Friday 29 April 2011

Saddled Up

Seoul: It's a stormy Saturday morning in Korea and a little dificult to focus on event alongside the M6 later today when Walsall will attempt to the double over Charlton. The home defeat to the Saddlers was one of the worse in our season. It is generally acknowledged that Walsall were a poorer team then they are now, but they had nothing to lose and had a go realising that a Charlton team lacking confidence could be taken apart.

Now we are playing for pride, a possible top ten finish and to do the decent thing to other relegtion contenders. I am forecasting a 1-1 draw (don't put any money on it as my recent run of luck will come to an end).

Rumour has it that Elliot, back from injury, will be returning between the posts. Is this a good idea as Sullivan seems to have done quite well?

Miguel Llera is on the way out of The Valley when his contract expires. He has been a professional but erratic player who has scored some important goals but been insufficiently reliable in defence,

Thursday 28 April 2011

Racon discusses contract situation

Thierry Racon discusses his contract situation, emphasising that he is happy at Charlton and comfortable in London: Racon

I'm off to Korea this morning so coverage of the Walsall game will be limited.

Monday 25 April 2011

Prediction comes true

I'm having a run of luck with my predictions at the moment and, as I forecast, Charlton beat Rochdale 3-1 at The Valley this afternoon. Racon opened the scoring for Charlton on 31 minutes and that was how it remained at the break.

Rochdale equalised on 51 minutes, but Parrett replied by opening his account with the Addicks just one minute later. Eccleston scored the third on 76 minutes. This was rated as a particularly good goal following a great cross by Benson.

Possession was evenly divided but tellingly the Addicks had ten shots on targets to three.

One person who was there gave Parrett as MOTM, 'was everywhere although tired towards the end. Racon got better as the game went on, his goal did him a lot of favours because he was at best in and out up until then.'

Calum Harriot came on as a late substitute to make his debut for the Addicks (the BBC refers to him as Harriots but perhaps their source had double vision).

Charlton remain 13th, but the target of a top half finish is within their grasp.

Glass shattered

Leamington won a morale boosting 3-2 victory over bogey team Stourbridge at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon in front of a crowd of just under 800. The well-deserved win set them up for Thursday night's playoff semi-final at Hednesford Town.

The Glassboys were cutting through Brakes like glass in the early exchanges. An early Stourbridge corner led to an effort that went just over the bar. Keeper Breeden and Glassboys charm merchant Ben Billingham got a talking to from the referee after a scuffle. In fact the referee was rather fond of long talking tos, although on the whole Mr Stretton had a good game.

Billingham then dived and somewhat oddly Stour were given a corner when I would have thought it was either a yellow card or a penalty. Gordon Bennett, the corner came in and Nathan Bennett delivered a bullet header to put the visitors ahead after just 8 minutes, sending the rather desultory chorus of visiting glass blowers into ecstasy. Stourbridge continued to edge the game for the rest of the half.

Half time: Brakes 0, Glassboys 1

Corbett put in a great header but somehow keeper Lewis Solly managed to tip it over the bar. However, following chants of 'You'll never beat the Stour' from the visiting contingent, Brakes broke down the right and it was Jamie Sheldon who found the back of the net.

After one free kick, a second nearer the goal was awarded to Stour for a tangle on the ground between two players. McCone converted with a header to make it 1-2.

The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot on 75 minutes and it was Brakes captain Richard Batchelor who stepped up to take the penalty after some attempts at delay and obstruction by the keeper. Solly jumped up and down on his line, but Batchelor drove low and firmly into the net to make it 2-2.

Brakes were really accelerating now and it was Luke Corbett who made it 3-2 on 85 minutes. James Husband had a chance to make it four when he was one-on-one with the keeper but was unable to find the back of the net.

Then it was time to cue the celebrations in the sunshine. Whatever the outcome on Thursday, when I shall be on a plane to Korea, it has been a satisfying season at the New Windmill Ground.

Woolwich rejects in whinge mode

Sometimes it's nice to share someone else's misery and 606 last night was dominated by fans from the Woolwich rejects fulminating about Arsene Wenger. The press have been in full cry after him for some time and even Radio Scilly was on his case this morning.

As Charlton fans we would be happy with a consistent top four finish. Indeed, we would settle for mid-table mediocrity in the Premier League or even a place in the Championship for now. The sense of entitlement to a trophy among Arsenal fans is overwhelming.

Incidentally, one of the callers was 'David from Blackheath'. Was he a legacy of the generations of Arsenal fans in South-East London that hit our attendance in the 1950s or was he a recent immigrant to upscale Blackheath?

By the way, it was interesting to hear Charlton referred to as 'South London gits' on the United docu drama last night.

Elsewhere, Leamington are secure in the play offs regardless of the result in this afternoon's clash with the Glassboys, something of a bogey team for the Brakes. Straws in the wind indicate that my role at Leamington may be enlarging. In any event this blog will continue, although I must stop postponing setting up a third division version.

Sunday 24 April 2011

A Dale fan writes

As Charlton prepare for the bank holiday fixture with Rochdale without captain Jose Semedo, our friendly Rochadle fan writes:

'After today's disappointing 3-2 defeat at Spotland to Carlisle in what was a superb advert for league 1 football, we find ourselves three points behind Bournemouth in the last play off spot with an inferior goal difference with three to play. So nothing less than three wins will do it for us, bearing in mind that the last game is at Bournemouth. And we also require them to drop points. So it is looking unlikely that we will make it.

Ten days ago we recorded a fantastic 2-0 win at home to Southampton, but that, as well as playing twice a week for about five weeks, has taken a lot out of the players and they are running more or less on empty now. They need to raise their game one last time for a finish that involves games with Charlton, Peterborough and Bournemouth but, if the play offs prove out of reach, we can still hopefully equal or better our best ever performance, which was to finish 9th at this level in 1969-70

For Rochdale this has been a wonderful season.' (Which is more than we can say)

Chris Powell was serenaded with a chant of 'Chris Powell's red and white army' as he made his way round to the main stand after being sent off yesterday. Semedo was sent off after player-manager Stuart Campbell fell to the ground clutching is face and angry supremo Powell commented, 'When you see a player-manager wink at the fans and clap his bench, having got an opponent sent off, something is wrong.'

Rochdale have lost three of their last four home games and manager Keith Hill admits that they have wilted in the pressure cooker of the run. I am going for a 3-1 win for the Addicks tomorrow.

Saturday 23 April 2011

Nine men Charlton secure point in bad tempered duel

There's a definite 'play to be here next year' feel about the Charlton line up at Bristol Rovers this afternoon. Francis comes in for Solly who is rested. Reid, who made his feelings known in a recent frank tweet, comes in for Racon.

Eccleston, who presumably won't be here next year, gets a chance to partner Benson up front with Wright-Phillips on the bench. Dean Parrett replaces Wagstaff who has a hamstring problem. Sullivan stays in goal with Worner on the bench.
Bristol Rovers won a corner after 22nd seconds reports Paul May from the Memorial Stadium. A shot was fired in and pushed away by Sullivan making a good save, leading to a second corner. The ball was cleared. Charlton weathered the initial storm, but then Sullivan sent a goal kick straight to Hoskins who claimed he was held by Fortune. Nevertheless, Charlton won the goal kick.

Semedo put in a good ball from the right, but Reid’s touch was heavy. Francis put in a cross to no one in particular.

After seven minutes Charlton scored with their first clear chance of the game, Benson delivering with a diving far post header after Eccleston floated in a cross.
Semedo was spoken to by the referee after fouling Lines. Benson cleared the free kick from the edge of the area. Doherty made an important interception to take the ball away from Hoskins at the expense of a corner kick. The move ended in a goal kick for the Addicks.

Hughes put a volley in the net on the 17th minute, but the flag had already gone up for offside. Eccleston put in a good shot after a solo run which tested Logan in the Rovers goal.

Rovers won a free kick in a promising position. Anthony’s header was well wide of the post.

The game slowed down as the heat took its toll. A breeze had picked up, but it died away. Coles received a yellow card for a challenge on Reid.

Parrett found Reid who put in a blistering strike on 29 minutes which was just inches wide of the post. Lambe came on for the Gasheads in place of the injured Hughes. Charlton defended well and a cross from Campbell went straight into the arms of Sullivan. The Addicks were keeping their shape well.

Semedo was given a yellow card for a challenge on Gavin Williams. The free kick went through the wall but wide of the post.

Francis got past Anthony and won the first corner of the game for the Addicks. Semedo’s header went on to the roof of the net. Semedo fed Benson but the striker’s shot went just over the crossbar. A Rovers attack after a quickly taken free kick was snuffed out by Francis.

Fortune put in a good tackle on the edge of the area. Three minutes were added on. Spurs loanee Lamb put in a dangerous cross, but the ball was headed over the crossbar. Semedo was caught on the right ear by Campbell and the referee had a word. The skipper wanted attention and after a delay the physio was allowed on. Logan came way out of his goal to make his views known to the referee which the latter did not appreciate. The half came to a rather bad tempered conclusion.

Half time: Gasheads 0, Addicks 1

McCracken came on for Coles after the break. Within less than a minute Reid had made use of an assist from Bessone to put the ball in the top right-hand corner of the net to make it 0-2 to the delight of the 500 or so Addicks in the crowd of 6,586.

Charlton won a corner after a shout for a penalty for handball. Reid received a booking for a tug on Anthony. Eccleston advanced but Rovers keeper Logan dealt with the situation well. Tunnicliffe then had to come to the rescue of Logan who almost let in Benson.

Reid put in a late and high challenge on Tunnicliffe, he received a second yellow and Charlton were reduced to ten men. The stretcher came on as Tunnicliffe’s right leg was strapped. The Addicks switched to a 4-5-1 formation with Benson on his own up front. Wayne Brown came on for Rovers.

Benson was caught from behind by Senda. Semedo received a second yellow card for using the elbow on player-manager Campbell and Charlton were down to nine players. Chris Powell was livid and made his thoughts known to the referee.

Bessone went down winded and the physio was allowed on to the annoyance of the Gasheads. He had to come on, leaving Charlton with eight men. Benson headed away Anthony’s long throw for a corner.

After Stewart lost possession, Rovers counter attacked and Brown scored to make it 1-2 after a solo run from Hoskins.

Francis put in a good tackle on Hoskins. Benson was replaced by Nouble and Solly also came to replace Parrett in a double substitution. A cross from Lambe came off Bessone for a Rovers corner taken by their player-manager Campbell. Sullivan saved comfortably from the header by Lines.

Lambe dived, but was not booked. Sullivan saved to deny Brown. Former Spanner Senda got in a cross, but Doherty was pushed and Charlton won a free kick.

Lambe went down and Rovers were given a free kick on the edge of the penalty area near the byline. Doherty headed clear. Anthony put in an effort but Sullivan saved. Stewart put in a good tackle. Eccleston forced a save from Logan.

Senda put in a poor shot from distance as the Addicks defended well. Fortune put in a good clearing header. Charlton applied the offside trap well to win a free kick.

Williams clearly used his arm to bring the ball under control but he put the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-2 on 86 minutes. Chris Powell and Jon Fortune were both spoken to and the manager was sent off and had to make his way to the main stand on the opposite side from the dugout.

A shot at close range from Rovers went over the crossbar. For arguing that Hoskins was offside, Fortune was booked.

Six minutes were added on. Charlton won a free kick after Eccleston was obstructed. Brown fired a shot over. Rovers won a corner in the last of the six minutes. Brown’s effort was high and wide.

As Wyn Grant predicted it was 2-2 but not in circumstances he anticipated. Scuffles broke out on the pitch after the whistle between the players as Fortune calmed things down.


Chesterfield new destination for next season

Chesterfield is a new away destination for next season after the Spireites won promotion to League 1 courtesy of a goalless draw between Wycombe and Torquay.

I remember going to their old ground to see a league cup game in which we only won on penalties when we were in the Premiership. We had to sit on old wooden benches. Now they have a spanking new stadium, so there is no risk of a Yeovil style soaking.

League 1 certainly brings its share of glamour destinations. What's the betting our first home game next season is against them?

Friday 22 April 2011

Gasheads face 'huge' club

Manchester City used to describe themselves as a massive club, but in the eyes of Bristol Rovers the Addicks are a 'huge' club. The Gasheads see tomorrow's match as a 'must win' fixture. They are hoping that the enthusiasm of their fans will help them to tame Charlton's 'very good individual players'.

Rovers have been boosted by the return from injury of their top scorer Will Hoskins:

I find this is a difficult match to call. A lot depends on the spirit of the Charlton team and who scores first. I am going for a 2-2 draw, but 2-1 is also possible.

Anyinsah tweeted earlier today that he will be out for the rest of the season. Not a great surprise. A spirited player, but evidently injury prone.

It will give Bradley Wright-Phillips and Paul Benson a chance to develop their partnership. 'Benno' has been looking better in recent games, so there is some hope.

Scott Parker is player of the year

Scott Parker has been named football writers' player of the year, a well-deserved accolade in my view. The way in which he left Charlton left a sour taste in the mouth and he then developed an injury in his backside from sitting on the bench at Chelsea. However, he is undoubtedly one of the most talented players we have had at Charlton in modernn times.

A shame he couldn't have been used more for England. If West Ham go down he will be available, but not to us!

I wonder if any of the press coverage will bring up the advert he did for the Big Mac? I also wonder whether any of it will mention that he once played for Charlton?

Thursday 21 April 2011

Gasheads not looking forward to Saturday

Relegation threatened Bristol Rovers are not looking forward to their encounter with Charlton on Saturday whom they rate as a quality side with quality players. Read more here: Rovers

I've been commuting up and down to London this week so I haven't had much time to read the post mortem on Huddersfield, but broadly speaking there are two schools of thought. One was that it was a quality performance and that we just got caught out by the set piece. The alternative view is that it was two mediocre sides and that it's points not performances that matter.

Looking back to the Curbs days, everyone remembers the Wembley triumph and the automatic promotion and forgets the long years when we were building up the side and sometimes clinging on by our fingertips to what was then Division 1. Apparently the new board has a seven year plan and that's what it's going to take.

Saturday 16 April 2011

Spirited Charlton lose to Gudjohnsen strike

Good defending by Huddersfield denied an early break from Charlton involving Wright-Phillips and Wagstaff reports Philippa Nicholson from The Valley. Semedo put in a good tackle to stop Huddersfield advancing. Benson put in a rather soft shot when Semedo was available in a lot of space.

Doherty had to deal with a cross from Hunt. Solly put in a good tackle on Roberts to win a throw in. Charlton were generally tackling well. Charlton won a free kick in a decent position, but although he put in a decent delivery it was defended. In the following play, Charlton won the first corner of the game. It went straight over the head of Wright-Phillips and out for a goal kick.

Huddersfield put in a long ball forward which could have been dangerous but their advanced player was unable to control it. The visitors threatened again with Gudjohnsen looking dangerous after a Huddersfield cross from Roberts but eventually Sullivan was able to claim. The ball was in the air far too long with Doherty’s attempted clearance going straight up in the air.

Captain Jose Semedo lost it a bit with the referee. Charlton won a free kick in a promising position, Doherty connected with his head, but it went straight to the keeper. Hunt went down for a free kick just outside the penalty area, but the appeal was ignored. Hunt made a speedy recovery without attention from the physio.

Wagstaff advanced and was subjected to a cynical foul. Roberts received a yellow card for his effort. The free kick was well worked, but in the end Wright-Phillips put the ball over the bar. Fortune made a sliced clearance, nearly conceding a corner.

Huddersfield had a spell of pressure. Semedo advanced, but the attack was snuffed out. Wagstaff put in a good cross, but Benson’s volley went over the bar.
Benson advanced and won a corner. Stewart’s effort was cleared. The Addicks applied some pressure in stoppage time, but then Huddersfield advanced.

Half-time: 0-0

Charlton started the half well, but Stewart put the ball straight at the keeper. Bessone defended well against Hunt. Charlton had a chance, but Stewart did not connect well. Wright-Phillips was beaten in the air when had a chance to be one on one.

Gudjohnsen sent the ball across the goal but Roberts, who had slipped in behind Chris Solly, headed wide. Charlton conceded a corner through Doherty in front of the 1,300 Huddersfield fans in the Jimmy Seed. Doherty headed it out for a second corner. Sullivan saved on the line and Doherty was able to clear. The visitors made a third attempt, but it was cleared for a corner, but the Huddersfield effort went wide.

The visitors were having a good spell and Charlton needed to stop the crosses coming in and re-gain possession. Wagstaff picked the ball up off Benson and got the shot in which the keeper had to dive to his right to keep out.

Fortune defended well and got caught leading to a free kick for the Addicks on the edge of their box.

Wright-Phillips made a great turn and hit the ball first time and Clark had to concede a corner which was headed away. Solly over hit a cross after a good build up by Charlton. Wagstaff put in a shot from 25 yards out which went over the bar.
Charlton advanced but were given offside, a very strange decision by the lino. Stewart was furious.

Huddersfield came down the right, but Sullivan came out to make a great save. Racon held the ball out and laid it off to Solly, Semedo pounced on his cross and the keeper turned the header over the bar for a corner.

Racon put in a shot and a Huddersfield defender had to clear it over the bar. Unfortunately, the corner was initially unproductive. Benson was brought down. The free kick was headed behind for a Charlton corner. Roberts came off for Huddersfield and Novak was brought on.

Stewart gave the ball away under pressure, he may have slipped, but Huddersfield got a corner. A push led to a Charlton free kick. Wright-Phillips took the ball forward well and tried to feed Wagstaff but the ball went slightly behind him. Reid came on to replace Racon.

Huddersfield won a free kick about 25 yards out. They won a second one for handball on the edge of the ‘D’. Gudjohnsen struck it in the back of the net to make it 0-1 with seven minutes to go.

Semedo was the victim of another cynical foul. Benson tried to get hold of the ball, but the keeper was able to clear. Charlton got another free kick, but the visitors were able to clear for a throw in.

A header from Benson went over the bar. Wagstaff almost found Stewart and Charlton won a corner in the last minute of normal time. The corner was headed away. Semedo put in a good header from a cross but he could not beat the keeper. Charlton kept up the pressure in time added on.

It had been a spirited performance by Charlton and they had edged the second half, but they came away empty handed.

Huddersfield prepare for cup final

St.Gallen: Huddersfield are preparing for their 'cup final' at The Valley this afternoon. They think that it will be a tough match against a Charlton side who have 'under achieved' this season: Huddersfield

I hope to get back from Switzerland in time to listen to the match commentary.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

And now Huddersfield

Unfortunately I am going to miss the Huddersfield match on Saturday. I have to go to Switzerland for some meetings and won't be back in Birmingham until lunchtime on Saturday. Hopefully I will be in time to listen to the commentary, although I wish the commentators would talk more about what is happening on the pitch rather than anything that enters their head. It may be that there has been a pointless hoof up the pitch, but it would still be nice to know.

Last night Rochdale beat Southampton 2-0 which puts our own result against the surprise package of the division in perspective. It also shows what confidence can do for a team. It does, however, make Saturday's game even more significant for Huddersfield. Earlier in the season, of course, this looked like a match which could be significant for both teams.

Christian Dailly has received very harsh treatment in his suspension for the rest of the season. We shall see the return of Doherty, a honest player but too reliant on the powerful but directionless header.

It also appears that Jackson's achilles problem will put him out of contention for the rest of the season. We have missed his contribution.

Huddersfield are going to want it more on Saturday, but it's another chance to show that Charlton is edging towards quality. However, I fear a 1-2 defeat.

Finally, congratulations to Brighton on their deserved promotion. They have shown that it is possible to play quality football in the third division.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Ten man Addicks secure away point

Despite having to play with ten men for an hour after Christian Dailly was sent off, Charlton were able to secure an away point with a 0-0 draw at Oldham. It's a long time since we had a goalless draw.

Oldham manager Paul Dickov commented, 'They defended really well after losing the man. I feel their defenders had a bit more desire to get to the ball in the box than our attackers.'

Dailly was sent off after 35 minutes. A poor aerial challenge from Reid left the Charlton captain battered and bruised according to the CAFC tweet, but the shouldn't have kicked out. Chris Powell then had to take off playmaker Racon and bring on Jon Fortune.

Deubtant goalkeeper John Sullivan had to make two great saves to keep the Addicks in the game, one after Evina had got past three defenders. His performance raises the debate about Elliot again. There are many who think that Parky got rid of the wrong keeper when he left Darren Randolph go. Elliot is a good shot stopper who makes some decent saves, but he doesn't always command his area as well as he should.

183 loyal Addicks made the journey north and hopefully they were heartened by what seemed to be a battling performance.

Saturday 9 April 2011

10 man Brakes beat play-off rivals

Leamington beat play-off rivals Chesham United 3-2 at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon in an incredible match watched by 667.

The first goal for the Brakes came from Sam Bartram style keeper Tony Breeden on 14 minutes. From a free kick by Breeden inside his own half, Chesham keeper Shane Gore carried the ball just over the line. The lino was emphatic that it had crossed the line, but the Chesham players protested vigorously to the young referee and may have influenced his future conduct.

Breeden had to make a couple of good saves, but the Brakes retained their lead at half time.

Half time: Brakes 1, Generals 0

On 49 minutes Leon Archer scored after his penalty had rebounded to make it 1-1. An immediate reply from Brakes was ruled offside.

Breeden saved from a dangerous free kick, but then the referee awarded another penalty and showed the red card to Lee Downes. However, Chesham missed. Not daunted, the referee awarded another penalty and this time the visitors went ahead.

However, the spirit in the team is fantastic and the 10 men kept up the pressure, equalising on 76 minutes through an own goal. Then on 84 minutes Jacob Blyth put the Brakes ahead. Leamington remained the dominant team in the closing phase of the match, despite a considerable amount of time added on.

The final whistle cued wild celebrations by the home side.

Bring on Oldham!

I've been in Madrid for the past couple of days and a Real Madrid fan wanted to share with me his low opinion of Chelsea and his wish to play Manchester United. I can't say I was that interested and I can't raise that much enthusiasm about this afternoon's fixture at Boundary Park against Oldham Athletic, a team also once in the Premiership and perhaps a salutary warning to Charlton.

Indeed, I am more focused on this afternoon's match at the New Windmill Ground when Leamington meet play-off rivals Chesham (supported by the New York Addick).

Oldham, currently managed by charm merchant Paul Dickov, are seeking to leave Boundary Park, although I am not clear why. Admittedly, it is not a glamour setting, but it provides sufficient accommodation for their supporters. The plans I have heard of would not involve financial gain but a swap of locations, but they have run into problems with the local authority and the Charity Commission. Even if they did move grounds, I can't see that it would stop many locals supporting one of the two Manchester clubs.

The latest issue of When Saturday Comes has a good two page photo feature on the return to The Valley with accompanying commentary. Nothing new there, but Tom Morris's photos look good. Incidentally, I have not seen him at The Valley for some time now.

My prediction for this afternoon is 2-2.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Disappointing evening for Charlton

Charlton fielded the same team at St.Mary's as won against Leyton Orient reports Erith Addick Paul May. A free kick from Lambert had to be punched clear by Elliot.

Southampton won the first corner of the game. Dean Parrett put in a good tackle as the Saints advanced, but Southampton kept possession. Eventually they were caught offside.

Racon got in well and played the ball across goal and someone should have connected, but Wagstaff couldn't quite make it at the far post. But then after 11 minutes Southampton went 1-0 ahead from a one on one with Bessone way out of position and all the back four at sixes and sevens.

Southampton won a second corner after Wagstaff was eased off the ball and the Saints made a run on the left. It led to a third corner which Elliot gathered.

Saints won another corner off Dailly. They tried to keep up the pressure and Charlton did not look secure defensively.

Racon was fouled and the Addicks were given a free kick in a good position, but Parret's effort was disappointing. Bessone put in a good ball to Benson but it went straight to the keeper.

The first Charlton corner was won by Wright-Phillips. There were claims of a foul on the keeper when it should have been another corner.

Hammond put in a shot but it went over the bar. The Charlton defence was allowing the Saints too much space. Semedo had an exchange of views with Barnard. Dailly put in a poor pass. Llera fouled Barnard unnecessarily. Bessone conceded a corner from the free kick. The header from the corner went into Elliot's hands.

Barnard put in a shot but Elliot dived well to his right to save. The Addicks put in a shot from distance, Wagstaff having gone past a number of players. Saints counter attacked but Elliot saved well from Lambert.

Elliot was almost caught out by a floating ball. Charlton won a corner. Parrett's effort was headed away for a Charlton throw in.

Saints 1, Addicks 0

Wagstaff was caught offside but it was a marginal decision. The keeper cleared after a good run by Wagstaff. Llera made a good defensive clearance. A Saint dived in the box and should have been booked.

Dean Hammond put in a good shot, Elliot saved but Barnard scored at close range to make it 2-0 on 58 minutes. Semedo appeared to be in trouble, but he got up. Stewart came on in place of Parrett.

Charlton won a corner. Racon's delivery was not a good one and the ball was headed clear.

Benson was replaced by Nouble. Wright-Phillips came off and Eccleston took his place. Elliot saved well from Barnard at the expense of a corner.

It wasn't a very inspiring performance for the 400 or so Addicks who turned up.

'We just keep on winning'

That's what the Saints supporter in the office next door keeps saying and I don't think Charlton will wipe the smile off his face tonight. The bookies certainly have us at long odds.

There are a few encouraging signs in Charlton's play. Chris Powell is trying to get them to play a passing game (to a red shirt). Some of the players are not up to that, but we are gradually getting players who are. At first sight Michael Stewart is a class act compared with McCormack. I hear that Johnnie Jackson will be available soon and that will help a lot, although it will be interesting to see who he replaces.

Unfortunately we are still capable of making defensive errors and that may let us down tonight. Defending from corners needs to be tightened up (defending from free kicks is improving).

I'm afraid it looks lika 2-0 win for the 'Arrogants' tonight. However, Southampton are not invincible defensively, so there is some hope.

The game is one in hand for Southampton and is billed on the south coast as a 'must win' game for the automatic promotion hopefuls, but then they all are: Saints

Saturday 2 April 2011

We are staying up!

That was the truimphant chant of the Covered End as Charlton beat Leyton Orient 3-1 at The Valley today. Relegation gloomsters hurried to re-write their stories as the Addicks recovered from a first half deficit.

It was very much a game of two halves with Charlton playing poorly in the first half. However, they were much more dominant in the second half with Benson's equaliser followed by a goal gifted to Bradley Wright-Phillips by Orient keeper Jamie Jones. Semedo then scored Charlton's third with a well-taken header.

Charlton actually started the first half well, but it was more about possession than penetration. Orient were going in for a curious back passing game. As Steve from Petts Wood commented, it was like Brighton without the quality. We thought that we should be putting their keeper, who looked like a potential comedy turn, under more pressure.

Instead it was Orient who provided the first real pressure with three corners in succession, the first given away softly by Solly. Fortunately, Charlton were eventually awarded a free kick to ease the pressure.

Then the midfield gave the ball away unnecessarily and Orient were given a chance they took advantage of. While the Charlton defence stood still, Scott McGleish was given the opportunity to slot the ball in the net to score his 200th career goal. All credit to McGleish for the way in which has perservered with his career. Some thought that there was a hint of offside, but I thought the goal should stand.

Racon and then Parrett won corners for Charlton, but they were unproductive. At the end of the half, Orient stormed through again but the shot went over the bar.

Half time: Addicks 0, Orient 1

Five minutes into the half Racon put in a great shot Jones parried the volley from Wright-Phillips, but Benson scored. Parrett then put in a good free kick and we thought that Benson was sure to put the ball in the net, but Jones pulled off a great save. Racon then put in a great shot, but the keeper was able to tip the ball over the bar.

On 70 minutes, against the run of play, Smith put a header in the net and East London went delerious. Fortunately the referee had put his contact lenses in and disallowed the goal for a shove on Llera, although the Orient manager claims it never happened.

Jones then threw the ball straight out to Wrighgt-Phllips who took advantage of the one on one to make it 2-1. The referee then made a strange decision in awarding a free kick on the goalline for an alleged back pass, but fortunately it was cleared. Smith picked up a yellow card for a foul. Wright-Phillips picked up an injury and Eccleston came on.

For once a Charlton corner led to a goal. The impressive Stewart set up Semedo to head the ball into the net to make it 3-1. It was the Portugeezer's first goal at The Valley.

In the four minutes added on, Charlton lived dangerously with both Dean Cox and Stephen Dawson hitting the bar. Orient won a free kick in front of the 'D', but Nouble went on a one man run all the way up the pitch. Wagstaff picked up a late and foolish yellow card.

On the train an Orient supporting couple had an argument about who was more miserable, ending with one of them calling the other a rude name.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible had some difficulty in awarding the Silver Bone as there was no player who was consistently good across the match as a whole. However, she decided that a popular choice would be Jose Semedo whose song was sung outside the ground after the match. He and his team mates showed real delight at his goal as he saluted the Covered End. Elliot had some moments of poor judgement, but he wasn't tested that much by Orient. Dailly forged forward well, often running a considerable distance with the ball and he also did his job in defence. Not all the long distance balls by Llera worked but he certainly tried his best.
Solly had his moments, combining well with Wagstaff and there was little to fault in his performance. Bessone was not very prominent and we sometimes seemed to lack cover on the left but that was probably more to do with the absence of a natural left winger. Wagstaff made some good runs down the right, but he did not create that much. In the first half Racon often looked as if he was not interested but he improved considerably in the second half and provided an excellent cross for the equaliser. Parrett was energetic and committed. Benson tried to put himself about, but he is still sometimes too static for my taste, but he did score the equaliser. Wright-Phillips did what he does well.
Stewart impressed Steve from Petts Woods who thought he was a calming influence and he set up Semedo's goal. Eccleston had limited time to impress and Nouble even less.

Hiss of the Match Juneau the Soccer Cat thought that referee S Hooper did not take command of the match and was far too tolerant of time-wasting by Orient in the first half.

Friday 1 April 2011

Job for Dowie but not for Parky

This is not an April fool joke: it looks as if Iain Dowie is going to be the new Bury manager: Dowie

It may be that he has found his level.

The vacancy at Bury because their manager has been hired at Scunthorpe. Phil Parkinson was one of those short listed for the job.

Do try and cheer up

Leyton Orient come through the Blackwall Tunnel tomorrow no doubt hoping for three easy points at The Valley as they continue their late play-off push. Their recovery from a poor start to the season seems to have been boosted by their cup run.

The performance at Rochdale seems to have been reasonably good. Of course, whingers have pointed out that performances don't matter, results do. However, given our situation, a gradual improvement seems the best that we can hope for.

The 'we are heading for relegation' crowd have appeared again. Admittedly, we do have quite a mediocre squad, but so do most of the other teams in the league. What we lack at the moment is confidence and the deep-rooted pessimism of Charlton fans doesn't help.

Drinking During the Game is one of the best Charlton blogs, but its author argued that 'If anyone can, we can' on the relegation issue. I don't think that casting ourselves as victims or feeling hard done by does anything to help. It is possible that the new fans' consultative panel headed by Jonathan Acworth may provide the required spark.

The pessimism is odd when you recall that this is the club that produced the Valley Party from among its fans. But I suppose that is all a long time ago.

My wife is joining me tomorrow in hopeful mood, but I do think that a draw is the most likely outcome.