Thursday 30 September 2010

Things are looking up

I had a poor start to my sporting year. With the disappearance of Bello in a tantrum about things said about him on the fans' form (you would think he heard worse in his day job as a police sergeant) Leamington seemed to have difficulty in finding the back of the net. But they have now had two successive away wins, 3-0 away against Halesowen with 10 men for most of the match on Saturday and 2-0 away at Bedford on Tuesday night.

After winning the Elite League last season, Coventry Blaze experienced a run of defeats. But they recovered at the weekend with a 9-2 demolition of new boys Dundee Star and a 5-1 cup win over the Steelers and last night at the Skydome they beat Edinburgh Capitals 6-3. Eleven fanatical away fans faced a long trip back to Scotland.

Above all, things are looking up at Charlton. Our 1-0 win over MK Dons was hardly emphatic, but we kept a clean sheet. Those who were there agreed that Jon Fortune made an encouraging return to the defence, while despite the occasional fumble, Ross Worner looks like a promising young keeper.

One must be careful about reading results off the table or even the form table. But we can go into Saturday's match at Brentford in a reasonably confident mood. No team is dominating the division, least of all Southampton who were tipped to run away with the title. Our local Saint tells me they are playing off teams off the park which perhaps explains the point gained at mighty Yeovil.

Our current position in 7th place is a promising one at this time of the season and we just need to build on what we are starting to achieve. Questions remain about the midfield, but whether it is a lack of creativity or too much lumping the ball forward from defence is an interesting question.

McLeod raring to go

Former Charlton striker Izale McLeod can't wait to put on the Barnet shirt. He is looking forward to getting back to playing football and scoring goals. (Shome mishtake shurely? Ed) Read more here: McLeod

At Underhill he will enjoy the company of Grant Basey. Who next?

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Benson opens his account

Charlton did not start that strongly against MK Dons at The Valley tonight and the visitors had much of the early possession reports Philippa Nicholson. The first attempt on goal by the Addicks came from Semedo on 23 minutes. His shot was spilled by Martin, but no Charlton player was able to take advantage.

MK Dons won the first corner of the match just after the half hour point, but Francis cleared up the pitch. Martin advanced on goal, but he was fouled and Danny Woodard was given the yellow card, although he was the last man and should have been given the red. The free kick was 25 yards out just to the left of the 'D'. Jackson's effort went into the wall, but there were appeals for handball. The referee deemed it was ball to hand.

MK Dons were given a free kick inside the 'D'. The wall had to assemble on the penalty spot. The effort went over the crossbar.

Jackson combined well with Lee Martin, but angle was tight and the keeper went down to save. Francis put in a great cross, Benson got his head to it and the ball went just wide of the post. Chadwick went down after blocking a cross from Francis.

The corner was delayed with the doctor coming on. Jackson's effort led to a second, taken by Francis.

Although it became a little livelier in the last quarter of an hour, it was a subdued first half at The Valley.

Addicks 0, Franchisees 0

Charlton won an early corner after Martin advanced. Doherty's first touch in defence was not good, but Francis cleared. The visitors headed over after a free kick.

Fry went down and needed treatment while MK Dons made a substitution with much travelled journeyman Jermaine Easter coming on up front.

Benson won a corner for Charlton, but it was unproductive. A ball in by Francis after a spell of good possession led to another corner, but it led to a goal kick. MK Dons won a corner off Fry, leading to a second and then a third. This one was more dangerous and Worner did well to stop it going in.

Worner spilled the ball after a free kick and a corner was conceded. The visitors kept up the pressure, but eventually led to an offside decision. The quiet Wagstaff was taken off and replaced by Pawel Abbott returning from injury, Martin moving back on the right hand side where he could be more creative.

Benson advanced, it looked as if he was fouled, but the referee allowed play to continue. Racon headed just wide after Charlton advanced. Jackson came off and was replaced by Reid.

Fortune put the ball over from a free kick. MK Dons won a corner, but the defence dealt with it. The visitors brought on Carrington to replace the veteran Hamann. Benson had a shot on target, but it was weak and easily saved.

Reid advanced, put in a great cross and Benson slid the ball in to make it 1-0. Reid made another run, but Woodard blocked the ball. Three minutes were added on. Martin had to save from Martin. Fry did well as the visitors advanced.

1-0 to the Charlton, a useful three points.

Plymouth game may be called off

If you are planning a weekend in Plymouth for the October 9th game, think again as it seems likely to be called off. Three Plymouth players have been called up for international duty: Pilgrims

Injury worries for both sides

Charlton have injury worries for tonight's match, but then so do MK Dons who are missing four key players: Dons .

Pawel Abbott may be available, but whether that is a blessing is a matter for debate. Come back Deon Burton, all is forgiven.

What would be good is if two strikers could get a run together up front in the hope that they might be able to combine and find the back of the net.

A likely outcome of this mid-table clash is yet another draw, but clearly more is required.

Monday 27 September 2010

Basey signs for Barnet

Former Charlton defender Grant Basey has signed on a short-term contract for Barnet until January: Basey

SPL club Aberdeen were interested in signing him over the summer but could not meet his wage demands. Perhaps he would have been better off moderating his wage demands and wearing the kilt as I cannot imagine that Barnet are paying big bucks on a short-term contract.

Saturday 25 September 2010

Valley of disappointment

Gilmanton, N.H.: The Gilmanton year round library is the subject of some controversy in these parts, but I am mighty glad of its facilities to keep up with events at The Valley. What looked like three points for Charlton against Dagenham and Redbridge, ended up in a 2-2 home draw and plenty of complaining from the Addickted.

What struck me first was that once again our goals did not come from our strikers, but from two defenders. Martin hit the bar early on, but then Llera converted from a Jackson penalty. Racon gave away a penalty just before the break and the Daggers levelled.

It looked as if Charlton had won the match as it entered time added on when Jackson made good use of a Racon cross, but once again the Addicks failed to hold on to a lead.

It seems from the stats that we edged the match: possession 53-47; seven shots on target to five; and nine corners to three. Ten shots off target suggests a need for a bit more accuracy.

So Charlton remain in mid-table, but far from out of touch with the leaders. All is far from lost, but it is deeply disappointing.

Friday 24 September 2010

Abbott presses for start

Pawel Abbott is pressing to start against the Daggers, having recovered from a calf problem, although at Tranmere we were told it was a groin problem. Perhaps it was a finding the back of the net problem.

It would be great if both Abbott and Benson started tomorrow and they both managed to score and then Sodje came on as a sub and scored the coup de grace. But I guess that is dream territory.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Preview problems

Boston, Ma.: I never find doing previews that easy and sometimes I think I should just leave it to the likes of Charlton Athletic Online, Iberian Valley etc. who say it all really and with great eloquence and panache - in so far as that is possible when talking about Charlton.

Being in a different time zone, a different country and with other things to focus on only makes it more difficult. Plus the upscale hotel I am staying in had great difficulties in getting me connected to the internet, the efforts of Carlos and his amigo notwithstanding.

Once I was connected, I followed my usual routine of seeing what the local paper had to say about the visiting side. However, although the Barking Post [sic] had a lot to say about the upsurge of burglaries in Dagenham or a story about a gentleman from Keir Hardie Way who took the dog out and came home to find it occupied by squatters, there was little that was useful or up to date about the Daggers.

Whether our strikers aren't up to it or they are getting poor service from the midfield or probably both is an interesting debate, but one I don't have much to add to.

I will be en route to Gilmanton, NH, the home of the author of Peyton Place on Saturday morning when the match is being played in the UK. The one definite thing I can say is that I think we will win, but by no more than one goal. I will go for 2-1.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Sepia memories for flat times

The Drinking During the Game blog has made the point that everything seems a bit flat at the moment. A 1-1 away draw at Tranmere is not a platform for a 'Parky out' campaign, but nor is it anything to get excited about.

The automatic promotion places seem to be slipping away from us, but then it's a much more fluid division last year. If we can claim all six points in our next two home matches, then we could be in contention again.

Meanwhile, let's look back at sepia tinged memories of better times. I have recently been reading Football Nation an excellent history of the post-war game in England. Very sensibly, the authors structure their opening narrative in part around Charlton and in particular the first proper post-war cup final between Derby and the Addicks.

They start with the story of the Glikstens taking over Charlton. Much of the story is familiar enough, but there are a few anecdotes I hadn't heard before (or perhaps had heard or read and forgotten).

Four of the six houses owned by Charlton in Blackheath so when 'Sailor' Brown returned from the war there was nowhere for him to live. He put in a transfer request. Clearly matters were sorted out somehow or other.

Sam Bartram is described as a 'Burt Lancaster type figure'. Apparently, he was once asked to test protective headgear for a crash helmet manufacturer.

Charlton were allocated just 12,000 tickets for the final, although 98,215 attended. There were no supporters' clubs to aid the distribution of tickets and no voucher system. Successful applicants had to bring their identity cards with them.

I'm off to the States tomorrow, so I will miss the game against the Daggers and will be too jet lagged to attend the one against MK Dons. If we can get six points out if them, we should be in a much better position in the league in just over a week's time.

Saturday 18 September 2010

All square at Prenton Park.

There are five changes in the Charlton side at a wet Prenton Park this afternoon. Ross Worner starts in place of the injured Rob Elliot with loan signing Luke Daniels on the bench. Criticisms that McCormack and Semedo are too similar are answered by replacing McCormack with Racon. Abbott, who apparently has a groin injury, loses his place up front in favour of Anyinsah. Fry is replaced by Llera and Reid gives way to Wagstaff.

Like other Charlton fans, I had a difficult journey up here on the motorway, reports Paul May. Martin played a decent ball into the far post, but two approaching players were unable to connect. It was a positive start for the Addicks.

Jackson put in a good defensive header. Jackson's excellent free kick was whipped in, leaving the home defence, especially the keeper, at sixes and sevens and Wagstaff smashed the ball home to put Charlton ahead after seven minutes.

Benson approached well, but Anyinsah put the ball wide on the slippery surface. Charlton mounted a good attack, but it ended with a shot from Racon which went over. Racon put in a very poor back pass and led to a Tranmere attack with a shot going over the bar.

There was a shout for handball against Llera but it was ball to hand. Semedo put in a strong challenge and the referee had a word. A shot went in from Tranmere which was not too far wide.

Lee Martin put in a great effort which was only just wide. Tranmere won the first corner of the game. Charlton were able to clear from Cresswell's corner. Blanchard put in a good cross, but Worner dealt with it well under some pressure.

Doherty dealt intelligently with a Tranmere attack. Tranmere were given a free kick about 20 yards from goal. The free kick was well taken, but Doherty defended well. Anyinsah was held when he was goal side of the defender, but it was ignored by the officials.

Tranmere continued their physical tactics. This time a free kick was awarded, but it was unproductive. Martin put in a shot which led to a corner which was unproductive. Francis appeared to receive an elbow from Showunmi, but the referee saw nothing.

Francis gave a bit of afters to Showunmi and was booked. The free kick was cleared. A shot from Racon was blocked by the keeper's feet. Semedo was shown a yellow card for a tackle. A shot came in, but somehow Charlton managed to clear.

Tranmere won a corner after a move that started with a foul on Semedo which was ignored by the referee. The corner ended in a goal kick for the Addicks. A nasty challenge was put in on Wagstaff and then on Racon, but no yellow cards were awarded.

Tranmere made a substitution after a hamstring injury to Morrow, Jennings coming on. Charlton mounted a good final attack. Lee Martin put in a strong challenge as Tranmere counter attacked, but he did get the ball. The free kick was charged down by Martin.

Half time: Tranmere 0, Addicks 1

The second half started with another strong challenge on Semedo, but no foul was awarded. Martin put in some good play but Wagstaff's effort went over. Anyinsah seemed to be in some trouble and Sodje prepared to come on, but Anyinsah signalled he would try and run it off.

Llera defended well, but had to concede a corner. Creswell's corner came in, it was initially saved on the line, but Showunmi stabbed the ball in to make it 1-1. Llera probably should have reacted more quickly.

Wagstaff advanced well and won a corner. The corner by Francis was a decent one and should have led to a second, but a goal kick was baffingly awarded. Jennings advanced and won a corner. Jackson cleared with a good defensive header.

The Tranmere players tried to get Francis sent off after he tried to stand his ground. The referee confined himself to a word. The ball went just wide from the free kick. Welsh went rolling around and Racon was booked. Tranmere appealed for a dubious corner and it was given. Francis headed the ball out.

A shot from Wagstaff led to a corner. Anyinsah was withdrawn and Sodje came on after 63 minutes. Jennings put in a good strike but Worner saved well at the expense of a corner. A bad challenge was made by Mendy on Francis. Semedo got a talking to for his protests.

Tranmere were awarded a free kick for a shirt tug but it was unproductive. Lee Martin was taken off and replaced by Reid while Jackson was replaced by Fry. Benson put in an effort that was just wide.

Llera caught Showunmi with a necessary foul and received a yellow card. Charlton put six men into the wall and Semedo took the shot full in the face and had to go off.

Tranmere won a dubious corner. Blanchard's header was wide of the target. Three minutes were added on. Welsh put in a shot which was not far over as it dipped. A shot from Reid was deflected and led to a Charlton corner which was unproductive. Charlton should have been given another corner, the ball was over the line.

The home side put Charlton under a lot of pressure in the second half and gave us little scope to play. It wasn't helped by some poor refereeing.

Friday 17 September 2010

Luke Daniels is new keeper

Charlton have signed Luke Daniels on a one month loan from the Baggies: Daniels . He goes straight into the side against Tranmere tomorrow.

Read more about him here: Luke . Originally a Manchester United product, his varied career has included a spell at Tranmere.

Tranmere look for second win of season

Tranmere Rovers are looking for their second league win of the season against Charlton tomorrow. This very full preview from a Tranmere site predicts a 2-0 win for the home side: Tranmere

The argument put forward is that Tranmere players may not be as of high a quality as some of the Charlton players, but their work rate will lead them to victory. I would be inclined to put it the other way round: there is plenty of endeavour from the Addicks, but often a lack of skill. Of course, we have to rememmber that they are third division of players and hoofing the ball out of defence is one of the chaarcteristics of the lower divisions.

The Tranmere preview picks Gary Doherty as the man to watch and he will certainly be a key player in a defence lacking Christian Dailly. There is also no sign of a replacement keeper for the injured Elliot, but even if someone does arrive in a cab at Prenton Park, he will not have a good understanding with the defence.

With hindsight one could argue that we should have gone for a second keeper with a Football League pedigree, but is the No.2 position at Charlton that attractive, particularly as we could not pay very much? One might, I suppose, get a veteran nearing the end of his career.

The other concern is the link up play between midfield and our strikers. Whether Abbott and Benson can do the business remains to be seen and there may at least be a case for inroducing Sodje earlier in the game.

Before the Elliot injury I would have gone for a 2-2 draw, but the Tranmere prediction could now be correct.

Thursday 16 September 2010

No fear at Tranmere

There's no fear at Tranmere as big boys Charlton Athletic head for Prenton Park: Tranmere

Sometimes you wonder if the managers, players and newspaper commentators at other third division clubs could not come up with a narrative about Charlton other than: big boys; promotion favourites; we are confident we can deal with them.

Ironically, Tranmere also have keeper problems, although afflicting on loan Manchester City keeper Gunnary Nielsen. He picked up an injury on international duty with the Faroe Islands.

Nielsen was injured (also on international duty) after featuring in Tranmere's opening game. Since then youngster Joe Collister has been used in goal, keeping three clean sheets and appearing in the League One team of the week twice.

However, Tranmere boss Les Parry is worried about putting too much pressure on the 18-year old. He therefore expects to sign a new keeper before the weekend to cope with the menace of Charlton's forward line.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Elliot out for a month

In a big blow for the Addicks, Rob Elliot has chipped a bone in his elbow in training and will be out for a month: Elliot

Phil Parkinson is desperately looking for a new keeper for the weekend as Ross Worner has not found it easy to bridge the gap from the second step of non-league.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Glam fan

Young actress Gema Arteron is an Addick: Fan

Apparently in the Albert Memorial comedy drama on ITV on Sunday, Albert was buried with a Charlton flag.

Sunday 12 September 2010

One is enough

When I eventually got hold of the result at my brother-in-law's wedding yesterday, I though that's ok: three points and a clean sheet. Admittedly, Charlton are only in 9th place, but they are just two points off leaders Peterborough.

Then I thought, I am sure people will find plenty to complain about. They did, and on this occasion they may have had some justification. It was clearly a very tight game with 50-50 possession and Charlton had only four shots on target to nine by the Magpies.

It's clear that the Addicks weren't very good in the first half. Whether the appearance of Racon after the break made the difference is a matter for debate. I am not his greatest admirer, but perhaps he did make the difference. Certainly the gap between the midfield and the forwards appears to have been a problem.

Elliot would seem to deserve the Silver Bone, making a number of great saves and denying Lee Hughes from the penalty spot. Doherty appears to have led the line well at the back. It was substitute Joe Anyinsah who scored the winning goal on 85 minutes in his first appearance at The Valley.

I'm happy to take the three points.

Friday 10 September 2010

Sacked manager returns to football

The scaking of founding manager Jason Cadden at Leamington last season provoked high drama including a special meeting of shareholders. Now Cadzy has turned up in the dugout at Stratford Town along with his former assistant Morton Titterton, but their roles are reversed with Titterton the boss and Cadden No.2. Titterton says that they have complementary 'skill sets'.

A number of ex-Brakes players are now with the Bardsmen, while others have been 'improving their fitness' at the Anne Hathaway Stadium, using the excellent facilities made possible by the bard-related activities of Stratford Town Council.

Magpies face toughest test of the season

Notts County think that their game at The Valley tomorrow will be their toughest test of the season: Magpies

Nevertheless, they are brimming with confidence after their victory over the Massives (aka Yeovil Town) and now think they are on track for promotion.

I am reasonably confident and think that the Addicks will secure a 2-1 victory.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Valley pitch will help us say County

Notts County think that the size of the Valley pitch will help with their passing game when they play Charlton on Saturday: County

While they think it will be a tough game, they are confident of taking the points.

I recall that during the Target 10000 campaign there was a special admission for a pound deal for a game against Notts County. The result was a bumper crowd and the game being delayed by 15 minutes. As I recall it ended in a 1-1 draw.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Prolonged absence

I've just realised I'm not going to see the Addicks playing again until mid-October. On Saturday I have to go to my brother-in-law's wedding. He claims to have no interest in football, but in so far as he supports a team it is Palace. If you think about it, those two things go together.

At least the original decision to have no alcohol at the wedding has been rescinded.

Then at the end of the month I have to go back to the States, so I will miss the home matches then.

Whether the team is a joy to watch at the moment is a matter for debate, but I would like to be able to make my own appraisal of Benson.

Monday 6 September 2010

Dailly out for five weeks

Christian Dailly will be out for five weeks after damaging an eye socket in a clash of heads in the paint drying match: Dailly . The central defender will need an operation.

This is not good news as Llera is clearly not in the same class and is prone to dangerous errors, such as conceding a penalty last Saturday (I accept that Llera and not the referee was at fault). Cue Jonathan Fortune, even if he is not fully match fit?

Some have criticised Phil Parkinson for playing Dailly in the JPT, but the rules of the competition require at least six first team players to be in the side put out.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Charlton cheated of point by penalty

Paul Benson started for Charlton alongside Abbott against Exeter City while Elliot was back between the posts. Fry also started. With Christian Dailly injured, Llera took his place writes Erith's Paul May. Portugeezer Semedo was captain.

Fry didn't look too settled at left back in the opening minutes. Neither team imposed themselves in the opening minutes. Exeter broke but McCormack put in a good challenge. Benson turned provider for Martin but Paul Jones saved well for the Grecians. Fry put in a good cross, but it was blocked.

A free kick from Doherty was poor. Exeter threatened, Elliot made a good save, the ball went into the path of O'Flynn but he fell over. A shot came in from the Grecians from 25 yards but was just wide. Elliot may have not reached it if it had been on target. Harley shot from distance but straight at Elliot.

Abbott picked up a knock from a challenge. Martin was not able to control a cross from Reid after some good link up play. A shot from Reid was cleared. Harley went for goal again from distance but his effort went wide.

Exeter won a corner off Doherty but it was unproductive. Another a few minutes later was cleared by Francis. Reid's shot was palmed away and his second effort went way over.

McCormack got a yellow card for kicking the ball away at a free kick. Fry did well to deal with a threatening attack after some poor play by McCormack. Elliot had to save from an on target half volley from Harley in the last five minutes. Llera cleared from the corner, not decisively, but the Exeter follow up was poor.

Reid put in a good cross and Jones had to palm the dipping ball away for a corner. Jones punched Reid's corner clear. Charlton kept up the pressure as normal time ebbed away. One minute of time was added on. Fry cleared well.

Kyel Reid was playing inside too much. Martin was putting in a lot of effort but was not having much impact. The Exeter 3-5-2 formation was tricky for the Addicks and sometimes they were playing too deep.

Half time: Grecians 0, Addicks 0

[We lost connection with Paul May in Washington DC]. Exeter made a double substitution which included Curieton and he was getting through the central defenders. Neither side was able to impose themselves on the game. A curling shot by Reid was Charlton's best effort in the half, but he had to be substituted by Wagstaff after he had a hamstring problem. Wagstaff was in his anonymous mode.

Sodje received a head injury, he was patched up with a big bandage, but needed a stretcher after the game. Six minutes of time were added on and Exeter were awarded a very dubious penalty after a challenge on Curieton. Harley then scored from the spot to give them a 1-0 win.

The result left Charlton 11th in League 1, so perhaps it's going to be a season of mid-table mediocrity, but this time not in the Premiership.

Paint draw does us no favours

We have been drawn away to MK Dons in the paint drying trophy. This means that we will play them twice in a week and have three away games in eight days.

Reports from Exeter suggest that there are plenty of Addicks in the town centre, Paul May among them. How much I can keep in contact from Washington DC remains to be seen as I have to go to yet another breakfast meeting.

The Grecians have been boosted by their mid-week win over the Glovers in the paint drying trophy, but I remain hopeful.

Friday 3 September 2010

Tactical battle at Exeter

Phil Parkinson has admitted that it will be a fluid tactical battle against the Grecians tomorrow as the Addick seek three away points needed for their promotion challenge: Grecians

The Exeter camp has been unsettled by rumours linking boss Paul Tisdale with the vacancy at Southampton, but Tisdale has denied any interest.