Friday 30 April 2010

Big build up in Leeds

There's a big build up in Leeds for tomorrow's match at The Valley. If you go here you can read the forecasts of Leeds fans, meet referee Lee Probert, and learn about danger man Nicky Bailey and his feared accomplice Deon Burton.

One piece of good news ahead of the match is that Sam Sodje has recovered from his knee injury and is available to face his former club. I have no particular recommendations on selections, except to say that I think that there is a case for starting Kyel Reid for his attacking threat. Given that we need Semedo, Racon may have to retreat to the bench.

I would also keep Darren Randolph in goal, notwithstanding that Elliot once seemed to be an inevitable first choice.

Although winning tomorrow would help Millwall, I would rather face a somewhat faltering Leeds in the play offs. I think that they would lose it if they have to go through the play offs again.

Having said that, I am not particularly optimistic about the match. Our defence has become more solid and we have a midfield that is capable of sparkling. The problem is up front, notwithstanding the worthy efforts of Burton and Forster. One is never clear where the goals are going to come from and there is always the chance of conceding.

The consensus among the Leeds 'jury' is 1-2 to them and they may well be right. I think it will be 1-1 until the 96th minute when Leeds will score the winner.

Thursday 29 April 2010

Leeds prepare to take three points

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson had anticipated that both Leeds and Charlton would be promoted by this stage of the season and the match between the two clubs on Saturday would have no great significance. This has proved not to be the case. Read here about how Leeds are preparing to take the three points they need: Leeds

There's a big match in the Championship on Sunday. Read Sheffield Wednesday boss Lee Stafford giving it large to the Glaziers: Palace

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Charlton become the new Crewe

The most interesting part of the announcement of the move of Jonjo Shelvey to Liverpool is the strategic partnership between the club for the development of players. This could involve movement in either direction, but what it most likely means is that we will see promising Liverpool youngsters playing at The Valley next season.

Charlton get an intial £1.7m for Shelvey, which is a little below what I was anticipating, but with payments for appearances, it could rise to £3m: Shelvey

It was evident that Shelvey was not going to fulfill his potential at Charlton and the money should ease financial worries. Announcing the move now might reassure creditors ready to swoop at the end of the season.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Glaziers deny Valley groundshare plan

Crystal Palace have denied press reports which have also circulated widely locally that they are contemplating a groundshare at The Valley or the Toolbox: Palace

Nevertheless, property developers and Sainsbury's have expressed an interest in buying the ground. CPFC 2010, the consortium trying to take the club out of administration, are prepared to pay £3m to acquire it, but it is valued at £6m, posing a dilemma for Lloyds Bank: Selhurst

Following their 1-1 draw at home against West Brom last night Palace will be relegated if they are beaten by Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Sunday. A last minute attempt by Darren Ambrose which would have given them victory was cleared off the line.

Monday 26 April 2010

League 1 Team of the Year

Frazer Richardson and Nicky Bailey are included: team

Some of us might have thought that there was a case for Christian Dailly, but Norwich get three of the places, reasonably enough.

Sunday 25 April 2010

Liverpool in for Shelvey

Reports are claiming that Liverpool are putting in a £2m plus bid for Jonjo Shelvey, although Arsenal and Chelsea are both said to be still interested: Shelvey

Shelvey has fallen out of favour at Charlton since the 4-5-1 formation was dropped and has not even been on the bench for some gains. £2 million would go a long way to easing the club's financial worries.

Half full or half empty?

Yesterday's draw at Exeter secured Charlton a place in the play offs, but securing an automatic promotion place would now depend on a very unlikely combination of results. I had given up on an automatic promotion place some time ago and at the beginning of the season I thought we might just make the play offs. So, on the whole, I am reasonably satisfied with what we have achieved.

As for the play offs themselves, I think that we could see off Swindon who showed once again yesterday against relegation strugglers Wycombe that they are not invincible. Huddersfield are a physical side with some very big cloggers and can tear apart lesser sides, but I think that we are solid enough to deal with them.

Getting to the final would at least help with the club's financial problems. But who would we prefer to meet there? We have conceded eight goals against the Spanners this year and there would be a particular humiliation in being denied promotion by them.

Leeds United are also a very unpleasant side, but they might fall apart if they once again found themselves in the play offs. We will, of course, have a dress rehearsal for any final against them next week.

As for the match against Exeter, the home side had more of the possession with a 54-46 split. We had seven shots on target to four. We had nine corners to three, but once again they were unproductive.

One Devonian Addick who was there commented, 'Pretty even match, probably fair result. We hit the woodwork twice, Llera did well with one of them from a free kick just outside the box, they hit it once. Reid made a big impact on opening their defence to create chances.'

'Their fans were poor and spent most of the time slagging off the ref. but we were abysmal in our support, simply no getting behind the team. Although I think the result was about right, we were also robbed of a goal about 5 from the end, how the ref and lino failed to see the handball on the line I have no idea.'

Another Addick commented, 'Reid certainly made a big impact. And one does have to ask why Parky insists on playing the largely anonymous (and that's being generous) Racon in the centre and pushing Bailey out left. When Racon was finally, mercifully, pulled off (just after his awful gaffe led to the series of events which led to their goal) and Bailey moved into the centre and Reid was playing out wide left we suddenly had urgency and punch. I find it unbelievable that Parky can't see that Semedo and Racon in centre midfield means that we have absolute no attacks emanating from there.'

Steve from Sidcup is always very doubtful about Racon. I can never make my mind up whether he is just a showboater or whether he really does add something to the side.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Curse of Dowie strikes again

A nose for success

Iain Dowie confessed to a dark feeling in the pit of his stomach after Hull lost 0-1 at home to Sunderland today, making their relegation from the Premier League a near certainty. Dowie is 'temporary management consultant' at Hull, but relegation consultant might be a better title after he relegated Newcastle as coach last season and set up the Addicks for relegation before he was sacked. He also had unsuccessful spells at Coventry and QPR.

Such is the ingratitude of a section of the Hull City support that they have taken to jeering the maestro.

Unfortunately it is more than likely that he will re-appear on Sky as a goggle eyed match summariser, frightening children before the watershed.

Tudors decapitated

Leamington finished off their first season in the Zamaretto Premiership this afternoon with a 3-1 win over Hemel Hempstead Town. Brakes thus ended the season in the top half of the table, but the Tudors will be relegated (barring the collapse of Merthyr Tydfil).

Brakes went ahead on 13 minutes with Luke Corbett making good use of a free kick near the corner flag. Bello had two great chances to put the game beyond doubt when he was one on one with the keeper, but both times the keeper managed to save. The Tudors were making full use of the offside trap. Hemel had a potentially threatening free kick on 30 minutes but it came off the wall. On 39 minutes an error by Faulds in midfield nearly let the Tudors in, but Brakes were able to clear their lines.

Half time: Brakes 1, Tudors 0

Brakes seemed to take the foot off the pedal after the break and were forced back for much of the second half. They often seemed to be defending too deep, although they held their line well with Adam Cooper making some great interventions.

On 69 minutes the home side broke away and played some fluent passing football which enabled Michael Tuohy to score. Luther Blissett in the visitors dug out adopted a posture which suggested that it was all over. Tony Breeden, who had been racing out of his area to clear the ball, made a great save for the Brakes on 78 minutes.

Bello seemed to put the match beyond doubt with a goal on 88 minutes, but Ryan Blake managed to score a consolation immediately afterwards. He came close to scoring a second, but Breeden dealt with the threat well.

It was a good conclusion to the season. Let's hope that Leamington don't get transferred to the Unibond next season as was rumoured today.

Friday 23 April 2010

Nail-biter forecast

It's going to be a nile biter for Grecian fans tomorrow, but in places like Ottery St. Mary the mood is confident as they feel that their team out performs against 'top' clubs: Grecians

It's also going to be an exciting game for Grecians tomorrow as efforts to replace their pitch reach a climax.

Exeter will be without Stuart Fleetwood whose contract has another year to run at Charlton.

Charlton's attacking style will lead to defeat

Exeter City think that Charlton will go all out for three points on Saturday and that this is easier for the home side than a team that adopts a defensive stance. Hence, the Grecians are confident that the three points are theirs: Grecians

I would be more concerned about us taking a 1-0 lead and then trying to defend it and conceding at least an equaliser. However, although all our recent matches have been decided by one goal, I am going to stick my neck out and go for a 2-0 Addicks win tomorrow.

Charlton do have a number of injury worries ahead of the match. Kyel Reid has an ankle problem and has not been training and can be ruled out. Both Sodjes have problems that are likely to meant they are left out so that means Llera in central defence and Burton partnering Forster up front. Of the injury worries, Nicky Bailey is most likely to take part, although his trapped nerve problem has made it difficult for him to sleep at night.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Shaun Bartlett

I nstill have the 'goal of the season' T-shirt and there is an extensive interview with our former Springbok here: Bartlett

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Bailey doubtful, but Sinclair returns

Nicky Bailey is doubtful for Exeter on Saturday because of a shoulder problem. Apparently, he has had a trapped nerve for some time.

However, a frisson of excitement ran through Sparrows Lane with the news that Dean Sinclair was back at the training ground, for a few days at least: Dean

Monday 19 April 2010

Grecians angered at red card decision

Exeter City are annoyed about a red card given to one of their midfielders on Saturday: Grecians

However, they think that they have strength in depth and are equipped to go on playing the quality football that should enable them to beat Charlton on Saturday.

Saturday 17 April 2010

Charlton play well but come away with nothing

Charlton played as well today as I have seen them play this season but came away empty handed while Norwich celebrated automatic promotion to the Championship. The Addicks showed real commitment and skill, but a first half goal from a corner put the Canaries ahead. Charlton had Norwich under the cosh in the second half until the last phase when they started to tire a little, but they could not score. To be fair, Forster in the Norwich goal made three exceptional saves.

The pitch was watered before the match but this produced something of a crisis in the centre circle where a puddle appeared and the ground staff were engaged in frantic activity with pitchforks.

The teams changed ends which I always regard as a bad omen. Following two throw ins, Charlton won a corner within the first minute. However, this was unproductive as were all the many corners we had during the game. Many of them were put too close to the tall keeper so that he was just able to catch them. They should have been put further out and attempts should have been made to block the keeper's line of vision.

Darren Randolph slipped on the pitch and for a moment it looked as if he might have conceded a goal before he recovered. Sam was looking very lively and Semedo put in an excellent pass to him. Sam won a corner but it was caught by the keeper. Forster won a free kick on the edge of the D. Following an evident training ground routine, Semedo touched the ball to Bailey who blasted it over.

Norwich gave a warning of their intent when they scored a goal disallowed for offside. The quality of our crosses left something to be desired. Darren Randolph made a great save, but from the subsequent corner Norwich scored through Nelson.

Bailey put in an effort that was just wide. Akpo Sodje turned provider for Lloyd Sam leading to a Charlton corner. Akpo Sodje provided some pressure. Canaries charm merchant Drury received a yellow card.

Akpo Sodje was withdrawn in favour of Deon Burton. Bailey put in a great shot from an angle and Forster made a superb save to deny him. With two minutes added on Lloyd Sam created a Charlton corner, but once again it was unproductive.

Half time: Addicks 0, Canaries 1

Charlton created good pressure from the start of the second half, drawing another save. Nicky Forster, Lloyd Sam and Therry Racon were prominent in the action. Stephen Hughes received a yellow card for a foul. An effort from Bailey went over. Sam Sodje just missed with a header. A shot from Racon was on target but was easily gathered by the keeper and the same happened with an effort from Burton.

A Charlton corner led to an effort that was way over. The next Charlton corner was saved on the line. An effort from Forster was tipped over by the keeper. Burton shot at the keeper. Semedo had had a good game but he was taken off to allow room for Reid.

Forster had been time wasting and the referee gave him a yellow card. The problem is that referees always take too long to do this and they will never given a second yellow if the behaviour persists.

Bailey gave the ball away creating potential danger. Shelvey came on and replaced Bailey. Michael Spillane was the next Norwich charm merchant to receive a yellow card. Despite five minutes of time added on Charlton were not able to score.

Charlton had 68 per cent of the possession, nine shots on target on two and nine corners to one - and we couldn't score. Our lack of a clinical finisher has been our greatest weakness all season. It's a great shame we couldn't have put up this sort of performance against some of the weaker teams in the league.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Lloyd Sam. He was consistent for most of the game today and his dinking runs caused Norwich real trouble. Darren Randolph made one excllent save and generally did well, but I thought he could have done more to save the goal. Christian Dailly was once again solid and as the game went on played an increasing role in getting the ball forward. Sam Sodje was good in defence but a little disappointing up front in set pieces.
Borrowdale once again showed that he is a very professional footballer who knows what his role demands. Richardson made some good runs forward. Semedo had another good game, snapping at the heels of the Norwich midfield. Racon drew rare praise from Steve from Sidcup and showed some really nice touches. Bailey had some great efforts on goal but lost the ball once or twice. I assume Akpo Sodje was withdrawn because of injury (he took a blow to the face). He was winning more balls in the air than usual, but not all of them. Forster got in some good positions, but never came that close to scoring. Burton made some attempts on goal but they lacked power.
Reid was a threat when he came on and unhinged the Norwich defence.
Shelvey was competent but did not make a decisive difference.

Juneau the Soccer Cat was happy with the officials, the travel arrangements and the ball boys and has not given a Hiss of the Match.

Crowd rating Attendance was one short of the season record against Gillingham. Did their best to get behind the team, 8/10.

Pards recruits Reed

Les Reed has been recruited by Southampton as head of football development and support: Reed . He was always a good backroom boy and a very decent man and I am pleased that his career has not been damaged by his short spell as Charlton manager.

After the Spanners lost 1-0 at Huddersfield we can go ahead of them in the table if we beat Norwich today. Come on you reds!

Greetings from Grindavik

It's your old pal No.1 Iceland Addick Olafur Johnansson. First we are taking all your money, including that of the Kent County Council, and my wife's cousin, our president Olafur Grimsson is making sure you do not get it back. Then our volcanics are coughing up ash and all your planes are on the ground so you cannot plane spot during a dull period in the match today. All I can say is here in Grindavik we want you to beat the City of Norwich club today.

Friday 16 April 2010

Norwich out to ease the pain

Norwich are seeking to ease the pain of their 4-2 end-of-season defeat at Charlton by taking three points tomorrow. Although on paper it is a more difficult match that the one that produced a midweek defeat Orient, they remain confident of victory: Canaries

Phil Parkinson is viewed in Norfolk as having turned up the heat on Norwich: Parky

Holt is still suspended while Wes Hoolihan is doubtful because of a thigh injury so Norwich's attack may be blunted. Deon Burton could be back for the Addicks and it would be interesting to see him in partnership with Forster. Burton's ability to hold the ball up might be useful.

Charlton's defence has been looking very solid. The midfield has been playing well. My one question mark on Tuesday was about Racon. There might be a case for moving Bailey to the centre and using Reid on the left. His pace could unhinge the Norwich defence.

As to the result, I really have no idea, although I fear a 1-2 Norwich victory. However, this is a game where the crowd has to play its part and not start moaning the first time there is a misplaced pass or a panic header from the defence.

Roles reversed?

Crystal Palace may be looking for a groundshare: Palace

Thursday 15 April 2010

Norwich' off colour

Norwich have been 'off colour' but are still hopeful that three points at Charlton on Saturday will secure promotion to the Championship: Canaries

It seems from another report that the defence is being blamed, although I would have thought that the absence of their two main attacking threats played a part: Defence

In a sense the pressure is as much on Norwich as it is on us, making it important to get behind the team.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Lisbie's red card appealed

Colchester United are appealing the red card given to Kevin Lisbie towards the end of last night's game at Charlton. Having earlier been given a yellow, the striker lunged at Nicky Bailey in front of the referee and was given a straight red.

Millwall have confirmed that Lisbie is a transfer target.

One-Nil Is How We Do It

All of Charlton's last four games have been decided by one goal and we have won three of them. Last night Charlton put in a battling and committed performance against Colchester. It wasn't quality football from either side, and Colchester were less good than I had expected them to be, but there was no lack of passion from the Charlton players. Colchester's robust and petulant approach increasingly exasperated the rather fussy referee and a number of yellow cards were issued, culminating in the sending off of Kevin Lisbie at the end of the game.

Colchester started as if they were up for it, which no doubt they were. Randolph made a good stop but then spilled the ball and it was put in the back of the net, but the lino was familiar with the offside rule and had already raised his flag.

A Charlton corner followed good work by Borrowdale. It was taken short and I would like to know what percentage of such corners are successful compared with putting the ball in the box. Sam then picked up the ball and thumped it.

Sam had a shot from distance which I wish he would do more often. It was on target but saved by the keeper. The ball boys were throwing balls so quickly to Colchester players that they were told to calm down by Borrowdale.

A Charlton free kick in front of the D came off the wall. Sam put in a superb cross and Forster made no mistake in putting the ball in the back of the net. O'Toole had to be stretchered off and Platt came on. Charlton won another corner, but it was unproductive.

In the three minutes of time added on, Colchester put in a shot that was just inches past the post. I thought that the ball had been in the air too much in the first half which suited Colchester.

Half time: Addicks 1, U's 0

Charlton won an early corner, stopping any Colchester plans of an early strike. Then the U's won a corner, but Charlton broke and Richardson put in a strike that was not far wide. Racon put in an effort that was not far wide.

Charlton won a free kick which led to a Charlton corner and then to a second. The visitors swopped two players. Sodje went down and required treatment, possibly his knee problem again.

Two Colchester free kicks in potentially dangerous positions were well defended and I think that our defence is looking a lot more solid. Akpo Sodje burst through and shot from an angle. For a moment I thought it was going in, but it was just wide.

Colchester created some pressure through three corners in succession. Five minutes of time were added on and right at the death there was an open goal but the Addicks managed to clear.

The result put the Addicks 4th in the table and probably put paid to Colchester's play-off hopes. Millwall equalised in the 90th minute at Yeovil. Southampton maintained their challenge with a 5-1 win at Bristol Rovers.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Frazer Richardson. He was always a threat and linked up very well with Sam. Darren Randolph did not have that much to do given the wayward nature of Colchester's shots on goal, but he saved well from two potentially dangerous free kicks. Sam Sodje defended well and was a potential threat in set pieces. Dailly was once again very reliable. He has contributed to four games in which we have only conceded one goal. Borrowdale does his job well. Semedo did his unfashionable and often little appreciated job well, but inevitably picked up another yellow card. Racon was in and out of the game, although he showed some occasional nice touches. But once again Steve from Sidcup was prompted to ask 'what is Racon for?' Sam had one of his better games and unsettled the Colchester defence. Bailey was active and vigorous as ever. Akpo Sodje was not that involved and one of his attempts towards the end of the first half was baffling to say the least. Forster took the winning goal well, that is what we have hired him for. Wagstaff did not really do his super sub act. Mooney once again showed himself to be lightweight. Solly had a cameo, but did his best to get involved.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to overly fussy referee M Jones. No opportunity to blow his whistle was missed.

Crowd rating Got behind the side well, 7/10.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

R.I.P. Eddie Marsh

I am saddened to report the death of Eddie Marsh in Cheshire last week at the age of 83. Eddie was Sam Bartram's understudy and I wrote of him on one of my pages:

One day, to my horror, Sam was not in the goalmouth: my father told me that he had been injured in training. (A bit odd considering that training in those days usually consisted of running around the pitch or up and down the East Terrace to build stamina). Fortunately, the reserve goalkeeper, Eddie Marsh, proved equal to the occasion and we beat Cardiff 3-2. The kind of loyalty that Eddie showed to the club is almost unknown today. He was reserve goalkeeper throughout the Bartram era, but he stayed with the club, although he knew that he would only get a game when Bartram was injured.

I was pleased to hear from his son-in-law that he was able to visit The Valley just before his 80th birthday with his grandchildren and was able to see many pictures of himself on the boardroom walls.

I hope to write an extended tribute at a later date.

Bring On The U's

I haven't generally been to mid-week matches this season because it means a 1 a.m. return to Warwickshire, but I am coming tonight. This is clearly a vital match. I do not think we have a realistic chance of getting an automatic promotion place, but we need to secure our play-off place and try and get 3rd or 4th which would put us in a much better position for the semi-finals than 5th or 6th.

Swindon have been touted as the new invincibles, but they didn't look like that when we played them and having been defeated 3-0 by Colchester on Saturday, a last minute own goal with lowly Exeter scraped a draw at home last night.

A win tonight would put us on the same number of points as Swindon but ahead of them on goal difference. Leeds travel to Carlisle which is not an easy fixture for them. A win would also put paid to any chances of Colchester overtaking us.

My fear is a draw which would simply not be good enough.

Saturday 10 April 2010

One is enough for Saints

A goal by Antonio in the 34th minute was enough for Southampton to defeat Charlton at St.Mary's. One prominent Addick commented, 'Thought we were better than usual. Probably would have got something if we had another decent striker apart from Forster. Bailey was unlucky not to score.'

Charlton led the corner count ten to five and had five shots on target to Southampton's four, but the home side had more of the possession, 56 per cent to 44 per cent.

With Huddersfield losing 3-0 at Brentford, the Addicks remain six points clear in
5th place, two points behind Swindon (who lost at Colchester) and three behind Leeds.

The Old Five

Leamington beat Tiverton Town 5-0 at the New Windmill Ground today in the spring sunshine in front of a crowd of 453, depleted from the 1,251 who watched the clash with Nuneaton on Easter Monday.

The back of Tivvy's shirts were adorned with 'The Golden Buddha' and 'The Golden Panda', presumably references to high-class eating establishments in the Devon town. Tiverton bizarrely kicked off by booting the ball high into the air above the centre circle.

The visitors looked lively in the early exchanges, but nerves were settled on 13 minutes when Matt Lewis put Brakes ahead in a goal created by Bello. Sgt. Bellingham is running so fast these days he has been equipped with a flashing blue light

Lewis then made it 2-0 on 24 minutes. With the keeper off his line, Bello hooked the ball into the net to make it 3-0 before the break.

Half time: Brakes 3, Tiverton 0

An infringement was spotted by the lino and the referee reluctantly gave a penalty so that Matt Lewis could make it 3-0 from the spot and claim his hat trick. Stuart Herlihy was withdrawn so that he could go and get his winnings on the National.

Bello burst through on 74 minutes and McPike, who had been brought on to shouts of 'Don't tell him Pike' finished the move. The lino flagged for a sixth after Book in the Tiverton goal carried the ball across the line, but the referee was not having any. No bookings were made during the game, the referee having apparently left his cards at home.

Guy Sanders had a great game in defence and once again it was a superb performance from Jacko who showed Tiverton no quarter in midfield.

Pards wants Addicks to go up

Alan Pardew claims that he retains an affection for Charlton and wants them to go up:

It's going to be a tough fixture this afternoon. Our defence is looking quite solid, but we have a problem scoring goals. I am going for a 0-0.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Saints expect bumper crowd

Southampton are expecting a crowd of at least 25,000 for their clash against Charlton on Saturday. A win is vital to their campaign to secure a play-off place:

Sodje: I want to outdo my bruv

Sam Sodje wants to score more goals for the Addicks this season than brother Akpo: Sodje

He also argues, looking forward to the matches against Leeds and Norwich, that Charlton tend to do better against the bigger teams. Let's hope he's right.

Mambo wants to make the grade

Yado Mambo is currently with the Staines massive but wants to make the grade at Charlton: Mambo

Monday 5 April 2010

Addicks consolidate base camp

At half time we a were introduced to a fan from Essex who is going to plant a Charlton flag on Mount Everest. Charlton did not exactly scale the summit in this 1-0 victory over Carlisle, but they consolidated the base camp that should secure them a play-off place. They did enough to hold off Carlisle, while failing to make use of some chances that could have secured a larger margin.

Whilst the formation was notionally 4-5-1, it was more 4-4-2 as Shelvey was getting forward a lot. Charlton came out of the traps well and applied a lot of early pressure. Reid put in a good cross which led to a corner and then to two more.

Carlisle local hero Tom Aldred had to go off for stitches after he had collied with another Cumbrian. Semedo was yellow carded for a foul on Clayton, but Carlisle were also dishing it out and Dobie and Thirlwell were booked.

Although Charlton continued to apply pressure and won more corners, it looked as if the half-time score might be 0-0 until Sodje rose to one of the corners and delivered a bullet header into the back of the net.

The referee, who had a good game overall, called the captains together after Semedo had an exchange of views with a Carlisle player. It was not thought that the latter had simply failed to understand the Portuguese for 'Do many of your supporters come from Scotland?'

Half time: Addicks 1, Cumbrians 0

Shelvey missed when he should have passed to Sam who was available on his right. Randolph called on his skills as a former international basketball player to punch out the ball from a Carlisle corner. Shelvey brought the ball out well afterwards.

Good work by Shelvey won Charlton a corner, but Borrowdale overhit it. Carlisle put the ball in the net, but the flag was up. Millwall charm merchant Jason Price had been trying a tactic of running at Randolph whenever he had the ball, but he was substituted by a player with a more conventional hairstyle.

The tiring Forster was replaced by Akpo Sodje and Bailey returned from injury to replace the increasingly erratic Reid. Shelvey missed an open goal. A Charlton goal was disallowed as Richardson was offside. Shelvey was involved in missing another opportunity and was replaced by Mooney. Akpo Sodje created a half chance, but was not able to take it.

Another three points ground out.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Sam Sodje for the goal that gave Charlton victory and a solid performance in defence. Darren Randolph had relatively little to do which was a measure of Carlisle's failure to penetrate and their waywardness when they did. Borrowdale had a very competent game. Richardson had one brilliant run forward and generally linked up well with Sam. He defended well apart from conceding a corner with a sliced clearance. Dailly was reliable throughout. Semedo got booked again, but generally played his part well. Racon was not as prominent as at MK Dons, but again showed some nice touches and put it one very good cross. Sam was lively and caused the Carlisle defence some problems. Reid was below his best, blasting the ball over twice when he could have had a more considered shot, although he did forge forward well at times. Shelvey seemed uncertain where should position himself, was static at times and missed one great opportunity to score. Forster had relatively little impact and is not as good as Burton in a 4-5-1. Bailey tried to get involved and made some good defensive efforts. Akpo Sodje made a positive difference when he came on, particularly against the tall Carlisle defence. Mooney did nothing to satisfy his many critics.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to the instant ball delivery system which often fails to speed things up as it means there are two balls on the pitch at one time.

Crowd rating Reasonably lively, but not at full pitch. 7/10.

Sunday 4 April 2010

Carlisle preview

Tom Aldred is the hero of the hour for Carlisle United after they bounced back from their defeat in the decorators' trophy with a 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers on Friday: Cumbrians

It is unlikely that Nicky Bailey will be fit for the game, although he might get a place on the bench. Wagstaff seems to function best as a super sub and after his disappointing performance on Saturday, Lloyd Sam could well replace him in the starting line-up.

Darren Randolph was very much the hero of the hour, but he needs to rely less on punching the ball out.

The defeat at Carlisle earlier in the season contributed to a deflation of initial optimism about our performance. The performance at stadiummk was functional rather than classic like the stadium itself. But as long as we get the points, I am not worried. I am going for a 2-0 victory for Charlton.

Saturday 3 April 2010

Penalties do count

Some of the Addicketd claim that penalties don't count, but they did this afternoon when Nicky Forster scored from the spot in the 64th minute to give Charlton a 1-0 victory over MK Dons.

It was a lacklustre first half when Dons did not look like starting the late run to the play offs hoped for in the programme, but used their physical presence and a 'homer' referee to edge Charlton out of the game. The Addicks came under pressure in the opening phase of the second half and again after they had gone ahead, but they withstood it and themselves were on top in the final phase.

I was pleased that I had printed out instructions on how to get to the ground as there were none of the usual brown football signs and one roundabout in Milton Keynes looks much like another - and there are a lot of them. Inside the stadium is half completed and echoing and any atmosphere was created by the Addickted. The Cowshed only rarely came to life and even the half time display of flags to celebrate the stadium's status as a prospective World Cup venue created little excitement.

The first half started with a series of midfield exchanges often in the air and it did not improve much after that. Charlton seemed to be relying on hit and hope. The highlights of the half were two outstanding reaction saves by Darren Randolph. Towards the end of the half the Addicks did apply some pressure.

Half time: Dons 0, Addicks 0

Charlton were under the cosh in the opening phase and couldn't get out of their half. However, the replacement of the disappointing Wagstaff by Sam on 57 minutes seemed to liven up Charlton.

Forster advanced not very threateningly, but for some reason Sean O'Hanlon chose to bring him down. The referee had a clear view and waved away the vociferous protests of the home side. Forster struck the penalty cleanly.

The Dons were energised by the supposed injustice, but could not break the Addicks down, although Randolph had to make another great save. One of the home side had to be stretchered off. Five minutes of time were added on, which ended up being nearer seven, but the Addicks retained their shape to take the points.

Walking back to the car, someone wound down their car window and shouted 'You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.' I didn't think the penalty was that contentious, but then I turned to see a group of BNP actvists behind me.

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Darren Randolph for three saves that kept Charlton in the game. The referee gave him a yellow card for time wasting towards the end of the game which had little justification.Sam Sodje provided good defensive cover, although he required treatment after a knock in the first half. Captain Christian Dailly was solid and consistent.Richardson did not shine, but was competent. I though that Borrowdale was a bit up and down, but made some good interventions. Semedo received a number of chants from the crowd and did his job well. Racon showed some really nice touches and was one the best players on the pitch given the absence of Nicky Bailey. Reid looked sharp and was in many ways our greatest attacking threat. Wagstaff made little contribution apart from one run on goal which came to nothing. Mooney ran around but to little effect.
Forster did his job well, but does lack pace. Sam looked up for it when he came on and his runs unsettled the Dons defence.Shelvey looked lively when he came on and caused the home side some problems, winning Charlton a corner. Akpo Sodje made little impact.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to the lack of directions to the stadium.

Crowd rating The Addickted were in good voice. There was even a chant of 'Parky, give us a wave' and he responded.

Not so invincible?

Norwich lost 3-1 at relegation threatened Tranmere last night. They had their goalkeeper sent off and manager Paul Lambert was sent to the stands. It just shows that any team can beat any other team in this division.

Millwall were 0-1 at home to Brentford before the Spanners equalised. Sky commentator and ex-Addick John Salako had to give his report in front of a group of low lifes chanting 'We are super Millwall.' Ex Addick Charlie MacDonald had a good game. This is the first stutter in the Spanners promotion bid for some time, meaning that a Charlton v. Millwall play-off final is not impossible.

Friday 2 April 2010

Colchester defeated

Colchester lost 2-0 at lowly Exeter denting their play-off ambitions. They are now 3 points behind us having played one more game. What's more the opener for the Grecians was scored by notional Addick Stuart Fleetwood.

Dons hope to be at full strength

MK Dons hope to be back at full strength for the clash against Charlton yesterday. Striker Sam Baldock has missed 10 games through a knee injury, but trained on Thursday and could feature tomorrow. This is important as the side is short of attacking options.

Nicky Bailey and Deon Burton both remain doubtful, both having received injections, Bailey in the ankle and Burton in the knee. The return of Bailey would be important for the side, provided he can avoid outbursts of petulance. Randolph will remain between the sticks.

MK Dons are clearly a controversial club and I personally do not like franchise systems. One only has to look at the problems that have arisen in North American ice hockey where new franchises in places like Arizona have floundered, not surprisingly given that it is difficult to get in the mood when there is a heatwave outside. However, a lack of flexibility has meant that it has not been possible to transfer the franchise to Canadian cities like Hamilton, Ontario which would have a much more viable support base.

The real culprits in the Wimbledon saga in my view are the local council who made no effort to help them find a new ground once they vacated the inadequate Plough Lane. Once they were at Sainsbury's their fate was sealed. MK Dons have managed to build up a much bigger support base than I anticipated as I thought that most of those living in the 'city' would be adherents of big London clubs. Indeed, that may be the case, and MK Dons may be their second club or be preferred as a local alternative, particularly when taking the family to the game.

With Paul May off on a stag weekend in Prague, I will be covering the game myself tomorrow. I am going for a 2-1 win for the home side.

Thursday 1 April 2010

Dons reconcile themselves to League 1 football

MK Dons are reconciling themselves to another season of League 1 football, but their consolation is that they don't want to be another Peterborough. As far as the visit of Charlton is concerned, they see them as one of the most erratic teams in the league, but also having the best player in the division in the shape of Nicky Bailey. Read more here: Dons

The franchisees have put down some roots in the so-called city, but just as in Coventry, an indifferent performance by the football team is being offset by success in ice hockey. The Milton Keynes Lightning team have taken the EPL title, the second tier of British ice hockey.