Monday 31 December 2012

Mambo joins Shrewsbury

Charlton centre half Yado Mambo has joined Shrewsbury Town on loan for the rest of the season: Mambo

Happy New Year to all our readers.

Hornets can sting

The general view was that we were unfortunate not to get anything out of our home game with Watford in October when we went down 1-2 to the 10-man opposition: Watford. However, the chances of getting anything more than a draw at Vicarage Road tomorrow are not that promising. Watford are currently 3rd in the home table and Charlton are currently bottom. The Hornets have been defeated just once in 11 games.

I saw the quite long excerpt on The Football League Show of Watford's 3-1 victory at the Amex over Brighton and Hove Albion (it is certainly a longer excerpt than Charlton customarily get). The Hornets looked full of confidence and particularly strong in the counter attack.

Czech international Matej Vydra, on loan from Udinese, is clearly a danger man. At Brighton he scored two goals and provided an assist, as well as forcing a good save from the Albion keeper. Troy Deeny's goal was also excellent and he provided the assist for Vydra's second. In midfield Chalobah was calm and composed on the ball, delivering well-weighted passes throughout: just what we haven't got at Charlton. Fitz Hall did everything that was asked of him in defence, but Alumnia in goal made a silly mistake to give away the penalty. Although clearly a more than competent keeper, he can be pressured to make errors.

Charlton will be without Michael Morrison in defence. As Hungry Ted has noted in his blog, the consensus among the Addickted is that Chris Powell should have taken him off at half time. Even just listening to the commentary, it was clear to me that the rotund referee had him in his sights. It has been observed that he has been playing below his usual standard in recent games and this has led him to make errors that can attract cards.

Bradley Wright-Phillips impressed on Saturday and arguably did enough to earn a starting place. Bradley Pritchard was his usual vigorous self. After a hesitant start, Evina did well, certainly better than Seaborne who was angling for a permanent berth in a programme interview a few weeks ago: thanks, but no thanks.

I can make one prediction with confidence about this match: the symmetry of Charlton's away record will end. Currently we have won four, drawn four and lost four. Watford have lost as many matches at home as away (four), but I fear a loss for the Addicks to start 2013. Odds are: Watford 5/6, Draw 5/2, Charlton 10/3

Whilst we shouldn't blame referees for our own poor performances, it's not good news that Trevor Kettle is refereeing this match. He rewarded the horror tackle on Grant Basey at Bristol Rovers by Dominic Blizzard with a yellow card, although he did have the grace to apologise afterwards. Views by fans of this cloud of steam are far from favourable: Kettle

In the event of a defeat, if Chris Powell is not provided with a taxi then or shortly afterwards, he is probably safe for the rest of the season, barring a complete collapse. We don't need to add to the crazy turnover of Championship managers.

Saturday 29 December 2012

Ten man Charlton hold on for point

Chris Powell made five changes in the Charlton line up against Derby County at The Valley this afternoon, reports Paul May. Frimpong, Green and Seaborne disappeared altogether. Wilson returned from suspension on the right, Evina came in on the left, Pritchard and Jackson were in midfield and Kermorgant replaced Hulse up front. There were three strikers on the bench.

Derby secured an early free kick in a promising position. Kermorgant headed behind for a corner. The ball was volleyed away for a throw in. Haynes and Kermorgant combined to win Charlton’s first corner. Jackson’s corner was dealt with easily. Hughes was shown a yellow card for bringing Pritchard down with a slightly late and careless tackle.

Morrison was shown a yellow card for a tackle on Hughes. The free kick from Davies was tipped over by Hamer for a corner which led to a goal kick. Derby were showing some pace up front. A free kick from Davies curled just wide of the far post by inches. Another free kick was awarded to Derby as former Sunday League referee Boyeson imposed himself on the game. Brayford’s header from the penalty spot did not have enough power and it went wide of the post.

Charlton were losing the midfield battle and the bench shouted instructions to Pritchard, but he lost control to Hughes. Haynes held the ball up, having obtained it from Kermorgant, and scored a goal out of nothing, arrowing the ball into the corner of the net. It could be a goal of the season contender.

Solly shot on his 100th appearance as Charlton started to buzz, having been lifted by the Haynes goal. Evina dallied on the ball and was robbed and Hamer had to save from Robinson. Pritchard put a shot in and it was deflected for a corner. Stephens put in a decent delivery but Cort did not read it right.

Kermorgant and Haynes were combining well. As soon as Kermorgant got the ball, two players were on him. Evina made an important defensive header. Derby won a corner through Brayford. Solly was able to clear, but then Haynes leant towards the ball and he was in agony as his hamstring went. Wright-Phillips came on in his place.

Hamer had to make a great save with his left hand from Tyson who burst out of nowhere. Morrison committed a foul and was given a final warning after the referee had initially reached for his pocket for a second yellow. Davies put in a shot from the free kick for 40 yards out but Hamer was well positioned.

The shaven haired charm merchant O’Connor pushed Wright-Phillips in the back. Hughes put in a dipping volley from 30 yards out which went over the bar, Hamer had it covered. Keogh got a yellow card after he fouled Kermorgant. Wilson put in a ball, Kermorgant chipped the ball in and Morrison had a free header but did not time it well.

Solly got the better of Tyson. Wright-Phillips got past Keogh and drew a good save from the keeper. Charlton advanced again, Wilson put in a shot when Kermorgant was free. Wilson broke away and was cynically brought down but O’Connor said he had dived. Wilson made his point to the referee as he headed for his dressing room to check the radiators.

Half time: Addicks 1, Rams 0

Wright-Phillips got away from two defenders and Jackson’s header went wide. Solly got round the defender, Evina hit it well and the keeper put it over the bar. The keeper punched out the corner from Stephens and the Rams were eventually able to clear. Solly floated the ball in and Stephens put it over the bar.

An effort by Stephens was charged down by the Derby back line. Kermorgant was flattened by Keogh. The referee issued a final warning. O’Connor took Pritchard down with a rugby tackle. Stephens took the free kick, Jackson hit a great ball and Legzdins in the Derby goal made an excellent save.

Cort had to make a last gasp defensive header at the expense of a corner. The move led to a second Rams corner. The Addicks were able to clear. A shot from Wright-Phillips went straight at the keeper.

Stephens dispossessed Tyson. Morrison conceded a corner. Charlton got a free kick after Cort was held. The attendance was announced as 17,761 with 1,300 away fans. The total included the likes of Wyn Grant who had been deterred by forecasts of monsoon like weather which turned up later than forecast.

Tyson kicked out at Jackson and Charlton got the free kick. Tyson, who had been losing the plot, was taken off and Sammon came on. Derby won a corner off Kermorgant. Charlton broke quickly and Solly fed Wright-Phillips in a flowing move, Kermorgant knocked the ball down for Pritchard who hit the underside of the bar.

A knackered Hughes went off and Ward came on. Derby won another corner. A penalty was awarded after two players went for the ball and Morrison was sent off. This was a poor decision by the former Sunday League referee who awarded a penalty against Charlton at Huddersfield last season. The substitute Ward sent Hamer the wrong way to equalise. There was a bit of a trouble behind the goal as a Derby fan got on the pitch.

Stephens came off and Dervitte came on. A Derby corner was punched clear, the ball came in again and Hamer had to make a great save as the rain poured down. The Rams had their ninth corner and Charlton were under the cosh. Sammon had made an impact since coming on.

Derby won their tenth corner as they turned the screw. The header was wide of the target. Hamer was booked for kicking the ball away as Derby won another corner. Dervitte put in a great defensive header. Charlton were under more pressure and Solly had to make a defensive header. Chris Powell was giving instructions to Evina. The rain hammered down.

Derby won another corner. Ward had to come off and ‘Crackers’ Jacobs came on. The header from Brayford hit the base of the post. Kermorgant came off and received a standing ovation, Fuller replaced him with five minutes of normal time left. Wright-Phillips got away from the defender with a great run, but a Derby defender was able to stop the ball reaching Fuller.

The pitch was cutting up quite a lot. Derby won one corner and then another one. Evina got the ball away from danger. Charlton launched an attack through Wright-Phillips, Derby counter attacked and Wilson intervened.

Four minutes were added on. Evina defended well. Dervitte averted danger. Derby won their fourteenth corner off Jackson. Brayford had a free run again but did not time it properly. The whistle went for a point.

Journey abandoned

It has been raining very hard here in Warwickshire and if that is replicated later on an already wet surface at The Valley, it's difficult to see how the game can go ahead. I would say the chances of a postponement are more than 50-50 and there is nothing more frustrating than travelling to London to find there is no match.

Paul May is on standby to provide a match report if the game does go ahead.

Friday 28 December 2012

Bring your garden forks to The Valley

Charlton have asked for nine or ten fans to volunteeer to fork the pitch ahead of tomorrow's game with Derby County. They are needed from 12 noon to help remove standing water. A number of Football League games have already been called off.

The club will have a precautionary pitch inspection at 9am tomorrow. Despite the recent heavy rain, the pitch is currently playable but Charlton are concerned about the weather forecast for heavy rain tomorrow in the hours before the 3pm kick off.

Head of operations Mick Everett said: 'At the moment, although it's very wet given the recent weather, the pitch is playable, and apart from the odd shower, the rest of today and overnight should be dry.'

'However, we're concerned that the pitch cannot take much more water, and from around midday tomorrow the forecast is for torrential rain in the three-hour period leading up to kick-off. We're very conscious of supporters' travel arrangements and want to provide them with as much information as we possess.'

As a result, and because the weather forecast could change during the course of Friday or overnight, we intend to have a precautionary pitch inspection at 9am on Saturday.'

Even if the game does ahead, wet conditions and high winds will not provide the optimal setting for quality football. There is the risk of freak goals being scored.

A further element of unpredictability is referee Carl Boyeson who has enjoyed a rapid ascent from the Hull Sunday League. He refereed Charlton's away match against Huddersfield last year, sending off Daryl Russell and awarding a penalty against the Addicks, the match ending 1-0 in favour of the home side.'

Odds: home win 7/5, draw 12/5, away win 9/5.

Thursday 27 December 2012

Hammers renew interest in Solly

West Ham have renewed their interest in Chris Solly with a view to acquiring him in the January transfer window. Sam Allerdyce wants to go back in for Solly when the transfer window opens as he seeks to strengthen his injury hit side. The Hammers boss only currently has Guy Demel to play at rightback with Joey O’Brien being forced to play out of position at left back and Solly could solve his problems in one swoop.

However, Fulham are also said to be in the reckoning, as well as watching Ben Hamer.

Just before Christmas, Chris Powell noted that speculation season was beginning. He said, 'I can try and stop people taking players from here for ludicrous bids. I hope they don’t. We don’t want their heads turned by people putting in bids that wouldn’t even buy one of their legs, let alone all of them.

'I want these players to stay and continue their education here. We will deal with it in the right way.'

Midfield problems

Happier times?

Among Charlton fans who went to the Boxing Day defeat, there is a general consensus that the midfield were woeful, Stephens in particular giving away possession again unnecessarily, leading to one of the Ipswich goals. The front pairing could hardly be blamed for not doing more when the service was so woeful.

One long-standing fan commented: 'The strike pairing worked hard at competing for the ball, which they only saw from punt-clearances from the back four, as, apart from Haynes in the first few minutes, the wingers were rarely given decent balls to work with, and there was little end-product ...or none in the case of Green, who frequently drifted even deeper than Solly when there was a crying need for a wide player for an out-ball. From where I was sitting, Green, Frimpong, Stephens and Seaborne were consistently poor first half, and it came as no surprise to see the former two replaced at half time. Pritchard proved to be part of the solution, at least wanting and using the ball.'

Another fan commented, 'Firstly 3 of the 4 midfielders just didn't turn up. The fact Stephens survived his first half horror show only serves to show just how abysmal Frimpong and Green were. The introduction of Jackson and particularly Pritchard turned the game in our favour. Pritchard brought pace, tempo and bite to the middle, Jackson improved the passing, the harrying and in particular the delivery into the box.'

'Secondly our back four looked decidedly like they'd had too much Christmas pudding. Solly had his poorest half of football in a long time and Seaborne looked like a debutant wearing his boots on the wrong feet. Exposed to the pace and skill of Ipswich's outstanding forward players Campbell and Martin, Morro and Cort looked like they had the manoeuvrability of the Titanic.'

'That first half showing was our worst for some time. Second half, with the changes in midfield, we at least looked like a Championship side. To give Stephens a little credit, at least he looked like he cared that he was putting in a mare, unlike the two subbed. God, you'd think Green would at least look like he wanted to take his opportunity.'

'Central midfield needs to be a priority for any money made available to Powell in January, if he's given the chance to spend it (and it would be a travesty if he's not.)'

The Deepest Darkest blog has dared to invoke the memory of Keith Jones. Much criticised at the time for passing sideways or even backwards, he at least kept possession and found Charlton players with accurate passes.

Derby have themselves suffered two successive defeats, so they are by no means invincible and offer a chance to get back to winning ways.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Charlton suffer third successive defeat

Charlton went down to their third successive defeat, losing 1-2 to form team Ipswich at The Valley today.

Jackson was dropped to the bench against Ipswich, as was Kermorgant reports Paul May. Kerkar, who has been disappointing of late, was nowhere to be seen with Harriot promoted to the bench. Green and the returning Stephens started. Haynes was played out wide left at first, later switching to the right. Hulse and Fuller were paired up front. There was a minute’s applause to mark the passing of club historian Colin Cameron.

Cresswell shot from an early free kick conceded by Morrison, but it went over. Haynes put in a spectacular right-footed shot and the keeper just managed to put it over the bar. There should have been a second corner as the ball came off the keeper, but the referee did not agree. Hamer looked as if he had damaged his hip and was wincing in pain.

Cort had to battle with Orr and managed to avoid the corner. A wild swing from Trinidad & Tobago international Edwards went wide. Frimpong made a good challenge, but Smith defended well in the subsequent attack.

Solly cleared from danger and Charlton counter attacked, but Green’s shot was charged down. It was a nice move, even though it was ultimately unproductive. Frimpong put in a great tackle in the box. Fuller held the ball up well with three defenders around him.

Lee Martin was brought down by Frimpong, I am not certain that was in the box. The penalty by D J Campbell on 17 minutes was apparently saved by Hamer diving to his right, but it must have come off the post as the referee did not give a corner. Hamer had to come off his line to save well from D J Campbell who had burst forward.

Haynes played the ball into the box, but Fuller’s attempt was charged down by the Ipswich back line. Green failed to track the left back. Hamer still did not look comfortable and would probably have been taken off if he was an outfield player.

Fuller shot but the keeper dived to his right to save. Campbell shot but Hamer got down quickly to save. Fuller won a free kick for the Addicks. The effort from Stephens hit the base of the post with the keeper nowhere.

The ball was drilled back in from the right hand side with Murphy keeping it in and Campbell scored the opener for Ipswich on 35 minutes with a volley into the bottom corner ten minutes before half time. The tractor drivers in the Jimmy Seed came to life.

Fuller shot straight at the keeper when he should have passed the ball. Morrison caught Drury and got a yellow card. The free kick was not taken well and went wide. Green went for the shot when he should have passed. There was insufficient collective work in the final third.

Hamer seemed to be moving more freely. The Addickted were subdued with Charlton not coming into the game much after thet went behind. Ipswich doubled their lead through Murphy after Hamer made a final initial save from Lee Martin on the stroke of half time, Charlton having fallen asleep.

HT: Addicks 0, Tractors 2

There was a double substitution after the break with Frimpong and Green going off and Jackson and Pritchard replacing them. Haynes put a good ball in, Jackson was about to let rip with his left foot and Fuller took it off him. Solly floated the ball in, Hulse got the header, but it was a comfortable save for the keeper.

Ipswich were playing keep ball, but Charlton eventually won the ball back with the rain starting to lash down to dampen the atmosphere even more, at least for all except the 1,319 Ipswich fans in the notional crowd of 18,380. Solly got in behind and the corner was awarded. The keeper punched out Jackson’s corner and the move ended in a goal kick.

Hulse threatened but was forced wide. Fuller won a free kick 20 yards out just to the right of centre. The free kick took a deflection leading to a corner, but Ipswich were able to clear their lines. Hulse was caught by Orr, but nothing was awarded. Ipswich took off Drury and brought on the experienced Nigel Reo-Coker. He trained with Charlton before his move to Ipswich.

There was another odd offside decision by the East Stand linesman. The corner flag snapped and the game was halted. Haynes floated the ball into Hulse and the keeper tipped it over as a safety first move. Charlton kept up the pressure after the corner from Stephens and won a second corner. It was a great delivery by Jackson, but eventually the keeper, who flapped initially, was able to gather.

Pritchard was taken down by Cresswell, having got round him, but the East Stand lino awarded the free kick to Ipswich. Pritchard tried to feed Solly in the box, he was brought down, and the penalty was awarded. Haynes had insisted on taking the penalty and made no mistake in drilling the ball high and wide of the keeper.

Seaborne put in a poor ball to Hulse, it came back to him and then he headed it out for a throw. Fuller went down and put his arm up straight away. The doctor was summoned. It appeared to be a problem with his left shoulder. Fuller came off and Kermorgant came on. Stephens put in a free kick from 30 yards and the curling ball was just wide as the rain lashed down.

Kermorgant won a corner for Charlton. Once again the keeper displayed his Dracula problem, but it did not lead to a goal. D J Campbell went off and Hyam came on. Charlton were unable to create anything in the closing minutes of normal time. Four minutes were added on. Stephens gave the ball away. Handball was awarded against Kermorgant, Ipswich made their third substitution to waste a bit of time, Murphy taking his time going off as Emmanuel-Thomas came on. Ipswich failed to clear the ball, Stephens could have equalised, but he hit it first time and put it wide. Hamer came forward as Charlton won a corner, but it was to no avail.

The second half was much better from a Charlton perspective, and indeed the first fifteen were good enough, but the damage was done in the rest of the first half.

Tractors raring to go

Ipswich Town are raring to go at The Valley this afternoon, according to Kiwi international Tommy Smith. What is more they have been working with the medical staff to ensure that they have the right nutrients after the Christmas period. The mind boggles: is it Weetabix all round on the coach? One possible reading of what he says is that they are going for a draw: Ipswich

An Ipswich site names Ricardo Fuller as the danger man and forecasts a 2-1 defeat for the Tractors: Tractors

Not every legend is on the pitch

Tributes have been pouring in after club historian Colin Cameron passed away early on Christmas Day. Rick Everitt described him as 'the number one Charlton fan, bar none.' Steve Brown referred to him as Mr Statistic, describing him as a 'fine human being.' From the United States Doug Chapman said, 'A very nice man who possessed more knowledge about the history of Charlton Athletic than anyone else. A virtual walking encyclopedia who loved his club and its supporters.' Phoptographer Tom Morris has said how helpful he was when he needed to identify anything. Fans have talked about his approachability.

In a message to the club, Colin's family have said, 'CAFC was Colin's life for 60 years.' Perhaps one day we can have a small museum at The Valley and dedicate it to him.

Colin was meticulous in his collection of data about Charlton. There was a time when I covered the odd youth team match in the Midlands for the Greenwich Mercury. Charlton won 6-1 at Rushden & Diamonds and Colin questioned me rigorously about whether we had scored the last goal or had it been tipped in by the keeper to make it an own goal.

Charlton Home and Away is one of my most treasured books and the one I would take on a desert island. I often consult it for these posts and the same applies to The Valiant 500. His contributions to the programme were always among the most interesting items. Truly, we will not see his like again.

Monday 24 December 2012

Morts backs Sir Chris

With Chris Powell's future at Charlton cast into doubt, Paul Mortimer has given the Addicks supremo a ringing endorsement in Pravda. Chris Powell will complete his century of games with Charlton on Boxing Day: let's hope it's not a hundred and out.

Morts warns that the South Londoners could face a fight in the future to keep the 43-year-old, one of the brightest young bosses in the game. 'He has done a fantastic job and Charlton's problem will be holding onto him,' said Mortimer, who played alongside the Valley manager when the club were in the top flight.

'It is great to see a young boss being given a chance, there are so many underneath. Chris is leading the way - and long may that continue. He has been nothing short of brilliant. It has been an incredibly successful period of time.'

'Charlton were fifth when he took over and they finished 13th that season - managers have lost their jobs for less than that. So the board have got what they deserved for backing him. That gave him confidence. He is a very good manager, no doubt, and things have gone from strength to strength.'

'The side had a sticky start in the Championship but he sprinkled some magic dust - he pulls people together and they play for him. He represented England, making his debut in his thirties, and there is very little he hasn't done. Players respect him straight off the bat.'

'Powelly is hard but he's fair. Honest and straightforward - you want to play for a person like that because they don't come along very often.'

Clarke to become Sky Blue

Leon Clarke, who has not had a future at The Valley for some time, has been taken on trial by Coventry City with a view to a permanent move: Clarke

Where he will be moving to is an interesting question. If Coventry City can't settle their rent dispute with their landlords at the Ricoh Arena, it could be Nene Park, Irthlingborough, the former home of Rushden & Diamonds. Or beautiful downturn Burslem and Vale Park.

Have Tractors got into gear?

Have Ipswich Town finally got into gear under Mick McCarthy or are they still stuck in the mud? McCarthy replaced Paul Jewell weeks after he failed to do the decent thing and succumb to the curse of Charlton.

Ipswich are currently 5th in the form table (Charlton are 20th), having won three, drawn two and lost one of their last six games. They haven't scored many goals away (seven) and have conceded 26, but still have managed to win three games and draw two on the road.

They stuttered somewhat in Saturday's 1-1 draw with fellow relegation strugglers Bristol City. McCarthy commented, 'I was happy to take a point from a game we could have lost, to not lose twice on the bounce and not to crumble when we could have done. In terms of performance it was nowhere near as well as we played against Nottingham Forest or Millwall.'

Up front D J Campbell was quiet, while Daryl Murphy had a frustrating afternoon. Murphy is a doubt for Boxing Day after picking up a knock to his knee on Saturday, but McCarthy is hopeful he will make the trip. Lee Martin can deliver a good corner, but N'Daw was sloppy with has passing and was caught in possession too often. Andy Drury did provide some power and pace in midfield, but skipper Carlos Edwards had another quiet afternoon, creating very little danger from the right. The defence looked quite strong with Tommy Smith defending stoutly and scoring the goal. Bradley Orr made a brilliant first half block.

Of the four most recent games we have played at home to Ipswich in the second tier, we have won three comfortably: the exception was an end-of-season celebration when we had already been promoted to the Premier League as champions.

Odds are 5/4 for a home win, 12/5 for a draw and 21/10 for an away win. Pessimists have already been out in force virtually this morning, one arguing: 'Powell's baffling tactics, team selections, ineffective substitutions and turgid style are causing concern.'

The vapourings of the usual suspects aside, Chris Powell is clearly under pressure. An often reliable source has stated this morning, 'I think it would be very unsurprising if Jimenez sacked Powell before or after the Watford game, should we fail to pick up, say, four points over Christmas. There are strong indications it was intended to sack him after the Cardiff game and a meeting had been scheduled for the following morning.'

The suspension of Lawrie Wilson is a blow as he is a real menace down the right. Even so, I am going for a 2-0 win for Charlton, although I should warn you that I am bottom of the West Sussex branch prediction league.

Happy Christmas! Greetings from the players and Sir Chris here (well worth a watch): Christmas

Sunday 23 December 2012

Powell: I did not swear at ref

Chris Powell has explained his encounter at half time with referee Gary Sutton at Hillsborough yesterday. He said: 'There were a number of challenges on Lawrie Wilson, there was an offside goal that was actually onside, and then we had a penalty decision that we thought we should have been given.'

The manager continued: 'At half time I went to speak to the referee. I didn't swear, I didn't point at him, so I felt I approached him in the right way, but he said go to the stands.'

'So if I can't talk to him in the correct matter when I'm not abusing him or doing anything that would put me in potential trouble, what can you do? He said it's for the image of the game that I came onto the pitch and left my technical area.'

I said "it's half time", and he said it should have been in the tunnel. We spoke at length at half-time in the referee's room but he's made the decision and he's not going to change it.'

Wednesday manager Dave Jones admitted, 'It looked like a penalty and I'd have been disappointed if it had gone against me. Maybe we had a Christmas present nice and early.'

Powell's days are numbered, say critics

With Charlton suffering two successive 2-0 away defeats and falling to 18th in the table, the usual suspects are coming out of the woodwork and renewing their criticism of Chris Powell's stewardship as manager.

One well-known critic complained, 'Powell may be a nice bloke , but I am concerned because he does not seem to learn from game to game he still picks same players and formations even when it is clear its not working, not sure new owners will stick with Powell too long if we don't at least look like we are moving the right way, but I would like to see an old head brought in to help Powell like Curbishley.'

However, one of Chris Powell's defenders responded, 'We're 18th as it happens, but as many points from the playoffs as we are from the relegation places - closer to the playoffs on goal difference. If we were to get 2 wins from our home games we might find ourselves a lot higher placed.'

'The Championship is an odd league - anyone can beat anyone and clubs tend to go on mini runs. If you get carried away with a couple of bad results then you deserve to look silly when a couple of wins come in. Yes it's one win in 6, or it's 4 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses in our last 9, both losses coming away from home.'

'Powell is doing just fine, especially considering the constraints on strengthening the side in the summer. We're a mid-table side with mid-table form. What's to complain about?'

Saturday 22 December 2012

Charlton lose 2-0 as Powell is sent off

Leon Cort replaced Dorian Dervitte while Kerkar came in for the suspended Dale Stephens as Charlton faced a massive game at Hillsborough this afternoon in Yeovil-style weather reports Paul Mayfrom among the 500 or so Addickted in the 20,000+ crowd. Ricardo Fuller was on the bench.

After a great attack down the right by Haynes, Llera almost put the ball in his own net. Johnson cynically brought down Wilson after being beaten again, but got away with just a talking to from the referee. In the play following the free kick, Kerkar put in a poor high ball to the fury of Wilson.

Morrison dealt with a Wednesday attack as they got forward for the first time. Hamer punched the ball away from the throw in and then Cort had to stretch and clear off the line for a corner. Wednesday had a chance from eight yards out but put the ball over.

Wednesday put in a deep cross to no one in particular and Kerkar cleared the ball. Frimpong gave the ball away in midfield, but fortunately the final ball was poor. Seaborne defended well as Wednesday threatened again.

Johnson brought Wilson down for the third time and finally the yellow card was shown. A head injury to Kermorgant led referee Gary Sutton to stop the game to the indignation of the home fans. A loose pass from Frimpong gave Wednesday another chance to attack but to no effect.

Hamer punched a throw in away well. Frimpong released Haynes, but Wednesday were able to defend. Solly showed great persistence but Haynes got into an offside position.

Morrison had to turn the ball behind for a corner as Wednesday applied some pressure. McCabe put the ball in the net with a volley which gave Hamer no chance making it 1-0 to the home side on 20 minutes. It was his first goal for the club since joining from Rangers. Wednesday put in a shot, but it went straight through to Hamer. Antonio put in an effort but it was wide.

Wednesday continued to apply pressure. Kerkar won a free kick on the left. Cort did not connect well with Jackson’s free kick.

Frimpong was warned by the referee after a tackle. The goal seemed to have taken the wind out of Charlton’s sails after a very good start.

Seaborne lost his man, Antonio fired his shot and it went inches wide. Seaborne gave the ball away again. Haynes advanced and Kermorgant was flattened by a shove in the back as he tried to get his shot away and felt he should have had a penalty. It looked like a penalty to me.

Wednesday created a shooting chance but Frimpong put their player off and it went straight through to Hamer.

Haynes put the ball in the net but the flag went up against him very late. Charlton had come back into the game in the last ten minutes of the half. Solly advanced well in the last minute with a great run. Chris Powell complained to the referee about his failure to award a penalty and also the failure to send off Johnson. The referee sent him off and he reappeared in the front row of the directors’ box in the second half.

Half time: 1-0

Charlton got a free kick for a handball by Prutton, but Kirkland did well. Kermorgant was flattened by Johnson who continued to deal with his frustrations after not playing for three months.

Johnson went down, but Charlton continued their attack. Wilson was given a yellow card, it was not clear why. A free kick from Llera led to Gardner’s header dropping just outside the post. Hamer was not happy with his defence. Morrison made an error and Cort had to come to his rescue. Hamer saved comfortably from a shot by O’Grady.

Haynes totally missed his kick from four yards out in front of an open goal when he could have made it 1-1. Kerkar was taken off and replaced by Fuller. Kermorgant dropped deeper.

Prutton, who took a blow to the head, was withdrawn and replaced by Chris Lines. The game went into a bit of a lull, but then Charlton won a corner through Fuller. Charlton kept up the pressure from the corner, but eventually Kirkland was able to gather.

Solly gave possession away dangerously, but Charlton were able to recover. Frimpong did well to deny Antonio. A spell of pressure from the Addicks led to a corner. A volley from Kermorgant went out for a goal kick.

Hulse and Green came on and Haynes and Frimpong came off. Good work by Green won a corner. There was a chance, but Morrison’s touch went wide.

Solly burst into the area, but eventually Green over hit the ball. A shot by Fuller on target was blocked by Llera. Wednesday counter attacked, but Hamer claimed well. A delivery from Hulse went straight to Kirkland.

Green was cynically fouled by Helan. Jackson curled it round the wall from 30 yards out but it was just beyond the post . Llera was all over Hulse, but no free kick was awarded.

Hamer had to put the ball behind for a corner. McCabe put the ball just over the crossbar. Four minutes were added on. Solly made a good run, Fuller was taken out. Hulse couldn’t get a connection from the free kick. Helan took on the whole defence by himself and the Manchester City loan player made it 2-0.

Charlton suffered another defeat ‘oop North. The last time they won in the pre-Christmas match was in 2004.

Friday 21 December 2012

It will be physical says Morro

Former Owl Michael Morrison is expecting a physical encounter at Hillsborough tomorrow: Morrison

The latest issue of Four Four Two has a big picture of Morro with his boot firmly implanted in the face of a Burnley player during the match there.

Thursday 20 December 2012

Owls out for revenge

Sheffield Wednesday are still sore about their 0-1 home defeat by Charlton and the way in which the Addicks ground out a result. Now, coming on the back of their 1-0 away win at Barnsley last Saturday, they want to end a run of four home defeats with a win against Charlton on Saturday: Charlton

Manager Dave Jones has brought in experienced coach Stuart Gray to help Wednesday to climb out of the relegation places: Gray

Weaver may have to quit Wednesday

Without a squad number and denied first team action, Nicky Weaver may have to quit Sheffield Wednesday in the January transfer window: Weaver

Weaver says that he has good memories of his time at Charlton, even if things did not go well, and is pleased to see the club doing well under Chris Powell.

The Boxing Day match against Ipswich Town will go ahead, despite the fact that there are no trains to Charlton and there will be no tube service to North Greenwich because of action by ASLEF charm merchants.

The great years before the war

The latest part of Kevin Nolan's potted history of Charlton looks at the period before the war when we challenged for the title and then our post-war FA Cup victory: Charlton

Recommended reading for the newly Addickted and for youngsters.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Chris Powell's century

Chris Powell celebrates his hundreth game in charge of Charlton at Hillsborough on Saturday. Here is an excellent in depth interview with Sir Chris in which the all round quality of the man shines through: Sir Chris

Charlton were named as London football team of the year in the Evening Standard

Sunday 16 December 2012

From the rumour mill

Turkish interest in Charlton appears to be alive as the Turkish group were spotted in the directors' box as guests of Mr Jiminez at the last home game. However, a Swedish millionaire is also rumoured to be interested: let's hope he is a multi-millionaire rather than just a millionaire. Last but not least, the 'cash' is said to have been made available again, hence the loan signings of Hulse and Frimpong.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Addicks defeated at Bolton

Two second half goals from substitute David Ngog saw Charlton go down to a 2-0 defeat at the Reebok this afternoon. Although the usual suspects are blaming Chris Powell, it should be remembered that Bolton were in the Premiership last season and still have a number of quality players.

The former Liverpool striker scored twice within six minutes to help the Trotters to only their second win in eight games, and condemn the Addicks to their first away defeat since September 18. Until the Frenchman's introduction the visitors looked most likely to break the deadlock, with Danny Haynes spurning two good opportunities, while Wilson looked lively.

Chris Powell made a couple of alterations to the Charlton team, with Bradley Pritchard making way for Dan Seaborne (who some of those there thought a disappointment) and Yann Kermorgant recalled in place of Rob Hulse.

It was Freedman's side who carved out the best chance in the opening stages, with Chung-Yong Lee playing a neat one-two with Chris Eagles before side-footing wide after 10 minutes. At the other end, Dale Stephens' through ball released Haynes clear on goal, but a crucial last-ditch tackle from Mears denied him, just as he was set to pull the trigger.

The Addicks had Ben Hamer to thank for keeping the scores level soon after, as he reacted quickly to deny Eagles' swivel shot with an instinctive close-range save.

Nine minutes before the break, Haynes had a second opportunity to open the scoring after Lawrie Wilson stood up a right-wing cross, but he headed wide when well-placed. Charlton continued to find joy on the break, with Adam Bogdan needing to be alert to keep out Kermorgant's left-footed strike.

Both teams struggled to find any fluency after the interval, with Kermorgant's 55th-minute wayward header the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock. But it was a double substitution eight minutes later, replacing Chung-Yong Lee and Butterfield with Martin Petrov and Ngog, which would prove to be pivotal.

The substitution failed to make an immediate effect, indeed the Addicks continued to threaten, with Haynes' shot from a tight angle forcing Bogdan into an important save. But the Trotters pair were soon able to combine, as Petrov fed the ball into Ngog, who beat two defenders before poking the ball past Hamer to give the hosts a vital lead in the 74th-minute. The Frenchman secured the victory six minutes later, exchanging passes with Kevin Davies before drilling the ball into the back of the net.

A bad day at the office, particularly for the over five hundred Addickted who made the trip. Charlton are now 14th in the table.

Short history of Charlton

Well-known Valley journalist Kevin Nolan has been writing a short history of Charlton. It's a good overview and here is part one: Charlton

Friday 14 December 2012

Freedman's rallying call

Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman has called on his players to step up to the plate against Charlton on Saturday as the Whites are hit by an injury to another key player: Bolton. Bolton have won just twice since the former Palace maestro took over at the Reebok.

This match preview by a Bolton fan from the States dwells on the injury problems which have particularly affected the 'defense': Lion of Vienna. The attack is seen as less of a problem, although the quality of the finishing could improve. The Addicks are seen as lacking a particular danger man, but Bolton will have to be careful not to lose their shape against them.

Ricardo Fuller is recovering from his hamstring injury and may be available, but is likely to feature on the bench.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Trotting up north

It's a bit of a surprise to saw Bolton 18th in the table, although in part that refects a large number of draws (eight). However, Brighton have also drawn eight matches, but are in eighth place, but then they have managed to win four away games. Bolton have won only twice on the road as against Charlton's four.

The Addicks have only lost twice away and Bolton have lost only twice at home, so if statistical patterns mean anything, we are heading for a draw at the Reebok. Four of Bolton's last six matches have been drawn as have three of Charlton's games. But then both teams may decide they want to break the habit.

The pundits at Four Four Two had no doubts at the beginning of the season that they would end up as champions, but then they had the Addicks finishing 18th last season. However, the Football League Paper agreed with this assessment, while The Times had them finishing 3rd. Their fan pundit in Four Four Two had them finishing 2nd. I have to admit that they were one of my promotion picks.

Things clearly did not go to plan and Palace maestro Dougie Freedman was brought in to replace Owen Coyle with the club needing a quick return to the Premiership. Injury worries have not helped and now, after scoring one and creating one in the 2-2 draw at Huddersfield, 'legend' Mark Davies is out for three months: Davies

Most of the individual players seem to fill their positions well, although Zat Knight, who scored an own goal at Huddersfield, has his critics. However, the general view being taken, not least by Freedman, is that the quality of the play is improving and the points will soon start to accumulate against weaker sides like Charlton. We shall see.

Unfortunately our ace away reporter Paul May is being taken shopping by his new girl friend at Bluewater on Saturday, but we shall contrive to get some kind of report from the Reebok.

Hamer to become Cottager?

More than one site is linking Fulham's Martin Jol with a move for Ben Hamer. One Fulham site says, 'The six feet four inches tall twenty-five year-old is starting to carve out a reputation at the Valley and is possibly seen as the long term replacement for forty year-old Mark Schwarzer.'

However, Jol may have competition as Nottingham Forest are also reported to be considering making a move for the keeper in the January transfer window.

Hamer has his critics and is still developing as a player, but his departure would be a blow. Button remains an unknown quantity.

Congratulations to the youth team on their 1-0 victory at Wolves last night in the FA Youth Cup. Holmes-Dennis scored the winner in the 65th minute. Wolves threw on their secret weapon in the form of Dylan Stringer-Moth, but to no avail.

Dan Seaborne has extended his loan at Charlton on a week-to-week basis. He was expressing a wish in the programme a couple of weeks ago for something longer term, but I doubt whether that will happen.

Monday 10 December 2012

Walsall fans recall Valley clash

October 7 1980 was a Tuesday evening and there was just 3,359 fans at The Valley to see a third division match between Charlton and Walsall. It was a match which Charlton won and Walsall lost rather woefully, but for some reason Saddlers fans wish to recall it: Saddlers

Charlton ended the season being promoted in third place and Walsall finished fifth from bottom.

Saturday 8 December 2012

Charlton maintain unbeaten run

Charlton maintained their unbeaten run with a 2-2 draw at home to Brighton and Hove Albion at The Valley today. The Addicks moved up to 12th in the table.

A win was beyond Charlton's grasp because there were too many unforced errors and misplaced passes, notably a rare mistake by Michael Morrison which set up Brighton's first equaliser. Brighton played some attractive football in what was one of the better games we have seen at home this season and it would be difficult to claim that a draw was not a fair result.

The supposed foul which set up the free kick for their second goal looked like a fair tackle to me, but the referee was inclined to give every marginal decision to the visitors while ignoring their pushing and pulling in the box. Even though he came from Surrey, I don't think he was biased, it was just a case of another referee trying to show he is not a 'homer' by giving the benefit of the doubt to the visiting team.

Haynes set up a corner for Charlton. Corners in the first half were taken as part of a new short cormer routine. This one was caught. Wilson put in a good cross. A mistake by Kuszczak in the Brighton goal gave Charlton a corner. It was taken by Dale Stephens, and the subsequent goal was initially attributed to him, but it was Lawrie Wilson who put the Addicks ahead.

An effort by Hulse was turned over the bar by the keeper and from the subsequent corner Morrison headed over the bar. Frimpong was brought down and the free kick led to a Charlton corner which was punched out by the keeper and eventually cleared. Brighton then launched a threatening break, but Chris Solly dealt with it very effectively.

A Brighton corner was eventually cleared, but Hamer was furious with his defence. Solly provided excellent cover. The Covered End launched into a rendition of 'We hate Palace more than you do.' From a Brighton corner Hamer eventually claimed the ball. With the linesman refusing to lift his flag for offside, Hamer did well. Charlton launched a good attack, but the ball seemed to ping off the woodwork, although the keeper may have played a part. A fierce Brighton shot from distance went not far over, but Hamer had it covered and it was always going to go over.

Morrison then made his disastous error with an attempt at a back header. He might have been able to put into touch or let the ball run and Hamer could have dealt with it, but Mackell-Smith was able to score for the equaliser.

Haynes won Charlton a free kick, but it was caught. After a spell when the Seagulls had been dominant, Charlton were getting back in the game more and an attack ended up with the ball in the side netting. A good build up provided a chance for Dale Stephens, but he was off target.

Half time: Addicks 1, Seagulls 1

Brighton won a number of corners early in the half, one leading to a follow up but Hamer was able to catch the ball. Dean Hammond was given a yellow card for a foul on Dale Stephens. Brighton continued to push and pull in the box under the benign gaze of the referee. A Charlton error in a pass across the pitch allowed Brighton to attack and Wilson committed a foul and received a yellow card. Brighton took off Hoskings and brought on LuaLua before the free kick was taken, but it came off the wall at the expense of a Brighton corner.

Charlton launched a good attack and Bradley Pritchard was able to put the ball in the net from close range to make it 2-1. A Brighton free kick was awarded on the 'D' for what I thought was a good tackle. The ball took a deflection off the wall, allowing LuaLua to make it 2-2.

Either side could have scored in the remainder of the game, but although the vigorous contest continued, it ended all square. The chairman confidently predicted a 20,000+ attendance in the programme but in fact it was 19,080 which was a bit disappointing given that the away end was sold out. Perhaps some people were down at Bluewater.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has given the Silver Bone to Dorian Dervitte. I was quite surprised to see Cort dropped after his highly rated performance at Millwall, but Dervitte was excellent in defence and contributed throughout, not least in the four minutes added on. Hamer was not really at fault for the two goals. He had to make a few saves, including an excellent one from Dobbie in the first half, and was particularly good at catching the ball from corners and crosses. A surprising number of Brighton shots went well wide. Morrison made a serious error, but otherwise he was up to his usual standard. Wilson made an excellent return, scoring a goal and making a storming run up the pitch in time added on. Solly excelled once again, even though he was playing at left back. Stephens showed some real touches of class. Great to see Pritchard score, and it was clear from the way they piled in that this team mates were delighted as well, otherwise he was his usual busy self. Frimpong showed that he has pace as well as class. Jackson had a few nice touches, but there were limits to his contribution. Haynes showed his pace, but he needed better service. Hulse was energetic, but he looked isolated quite a lot of the time. Kermorgant didn't make a big difference when he came on. Kerkar was disappointing.

The Hiss of the Match was given to the East Stand linesman by Juneau the Soccer Cat. He seemed to have a poor understanding of the offside rule and ignored repeated infringements by Brighton players.

Full report tomorrow.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Seagulls swoop in

With over 23,000 season ticket holders at their new stadium, the largest number in the Championship, Brighton and Hove Albion are once again a formidable force after many difficult years. Their average home attendance of 25,446 is the biggest in the league and the Jimmy Seed Stand will be sold out on Saturday.

Given all this, the pundits were not very generous to them pre-season, rating them as 5th, 7th and 12th. They are currently 8th which is the average of the predictions. The Times described them as 'error prone'. Their away record is impressive, however: won four; drawn three; lost three.

The position of keeper was a bit of an issue last season, but Tamasz Kuszczak was brought in on a free from Manchester United to address that problem. Ex-Valencia right back Bruno Saltor can make the occasional error. Also from Spain is Andrea Orlandi, but he was injured in the 3-0 defeat at Palace. In midfield Liam Bridcutt was last year's player of the year. Craig Mackall-Smith leads the strike force, although he missed a golden opportunity against Palace. The Seagulls are perhaps over reliant on him to score the goals.

Michael Morrison will be back to reinforce Charlton's defence, although Leon Cort did a valiant job at Millwall. The Football League Paper said that he 'marshalled the defence in impressive fashion' and named him in their team of the week. The often criticised Ben Hamer was 'solid and dependable as ever behind an excellent defensive showing.

The midfield also came in for some praise with Dale Stephens being singled out, although it was noted that Bradley Pritchard needed to improve his end product. Johnnie Jackson 'has lost pace but his vision remains'. Understandably, analysis of the attack was more lukewarm and one wonders if the Hulse/Kermorgant pairing is one that works well. Kermorgant is also still shaking off the rust from his enforced absence.

Gus Poyet has got his side to play aesthetically pleasing and free-flowing football and hopefully this will be an enjoyable match to watch that also serves up three points.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

The Return to The Valley

Twenty years ago Charlton returned to The Valley as the result of the tireless efforts of many Addicks who united in a common cause.

Here is some media coverage: The Valley

And here is a picture of a laughing policeman, an archbishop and a skeleton - you can work out the meaning of the imagery yourself: Return

No formal complaint about racial abuse

Danny Haynes and Emmanuel Frimpong have decided not to make a formal complaint about racial abuse at Millwall last Saturday: Abuse

Danny Haynes thanked Charlton fans on Twitter for their support.

Sunday 2 December 2012

Racist abuse claims

Emmanuel Frimpong and Danny Haynes have claimed that they were the subject of racist abuse at the New Den yesterday: Abuse

Some Charlton fans have expressed concern on Twitter about the fact that a flare was thrown from the visitors' end.

Saturday 1 December 2012

Charlton secure draw at Millwall

Millwall's winning run ended with a 0-0 draw with Charlton at the New Den. The Addicks slipped to 14th in the table, but are nearer the play off places than the relegation zone. The Addicks are now undefeated in six games.

Fuller had not recovered from the hamstring strain he had suffered on Tuesday and Hulse and Kermorgant started up front. Dervitte replaced the suspended Morrison in central defence. Stephens replaced Frimpong who dropped to the bench.

The Addicks made the slightly better start but the home side started to knock on the door with Chris Taylor having a header and a shot go wide. Millwall went closest when Liam Feeney burst past Seaborne and turned Andy Keogh’s chip across the face of goal and wide. Chris Wood then was the next Spanners player to test Charlton goalkeeper Hamer but his weak effort was comfortably dealt with. Kermorgant flicked the ball into the path of Hulse whose shot was blocked by Josh Wright.

Hulse's left footed volley from a narrow angle flashed wide after 27 minutes. Former Addick Josh Wright put more pressure on his old club with his control and volley going just over the bar with 10 minutes remaining in the opening period. Feeney should have done much better with his effort three minutes before half time, blazing the ball high and over the bar into the upper tier of the Charlton fans.

The second half started just like the first with the Addicks having the better of the opening exchanges. Abdou should have done better midway through the second half but he fired his shot well over the bar.

Charlton put the pressure on, winning a corner, but Millwall counterattacked with Hamer tipping Keogh’s shot over the crossbar and Adam Smith headed over from the resulting corner.

Millwall then had two golden opportunities to take the lead as the match entered its closing stages. Wood nearly broke the deadlock when Taylor capitalised on a loose ball with Johnnie Jackson making the important block. From the corner Danny N’Guessan, on as a second half substitute for Feeney, had his header cleared off the line by Chris Solly. Wright-Phillips was introduced nine minutes from the end of the game.

The Spanners continued to knock on the door but were unable to breach the defence and Hamer stood strong in his goal.