarrett and received a talking to from the referee. Tuna and McLeod combined well, but the Barnet keeper was able to come out and clear the ball for a throw in. Tuna put in a volley from a difficult angle and it went wide.

Wagstaff made a great run, he fed McLeod but his shot went over and in any case there was a Barnet free kick for a handball by the striker.

Basey started a move, Racon broke free, his effort was charged down but the ball fell to Tuna fourteen yards out and he put in a great shot with the outside of his right foot to make it 2-1 five minutes before the break.

Danger man Jarrett put in a good cross, but Youga was able to clear. Solly, being giving a torrid time by Jarrett, conceded a corner. Bailey managed to clear high into the air this time and Charlton broke. Racon burst through the centre of the field and played in Tuna, but Barnet keeper Jake Cole did well to make a stop in front of the striker.

An effort from Bailey went wide in time added on as it started to drizzle. Tamer burst through on the right and should have shot but he fed McLeod but his shot was poor.

Half time: Addicks 2, Bees 1

Bolasie on loan from Plymouth put in a shot and Elliot had to ball over for a corner which was played short. Eventually Youga was able to clear. Racon went into the box, but his shot was cleared.

Racon, having played his part, was taken off and replaced by Stavinrou. Mark Hughes was taken off and replaced by Tabiri. Tuna was replaced by Shelvey. The game was relatively quiet in the opening fifteen minutes of the half.

McLeod put in an awful effort from 25 yards out and put his head in his hands.

Charlton won a free kick 25 yards out after Stavinrou was brought down. Shelvey got it round the four man wall and way over. Mambo came on in place of Solly with Youga going to right back. This was a bit surprising as Solly had dealt better with Jarett in the second half.

Barnet won a corner off Youga. Bailey headed the ball away, it came back in but the move ended in a goal kick for Charlton.

The Addicks won a free kick 25 yards out after McLeod was brought down. Bailey hammered the ball into the corner of the net to make it 3-1 against his former side with fifteen minutes to go. A superb free kick.

Basey charged forward but his left footed effort was well wide.

Elliot fumbled the ball and Mambo had to get a foot to it in order to clear. McLeod burst into the penalty area, Shelvey showed excellent skill but Yakubu managed to get his body in the way with a possibility of handball to stop the fourth Addicks goal.

Mambo dealt with a Barnet cross with five minutes to go. Charlton counter attacked, Wagstaff stormed through, he had a defender alongside him, but his finish was superb to make it 4-1.

Four minutes of time were added on. Barnet won their seventh corner of the game. Bailey headed the ball away. It came back in, but Charlton cleared. McLeod was taken off with cramp, reducing Charlton to ten men. Barnet won a free kick and eventually Youga cleared.

Job done - and loads of free paint.

Monday 5 October 2009

Three for the paint drying trophy

We have to play six regular team members against Barnet tomorrow, giving us scope to give some players who do not normally get a chance. Here are three nominations:

1. Darren Randolph. Being reserve goalkeeper is a lonely role and it is difficult to remain sharp in the absence of competitive matches (I don't really count reserve friendlies). I have no wish to drop Elliot, even though he has a few aspects of his game he needs to work on, but Randolph needs to be in a position where he could take over if he had to.

2. Tamer Tuna. Tuna has great pace and this would be an opportunity to show whether he could use it.

3. Luke Holden (possibly from the bench). I don't know how he has been shaping up in training, but this would be an ideal opportunity to see what he can offer.

Saturday 3 October 2009

Charlton stay 2nd

With Bristol Rovers being thumped at Norwich, Charlton's 0-0 draw at Leeds kept them in second place and in touch with the league leaders.

There was one change in the Charlton line up at Elland Road, writes Paul May with Sodje replacing Llera, as many Addicks had requested. Sodje featured in the game after six minutes when he got in a header from the edge of the area but it went wide.

Beckford had a go for Leeds on 8 minutes, but missed. Sodje cleared a cross from Johnson. On 24 minutes Richardson put in a cross, but Shelvey's effort missed to the left of the goal.

A shot from Johnson was blocked by Dailly. Danger man Beckford put in an effort, but Elliot made the save. Leeds kept up the pressure as Howson crossed the ball, but Bailey cleared. Johnson put in a shot, but Elliot was able to save at the expense of a corner. Sodje blocked a shot from Kisnorbo at the expense of a corner.

Leeds took off Becchio and brought on Showunmi on 35 minutes. Burton had a go, but he did not trouble Ankergren in the Leeds goal. A cross by Sam led to the first Charlton corner. This led to a second corner, but Youga's header missed the target.

Scott Wagstaff was brought on for Lloyd Sam as the game went into time added on. Spring set in a shot that went high over the crossbar.

Half time: Whites 0, Addicks 0

Bromby fouled Racon and was shown a yellow card. A cross by Showunmi was cleared by Sodje at the expense of a corner. From the corner Showunmi put in a header that went over the bar. Ankergren saved a Shelvey cross.

Elliot had to save from Showunmi at the expense of a corner. Richardson managed to clear from the corner. On 64 minutes Leeds decided to ring the changes by replacing Hughes by Robinson. Leeds won a corner, but Sodje cleared.

Shelvey had a go, but his effort was blocked. Kilkenny tried his luck from distance, but his shot went way over. On 75 minutes the Addicks pulled off Shelvey and brought on McLeod. Spring put in a volley from 35 yards, but Ankergren saved. Leeds made their last roll of the dice by replacing Kilkenny with Grella.

McLeod had a shot, but it was blocked by Naylor. The corner was taken by Bailey, but Leeds cleared. Racon put in a volley, but Naylor blocked it. Racon put in a good effort from just outside the area put it went wide of the upright. Efforts by Showunmi and Beckford were well off target.

On 88 minutes Basey replaced Racon. Sodje got booked for a challenge on Showunmi. There were no more significant incidents in a game played in a swirling wind in which Charlton had more of the possession, but both sides had relatively few shots on target. From a Charlton perspective this is a point gained rather than two lost.

Friday 2 October 2009

Glynn Snodin remembers

A long and reflective interview with Glynn Snodin in which he recalls his six years at Charlton and makes some interesting points about what contributed to the club's then success: Snodin

Veil of secrecy at Leeds

Leeds have thrown a veil of secrecy over how badly hit their injury ravaged squad is for tomorrow's match which is expected to attract a crowd of 30,000: Leeds

We have got an early sight of the Sub-Standard's preview: 'Someone compared Colchester's stadium where the Addicks suffered a 3-0 defeat on Tuesday as having been built out of a flat pack from B and Q. Much of Charlton's squad looks as if it has been redeemed from the pawnshop with its ill assorted collection of ageing journeymen. One of them, Spainard Miguel Llera, put the ball in his own net on Tuesday and can't even offer the excuse of "I am from Barcelona." Much of the rest of the team looks like the product of a youth in the community project with young hopeful Jonjo Shelvey following the path of an eccentric asteroid on the pitch. The Sub-Standard says: ADDICKS BECOME YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS.

Given that the Leeds defence may have some problems, there may be a case for an adventurous strategy, starting McLeod alongside Burton or at least telling Shelvey to position himself closer to Burton. Hopefully, Sodje will replace Llera at the back, if only because the latter's confidence has been shaken.

It looks as if we will be without Semedo who in many ways is the fulcrum of our side. I am going for a 3-1 win for Leeds with Sodje scoring the consolation. With two defeats in a row, the moaning will drown out the sound of the traffic of the Blackwall Tunnel approach.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Don't panic is message at Leeds

With six senior players out for Saturday's match against Charlton, 'Don't panic!' is the message coming from Leeds: Leeds

Our local Leeds supporter (who hails from Guernsey) says that they are nervous about the match which they regard as the toughest test this season against the other side likely to secure automatic promotion.

It's interesting to contrast the negativity among many Charlton fans about the team compared with the respect in which they are held elsewhere.

The challenge ahead

I never thought that getting out of League 1 would take just one year, given that it looks like taking a club as big as Leeds three years. I thought it would be a two or three year project.

But then we don't have the luxury of that much time. It has cost the directors £7m to stem this year's projected losses and in a sense they are taking a punt on a promotion. If we don't go up, we can't expect them to shell out the same amount (or, indeed, anything) next year.

No less an authority than the Rickster has said that if we don't go up, support will decline and the club will decline. Of course, in the summer the gloomier section of the Charlton support was saying we wouldn't make 5,000 season ticket holders and now we have over 10,000. Walk up attendances seem to be doing well: against Exeter, not the most exciting attraction, we had over 4,000 more paying customers than the Super Hoops did at Loftus Road.

As far as Saturday is concerned, the news that Semedo has a pelvic injury is not encouraging. I was much more critical of Spring against Exeter than some bloggers, although it may not be his optimal position. But he doesn't seem to have distinguished himself at Colchester.

Burton is often left wandering lonely as a cloud and Shelvey's instructions need to be changed so that he sticks closer to him rather than have a free ranging role all over the pitch.