For a report on the table topping victory against Birmingham go to Volume 4 .
A hat trick by Andy Hunt combined with a Clive Mendonca penalty gave Charlton a 4-0 victory over Stockport County at The Valley on September 28th. All the goals came in the second half. The overall Addicks performance silenced those who have criticised the performance at Prenton Park as dire. The match also showed how important the in form Hunt and Chris Powell, both back from injury, are to the team's success.
We were driven to the match by Kap Varma, temporarily Birmingham based, which was very welcome after I had had a root canal treatment without anaesthetic earlier in the day. When we got to the ground the only seats remaining were in the Jimmy Seed and the final attendance was just short of capacity. The small Stockport contingent were tucked in a corner of the Jimmy Seed Stand where they were serenaded with chants of 'Who are you?'
Charlton started brightly with Robinson putting in a useful ball to Hunt after two minutes. Two minutes later Parker put in a great ball to Hunt but he sent it over the crossbar. On eight minutes Rufus attracted the ire of the referee and after a long telling off was given a yellow card. Newton then missed a chance and on fourteen minutes Charlton were denied what looked like a penalty when Kinsella was brought down by Flynn. A Stockport player who appeared to have a cut above the eye was allowed to be treated on the pitch for some minutes by the referee, behaviour which eventually attracted a slow handclap. Charlton were increasingly dominating the game and after 22 minutes there was a good build up which ended up with Hunt putting the ball over. The referee booked Stockport's No.3 Shane Nicholson for a nasty foul on Robinson which could well have earned a red card. The first Charlton corner came on 24 minutes and it was to be the first of many before the half time whistle, but none of them really came to anything. One corner resulted from a Newton run, after which Hunt forced a second. Newton put in a good cross to Mendonca on 35 minutes, but the striker missed the target. There was always the worry that Stockport might nick a goal on the break, but the two sides went in without scoring.
Charlton's hopes soared when two minutes after the start Andy Hunt converted a cross from Kinsella with a neat header, Nash in the Stockport goal being badly out of position. Another Stockport super star, Tony Dinning, picked up a yellow card for a foul on Kinsella on the East Stand side. Robinson hit a shot that went just wide, and shortly afterwards picked up yet another booking for dissent. Stockport then brought on two subs, Kevin Cooper and household name Aaron Wilbraham. There was speculation that County might be about to start an aerial bombardment. First, however, Mendonca had to be put of action and Mike Flynn picked up a yellow card for a nasty tackle that left Super Clive on the ground. It was Super Clive who delivered Charlton's second goal from yet another well struck penalty on 63 minutes after Youds had been fouled in the box. The Stockport players were indignant at the penalty, but were still very much in things and around 65 minutes Kiely had to make two important stops. A few minutes later Parker missed a great chance to score. Stockport brought on Ferguson who turned out to be one of their more useful players.
It was Hunt, still suffering from the effects of glandular fever, who provided two further goals for Charlton, the first coming from a great assist from Shields and the second coming from another excellent ball from Salako. Before then, Brown had been brought on for Parker to provide additional height in the defence and in the closing minutes Salako replaced Robinson and Pringle came on for Mendonca. Stockport were looking increasingly dejected but still drew a save from Kiely around ten minutes from the end. Hunt had a chance to make it 5-0 in the last couple of minutes when he was one on one with Nash, but instead of chipping it over him gave him the opportunity to win the ball.
Curbs expressed himself dissatisfied with the score after the game, arguing with justification that some gilt edged chances had been missed. However, although 6-0 would have been possible, Hunt's two goals improved Charlton's goal difference so that they ended the evening in third place rather than fifth.
Match analyst Bon the Dog had no difficulty in awarding the Silver Bone to Andy Hunt. Kiely kept a clean sheet, although he did have one or two worrying moments. He is a left footed kicker and sometimes this doesn't work too well with balls going out for throw ins. Rufus was stalwart at the back again, as was John Window's favourite player Eddie Youds. Youds was just the right man to deal with Stockport's big players and won us the penalty. Powell showed once again why he is such an asset to the side, making some important stops in defence, but also moving the ball forward with great skill. Shields made some effective runs forwards and perhaps should have had a go himself on one occasion. He created one of Hunt's goals. The much maligned Newton had a good game, using his pace effectively, even if he does not seem to have the confidence to have a go himself and repeat one of the beautiful goals he has scored in the past. Robinson was far better than he was at Prenton Park, although he had to spoil things by getting a yellow card for dissent. He had one great moment when he put in a shot from 30-35 yards out on the West Stand touchline. It was on target, but Nash was up to it for once and managed to lunge at the ball and put it over. Kinsella had another great game, providing the assist for the first goal. Parker was satisfactory. He showed some nice touches, but missed a golden opportunity to score, dragging the ball wide. When he was substitured, he left the pitch to heartfelt applause. Mendonca was for once overshadowed by Hunt, and missed one chance to score from open play. But, as always, he struck a sweet penalty and the partnership with Hunt is working well. Brown didn't see much of the ball when he came on, but did what was required of him. Pringle did not make a great impact in the short period he was on, but Salako showed again that he is a creative player of real class who would be a worthwhile addition to the squad.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Week to the Bloke Behind Me. When we were 2-0 up, the sight of Curbs giving instructions from the touchline provoked a tirade on the lines of 'You can shut up, Curbishley. You're useless.' With Charlton 3-0 ahead, it was too much for him to take and he left in disgust before the fourth goal.
Juneau the Soccer Cat shows her disdain for the bloke behind me.
When Charlton played Tranmere Rovers away in their promotion season they drew 2-2. They repeated the result on 25 September with a goal from a penalty by Clive Mendonca and a strike from a free kick by Mark Kinsella. But although they were ahead twice in the game, Tranmere showed enough determination and skill to draw level.
The Addicks started the game in determined mood and the first five minutes was largely in Tranmere's half. Heavy rain made the pitch slippery and sometimes made controlling the ball difficult. Tranmere displayed the physical approach characteristic of northern sides and received their first yellow card after fourteen minutes. But then captain Mark Kinsella picked up a booking two minutes later. Meanwhile Tranmere were reverting to their old towel trick. The ball was carefully wiped before throw ins by the ball boy and the player taking the throw then stepped back through a special gap along the touchline.
Their trickery with throw ins was quickly forgotten, however, when Achterberg in the Tranmere goal brought down Clive Mendonca, who had picked up a nice ball from Newton. Mendonca dispatched the subsequent corner with his usual calm authority. Five minutes later, however, Tranmere were back on terms. They gained a rather lucky corner, their first of the game, from a deflection, an event which the referee evidently found highly amusing. Kiely should have come for the ball, but there was confusion in the Addicks defence and it was an easy tap in for Tranmere's 'main man' George Santos. Tranmere were revitalised by this success and Mahon put in a fierce shot a couple of minutes later from thirty yards which just missed the post. Rufus entered the referee's book a couple of minutes later for doing his job as a central defender. The last quarter of an hour was a bright spell for Tranmere and they delivered a shot which went just over the bar on 41 minutes, as well as drawing a diving save from Kiely.
The interval saw excellent entertainment from a lively steel band which sent the legendary Pam from Sidcup into a groove, while even Brian Cole was seen to make a few gyrations.
Newton made a great run down the wing just after the break but, having sidestepped Clint Hill, was cynically brought down by the Tranmere No.6 who is known for his dedication to fair play. The subsequent free kick by Kinsella was delivered straight to the goalkeeper. Youds was booked and was soon followed by Konchesky. Less than ten minutes into the half Tranmere were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position. This had to be taken twice to satisfy the rather fussy referee but came straight off the Charlton wall. Kiely made a decent save a few minutes later. However, it was difficult to see how Charlton were going to achieve a breakthrough. The ball was being played in the air too much and this was of little help to Mendonca in particular.
Curbs clearly decided that a new approach was needed and on 67 minutes Pringle was brought on for McCammon with Salako replacing Robinson. Robinson stormed off rather petulantly down the tunnel. It was no long before the change had the desired effect with Kinsella scoring his first goal of the season with a sweetly struck free kick which left Achterberg looking as if he couldn't plug a dyke in his native land, let alone defend a goal.
Tranmere surged forward again and adopted a tactic of putting high but accurate balls into the box. These eventually brought their reward when a cross from the left from Tony Grant was put away by Wayne Allison. Salako managed to get into some promising positons for the Addicks, while Clive Mendonca was through on goal in a one-in-one, but somewhat dubiously judged to be offside with a disgusted Pringle putting the ball in the net anyway. Barness was brought on to shore up the defence in place of Parker. However, there was a real risk of Tranmere making it 3-2 and a last minute corner had to be cleared off the line by Newton.
Sussex coaster Brian Cole commented, 'A draw was what we deserved and a draw was what we got.' The perplexed Cole got a mouthful of verbal from an animated Pam from Sidcup as she drove away. In Cole's impressive new people mover, the consensus was that although this had been billed as a 'must win' match, a draw was not a bad result against a Tranmere side who looked better than their bottom of the table position. Certainly, the local support greeted a home draw as a great achievement. And one thing that came out of the day was that Des from Worthing learnt that Tranmere is not in the Lake District.
Match analyst Bob the Dog made the honour board at his local vets after being given a 1 in 10 chance of recovering from peritonitis. Filming starts at the vets on September 27th for a new series of the BBC's Vets in Practice
Match analyst Bob the Dog has awarded the Silver Bone to captain Mark Kinsella . It was great to see his name on the score sheet and once again he gave his all in attack and defence. Another contender for the award was Richard Rufus who had another good game. Dean Kiely was arguably at fault for the first goal and it will be interesting to see what happens when Simon Royce returns from injury. Youds did his job well and Konchesky was an effective replacement for Chris Powell, suffering from a thigh strain. Shields was not as oustanding as at his first match at The Valley, but did what was required of him. Newton seems to be showing a steady improvement with each match and deserved to stay on for the ninety minutes. Robinson had one good shot at goal, but was not at his best. He was not pleased to be taken off. Will a transfer request land on Curbs's desk? Scott Parker showed one or two nice touches, but in my view has not fulfilled the promise he displayed earlier in his career. With Andy Hunt ill, Mark McCammon was brought on in his place. He put himself about the lot, but lacked the skill required at this level. Mendonca did not get the service (balls along the ground not in the air) that he needs. Pringle showed enormous energy when he came on, haring all over the place and showed his usual skill with the ball from time to time. Salako showed that he is a class player who can be really dangerous and merits retention at The Valley. Barness was on for too short a period to make an impact. Juneau the Soccer Cat gives the Hiss of the Week to all the Manchester United supporters we saw heading south on the M6, not least the Leamington branch.
Although Bournemouth were clearly going out to win, neither side really got anywhere near scoring in the first half hour However, as they came to terms with a slippery surface, Charlton's class started to show in the last quarter hour of the half. Pringle and Hunt both had a couple of chances with Pringle missing out on the best of them on the half hour. Greg Shields looked effective going forward while Richard Rufus made some important defensive interventions.The early part of the game was characterised by a lot of action in midfield. Until approaching the half hour, there were no real chances and little action for either keeper. Konchesky effectively snuffed out an advance by Stein on 21 minutes. On 25 minutes Shields was booked for stopping a run by Joergensen two yards outside the box, but the resulting free kick was driven straight into the four man Charlton wall. Then on the half hour a good run by Shields gave Charlton a corner. With more time than he realised, Pringle missed a great chance to score, sending the ball into the five or six hundred Charlton supporters in the crowd of 4,369. A few minutes later a volley by Pringle, picking up a cross from Hunt, went about a yard over the bar. Superb defending by Rufus then denied 'like yer know' Stein with an excellent tackle. A good cross from Newton picked out Hunt at the far post and Charlton won another corner in injury time.
After 50 minutes Kiely had to make his first save of the game when Northern Ireland international and Charlton prospect Steve Robinson put in a shot. On 57 minutes Hunt provided a great cross, but Pringle couldn't quite make the connection. Charlton had now changed their formation, using three centre backs, pushing Konchesky and Shields forward and using Newton as a central midfielder. The Cherries then stepped up the pressure with three corners in succession. On 61 minutes Konchesky put a great cross across the front of goal, but there was no one there in a yellow shirt to connect. Bournemouth surged forward again, but Youds held them up, allowing Kiely to make a great save from a one-on-one with Robinson. On 65 minutes the Addicks tried to stimulate their performance by taking off the lacklustre Stuart (who will now miss three matches) and bringing on Valley hero Mark Kinsella. Bournemouth, however, maintained some good pressure, producing more good goalkeeping from Kiely in the 75th minute. Hunt then put in a shot that was a yard wide. Fletcher was booked for a foul on Hunt who was temporarily left limping - let's hope this doesn't have any implications for Tranmere. On 82 minutes, Kinsella put in a lovely ball to Pringle who only had to stab it in from six yards out and failed to do so. Then in added on time Newton put a shot into the side netting from six yards.
With the Addicks failing to take so many chances, but the Cherries unable to penetrate the Charlton defence, extra time was inevitable. Mendonca was brought on in place of Pringle to give the Addicks more accurate striking power. Bournemouth had their best spell of the match in the first fifteen minutes of extra time, winning three corners and drawing a good stop from Kiely. Twelve minutes into extra time, Newton (who had played quite well) was replaced by Parker who immediately put in a great pass. Four minutes later he put in a great strike which was just over the bar. Mendonca and Hunt then worked well together to draw a good save from Ovendale. As the game went into its last few minutes, Youds blocked a shot by Young following a corner that would have otherwise found the back of the net.
The penalty shoot out naturally brought back memories of our last penalty shoot out at Wembley. With the score at 1-1, the excellent Ovendale made a great save from Brown and Konchesky and Kinsella were able to get past him. Charlton's approach to this whole tie had been somewhat ambivalent, with many fans not sorry to be out of the 'Worthless Cup' and able to concentrate on the league. My own feelings are mixed as the Cherries are the team of our youngest and her husband. Bournemouth deserve a lot of the credit for the way they played over the two legs and must look like good prospects for promotion if they are not hit too badly by injuries.
The national network of canine match analysts proved its worth again with this page's initial report being ten minutes ahead of the club web page. Guest match analyst New Forest based Homer the Cherry Hound reports that his master was dancing round the garden after the Cherries won on penalties. Homer was very impressed with the Charlton defence, concluding that Rufus , Youds , Konchesky and Shields all had good games. Although Kiely let in three penalties, he kept a clean sheet over three and a half hours of well balanced play. Hunt played well, but it was Pringle whose performance was most disappointing with two excellent chances not being put away. Homer wonders what would happen to the Addicks attack if Mendonca was out injured. Homer has awarded the Silver Bone to Richard Rufus who was not only stalwart in defence, but also showed remarkable fluidity going forward. He is a much improved player this year.
Forty two years of lack of success at Bramall Lane were brought to an end with an important 2-1 win by the Addicks over Sheffield United. Ayre, Lawrie and Kiernan scored in the 3-0 victory in September 1957, but this time it was shouts of 'Viva Caccia!' that rang out from the Addicks faithful with both goals being scored by Andy Hunt.
After the excitement of the announcement of the link with up with Inter Milan, Charlton were quickly brought down to earth in the opening moments of the match. Wearing their giallo equipaggiamento for the first time in a match, Charlton started nervously with Shields making two back passes to Kiely. Then on 1 minute, 45 seconds, the Blades went ahead with a glancing header from their Belarus international, Katchuro. Smith got his cross in early, the Belarussian got in front of Youds (whose marking was questionable) and it was a straightforward ball into the left-hand side of the net. Touchline coach Mervyn Day was no doubt rueing his wise words before the match, 'if can keep a clean sheet away from home, you are half way to getting the points.'
Rufus was involved in an attack after seven minutes which saw him ending up in the back of the net.A free kick after ten minutes gave a chance to Mark Kinsella. His shot evaded the five man wall, but dipped too late and curled over the bar. The Blades then had a three on three break, but Rufus made a half clearance. Hunt then put the ball into Mendonca who had made a great run, ghosting past Murphy, but his shot came off the post. Playing a 4-3-3 formation, the Blades were dangerous on the break, partucularly down the flanks of the big pitch, but these forays were often quickly snuffed out by the very impressive Rufus. He was less impressive in attack, however, when a forty yard run ended in a pass that was badly over hit. Charlton missed a series of chances with a ball from a Kinsella corner volleyed wildly wide by Stuart. As Mervyn Day commented before the match, revealing his profound tactical insight, 'if you create chances, you have got to take them.' Another dangerous break by the Blades was dealt with effectively by Konchesky who took the ball off Devlin's toes to get it clear.
Charlton were the better team, however, and it was a great cross from Shaun Newton (yes, really) which put the Addicks on equal terms just after the half hour. Solid defending by Rufus dealt with another break by the Blades, but Charlton looked exposed when the Blades used the tactic of long throw ins which allowed their forwards to get ahead of the Addicks' defenders. Youds was brought down by a knock on the chest, but was soon back on. This time it was a Charlton break that led to a cracking shot by Kinsella that hit the crossbar. The Addicks did not have much luck with both Kinsella and Mendonca hitting the woodwork, but 'disastro' and 'umialiazone' were not the words in mind at the break. One concern had been the replacement of Chris Powell as difensore a sinastra by Paul Konchesky (Powell either had a hamstring or was in the delivery ward), but the young left back acquitted himself well after a subdued performance against Bournemouth.
United reverted to a 4-4-2 formation after the break and this allowed the Addicks less space. Charlton had two corners early in the half, the first of them taken short with, as usual, little success (although another corner was won). The Blades launched a counter attack, but Shields covered well. Murphy's throw ins continued to cause some problems. The Addicks' first shot at goal in the half did not come for quarter of an hour and it was Kinsella who had a go again with a really powerful shot that was cleared by a defender. The United faithful were getting increasingly frustrated with their team's performance, but in fact the second half was more even. On 62 minutes the Blades won their second corner of the game. A Sheffield United counter attack saw Katchuro clip the crossbar. Then on 67 minutes Rufus made a great defensive header to save the Addicks from real danger. Hunt required treatment, but then scored the second goal. A drive from Kinsella was blocked by a Blades defender, but took a bad deflection from their perspective and Hunt pounced to score his second goal of the season. Only a great save by Tracy in the Sheffield goal stopped Robinson from scoring the third. By this time choruses of 'Valley Floyd Road' could be heard, the Addicks faithful yet to learn any Inter chants.
Richard Rufus made yet another saving challenge and Brown was brought on in place of Stuart to bolster the defence, his aerial ability being useful to deal with the Blades' throws in and the increasing number of corners they were winning. Youds made three important defensive interventions with his head (shaved by Shaun Newton, it was revealed) in two minutes. With a couple of minutes left Robinson was replaced by Salako who had been warming up for most of the half.
As the game went into injury time, a free kick from Woodhouse produced a corner. Kiely was unable to move as he had been firmly imprisoned by Devlin's arms. Shields got the ball away, but another corner followed. Youds did his best to clear the ball, but Smith put in a great shot which went off the crossbar. The fanatico had enjoyed fortuna , but had played well in a game free of bookings and earned three well deserved points.
Match analyst Bob the Dog is recuperating from my goal celebrations but has given the Silver Bone to Andy Hunt , but with a special award of the Bronze Biscuit to Richard Rufus for his outstanding defensive contributions. Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Week to the Palarse fan with whom her tin opener was working in Brussels this week who suggested that what was needed was a merger of Charlton, Palarse and Wimbledon to form a new South London club!
Block E, Row Q, In front of the Bloke Behind Me