Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Charlton Have The Blues As Home Points Dropped Again

Charlton Athletic 1 - 1 Birmingham City

Charlton again were left frustrated by letting another lead slip this time at the hands of Birmingham, David Davis cancelling out Vetokele's early opener.

After having a few drinks in Blackheath headed to The Valley on Saturday still buzzing from Tuesday nights late stunning victory against the league leaders Norwich. Now we had a chance to really kick on and push us higher towards an unexpected title chase challenge.

Birmingham although low down in the table were heading to SE7 with new found confidence after already defeating a team in South London by beating Millwall 1-0 in midweek.

After signing from Brentford in the summer Clayton Donaldson would be the real danger for Birmingham up front especially after scoring in their win over Millwall. And of course in between the stick was former Charlton keeper Darren Randolph whom I've always thought looks a decent player.

The Charlton team news was that Chris Solly moved back into the team as expected & Tal Ben Haim missed the game due to religious reasons so in stepped Micheal Morrison, a big game for Morro his first league start of the season and coming into an unbeaten side can be daunting for him.


Again it was a 4-4-1-1 style of formation with Cousins and Bulot swapping places throughout like Tuesday's game against Norwich.

Teams Out
The first action of the game was oh so nearly an early goal for The Addicks, a lovely weighted ball from Cousins found Vetokele who smartly cut inside and curled a left footed shot at goal it beat Randolph but just went wide! Brilliant individual effort from Igor showing how he can create a chance by himself, so unlucky!

But Igor didn't have long to wait to get his goal, just eight minutes later a fine cross from Bulot picked out Vetokele who headed it firmly down and in the goal a brilliant finish but where was the Birmingham marking?!?! Nothing Randolph could do as Igor finished clinically and made use of the poor marking. Funny enough I had just said to my mate "Bulot has not done much so far for us he aint been good or bad" And there you go literally as I said he puts in a beautiful ball for the opener. 1-0
Celebration the early goal


But yet again Charlton did their usual thing and sat back, Buyens who was having a poor game dwelled on the ball and was dispossessed which led Donaldson through but his effort was high and wide.

Apart from a Jackson effort which failed to trouble Randolph it was Birmingham that looked the more likely to get the next goal in the game, Donaldson was on the end of a cross but again his attempt was wide of goal.

Koby Arthur who only made his debut for The Blues in midweek was really looking dangerous and he so nearly equalised for them. He received the ball in the inside of the six yard box his shot beat Henderson but Donaldson stupidly touched the ball as it was going in a yard out and whilst being in a offside position! What a big let off for The Addicks.
First Half Action

As the half reached towards it's end Gleeson and Reilly had their efforts blocked for City & Bikey had a headed effort go over the bar. At the interval we narrowly led and were a bit lucky to be due to Birmingham's disallowed goal.


The second half started and Charlton created an early chance, Vetokele managed to nick a pass through to Wilson but his effort was fired over the bar. But again came the Birmingham pressure a wonderful dipping cross to the far post found a diving Robinson whose header was saved at the far post by Henderson.

But then game a well deserved equaliser a smart corner routine from Birmingham a pass to the edge of the box where Davis was unmarked and on the turn his fine low drive went straight into the corner of Henderson's net. Really poor from the Charlton defence, Davis was unmarked on the edge of the box and no one failed to pick him up, as he fired a well placed shot in the corner Henderson could do nothing about it as it came through a crowded penalty area. 1-1

Could Charlton respond? A jinxing Chris Solly run saw him cut inside and fire a effort just wide of goal, memories of his screamer v Blackpool a few season ago were nearly relived. Tucudean & Moussa were brought on to try and ignite the Charlton team into action but the game really petered out, and a long range shot from Bulot in the 75th minute was all we could conjure.

Birmingham had a chance with 10 minutes to go when Donaldson and sub Thomas combined but Thomas's effort just went wide to the right of the goal.

Unfortunately the game was held up for a while due to a bad looking injury to Jordan Cousins as he fell awkwardly, but thankfully since then we have found out that the midfielder is recovering well and should be back after international break.
Second Half Action

The last effort of the game fell to Bulot after linking with Vetokele but his effort didn't test Radnolph and missed to the right of the goal.

A rather poor game overall and Charlton will be annoyed they let another lead slip, whereas Birmingham will be pleased with 4 points from 6 on the road this week. 1-1

Overall it was a frustrating afternoon at The Valley, but still the defence stayed strong not to lose the game but we could not find that cutting edge to win the game.
Here's a few match performance reviews.

Henderson - Could do nothing with the goal as it was a precise shot in the corner of the goal through a crowded set of players.
Solly - Was Mr Dependable at the back as usual and nearly scored from his run forward. Couldn't get forward as much as he always does.
Bikey - Solid as usual and won the hard fought battle versus Donaldson.
Morrison - My man of the match. As I said earlier would have found it hard mentally coming into an unbeaten side and trying to make a claim for a spot. But he did it well, after being so used to long balls last season he played it around neatly on the floor and an acute ball through found Wilson but he wasted it. Defended strongly as well ,great professional performance who is waiting in the wings if there may be an injury or suspension.
Wiggins - Wasn't able to get forward as much & had a hard time with two pacy wingers against him but had a decent game.
Wilson - Had a poor game a lot of times when he found himself in good positions he squandered it with his final ball & poor decision making letting him down.
Buyens - Had a poor game lost the ball a lot in the middle with poor passing and taking too much time on the ball. A shame after he has started the season so well but hopefully the break can ignite him again.
Jackson - Was having a decent game and was harshly taken off to his dismay early on in the second half where really it should have been Buyens who should have been replaced.
Cousins - Didn't really make his mark on the game and then suffered a bad looking injury late on which fortunately now does not look too bad.
Bulot - Slowly breaking into English football and had a decent game, assisted the goal with a fine cross and had a few shots late on.
Vetokele - Back on the score sheet with a well taken goal. Early on nearly scored a fine individual effort. Unfortunately after that his team mates didn't create much for him.
Moussa - Came on with half hour to go but again was frustrating to watch as he lacked his final ball.

Home Fans - A very dull and flat atmosphere at The Valley as the fans grew frustrated from the lack of chances.

Away Fans -  1,500 Blue fans travelled down from The Midlands a decent attendance and made good noise throughout.
BRUM FANS

Ref Watch - No key moments apart from the disallowed goal which seemed to be the right call was made. Did fail to let advantage be played a lot too.

We have reached another international break and we remain unbeaten and in a very respectable 6th position. Of course we are going to be frustrated at the lack of attacks on goal that we had in the second half and giving away victory again but there is still a lot to be positive about.

For one I personally never expected to be where we are now and to still be unbeaten is a real credit to what a strong and experienced defence we have this season.

Think we really needed this two week break as a few tired legs and injuries have occurred and hopefully this break will revitalise us and maybe a cheeky loan signing could strengthen our team for the upcoming months.

All in all so far it's been a really good season but be great to see us push on from such a fine start. Next game is away to Bournemouth and fortunately no Kermo has he is suspended (Thanks Yann we know you still love us ) It might see us in our new 3rd kit too! So bring your sunglasses Come on you TEQUILA SUNRISES!!!


Thursday, 2 October 2014

Knee Slide Nicks It In Norfolk

Norwich City 0 - 1 Charlton Athletic

Tuesday night in East Anglia saw the welcome return of the infamous Johnnie Jackson knee slide as Charlton shocked top of the table Norwich with a real smash and grab victory.

Tuesday saw us head to Norwich in our first evening away match in the league this season. Whilst many Charlton fans drove or got the club coaches I & a few friends took advantage of being able to get a train back to London after a midweek away game as normally most are too far to train it back!

Arrived in Norwich at around half five so in good time to have a few drinks and food and we headed to a pub called The Compleat Angler quite a large pub on the river where the pub was already quite full with Charlton fans there. From there it was a short 10 minutes walk to the stadium so all in all fairly easy away ground for close proximity to pubs, station & ground.

Arrived at the ground and thinking of what were we up against tonight? Well Norwich relegated from The Premiership last season had a good transfer window and kept most of the core of their team together, of course they lost a few big names to higher clubs but got good money and used the money in buying striker Grabban from Bournemouth and Jerome on loan from Stoke both had settled in well and were banging them in so we had to be on top of game to keep them out.

The Charlton line up saw two changes from Saturday of course again Chris Solly cant play 3 games in 7 days so he was as usual replaced my Joe Gomez & due to Gudmundsson's injury on the weekend he was replaced by Wilson. Giving Charlton a 4-4-1-1 formation again.
Line up


Teams out
This was our biggest test of the season, playing top of the table a hard task in itself but away from home where we have failed to win a game yet would be a massive challenge. But Norwich would be wary of us also having gone the season so far unbeaten.

The game started and within two minutes the experienced Hoolahan slipped through Grabban but his fierce drive was saved well by Henderson forcing it behind for a corner. Now was this the sign of things to come? Well again after 5 minutes Hoolahan again slipped in Grabban but this time his effort was  shot wide to the side of the goal.

Charlton then started to come into it Vetokele up front on his own again was causing trouble and won a free kick, of course Johnnie Jackson stepped up but his effort went over the bar. A few minutes later Vetokele then managed an effort at goal a  pass from Wilson to Igor who shimmied but his shot was straight at John Ruddy.

After that the game had cooled down a bit, as Henderson's kicking hasn't be great recently and we haven't a target man to aim for we started to play the ball from the back from the goal kick but a few times nearly ran us into trouble with no options available. Norwich were keeping possession well but the Charlton back four was strong and well organised and were not giving Norwich a sniff at goal.

There then was a talking point in the first half apart from all the wild handball shouts from the home crowd, as a corner came in for Norwich Henderson rose highest & claimed it but then as a fell he dropped it and Norwich poked home into the empty net, fortunately the ref had blown straight away as Bradley Johnson had fallen into Henderson forcing him to drop the ball, looked like the correct decision was made.

As the half reached it's end Charlton would be pleased to have kept Norwich's chances to few and would be hoping for more of the same in the second half and maybe nick a goal on the break.

The second half started and a few minutes in Jerome tested Henderson which he saved well with, but the Norwich pressure had started and it continued but shots from Tettey & a wild effort from Olsson failed to get on target.

Then on the hour mark came another shout for a penalty this time it was a big shout as Jackson had slid in to block a cross the ball then rebounded and hit Bikey's arm but the referee waved away the appeals luckily enough for us as it clearly did hit his arm and I have seen them given, which then of course infuriated the Norwich fans even more.

Then a few minutes later came the best chance of the match the lively Redmond got slipped in behind the defence his shot was saved by the onrushing Henderson but in came Hoolahan who shot in a scramble in the box but Wiggins was there to clear off the line.

I've read a lot of reports and Charlton fans who were listening on the radio saying that the nerves were really kicking in, well they were but although the constant pressure Norwich never really tested the keeper, however they passed and approached well but could never find the key pass to break us down and when they did Bikey was there to block and defend well. Grabban did have a chance with five minutes to go but again was shot wide of goal.

Then came the unexpected with only ONE shot on target all game and barely got out OF OUR HALF all game Johnnie Jackson found himself with space and he ran forward and then unleashed a low hard shot at goal which took a slight deflection off Johnson's boot and into the back of Ruddy's net! Delirium in the away end as with 4 minutes to go we had taken a surprise lead, and of course Jackson celebrated in his trademark way with the infamous Knee Slide followed by a bundle from the rest of the team & Bikey dancing and punching the air! Fantastic scenes. 0-1

Could we hold out? Well we did and easily, Norwich were shell shocked by the late goal and could not force an effort on goal in the closing stages. Academy star Ahearne-Grant came on for his debut and done good winning a throw on and holding the ball up well and made the time tick down till referee Russell blew his whistle and cue the celebrations from The Addicks faithful. Final Score 0-1

Although I had to rush and get my train managed to stay to see the players come over and celebrate with the fans at the end, great scenes of emotions and real passion from the players and most noteworthy from Big Bob he was punching the air with delight, what a massive win for The Belgian and he has really made his mark in first few months at the club.

A great team performance from the lads who all dug in well and got such an impressive victory, here's my player reviews.

Henderson - Had a few poor kicks again, but had a solid game saved well from Grabban & Redmond and apart from that didn't have many saves to make down to the fantastic four in front of him. There was a time when he didn't come off his line to collect a ball when Ben Haim had shielded it to him to which Ben Haim had to boot it out for a corner which he was annoyed about. But I saw Bikey calm the situation down and was a warning to keep the communication going.
Gomez - Another quality display from the 17 year old so strong in defence & even pushed Jerome off it and one stage . A fine defensive performance but took a knock & had to be replaced with twenty mins to go.
Bikey - Another fine performance and one we just expect from him, headed any danger away and was firm in tackles and blocks.
Ben Haim - Again solid display play from Tal never really gave Jerome or Grabban a decent sight at goal.
Wiggins - Best I've seen him play in a long long while, was cool and composed with some vital interceptions and brought the ball away well under pressure.
Wilson - One of the top performers he played in three different positions during the game and finished at right back due to the injury to Gomez, he worked his socks off and dug in well for the team as always.
Buyens - Was sloppy at the start giving away possession needlessly but grew into the game and worked hard in stopping Tettey and Johnson creating anything from midfield.
Jackson - My man of the match, In recent weeks and all season in fact he has worked his socks off and Tuesday night was no exception. Missed a few golden chances v Wolves the other week and I wrote on Saturday him and Buyens need to get forward more and have a go and to that he did! A fine low drive (with a deflection) won us all three points and Johnnie was a fine leader throughout to claim them.
Cousins - Worked really hard had helped the defence out well too. In the second half he played a role behind Vetokele but didn't see enough of the ball down to the Norwich pressure.
Bulot - Worked hard and managed to bring the ball away well at times to take off the pressure so nearly scored when Vetokele crossed it in low but he didn't throw himself at it.
Vetokele - Very hard for Igor being the lone striker against an experienced defence but again he worked hard to the little supply he got.

Home Fans - Very good noise throughout from the Norwich fans to our right and in the corner and a very good attendance of 25 thousand home fans on a Tuesday night. They did claim handball a lot which caused a few laughs between both sets of fans.

Away Fans - No official number but there was around 600 Charlton fans in attendance who made a decent noise throughout hard when your team is under so much pressure too! The scenes when we scored were brilliant and the noise that followed too and of course the scenes at the end were class too great effort. Ok it would've been nice to have brought more but at £30 a ticket and on a Tuesday night it was decent.

Moment of the Match - Easy this week, after being under the cosh nearly all game what a moment to go down the other end with four minutes to go and win the game against the league leaders. Thank you Johnnie Jackson I will savour that moment for a very long time.

Moan Of The Match - Bradley Johnson just seemed like he wanted to cause trouble as always. First he knocked down Henderson for the disallowed goal. Second when Henderson kicked the ball out when Gomez went down with an injury he refused decent sportsmanship and never gave the ball back and played on to attack the Charlton goal. And thirdly as the final whistle went he's then squaring up to 17 year old Grant.

Ref Watch - Think the referee had a decent game and let the play flow well. Obviously the Norwich fans thought otherwise, booed him throughout as he refused them a few penalty shouts. One which I have seen given before where hit it Bikey off a Jackson block would have been harsh as they were so close together but he kept his head and waved away protests.

Wow what a feeling coming away from the ground a fantastic three points, a game going into it we would have been happy with a draw. There's a lot of character in this team and a lot of leaders who so passionately give it their all for the team and led so well by a fine example in Johnnie Jackson, read a few people saying they wanted to drop him for Tuesday nights game but he as usual proved the doubters wrong with a fine performance and the vital winner.

Norwich played the ball well but could not break down a hard fought Charlton defence, although their fans blamed the referee the blame really lies on their team not taking there chances in the final third. But you can tell with the squad they have they will definitely be up there and personally I think they will be champions, again for me showing what a result it was for us.

Got back to Liverpool Street at 00.15 and managed to get home at 01.30 so not bad and the journey home was an enjoyable one especially after a victory like that! We now look forward to home game against Birmingham on Saturday our last game before the international break so hopefully we can head into it on a high. We will be full of confidence after the result on Tuesday but so will Birmingham after beating Millwall(WAHAAYY) on Tuesday too. COME ON YOOOOU REDS!!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Boro Blank

Charlton Athletic 0-0 Middlesbrough

For the first league game this season Charlton failed to score but again kept their unbeaten status playing out a goalless draw versus high flying Middlesbrough.

This Saturday after early drinks in Greenwich with friends headed to The Valley with high hopes we could extend our unbeaten run and keep up our fine home form. Although under no illusions that Boro are a real force to be reckoned with this season with ex Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka in his first full season really making his mark on the team.

Where as we were out of the League Cup and therefore had no game in midweek Boro travelled to Liverpool a game in which saw them knocked out in a tiring penalty shootout, so hopefully you would think this game would hamper their preparation for Saturdays game as there would still be many tired bodies around physically and emotionally, Was this to be the case?
Teams out at The Valley

Well the team news was that Big Bob made one change to the side from last weekends draw with Rotherham, Franck Moussa being replaced by Frederic Bulot who was given his first start for the club. Again another 4-4-1-1 type of formation.
To be honest on first viewing was surprised we were not starting with two up front especially at home but due to Tucudean and Moussa not particularly impressing on their last starts for the club & our lack of abundance in strikers Bob gave Bulot his chance to shine from the start.

The first twenty minutes of the game was all Middlebrough, showing no signs of tiredness from midweek Albert Adomah who missed the vital penalty on Tuesday was really catching the eye and he fired a shot into the side netting early on. Adomah again tried his luck this time from long range to which Henderson had to be alert to, from the resulting corner George Friends effort failed to test the keeper.

Boro's passing was quick and they were keeping the possession well but never really testing Henderson in the Charlton goal, where as on the other hand Charlton were finding it hard to make their way into the game apart from a wayward Buyens shot and a few set pieces which came to no avail.

On loan striker Patrick Bamford who had Championship experience last season with Derby was very lively firing a shot from outside the box towards the top corner of the goal which ended up in the side netting yet again, to which the Boro fans thought was in.

At the end of the first half Boro would be most pleased with their efforts but overall never really gave Henderson a lot to do. Charlton were really lacking a final pass or move to break down the Boro defence, and alarm bells rang just on half time as Gudmundsson limped off.

The game restarted but before it could the injury to Gudmundsson received late on it the first half would see The Icelandic replaced by Moussa,again I was surprised Tucudean wasn't brought on as clearly the formation wasn't breaking Boro down in the first half.

The second half started and it was a much more of a dominant Charlton performance who really started to knock down the ball and play more and were starting to take advantage of Boro's tiredness from midweek.

There were times Boro tried to get forward but the defence was strong with Ben Haim reading the game well and nipping in at crucial moments and as usual Solly was there working hard and mopping up any loose balls at the back.

Despite the Charlton pressure and a few corners that we had we still failed really to test the Boro keeper, so on the 68th minutes Peeters changed it up and took off Skipper Jackson and brought on Tucudean changing back to a 4-4-2 formation. Straight away you could see the difference an added striker who in turn  gave Vetokele more freedom to operate as he was being targeted as a lone man up front by the two Boro center backs.

Boro were still proving to be lively on the break with the energetic Bamford proving problems and it was Bamford who was involved in a heated exchange with defender Bikey, Bamford gave Bikey a little nudge as Bikey was shielding the ball out to which Bikey looked like he reacted with an elbow to the face of Bamford but neither Referee or Linesman saw anything wrong. Now the incident happened right in front of where I was sat and Bikey was a lucky boy.
Second half action

On the 78th minute came the best chance of the match as a lovely move saw Wiggins make way down the left his cross evaded everyone and came to Bulot whose effort agonisingly bounced of the inside of the post before being hoofed away by the Boro defence. A real chance for Charlton as we all thought we had taken the lead.

On the 81st minute Boro were reduced to ten men, Albert Adomah summed up a dreadful week for himself by picking up a second booking for a high footed tackle on Wiggins, although at first bizarrely the referee had signalled the free kick to Boro.

Silly from Adomah to go in on a 50/50 tackle like that when he had only just picked up a yellow it wasn't a awful tackle he was just a split second too late and caught Wiggins and as i say it was a 50/50 tackle but when your on a yellow it's a risky choice to make which it then did prove to be.

Could Charlton take advantage in the last ten minutes with Boro now down to ten men? Peeters sent forward Bikey and the decision nearly came off, a long ball from Ben Haim was chested down by Bikey who played a ball into Vetokele who turned and set up the on rushing Wilson whose shot was fired straight at the Boro keeper who saved well with his feet. From that corner it fell to Wiggins whose saw his effort cleared off the line and away. And that's how the game ended, frustration in the end but overall it was too little too late from Charlton and the game finished 0-0

Overall Boro played well in the first half but failed to create any real threat to the goal. In the second half Charlton were the better team as Boro tired from their game on Tuesday looked lacklustre & continued to time waste in the second half. Although coming so close from Bulot's effort late on a draw was probably a fair result as we failed to carve out many more goal scoring attempts.

Henderson - A very quiet afternoon for him with Boro only firing one shot on target.

Solly - Had a brilliant game many peoples choice for the man of the match solid performance as ever from Chris.

Bikey - Solid as usual, but he showed a glimpse of a bad side to his game.. his temper. He really should have got sent off if the official would have seen it he clearly lashed out at Bamford and was very lucky to stay on the pitch. Really hope he learns his lesson now and make sure his temper doesn't get the better of him.

Ben Haim - My man of the match he was first to nearly every ball really reads the game well & after being at fault last week for the goal bounced back with a fine performance.

Wiggins - Can't really remember much about Wiggins game which can be a good thing which means he didn't really do much wrong, he got forward well at times and so nearly provided a goal for Bulot if it wasn't for the inside of the post to deny him.

Gudmundsson - Unfortunately got taken off at half time with an injury, as in the second half with two strikers could have really seen him become more influential than he did in the first.

Buyens - Had a poor game lots of wayward passes and poor decision making from Yoni, but that comes as a surprise as he's had a fantastic start to his Charlton career so hopefully that was just a one off.

Jackson - Like Wiggins didn't really remember much from Jackson's performance, my one criticism would be there needs to be communication as at times him and Buyens would both sit deep or both want to go forward & we know from last season how vital Jackson can be when he gets in the box.

Cousins - Solid game from Jordan but lacked the spark to break down the Boro defence.

Bulot - Looked sharp at times and so nearly gave us all three points

Vetokele - Really needs another man up there with him especially at home, but as usual he ran about all over the place and you can't knock his work rate.

Moussa - Failed to have an impact on the game.

Home Fans - Grew frustrated at times but got louder in the second half to try and spur the team on.

Away Fans - Quality support from the Boro fans with 1967 making the trip down to the capital especially after they took a good number to Liverpool on Tuesday too. Spoke to a few on train afterwards who again were frustrated that their team had come for a draw, disappointed after their strong start to the season.
Boro fans in good number

Ref Watch - Thought he was very inconsistent with both sides being on the end of strange decisions. Think he should have sent Bikey off but luckily for us he didn't! And when he sent Adomah off he at first gave the free kick to Boro.

Moment Of The Match - Bulot's effort rebounding off the inside of the post as he so nearly nicked all 3 points for The Addicks

Moan Of The Match - Two moans today to make up for no moans lately! 1. As I said earlier I moan at Bikey losing his temper and was lucky not to get sent off & 2. How & why has Simon Church been frozen out to being not even on the bench? Don't get me wrong it's great to see another academy product coming through in Grant, but Church's last display was a fantastic cameo appearance from the bench v Brighton now suddenly he cant get in the squad?

Overall a point is a point and is of course better than nothing and we still have started this season promising although supporters are getting frustrated with three draws in a row we still need to remember it's a new team new manager all trying to work each other out and work out the right methods to push us forward which so far is working.

We now look forward to our game on Tuesday night against top of the table Norwich City a real tough test for us probably our toughest game so far so we will need a big performance to get something from the game. But we have seen us play against some good teams so far and done well so again we can take confidence into the game! Safe journey to those going to the match.
COME ON YOUUUU REDS

Monday, 22 September 2014

Charlton Leave The Bec Door Open

Rotherham United 1-1 Charlton Athletic

For the fourth time this season & the second time in a week Charlton again took the lead but couldn't hold on for the three points as this time a goal from Luciano Becchio 20 minutes from time gave both sides a share of the spoils.

So Saturday saw us take our second northern league trip of the season and this time to South Yorkshire and to the New York Stadium. I do like a Northern away day usually a good day out with mates & a new place to visit and take in, and although Rotherham is not known for its tourist attractions we still enjoyed a good day out there.

Along with many other Charlton fans we got the train just before 10 from St Pancras station meaning we arrived at Sheffield just before 12 leaving us with a short 10 minute train ride on the two carriage express (slowest oldest train running) to Rotherham Central station by 12.26 and it was a fairly easy & simple trip.

En route there were some London based Sheffield Wednesday fans on the train & one of them modelling a home shirt with Ex Charlton fans favourite Miguel Llera on the back which needless to say caused a good reaction from Charlton fans with the infamous song of the Spaniard not having a clue being chanted at him.
A welcoming sign outside the pub LOOK AT THE BOTTOM!

As we got off at Rotherham station across from there was a pub called The Bridge Inn where we and the majority of Charlton fans headed, an ideal location opposite the station and under a ten minute walk from the ground. The pub served good ales and lagers and burgers and pies also, a nice olden style pub with plenty of atmosphere with the football on the telly also. They also had scarves up of most football clubs which was a nice touch.
Charlton Scarf up in the Bridge Inn Pub Rotherham
After a few drinks and a good sing song  we made the short walk towards the ground, and on first reaction you cant not be impressed by The New York Stadium built two years ago and literally just next to their old ground Millmoor and you know this because Millmoor's iconic old floodlights still stand.
Made our way inside & into our seats and had a great vantage point being in the back row looking around it was a perfect stadium for Rotherham holds twelve thousand with most areas of the ground full.No point building a big stadium and seeing large sections of empty seats but with these new ground there's always planning permission in place to easily expand the ground when needed.

Onto the match and the team news from Yorkshire was that Franck Moussa got a start with Tucadean dropping to the bench, Chris Solly returned replacing Gomez & Gudmundsson was back from injury meaning Wilson was a sub once again.
Henderson

Solly
Bikey
Ben Haim
Wiggins

Gudmundsson
Jackson (c)
Buyens
Cousins

Moussa

Vetokele

So for Charlton it was a 4-4-1-1 formation with Moussa playing in just behind Vetokele.

Here's just a brief match report as being situated behind the goal and my singing along during the game I may not be as accurate as a home match so apologies if I missed anything out or a players performance is not on point!

The game kicked off and we were put straight on the back foot with Rotherham putting pressure on and fortunately Wordsworth firing high & wide after just a matter of seconds. A few minutes later came another chance at goal for Rotherham a nice passing move fell to Alex Revell in the box he turned and shot but his shot was too weak and was straight into Henderson.

Charlton then hit back with some good passing play Wiggins fed through Cousins and from just outside the box he fired just over. Again a similar move found Moussa laying off Jackson but again not troubling the keeper with the skippers effort firing wide.

Again Charlton's pressured with a few corners but unlike Tuesday night we failed to beat the keeper from the set plays. Then shortly after saw the unwanted sight of Moussa being booked for diving which from where I was looked like a fair decision, a few minutes later though Moussa had a good effort just firing wide to the right of the goal.The action was end to end and Skarz & Bowery both had chances for Rotherham but both fired narrowly wide.

But after 26 minutes Charlton made the breakthrough and it was the returning Gudmundsson with the goal, Ben Haim tried chipping a ball over the top it wasn't cleared by Rotherham & just past the halfway line it fell to Gudmundsson who cut inside and from outside the box fired a lovely side footed effort into the bottom corner with the keeper having no chance 0-1 He then ran and celebrated with Charlton physio Erol Umut.

Revell & Taylor both had chances for Rotherham but the Charlton defence was strong and both efforts never troubled Henderson. Moussa was a real live wire for us having an effort blocked after good link up play with Vetokele & winning a free kick in a good area which unfortunately came to nothing.

Rotherham Striker Revell was then replaced by Becchio he had picked up a knock earlier on in the game and couldn't shake it off.
Action in first half

The five minutes before the break saw Charlton bombard the Rotherham goal Moussa & Ben Haim both firing efforts at goal which the Rotherham Keeper had to save well to. The best chance of that spell fell to Wiggins firing just over from the side of the box after being fed by Jackson. Jackson in turn had a effort at goal himself but he fired over. The half time whistle went and Charlton really finished the half well and heading into the break with a deserved lead.

Rotherham made a change at half time Frecklington replacing Smallwood and it was Frecklington who had a effort at goal early on in the second half signalling the start of a Rotherham fightback.
As the half went on Charlton fans were getting frustrated due to the constant Rotherham pressure and Charlton not being able to keep hold of possession, fortunately Rotherhams efforts never troubled Henderson.

Moussa was then replaced by Bulot on the hour mark, again Big Bob making an early sub hoping this would break up the Rotherham pressure. But Rotherham kept coming and it was Frecklington firing shots at the goal again but fortunately wide of goal. Charlton then mounted a chance of their own but Bikey's header from a corner was too high.

Then the inevitable happened and Rotherham's equaliser, Charlton frustrated by the continued pressure tried to get some possession football going but Buyens hospital pass to Ben Haim and then Ben Haim's heavy touch gave the ball to Bechhio he nipped in played it wide to Pringle who with a perfect cross found Bechhio who headed in at the far post. Poor goal to give away 1-1

The last twenty minutes were quite uneventful, Bulot coming oh so close to giving The Addicks all three points he cut inside in the box his shot crept under the keeper but just as it was going over the line Loach got back and saved it. Rotherham's Frecklington had a shot land on the top of the goal but that was as close as they came, they also thought they should have had a penalty late on which was too far for me to see but Rotherham's manager Evans was fuming that it was not giving but at full time it finished 1-1 and Charlton remain unbeaten. But were very poor second half from The Addicks
Players applauding the travelling support

A shame to let another lead slip away for the fourth time this season and the third time we have done that away from home something that obviously will need to be addressed. But overall great to see us keep scoring and Gudmundsson showing what a danger he can be.
A few player ratings.
Henderson - Didn't have much to do & was let down by his defence for the goal. Poor goal kicks again though
Solly - Had a good first half with a solid display, in the second half was not able to get forward as much due to the constant pressure.
Bikey - Dealt well with the physical presence of Revell in the first half, second half he did seem to panic when on the ball which invited more pressure on.
Ben Haim - First half played well even had a good effort at goal, second half looked strong until his error led to the equaliser
Wiggins - First half played well got forward well in some good postions and had a good shot just go over, second half any interception he made he gave straight back and again was out of position. Coming forward did well and linked well with Bulot.
Gudmundsson - My Man of the Match we really missed him on Tuesday as he certainly adds something different to us this season he can pick up the ball from anywhere and takes it to the defenders which is great to see and after all those shots he's had this one was inch perfect. Second half he did fade maybe down to just coming back from injury, but lets hope he can carry on this form.
Jackson - One of the better performances this season from him, he knows he will get beaten for pace in the middle a lot as I see he runs to the edge of the box a lot when the pressure is coming and then faces the play from that it worked well and he really dug in well at times.
Buyens - Had an alright game , his pass to Ben Haim for the goal was poor as Ben Haim had no options with the opposition players bearing down on him so that was disappointing. Would like to see him get forward more but him and Jackson sat very deep most of the game.
Cousins - Looked good in the first half linking well with Wiggins to create chances , second half he was forced to defend more and we didn't see him as much.
Moussa- Looked really lively early on but faded.
Vetokele - Linked well with Moussa at times but was in the wars most of the game with Rotherham putting in some hard tackles in on him.
Bulot - Give this man time and he will become a key player looked really sharp in the second half and nearly so so nearly scored!

Home Fans - As I said earlier the stadium was pretty full which was good to see but couldn't really hear them during the game due to their singing support being down the opposite end to us.

Away Fans - A really good attendance for us for an away game 1,106 our attendance for northern away days are normally poor this time a lot of people were going due to it being a new ground but wouldn't it be great to see an increase in our away support. And the atmosphere was really good it helped whacking on the back of the stand to get the noise going too! Half time atmosphere was quality non stop singing on the concourses and in the pub before the match too loved it!

Here's where I blow my own trumpet - Many who know me know I like to have a good sing song during away games and am always keen to try and start new songs, Well I had heard Man United fans singing a song for Januzaj last season and it was really catchy so I stole it and changed it for Gudmundsson! Me & my friend Aiden started singing it at Brighton and on Saturday of course it really caught on (after everyone had gathered the words!) and had lots of comments from fans saying they loved it. I unfortunately did not film any of the singing but here's the words and here's Man United fans singing it.
I Wanna tell you
I Might as well do
About a boy who can do anything
He comes from Iceland
His name is Johann
Gudmundsson Gudmundsson Gudmundsson  Link Here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh6PwL0JMks

Afterwards had a drink in The Bridge Inn again and enjoyed a nice delay free journey home on the train having a good chat with friends over the days events & also enjoying a few drinks with friends at kings x before heading home. The overall feeling was we were all frustrated at not holding onto the three points AGAIN but this is still a new team learning together and great to see us scoring in every game in the league so far. Gudmundsson is a real talent and great to see him bag his first for the club.

In form Middlesborough visit The Valley on Saturday they have got a game away to Liverpool in the cup in the week so lets hope they get spanked and are tired after that, as after thrashing Brentford on Saturday they look a hard team to face right now. But let's hope we have learnt from our mistakes and add to our fine home record this season! COME ON YOOOOOU REDDDSSS!!!!!


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Charlton Slip Up At Batth Time

Charlton Athletic 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Tuesday night down The Valley again saw The Addicks take a first half lead against one of The Championships in form sides but unlike Saturday Charlton could not hold out for all three points.

Love a Tuesday night game under the lights always brings a good atmosphere and normally a decent game too and last nights game was no different!

Before the game had a few drinks with friends in Bartram's until it got so unusually packed that you had to shout for the person next to you to hear you & this was still over half an hour before kick off. This unusual overcrowding I think was due to many supporters not taking up crossbars and the various other suites around the ground due to the increase in prices this season, I for one used to be a member of crossbars and enjoyed going there before the game but found the price too much the food was really good quality but again all this was more money on top of the membership fee for the season. I see they have made changes to crossbars in recent years all to which I have heard leaving the place half full - A real shame.

Anyway onto the match action... And Wolves were the visitors on a misty/foggy night in SE7. Wolves started the season really well sitting in third spot continuing their fine form from last season when they were crowned The Champions of League One. Sometimes you do get this form from newly promoted sides as their so used to winning games from the season before that they're high on confidence & morale and normally although table topping early on see themselves finish around mid table come the end of the season. We have seen Brentford & Wolves (2nd & 1st last season) do the above this season but could they prove the bookies wrong and mount a promotion charge as there early season surge suggests?

Team News  - There was no Chris Solly as expected as he simply cannot play three matches in seven days as unfortunately his knee cannot take it, so in came Joe Gomez who impressed in his last league outing versus Derby.

There was also no Johann Gudmundsson who is still recovering from his knock on international duty, so in came Lawrie Wilson for a deserved start.
Which lined us up as so 4-4-2
Henderson

Gomez
Bikey
Ben Haim
Wiggins

Wilson
Buyens
Jackson(C)
Cousins

Tucudean
Vetokele

So two changes in the starting eleven both forced changes but shouldn't weaken the team too much.
Teams Coming Out
As the game kicked off Charlton looked really lively and were playing with an awe of confidence around them after beating high flying Watford a few days previous. The opening ten minutes saw a golden chance for Captain Jackson to open his account for the season as he was played through a delightful ball over the top by Vetokele beating the offside trap Jackson then got caught in two minds what to do next and a heavy touch bounced through to Ikeme in the Wolves goal.

A few minutes later the Charlton pressure continued and with only two people to aim for in a crowded box Cousins whipped in a delightful cross right on the head of Tucudean who headed narrowly wide. Again Tucudean had another chance this time seeing his effort come off the upright.. A real lively start with Tucudean looking impressive after a rather poor game against Watford.
Action from first half

Wolves then grew into the game, their two pacy wingers Sako and Henry were causing Charlton problems at the back and the latter Henry and a good strike at goal which was well saved by Henderson. These two were really proving to be a handful running in behind the inexperienced Gomez at times but luckily the experienced Ben Haim was there to mop up. Sako then did have a fierce shot at goal but was well saved from Henderson carrying on his fine form from Saturday.


We were twenty minutes in & the game was really end to end with both teams pressing & Wolves having a few decent shots from the edge of the area going narrowly wide. But the first goal of the game came after 24 minutes and from a well overdue goal from a corner from The Addicks & here it is....(It was the only video I took all game & luckily enough it was for a goal) Apologies my video of the incredible acrobatics of Bikey's celebration are slightly missed.

video
1-0 Charlton!!! Just like Saturday we take a first half lead! The corner whipped in from Cousins & Bikey finishing superbly firing into the only place in the goal that it could have gone firing it into the roof of the net(BEEEEEEEEASSSSSSTTT) and as I said earlier great to see us scoring from a set piece the second time we have managed it this season after Vetokele v Brentford.

And literally a minute later it should have been 2-0 Vetokele again providing a great chance this time for Tucudean whose effort fired across the keeper and wide a fine chance squandered again.

Wolves came back into it again and again found room on the edge of the box this time George Saville shot beat Henderson but luckily bounced off the inside of the post & away! A real wake up call again for The Addicks who kept giving Wolves too much space & time around the box.
Corner Charlton

The game carried on being a end to end spectacle and just before half time came our best chance yet to double our lead, a long cross to the far post saw Jackson & Vetokele both jump for the same ball Vetokele nodded back into Tucudean but from a few yards out he embarrassingly missed the ball completely with an air shot & Wolves cleared. Plenty of chances for either side at half time crazy how there was only one goal in the game. Half Time 1-0

The second half saw Wolves making an early sub with Saville being replaced by Dicko - Another pacy player to worry the Charlton defence!The first 15 minutes of the half it was all Wolves they came out all guns blazing with Charlton again on the back foot & not clearing their lines properly. How Wolves didn't score I don't know! Attack after attack peppered Henderson's goal and one forced a fine stop form him when Sako's fierce shot being tipped over the bar. Although the constant pressure Wolves couldn't find the end product with most chances fortunately for us falling to Leon Clarke whose efforts fired wildly over where if he wouldn't of been so greedy could have easily set up players for a more simpler effort on goal.

A sub for Charlton & as usual it was the familiar sight of Tucudean coming off at the hour mark to be replaced by Moussa. Charlton were looking impressive on the counter & it resulted in Yoni Buyens having an effort at goal but was straight at Ikeme. Then came Wolves best chance of the second half the ever impressive Sako fired a low shot & Henderson made a superb stretching save to send the ball round the post. But from the resulting corner the inevitable equaliser came as Danny Batth rose highest in between Ben Haim & Vetokele he headed the ball downwards and Henderson fumbled the ball over the line. 1-1

A real scrappy goal to concede poor marking and Henderson will be disappointed with himself there was a player in front of him blocking his view which did put him off but then again its his duty to have a player there stopping that from happening ,a poor one to concede but again Wolves deserved it.

Peeters changed it up taking off Wilson & bringing on Bulot to make his debut for the club a like for like swap in the right wing position. A few minutes later Wolves then hit the crossbar from a very tight angle James Henry fired in a powerful shot against the upright and wide of goal.

Charlton then went down the other end and had a golden chance to go back in the lead Vetokele lovely cushioned header into the path of Jackson who like the first half saw himself with just Ikeme to beat this time he got his shot away but it was agonisingly wide of Ikeme's goal! Big moment of the match one that normally Jacko puts away!

The last minutes of injury time came and despite Wolves dominance of possession throughout it was Charlton who had another chance to win it... This time Jackson turned provider and slotted a lovely ball through to Vetokele unfortunately Igor couldn't get good enough control on the ball and Ikeme came out strong & gained the ball but had collided with Igor who looked like he picked up a nasty injury to his arm so hopefully its not too serious and he's OK fort Saturday. Full Time 1-1

Overall despite Wolves dominance in possession and their continuted attacks I'd say a draw was a fair result. For the neutral it was a fantastic typical championship game end to end with plenty of chances. I'd say the best chances fell to Charlton in the end and Wolves lacked that extra bite to force Henderson into more than one save in the latter periods.

Here's what I thought of the player performances.
Henderson - Started the game very well came well for crosses and saved well from some good efforts at his goal. Second half made a brilliant stop to deny Sako but from resulting corner fumbled the ball into his net - Again he was put off from the Wolves player in front of him however he should be shouting at his defence to deal with that player rather than result that occurred. So another good performance from Henderson although he would have been disappointed with the goal but one part of his display has also put him in my "Moan of the match" See Below.
Gomez - Made a crucial tackle right at the death to deny Wolves a goal scoring opportunity. At times he showed his inexperience but lets not be silly of course he is the boy is 17 & right back is not his natural position. Looked really good going forward though makes good assertive runs. His only mistakes were when he misjudged the ball and let runners in behind.
Ben Haim - A solid performance from Tal, although the back four found it hard to deal with the pace of Wolves attack , Tal showed his experience at times and made some vital interceptions and helped Gomez out too.. also made one surging run forward too which would be nice to see more of.
Bikey - Hard to pick but he pips Vetokele as my man of the match. A lovely finish for the goal again made some vital interceptions and really roughed up the Wolves attack. Of course he is going to be beat for pace at times but he always runs back as fast as he can and if needed puts in a cheeky foul to hold up play.
Wiggins - Got caught out again on several occasions. Was up against a good winger in Henry though who made life hard for Rhoys but then again Wiggins did make some vital last ditch tackles which at one time saved a near certain goal.
Wilson - An average game from Lawrie unlike Gudmundsson who has many fortes to his game, Wilson's main qualities and his crossing unfortunately we didn't see much of this from him last night. There was one part of the game where Buyens was in acres of space but Lawrie chose not to feed him through which was quite bizarre. Wouldn't say he had a bad game just didn't shine, his will power was there for all to see as always.
Buyens - A usual solid game from Yoni but maybe lacking from his game could be a few efforts on goal.
Jackson - Lost his positioning at times and looked tired in second half, but got in some vital positions and usually would have put them away but unlike him he fired wide.
Cousins - Didn't notice Jordan that much during the game although did make some powerful runs towards end of first half.
Vetokele - Played through some sublime balls and could have easily had three or four assists to his name shame it wasn't him on the end of them.You can see defences are scared of his pace & continued effort. Lets hope his injury is not too bad.
Tucudean - Again showed lots of effort never stopped running about trying to win the ball, but he did miss a lot of good chances and of course as a striker your going to be judged on your goal scoring. We have seen how well he can finish  with a quality finish against Derby.. So lets hope his hard work can result in a goal in the near future.
Moussa- Thought again looked lively adds a bit more to the team especially on the counter, unfortunately his decision making let him down again. But in my eyes he really looks a top prospect and cant be judged properly until he starts a whole game.
Bulot - Looked good when he came on was not scared to run at the defence or have a shot, look forward to seeing him more.

Home Fans - A decent atmosphere from The Addicks faithful which lots of Chants of Bobby Peeters Red Army. Seemed to moan at the ref a lot though and use him as a bit of a scapegoat when things wern't going our way. The ref tried to let the game flow a lot which is good to see but should have blown on a few occasions but in fairness I didn't think he was being too harsh on us.. Rather we were all frustrated to Wolves dominance and a lacklustre second half performance.
Wolves Fans

Away Fans - Wolves brought a good number for a Tuesday night 1644 of them in attendance however you can't judge too much into how many travelled down from the Black Country due to every club having lots of fans living in The Capital, but even still it's a good number. Made good noise after they scored, although during the first half all they had were a few lads at the back who to be fair to them never stopped singing.

Moan of the Match - My moan is simply.. Why was Henderson time wasting when we were drawing?? Time wasting is a part of football we all dislike but of course at times everyone does it is a part of the game. You can understand it when were winning but time wasting when it's 1-1 with half hour to go is very odd & I don't understand his motive behind it?

So onto Rotherham we go still unbeaten & hopefully we see Gudmundsson fit again & that Vetokele's injury is not too serious. Saw a lot of moaning on Twitter last night which I understand after a frustrating result but after looking back the bigger picture is we have made a brilliant start to the season who would have thought we would be 5th?!? And we were playing against another inform side.

Looking forward to a trip to South Yorkshire on Saturday & new ground to take in too, hopefully we can take around 1000 fans to cheer us on for the three points! As Rotherham play in red I say COOOOOMEEE ON YOU BLACK & GREYYYSSSSSS


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Charlton Breach The Watford Gap

Charlton Athletic 1-0 Watford

Charlton kept up there high flying start as we beat second placed Watford by the single goal to put us on level points with them. Another home game & another home win! The Valley really is becoming a fortress this season with our 4th home win of the season after Yoni Buyens 3rd minute penalty enough to take all 3 points.

My day started with drinks and food in Greenwich nearby the Cutty Sark with friends before the game before heading to The Valley for the match. The last time we played Watford was obviously very recent in our last home game of last season where two strikes from Harriott & one from Jackson secured a 3-1 win and our survival. This time Watford are high flying in the league and in Troy Deeney have one of the best strikers in the league as we know from his stunning strike last season. But I did think although their great start to the season and the top scorers in the league to match...This was surely a good time to play Watford as it was the first game for manager Oscar Garcia surely feeling the pressure of kicking on from where the last manager left them in second position.
Teams Out

The teams entered the field and the Charlton team was unchanged from the team that drew away to Brighton despite the news that Gudmundsson was a doubt prior to kick off. The key players from Watford's team was Ikechi Anya fresh from his goal against world champions Germany in the week & obviously the goal scoring threat of Troy Deeney up front. Our team was
Henderson
Solly
Bikey
Ben Haim
Wiggins
Gudmundsson
Jackson (C)
Buyens
Cousins
Tucudean
Vetokele

The Game started with a bang as within the second minute of the game a powerful run forward from Jordan Cousins then led to him playing a lovely weighted through ball to Vetokele he took it in his stride and Watford keeper Gomes rushed out and brought the striker down to which referee Madley pointed staright to the spot! Up steps Mr Cool Yoni Buyens.......And here is the result of the penalty....
video
And BOOOOOM The Addicks take the lead very early on! Buyens again comes up with the goods from the spot with a very cool penalty sending Gomes the wrong way. Watford did moan about the penalty but if Gomes is going to go in like that he needs to at least touch the ball which he didn't do Vetokele's pace again causing trouble! 1-0

What a time to score so early on! But would this see us sit back on our lead or push on for more? Well the answer to how the game would pan out was answered very quickly as literally a minute later saw Deeney's curling shot rebound off the post and luckily away from goal, unlucky from the Watford Hit man and a big wake up call to us so quickly after we took the lead.

The pressure kept coming as a few minutes later Watford won a free kick just on the edge of the box but the lively Lewis McGugan saw his effort go over the bar. Watford kept coming next was another effort from Deeney a fierce low drive which was really well saved from Henderson. Unfortunately Charlton were forced into an sub as Gudmundsson who was a doubt before the game had to be replaced by Wilson this not too much of a blow as Wilson has been unlucky not to be involved as much this season.

As the half progressed it was the same story Watford kept bombarding the Charlton goal, another great safe from Henderson as this time Anya saw his fierce effort tipped round the post, from the resulting corner Ekstrand header again tested Henderson in the goal but again he came out on top. In the space of the last 5 minutes of the half Watford saw three players go into the referees book who was very quick to  blow his whistle on many occasions & very card happy. The game reached half time with the score at 1-0

Despite all of the Watford pressure we defended very well Bikey & Ben Haim putting in some vital clearances and tackles and Henderson pulling off some great saves. Watford were really moving the ball around well and although some decent efforts they lacked the final touch.

The second half started and saw a change for Watford Hoban being replaced by Ighalo a man who we would see fall to the ground very easily during the second half. Charlton started the second half stronger forcing an early corner which resulted in an acrobatic effort from Bikey but not troubling Gomes. Back came the Watford pressure the pace of Anya was causing problems at the back and Rhoys Wiggins picked up a booking for a foul on him the resulting free kick saw Ekstrand's effort fail to trouble Henderson. 
Second half action

On 55 minutes Peeters felt the need to change it up and brought off Tucudean & brought on Moussa changing the formation to 4-5-1 and allowing more men to cope with Watford's impressive midfield. The sub gave Charlton a bit of momentum with Moussa then spraying the ball wide to Wilson his cross picked out Vetokele but it was just a bit high for him and his header failed to trouble Gomes. Watford then made another sub bringing on Lloyd Dyer for Vydra, Dyer was the man who had publicly fallen out with former boss Sannino and was one of the factors to him being sacked a few weeks ago.

It was really turning into edge of your seat action for us Charlton fans as Watfords pressure again mounted and after losing our lead so late in our last game to Brighton - fans were anxious not to repeat that again today.Watford did think they had equalised only for the linesman's flag to deny them after Dyer had strayed offside. Henderson was at his best he palmed away a fierce long range effort and then Lloyd Dyer was played through and with just Henderson to beat from a tight angle Henderson rushed out and made himself big & performed a vital stop to prevent a near certain goal.
Watford Corner

Could we hold out for the 3 points? The fourth official put up 6 minutes of added on time and Charlton dug deep and defended really well & could have increased the lead on the break but both times Moussas poor final ball let us down. But we managed to hold on, a great tackle from the ever so solid Solly on Abdi in the box ensuring The Addicks 100% home record and a impressive 1-0 result against a tough Watford side. Final score 1-0

What a relief!!!! They really had the nerves jangling there for that second half, Watford proved there a great side but it was great to see our defence stand strong and especially Henderson having a great game. Here's a little bit about each player.
Igor Tunnell Jump

Henderson - My man of the match,  best game he's had at the club some brilliant saves especially to deny Dyer and was very quickly off his line and made himself big. 
Solly- Chris had the tough task of marking McGugan had although early on he got beat a few times from the Watford winger Solly grew into the game and made some crunching tackles and some vital interceptions especially late on to deny Abdi
Bikey - Beeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaasssssssttttttttt! Another powerful display from Bikey one we have come to expect from the big man. Strong tackling and heading away any danger as usual and done a great job of keeping Deeney from getting in any real dangerous positions.
Ben Haim - Early calls for a penalty after he had appeared to foul Deeney in the box were waved away from the referee and probably rightly so as Deeney did go to ground quite easily and he was in a good position too. He again formed a good partnership with Bikey and dug deep for the 3 points.
Wiggins - An improved performance from Rhoys from what has been a poor start to the season from him, I think he coped well with the pace of Anya and then Ighalo and defended well.
Gudmundsson - The gamble didn't pay off and he was replaced after 28 minutes. Shame but it didn't look too bad.
Buyens - Another solid display from Yoni and another fine penalty from him.
Jackson - Thought Jacko struggled with the pace and power of the Watford midfield and struggled to find his way in the game. But again he didn't make any mistakes and made a few pivotal clearances.
Cousins - A real energetic display from Jordan was up and down the pitch for the full 90 minutes and he set up Vetokele for the winining penalty with a fine through ball.
Vetokele - Great performance again from Igor his pace really causes problems for the opposition and his surging run won the penalty.
Tucudean - A disappointing performance from George saw him replaced again by Moussa, A shame after he had showed glimpses of what he can do lately but failed to show that yesterday.
Wilson - Came on and done well got forward well at times and helped defend well with Solly.
Moussa- A Jekyll and Hyde performance from Franck started really well especially on the break and quick one touch passing but then towards the end he made the wrong decision on the break a few times which could have seen us increase the lead. But I'd say its mostly down to him not having as much game time at the moment, does look promising though.
Harriott - Really looks like he's still lacking in confidence , made a good run late on only for his tame shot to go straight at Gomes.

Home Fans - Wasn't too much of an atmosphere from the Charlton faithful mainly due to us all on the edge of our seats all game. The 10th minute saw the crowd rise to their feet to applaud a late great David Whyte, Whyte was one of my heroes growing up, I first started coming in 94 & Whyte was the main man back then with some memorable goals. Was nice to see nearly the whole stadium applaud and sing his song too hopefully his family were there and saw how he was much loved down at The Valley such a shame to see him pass away so young. DAVID WHYTE WHYTE WHYTE.

Away Fans - Great to see The Jimmy Seed Stand full always adds to a better atmosphere at the game. Their fans were loud in patches but were left frustrated from there teams failure to score the equaliser. A lot of the Watford fans did join in with the minutes applause so thank you to them nice touch. Although there song of "Your grounds too big for you" did make me laugh this is the club that used to host one of the worst stands in English football which included some of the old Wembley seats with no backs to them.. this has since been knocked down and now they have 3 sides to their ground(soon to be 4 again ).

Moment of the match - Henderson's stop to keep out Dyer for me stood out, Dyer was bearing down on goal I really thought here we go 1-1 but he made a crucial stop and kept the clean sheet.

Overall really really really pleased with Charlton at the moment we learnt from our mistakes of conceding a late goal in our previous game and we really dug in well and defended brilliantly. We wernt at our best going forward but that again was due to playing against a good Watford side who i'm sure will be up there come the end of the season.But great to see even when we are not at our best we can still grind out results which we have failed to do in previous seasons. Peeters made the right subs at the right time especially when he brought Moussa on to a 5 man midfield to match Watford helped us gain more of a foot hold in the game.

We now push onto Wolves on Tuesday who have started life back in The Championship well & are lying in 3rd position. So not going to be an easy game but we have proved this season that were a match for any side especially at The Valley so again we look forward to the game. 

COME ON YOU REDS!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Slam Dunked



Brighton & Hove Albion 2 -2 Charlton Athletic

This week it was our turn to be denied three points in the dying moments of the match as Lewis Dunk's looping header grabbed a late point for The Seagulls. This time last week of course we were enjoying the flip side as Vetokele's late strike earned a point at Huddersfield.

Brighton Away
Normally I really look forward to away days but a trip to Brighton isn't as an enjoyable away day as it should be. Why?!?! Previous trips to Brighton used to involve being in a temporary built stand around a running track and the pitch being yards away from the away fans, now is the opposite with The Amex stadium being one of the nicest grounds in the league. But for me there is a snag, the ground is in the middle of nowhere and to get to the ground you either have to be ferried in on one of the park and ride coaches, pay to park near,  or drink in Brighton to then leave over an hour before kick off to queue up at the station to get on a packed train towards Falmer where the ground is situated. Not ideal and I cant imagine Brighton fans enjoy this commute to their matches although in their case anything is better than playing football at a athletics stadium.

The afternoon started for me with us drinking and eating around 30 mins away from the ground & then driving and hoping to park in Stanmer Park located near the ground. Due to my Dad not listening to directions we ended up right next to the ground and after asking a steward if he could direct us to Stanner Park he described it being "such a ball ache to get to" he would allow us to park in a road overlooking the stadium for free! (Thank you Mr parking steward). So after meeting friends we ended up getting into the stadium around 40 minutes to Kick off.
Approaching The Amex

Again as on previous visits to The Amex Brighton try and make the away fans feel quite welcome with Charlton badges dotted around the concourse, their staff donning Charlton polo tops & mini posters thanking us for travelling so many miles to the ground. I remember Reading doing similar thing last season too which again is a nice initiative for the clubs to do. As we were early managed to have a few beers before hand priced at a hefty £4.20 a pint and was able to put my flag up in a decent spot again thanks to some helpful Brighton stewarding.

As we took our seats a few minutes prior to kick off noticed there was one change from the side that drew at Huddersfield the fit again Stephen Henderson replacing Pope in between the sticks.

Henderson
Solly
Ben Haim   
Bikey                                                               
Wiggins
Gudmundsson
Jackson (C)
Buyens
Cousins
Vetokele
Tucudean
The teams makes there way out
On our two trips to the The Amex we hadn't scored...Were we going to break that record today? Well the answer to that question was going to be answered very quickly! Within three minutes we took the lead through in form striker Igor Vetokele, Yoni Buyens ran through the middle then dinked a ball over the top to Vetokele who then cut inside his then attempted pass to Tucudean bounced back to him which saw him take a touch and then rifle a drilled shot into the bottom corner of Brighton keeper Stockdales goal. What a start! Met by chants of IGOOOOR IGOOOOR! 0-1







They always say your most vulnerable to concede after you've scored and that very nearly happened on loan Liverpool midfielder Teixeira had just Henderson to beat but the new Charlton keeper stood tall and produced a fine save to turn it round the post!

To be honest at an away ground behind the goal singing and cheering on your team it's quite hard to notice as much as the games action as usual, so apologies if I missed anything key out or my players reviews arent accurate I was shouting and singing a lot as usual! Brighton were dominating possession but our defence was very organised and on any rare occasions the defence was breached Ben Haim and Solly were there with some vital interceptions and clearances.

The best chance of the half fell to midfielder Colunga as a Brighton corner was flicked on from Dunk to an unmarked Colunga but from a few yards out he fired wildly over the bar. The half time whistle came with overall Brighton having most of the first half but with Charlton's defence remaining resolute, but The Addicks leading thanks to Vetokeles 4th of the season.

The second half saw the introduction of striker Simon Church who was a like for like replacement for Tucudean who I assume had a knock. A different sub from Peeters as we have seen him opt to bring on Moussa instead of Church in previous games, but maybe this time Peeters saw Church's work rate as a factor in him being brought on. The half started as the first half ended with Brighton pressure and the busy Mackail-Smith swivelled in the box and saw his half volley just go wide of the post.

Charlton corner in the second half
Brighton were pressing more with shots from Bennett & Teixeira not troubling Henderson in the Charlton goal. We made our second sub 15 minutes into the half with Cousins being replaced by Wilson & Lua Lua replacing Mackail-Smith for Brighton. Brightons pressure paid off when a corner from Holla headed powerfully into the top corner of the goal a fine header from Dunk but poor zonal marking from The Addicks. 1-1


Brighton continued to attack & Lua Lua who always looks a threat whenever he plays against us had two shots on goal one producing a decent save from Henderson. But surprisingly it was Charlton who struck next against the run of play and it was all down to the work rate of Simon Church, he nicked the ball from a Brighton throw jinxed his way down the byline cut a fine ball into Vetokele who then with a sublime piece of quick footwork lost the defender and with Stockdale approaching he fired a hard shot against the post and into the net! What a lovely finish from Vetokele and great hard work from Church in providing it sent the travelling fans into mayhem & Vetokele lapped it up with a Balotelli esque celebration.1-2

Straight away Hyypia sent on new striker Sam Baldock in search of an equaliser & Peeters sent on Fox for Gudmundsson to shore up the midfield. Charlton looked comfortable then and were playing some nice football. A nice passing move from The Reds found Church in the box he went down but The Referee booked the Welsh international for diving. A Charlton corner then was headed wide by Bikey where he really should of done better.

Jackson applauding the away fans before he takes a corner

The game entered into stoppage time and Brighton won a corner which saw their keeper Stockdale come up, the corner was too long but was picked up by Lua Lua who dinked a fine ball into the unmarked Dunk whose powerful header looped over Henderson and into the back of the net off the underside of the bar. Heartbreak for Charlton as although Brighton's dominance they rarely troubled the Charlton goal and gutting to concede so late in the game. Dunk scored an unlikely brace both from set pieces! Final Score 2-2

The players clap the fans at the final whistle
Again Peeters always gets the whole of team to applaud the travelling fans which is good to see, although hard for Ben Haim who clearly was distraught at conceding the late goal great to see his passion & that he really cares for the cause. Peeter's did walk straight over to Henderson to have a few words of what he felt he could have done better with the late equaliser.
My short reviews on player performances although not too accurate from being behind the goal!

Henderson - Didn't have much to do really on his return to the team made a fine save early on, but on second viewing of the late equaliser he was well off his line and was at fault as Dunks header looped over him into the net.
Solly - Thought Chris had a good usual solid game from him, especially what I saw when Brighton attacked towards our end in the first half.

Ben Haim - A very good performance from Tal who in the first half made some vital interceptions and clearances and kept Brighton at bay.
Bikey - Didn't really notice Bikey that much really but he for one will be annoyed that both goals came from set pieces but as we do the new zonal marking from corners its hard to pin point exactly who was at fault. He was strong as ever in tackle and again stopped Brighton troubling the goal.
Wiggins - Again another player who wasn't noticed that much but again played his part in a solid defensive effort.
Cousins - Jordan had a poor game lots of wayward passes from him and poor touches saw him lose the ball often. This saw him replaced by Wilson early in the second half. Cant be too harsh on Jordan as again left midfield is not his position.
Buyens - Really impressed with Buyens again his constant work rate is great to see and played a part in the first goal.
Jackson - Johnnie didn't have the best of games lost the ball quite a few times but he did always work hard to win it back.
Gudmundsson - Looked lively early on but then faded as the game went on.
Tucudean - A quiet first half from him which unfortunately saw him subbed at half time which I assume was down to him having a knock.
Vetokele - Man of the Match 2 shots 2 goals and both finished so clinically. What a signing he's proved to be the second goal was genius great footwork and a fine finish.
Church - Often at the forefront of anger from Charlton fans he came up with a fine performance, really worked his socks off and provided a fine assist for Vetokele's second.




Afterwards quite a few hundred Charlton fans congregated on the concourse and had a few drinks in the bars whilst waiting for the crowds to disperse as Brighton leave there bars open after the game. This also gave opportunity to discuss the game, we all agreed that we would have taken a point before the game just gutting the way it come about. But what an improvement! In April we were thrashed 3-0 here where as this season we were minutes away from three points.


Home Fans - There were just over 24 thousand Brighton fans in attendance which is a great turn out from them. Not too much noise from them other than spurts of Seeeaaagulllls & Albioooon Albioooon.


Away Fans - Shame we couldn't sell out the away end but a decent following of 1992 fans who made good noise throughout the match especially in the latter stages to spur the team onto victory.

Moment of the Match - Has to be Vetokele's second goal, a lovely finish which sent the away end into delirium at a time in the game where Brighton were on top.

Moan of the Match - Although a wonderful stadium £32 for a ticket is too much and i hope they get charged the same at The Valley, I think the price put a lot of Charlton fans off but I must say that if the unthinkable happens and we get promoted this season the price of  a away ticket in the premiership is almost double that & I'm sure those fans will be turning up then.




Overall I did enjoy the day and despite the last minute agony there is a lot to be excited about, again remember last season we got thumped where as we came here this season played well &  we so nearly snatched three points although a draw was a fair result. Looking forward Big Bob would have been disappointed to concede from two set pieces but other than that there is not too much to work on.

We now head into the international break unbeaten & there is two weeks until our next game against managerless Watford who have also started the season well and sit in second position.




Will it be a busy day tomorrow in the transfer window deadline day? Maybe another striker will be drafted in which may see Pigott head out on loan hopefully to a League one side where he could do with some much needed playing time and hopefully can prove his ability.

Who would've have taken unbeaten so far and to have found a new hitman in the shape of Vetokele! Even after a late setback we can take hope from a good performance and you can sense good times are coming! COME ON YOU REDS!