Saturday, 30 April 2011

And Now, The End Is Near.

Warsaw 2 - Charlton Athletic 0.

In the spirit of all things Royal, (after yesterday's opportunity to find out we all fancy William's bride's sister), I'd like to copy one of her madge Elizabeth 2's famous lines and proclaim this season an 'annus horribilis'. 
(Stop giggling at the back)

When Nicky Bailey skied his spot kick to end last season at the Play Off semi stage, I assumed we would find it hard to repeat a top six position this year. I figured we'd lose most of our more appealing players to the circling vultures and they'd be replaced with journeymen of little ability. A mid table finish was to be expected.

I've been proved right of course but what I didn't expect, was to be teased into a mindset where I believed a repeat top six placing was ours for the taking. 
Only then, just at the point when we were beginning to believe again, there was a collapse of the most appalling magnitude to snatch the chance away and completely trample over our hopes for the team.

It could have been worse I suppose. 
All those gloating and braying Swindon fans, who showed their collective worst side as we trudged up Floyd Road after extra time and penalties on that warm evening last May, have actually plummeted deeper than us.
They finished last season as Play Off final runners up and finished this season relegated!

Today, a hardy bunch of around 500 Addicks, (many in fancy dress), visited the West Midlands for the last away game of the season.
A meaningless fixture for us but still important for the Bescot Boys as they seek to avoid the drop.

We've done everything we can to help Walsall's cause, allowing them to complete the double over us this season!

A minor positive is the Walsall victory condemns everybody's favourite cheating baskets Bristol Rovers to relegation.

I'd like to have done Dagenham a favour and piled the pressure on Walsall but it wasn't to be.

I experimented with the strength of my WiFI and followed the game using the CAFC player, while sitting on the grass outside.
I had a few tins of London Pride and the most recent Stuff magazine with me of which I was quite thankful as after an early Paul Benson chance, there didn't seem to be much for Charlton supporters to get excited about.
It would seem Walsall ran out worthy winners with Charlton failing to get going.
There may also have been some of this seasons regular 'comedy defending', depending upon which first hand report you believe.

Only one more game before we can pack this season away.
Roll on the Summer break.

I think we deserve it.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Fun In The Sun.

Charlton Athletic 3. Rochdale 1.

Well, that went well.

It's just a shame things didn't fall into place a little sooner and then, just maybe, we might have been in Rochdale's position at the start of this afternoon and been pushing for a Play Off place.

The team played with belief and despite being without a few players who would have likely started, took the game to Rochdale  who never really got going.

Racon scored a well placed opener late in the first half and even when Dale equalised from a corner, early in the second period, Charlton just went straight up the other end and stuffed the ball in the net to keep the advantage.

I particularly enjoyed viewing one Dale supporter who was in the middle of giving it large to the home support after their goal, only to sit down again with his head in his hands mid celebration!

Most people seemed to think Dean Parrett was having a good game but until he scored, I'd been a little disappointed with his performance. Perhaps I'm expecting too much? He did take his chance very well though.

The star of the show for me was Nathan Ecclestone.
Whatever must he have done to minimise his appearances for Charlton?

Obviously I don't see him in training and he might be a truly awful young man but on the evidence of the games I've seen, I'd play him every week. Whenever he's been on the pitch he's looked dangerous.

He ran and ran today, taking up positions that more often than not weren't spotted by his colleagues but he persevered.

Young Nathan got his just rewards when a perfect cross from Paul Benson, who was also playing well in my opinion, was met by a bullet header giving the 'keeper no chance.
Ecclestone is far too good for this league and I'm just disappointed we haven't seen more of him during his loan spell from Liverpool.

There were a few Dale penalty appeals late on.
I have no idea how valid they were but the referee who had not been particularly impressive all game didn't seem interested.

It made a pleasing change to exit the Valley after a win.

Crispy noticed some old fella wearing a baseball cap with an appalling grammatical error, (unless we once had a manager who's nickname was Curb), and we chuckled in the sunshine.

Only one more game for me now and two more for the team before the Close Season and lots of work from CP I imagine.

I've already taken the plunge and signed on for next season but if I'm honest, this season can't finish soon enough.

Well done to the team today but when we aren't playing for points to go up or avoid relegation, it really is rather unimportant.

One heartening piece of news from today was those cheating folk down at Bristol Rovers lost.
After their performance on Saturday, I think we'd all like to wish them bon voyage onto the slippery pole of relegation.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Pirates Gifted A Point.

Bristol Rovers 2 - Charlton Athletic 2.

When Chris Powell returned to the Valley, 100 days ago, he must have thought he was the luckiest man in the world.

The team didn't play particularly well yet they managed to win his first 4 games in charge.
The 'luck' was with CP.

Since then, Chris has found out what it's like when the luck doesn't run for you.

The story of today is typical of what happens when things aren't going your way.

2- 0 up, away from home, sounds like a position to build on.
It's the position managers dream of being in.
Cruising and in control of the game.

Paul Benson and Kyel Reid had got Charlton into the good position but unfortunately,  Semedo and Reid managed to wreck it by being sent off!

Reid couldn't really complain but our Portugeezer can consider himself rather hard done by.
Indications were that the Rovers player manager used all of his cunning to get Jose a red.

Bristol Rovers. I hope they get relegated.

So, down to 9 men.
Hmmm. How unlucky.

The referee may have got it right with the double yellow cards, adding up to the reds but he most certainly wasn't consistent.
 He chose to completely miss similar offences by the Pirates.

Down to 9 men, it was only a matter of time before Bristol Rovers came back into the game. Wayne Brown got the home supporters believing to make the score 2-1.

The real robbery occurred in the 84th minute when Williams controlled the ball with his arm and lashed the ball home.
Unbelievably, the referee saw nothing wrong with it.

Chris Powell was so annoyed he ended up being sent to the stands.

With our team only playing for pride it really doesn't make a lot of difference if we won a single point or grabbed the deserved 3.
However, supporters of Dagenham and Walsall will most certainly be annoyed at the referee gifting Rovers the point.

It could be very, very important to them.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Boxing Day.

Charlton Athletic 0 - Huddersfield Town 1.

I put my money on a 2-0 defeat at the Valley this afternoon. By the climax of the game, I was half right.

Unfortunately, the easy victory I was expecting for Huddersfield never materialised so when they finally did score, predictably during a good spell of play from Charlton, it felt like a kick in the teeth.

Huddersfield did very little all game and ended up snatching a victory that even their hardest of hardcore supporters couldn't have described as 'deserved'.

The men from Yorkshire had to rely on the kind of 'dodgy' decision that always goes against you when you're on a bad run.
A poorly taken free kick was smashed into the Charlton wall, only for the referee to judge the ball had been stopped by a hand.
It did seem harsh.
It seemed even harsher when the second, closer attempt arrowed into the net.
Smash and grab?

Charlton defended well and made enough chances to win any game, yet for the third game in a row failed to do the business up front.

If I'm brutally honest, the game did go by in a bit of a blur for me.
Before the game I met Al Gordon for a quick beer which was nice. It's always good to put a face to a name.

When I arrived at The Valley I made my way to the Sky Box where Crispy was celebrating his 50th birthday with his family.

I stayed with them for the game and disappointing though it was to see yet another Charlton defeat, the rarified atmosphere and lovely padded seat did make everything seem a little better.

Another reason I was a little fluffy around the edges was I was suffering from jet lag, having only got back from NYC yesterday.

I love New York.
It's definitely one of my favourite places on the planet and I visit as often as I possibly can.

I went to see the New York Mets play at their recently built Citi Field.
The Mets have one of the highest wage bills in the league, a fantastic stadium but never quite seem to cut it on the ball park.
Sound familiar?

My seat was up in the area where the more boisterous fans congregate. 
There were a few loud utterances of "You Suck!" but anybody used to European / English football would never believe the supporters hadn't given up shouting for Lent.

I really enjoyed the game though as ever, the Mets threw it away in a 3 minute period when the pitcher had a complete 'mare.

So, just two home games to endure  enjoy before we can all pack up for the Summer.

I'd like to take the opportunity to again wish Crispy a happy birthday and say how privileged I was to join him and his family.
Cheers matey!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Bored Bored Bored!

I think I'm in danger of turning into Rik Mayall's character from The Young Ones.

I played the game and checked in online, performed my own security questionnaire last night and arrived with about 3 hours to spare.

Some bod checked my passport and another asked me to take off my shoes & belt but the cumulative time span was only around 10 minutes to get all this done.

I wish I'd not bothered.
At least it would have killed some time if I had some bureaucracy to entertain.

Since checking in, I've been wandering around Terminal 4 like one of the lost tribes of Israel.

I do love travelling and I don't mind doing it solo but sometimes I really do wonder why I spend so much time, killing time.

Not long to go now and I'll be on my way to NYC, one of my favourite places on the planet.

I've been many, many times and don't feel the need to hare about the tourist sights.

I'll enjoy catching up with old friends and experiencing the vibe you only get in the Big Apple.

Up, up & Away.

Nothing To Report Here.

Oldham Athletic 0 - Charlton Athletic 0.

For those of us who went through a puerile phase towards the end of the 1980's, 'Oldham' is synonymous with the Viz character Finbarr Saunders, (and his Double Entendres).

"I'm taking your mother on a tour of the north-west, first I'm going to Oldham, then I'm going to Bangor."
(Fnarr, Fnarr).

This is a roundabout way of saying Charlton gained a rather meaningless point yesterday. 
We aren't going up, we aren't going down. 
Another game ticked off on the increasingly interest free list of remaining fixtures.
The spin doctors will claim yesterday was a show of mental fortitude by the Addicks as Christian Dailly got his marching orders, after around half an hour.

What a silly sausage.
Retaliation after a bad foul is not what I'd expect from a senior pro, especially one with such a long and distinguished career.
However, it's now the 3rd time, this season, he's had first dibs on the Imperial Leather so perhaps the "he's not that kind of player" comments are being rather generous to our current club captain.

His ban takes him to the end of the season where I fully expect him to be thanked for all his efforts and then shown the door.
It's not all bad news for Christian. He's probably slouched on the sofa as I write, checking out his options on while his training gear is doing a final spin around in the washing machine.

I wasn't in the North West yesterday.
I chose to enjoy the sunshine in South East London.

It would appear I missed very,very little.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Just A Few Words.

Southampton 2 - Charlton Athletic 0.

I have an old mate who is a mad Saints fan.

Midway through the second half of our game down at St Mary's this evening he sent me a message.

"Sorry, you aren't very good...."

'Nuff said.

Onwards and upwards to the weekend and hopefully a better performance.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Twelfth Time Lucky.

Charlton Athletic 3 - Leyton Orient 1.

*With apologies to the 'only band that mattered', The Clash.

He's in love with Rock 'n Roll (Whoa),
He's in love with getting stoned (Whoa),
He's in love with Jamie Jones (Whoa),
But he don't like his boring job NO!

The game today at the Valley will live long in the memory of Orient's stopper, Jamie Jones.
He played what the pundits label 'a blinder', yet one mad rush of blood to the head wrecked his afternoon.
From a Charlton perspective, the game started really well. 
Orient seemed to be chasing shadows as the home side stroked the ball about, totally in control.
As is common for contemporary Charlton, all the possession and confidence lead to nothing when in front of goal.
Racon was having a fine afternoon, playing with his head up for a change and showing flashes of the player we all believe him to be underneath.

Orient became stronger as the half progressed. They started to dominate.
Unfortunately, Orient scored the opening goal. 
A deep cross / mishit shot ended up on the head of what seemed to be a painfully offside McGleish, who put away probably Orient's only good chance up to that point.

Charlton were stunned but the officials had obviously seen something we hadn't and the goal stood.

At half time, I was still fairly confident we could get back into the game but recent experience had taught me we probably wouldn't.

How wrong I was.

Jamie Jones had been the recipient of plenty of moans from the Addicks for his blatant time wasting. He'd been strolling around, hanging onto the ball for an eternity when he had a goal kick or any other chance to have a bit of a saunter. 
Time wasting in the first half?
Shouldn't he be playing for Tranmere?
The totally ineffectual referee had the opportunity to chastise him but decided to wave his watch clad wrist while pointing at his timepiece instead.
Yeah, that told him!

I wished misfortune on Jones and commented to Crispy that I hoped we scored after the ball cannoned in off his nether regions.
Rather juvenile I know but I really wanted him to suffer.

In the second period, Jones had a massive let off when he was caught in possession and attempted to dribble his way out of trouble. 
He lost the ball on the edge of his penalty area to the type of challenge that had it been made on any other player wouldn't have even raised an eyebrow.
However, apparently if you tackle a goalkeeper who thinks he's a sweeper, the bizarre no contact 'rule' seems to result in a free kick.
Who knew? Perhaps we should put Robbie Elliot in midfield?

Jones then performed some unbelievable saves, leading me to believe it wasn't going to be our day.

"Yet again, we meet a goalkeeper having the game of their lives", commented Crispy.
All this changed when Jones couldn't hold onto a BWP shot and presented a tap in for Johnny on the spot, Paul Benson.
I was pleased for Benson.
He's not had the season he was hoping for since joining from Dagenham, being hampered by injuries and also 2 sendings off.
He'd become the target for some of the less intellectual members of our support, who are searching for someone to blame for our current lowly league position.

It was soon to get better / worse depending on your club loyalties.
Jones had the ball, ambled about a while, then for some unknown reason, opted to throw the ball straight at BWP instead of punting it straight up the field.

Had Kevin Lisbie or Luke Varney been presented with the chance (while wearing a CAFC shirt), the ball would have probably gone for a goal kick but I was never in doubt young Bradders would tuck the ball away, which he did.

Jones looked like he wanted to find somewhere to hide. 
Had he not been so annoying earlier on, we might have shown him some sympathy, (well we might!) but in the circumstances it was a right old hoot.
I was up cheering but also having a right old belly laugh at the custodian's expense.

To add to Orient's woe, the goal came barely 3 minutes after they'd had what seemed a fairly good goal chalked off for what the referee seemed to be ostentatiously miming as 'pushing'.
Didn't see it myself.

Charlton put the game to bed when substitute Michael Stewart showed composure and timing to send in an inch perfect ball to the far post where Semedo was there to power in an unstoppable header.

What a day!
Semedo on the score sheet!

Of course, this is Charlton so we had to endure a few last minute moments when Orient managed to hit Elliot's crossbar (twice!) but the result was never in doubt by this time.

I never dreamed I'd ever be celebrating and really caring about a home win against Leyton Orient!
These are the times and the position we find ourselves in of course so celebrate like a madman I did.

It felt good to be walking along Harvey Gardens with the chant of "Red Army' filling my ears.
It's been a while.

A Casual Rating.
A Lacoste polo is being awarded to i) Paul Benson for his tireless running and following up for his goal.
 ii) 'Terry' Racon for finally looking like he can run a midfield.
iii) Jose Semedo for finally getting a Valley goal and then reportedly crying at the emotion of it all.
iv) Jamie Jones for giving us all an "I was there" moment.

The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is going to ........ Jamie Jones, for, well you get the picture by now.

Ref Watch.
Hmm, both teams could probably find many incidents to show he was favouring the other side.
Could it be possible he was equally crud for both teams?
Not the best referee we've had this season but also not the worst.
An honest score of 5/10.