We regret that we cannot provide a report from Sunderland as I have to go to Canada over the weekend
For our Leicester report, please go to Volume 2
Charlton's 0-2 defeat at home by Leeds was no surprise, but it was still a blow. Radio news programmes had been referring to the fact that Leeds would go top of the Premiership if they won at The Valley with the 'if' sounding like a 'when'. Addicks who spoke of the possibility of a draw were ignoring the difference between would be championship contenders like Fulham and real ones like Leeds. This was a match that was going to end in a win and the odds were against Charlton. Leeds showed tremendous pace, whereas without Richard Rufus, the Charlton defence looked relatively leaden footed. Leeds went 1-0 ahead in the 21st minute and any hope of Charlton getting back into the match was dashed when captain Graham Stuart was sent off. Charlton could take some comfort from what was in many ways a better performance than in any of the three opening matches and the return of Mark Kinsella from injury with no apparent ill effects. It was certainly not a match lacking in incident: I took far more notes than usual. Indeed, the Bloke Beside Me compared the opening phase to being like basketball with its fast end-to-end tempo.
Once the minute's silence had been impeccably observed, with wreaths placed in the centre circle by the two captains, Charlton started as if they were for up for it. They soon won the ball after the visitors kicked off and gained a free kick. Graham Stuart's effort was nearly connected with by Feesh in front of goal. With Paul Konchesky winning the ball, Charlton gained a corner in the opening minutes. However, play switched to the other end and the first Leeds corner was taken by Harte. It was cleared with a header giving the visitors a second chance. A good ball played in by Jason Euell to Shaun Bartlett won a second corner for Charlton. The ball was played to Paul Konchesky, but his effort to shoot was conveniently obstructed by referee Halsey. Leeds soon broke again, Charlton defended well, but the visitors gained a corner. A second Leeds corner provided an opportunity for a header from Keane at the far post, but Deano made an assured save. With Charlton fighting hard for the ball, they enjoyed a series of throw ins down the West Stand side. Scott Parker put a good ball in, but Leeds were soon on the attack again with this attempt stopped by Feesh. Mills won a free kick for Leeds which Keily punched out as it fell to Viduka. However, Leeds soon announced their intentions with a fierce shot from at least thirty yards out which fortunately missed. Graham Stuart put in a ball to Paul Konchesky who had a go but scuffed his shot wide. A Leeds free kick led to a Leeds corner won by Keane. With the ball hit high into the air, Deano collected comfortably. Leeds broke quickly from a throw in in their half, seemingly untroubled by the Charlton defence and put in a fierce shot which went just over the bar.
With Euell held back, a Charlton free kick produced some fluent play from the Addicks leading to a Charlton corner. Feesh's header was just tipped over the bar by the on form Martyn, but he made no mistake with the second Charlton corner which he collected easily. Chris Powell went down after a clash of heads. His plight was ignored by referee Halsey and Leeds advanced on Deano's goal to win a corner which was cleared by Stuart with a header. With John Robinson easily beaten at a throw in near the halfway line on the West Stand side, the Charlton defence displayed terrible indecision with Feesh in particular watching the ball advance on goal. Deano came out of his goal, but Keane made no mistake in putting the ball in the net.
A good cross from Chris Powell offered the Addicks a chance to get level, but Parker missed the chance to score. A Charlton free kick had to be re-taken after the Leeds line moved and produced a Charlton corner. Martyn was able to save this effort, but after some more play, Graham Stuart put a shot in which Martyn saved. A free kick awarded against Viduka was not to his liking. A blatant dive by Robbie Keane led referee Halsey to produce a yellow card. Not only did the player protest mightily, but manager O'Leary was jumping up and down outside his technical area remonstrating with the linesman. Scott Parker had the chance of a shot, but sent it well wide. A foul against Dacourt by highly involved Luke Young earned him a yellow card. With Deano caught out of his goal, there were fears that Leeds might score their second, but with frantic work by the defence, the danger passed.
There still seemed to be every possibility of a Charlton equaliser, but then Graham Stuart was sent off for a two footed tackle on Harte. Bowyer went down after receiving the attentions of Scott Parker and Charlton had possession, but they kicked the ball out of play, a sporting gesture, but one not appreciated by all the Addickted. Robbo played a good ball to Paul Konchesky and a chance was created for Euell which he missed. Robbo went down and was limping for a while, leading to speculation that he might have to come off. With Carl Leaburn back in training at Sparrows Lane, it seemed that Euell had been taking some lessons from him as he evaded Ferdinand but then put the ball just over from twenty yards. A Leeds corner was saved by Deano. Euell won a free kick for Charlton thirty yards in front of the Leeds goal. Paul Konchesky put a shot in, but it was punched out by Martyn. Charlton had had at least four good chances in the half, but the ball had not found the back of the net.
With the weather warm and bright, and the absent Bloke Behind Me looking like another long term injury prospect, it might have been a nice afternoon except for what was happening on the pitch. Three minutes into the second half, Keane burst through, but managed to drag the ball wide. Euell had a chance from twenty yards, but his shot went wide. Shaun Bartlett got a yellow card for fouling Ferdinand. Charlton were fighting for the game and managed to dispossess Kewell, but then he was in again with a shot that was just wide. Deano tried to throw the ball out to Paul Konchesky and ended up giving Leeds a throw in. Charlton managed a good build up, but Luke Young's cross was disappointing. Chris Powell got the better of Kewell. Euell won the ball and put it into John Robinson whose cross was intercepted by Batty for a Charlton corner, but Paul Konchesky's effort was over hit. Feesh made a good block and then again at the expense of corner for Leeds. On 62 minutes Mills, who had been booed every time he got the ball, gave his reply with a fierce shot from twenty yards out which Deano had no hope of stopping. Deano saved what could have been an own goal from Chris Powell and then punched out a ball from a fierce attack spearheaded by Viduka.
With McPhail coming on for the injured Dacourt, Kinsella replaced Euell on 66 minutes. Luke Young made a great run which produced a Charlton corner. Paul Konchesky's effort produced a second on the opposite side taken by Robbo, but his ball was too long and high. A Kewell run was stopped by a good tackle by Young. The Leeds corner was taken short, was partially cleared, but then the ball came in again. Kinsella made an attempt which was at least on target, but did not really trouble Martyn. Keane put the ball into the side netting. The rather subdued Bowyer was set up by Kewell, but he was not on target. Somewhat to my surprise, Young, who had had a good game was replaced by Lisbie.
It increasingly seemed as if Charlton had given up on the game. Lisbie did manage to beat his man, but the attack petered out. Kewell was held off by Paul Konchesky. Fortress Valley had been breached for the second time in the season with Charlton failing to win at home so far. Given that their home form was an important ingedient in their success last season, there is plenty of material for the pessimists to work on.
It is never easy to award the Silver Bone after a home defeat, but match analyst Bob the Dog has awarded it to Chris Powell who made some good runs forward and was one of the few Charlton players who was able to out fox the opposition. Deano's kicking out left something to be desired, but he was hardly at fault for the two goals. Steve Brown did his best, but was simply outpaced by Leeds and could often be seen back tracking frantically. Feesh was at fault for the first goal, particularly disappointing given that his overall performance was quite good. Luke Young had a generally good game. He is increasingly becoming part of the side and was a contender for the Silver Bone. Playing in midfield, Paul Konchesky's performance was impressive. Parker missed one chance to score and drifted out of the game after Kinsella came on. Stuart's performance was indifferent even before he was sent off. His corners never looked like creating anything. After a good start to last season, he has made a poor start to this one. Even so, we can hardly afford him to be out for three matches. Robbo gave his all, but sometimes looked out of his depth. One is tempted to ask of Euell 'Are you Leaburn in disguise?', but at least Leaburn could hold the ball up. So far he has not justified his transfer fee. Bartlett had a tremendous work rate and displayed some moments of skill. Kinsella looked fit when he came on and showed some flashes of his old skill. Lisbie made no real difference when he came on.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to the East Stand linesman who made some odd offside decisions when Charlton showed signs of getting back into the game.
Injury depleted Charlton battled for a point against Fulham at The Valley on Sunday. Particularly in the first half, the Addicks were outplayed by the West Londoners. The £40 million spent by the wealthy club brought its return in carefully weighted and accurate passes. Charlton, for their part, lost possession all too often and their passing often lacked accuracy. However, despite having to play the kind of 'B' side that is often put out for the Worthington Cup, the Addicks once again displayed a considerable battling spirit that earned them a hard fought draw.
The first news we received on our arrival at the R**e of D**mar* was that there was a crutches shortage at the training ground, JJ having to be issued with a set after a training ground injury. Sometimes one wishes that we went back to the 1950s and confined training to running round the ground. When we got to the East Stand, we found that the Bloke Behind Me was missing and word spread that he too was injured, in this case from a foot in the mouth.
Charlton started brightly enough, winning a corner in the first minute. But this was cleared and led to a Fulham counter attack, the visitors being quick on the break throughout the match. Chris Powell cleared the danger. It was Feesh who was next called into action to deal with a threat from Fulham. With yet another Fulham attack being launched, Chris Powell provided excellent cover in front of Deano's goal, working the ball round in a semi-circular movement. Todd put in a good long diagonal ball to Chris Powell who provided a cross for Bartlett whose shot was not too far over the crossbar. Fulham were given a dubious free kick on the advice of the line to the right of the goal and although the ball was initially cleared, it came in again to be cleared by Todd.
Fulham were piling on the pressure but Saha's first effort after ten minutes went well wide. However, Fulham continued to be excellent at keeping possession, often all too easily won off the Addicks. A long ball up field by Edwin van der Sar was picked up by Saha. With Keily rushing out, he had an open goal in front of him, but his lob went just wide. Meanwhile, Kiely had collided with Saha who required treatment. Graham Stuart put in a shot that was on target but easily collected by Van der Sar. Then on 34 minutes Bartlett broke away on the right. Graham Stuart was able to supply Chris Powell and his cross found Bartlett at the far post. He nodded down in the ball and, rather than clearing it, Andy Melville managed to direct it into his own net.
The interval between Charlton scoring and the opposition replying is usually a short one and so it proved on this occasion. Fulham won their first corner of the game. This did not come to anything, but with Fulham launching a fresh attack, Deano punched the ball out well and then made another good save. The lacklustre Graham Stuart then gave the ball away in midfield and Legwinski bore down on Deano's goal. His attempt was blocked by Deano but the rebound was put into the back of the net on 38 minutes by Boa Morte.
Shaun Bartlett received a yellow card. Scott Parker was outmanoeuvred by Fulham, but fortunately for the Addicks the shot went wide. Then Finnan was given the chance to have a go, but the former YTS trainee at Welling sent the ball well wide. A Fulham corner was cleared by Jason Euell and then there were two more Fulham corners which the home side had difficulty in clearing. The half time whistle was greeted with relief by the Addickted.
The introduction of John Robinson for Kevin Lisbie after the break brought a new vigour and determination to Charlton. They made a good attack in the opening minute with promising work by Luke Young, but Robbo's bicycle kick was wide. Sean Davis needed treatment after an encounter with Scott Parker. Fulham were given a free kick twenty-five yards out, but it was deflected for a corner which was eventually cleared. Scott Parker put in a ball to Luke Young which eventually ended up with Robbo who won a Charlton corner. Two more Charlton corners followed but all they produced was a shot by Scott Parker at the goalkeeper. After Charlton gave the ball away once again, Boa Morte shot just wide. Shaun Bartlett put in a weak shot. Fulham made another of their swift breaks, Scott Parker eventually clearing. Graham Stuart and Shaun Bartlett interchanged the ball, but Stuart's final effort was poor. Lee Clark was replaced by Steed Malbranque on 62 minutes and he made an immediate attempt on goal which he sliced over the bar. A Charlton corner was won by Luke Young and Robbo but cleared. A free kick for a foul on Stuart saw the ball picked up by Robbo but his attempt was caught.
On 70 minutes Scott Parker was taken off in favour of Paul Konchesky. Fulham continued to attack, Steve Brown clearing one threat. A Fulham corner was eventually cleared. On 77 minutes Saha was taken off in favour of Hayles, the second former Conference player to appear on the pitch for Fulham. Steve Brown was called on to clear a dangerous Fulham move. On 80 minutes Bartlett was pulled off in favour of Salako, not a popular move with the home crowd. The Fulham fans were clearly becoming frustrated with the failure of money to talk and started a chant of 'Boring, Boring Charlton' as a tribute to the gritty home defence. The Addickted replied with the question, 'Where were you when you were s**t?' Although I did not hear it myself, another chant reported was 'Asda is better than Harrods.' Robbo burst through to claim a Charlton corner, but it produced nothing useful.
With four minutes of time added on, Fulham made one last attack, but an excellent block by Konchesky foiled Davis. Charlton had a couple of attacks, but then it was Fulham's turn. Euell had an attempt on goal. Finally, the whistle blew. Fulham were clearly the better side in terms of technical skill, but the determination of Charlton earned them a valuable point.
Match analyst Bob the Dog has awarded the Silver Bone to Mark Feesh for his commitment and skill in defence. Fulham showed a tendency to shoot wide, so Deano was less troubled than he might have been given their superiority in midfield, but what he had to do he did well. He can hardly be blamed for their goal. Chris Powell also had a good game, getting forward effectively and countering Fulham well. Todd was a tenacious marker of Saha. Steve Brown was solid in defence, making good use of his trademark headers. Luke Young had a good game, made some valuable surges forward. Parker was not at his best and was in and out of the game. Stuart had a mare of a match, giving the ball away far too easily, one of these errors leading to the Fulham goal. He appeared to be injured at the end. Steve from Sidcup is not still convinced by Euell . 'He tries lots of things, but they don't usually come off' was his comment. Lisbie made no real impact on the game. Bartlett produced the goal, but was tiring when he was substituted. Robbo made a positive impact on the game when he came on and Konchesky was an effective defender. Salako did very little, apart from failing to take a chance to shoot from eight yards out.
Penny from Dartford is our special Hiss of the Match guest by arrangement with Tracy. She has given the hiss to referee Jeff Winter. Juneau the Soccer Cat has named Fulham's Rufus Brevett for cynical fouls he always got away with.
That was the delighted chant of Charlton fans after the substitute scored his first Premiership goal to defeat the Tractors at Portman Road. Ipswich fans had started chanting 'Boring, Boring, Charlton' as it seemed as if 'the small club from London' would hold them to a 0-0 draw. But then Lisbie scored with an impressive volley and the Addickted were able to respond with a chant of 'boring, boring Ipswich'.
With reports that Andy Todd was on the transfer list after a bust up with Curbs, one Addick experimented before the match with a chant of 'Andy Todd's a silly sod.' Salako's inclusion in the team was greeted with scattered nervous laughter, some fams having started a fund for him to spend the afternoon at the local Odeon. As the evacuation signals were tested, it was suggested that a special signal should be used for the Addickted when Charlton went 3-0 down, such was the mood of optimism. Two maintenance man walked past with a 'tufftool box' to do running repairs on the stand, but perhaps running repairs on the Charlton squad would have been more useful. Should any of them start to stand still, they might well receive the attention of the tree surgeons who were sponsoring the match.
The Tractors started in top gear as if searching for an early goal. Given Charlton's defeat at home last week by Everton (to emerge later in the day as league leaders) and Ipswich's easy midweek victory against Derby, the mood of the Ipswich team seemed to be that this was a stroll in the sun where they could collect three points. This mood of superiority, which was evident among the Ipswich fans, who went beserk when their team had a shot on goal, may have helped Charlton. It was back to the old story of the Addicks being underestimated.
The first incident on note was when Scott Parker made a vigorous challenge for the ball. It was a foul, bit whether it merited a yellow card was doubtful. However, for the Ipswich fans, it was just punishment for someone who had played for Norwich, a rivalry that seems almost as intense as that between Celtic and Rangers. On seven minutes Salako broke through, but with Sereni making his acquaintance with the sacred soil of Suffolk, Salako put in a weak shot which the keeper was able to collect. 'He should have done better' was AC's later comment.
Despite the humidity and heat, Ipswich continued to play at a fast pace. Richard Rufus look confident in defence and good work by him stopped the home side getting a corner. Scott Parker won the ball well, but the still somewhat confused Euell managed to lose it. Although Bartlett was on the bench, it was still unclear where Euell was supposed to be playing. For much of the first half, JJ seemed to be the only player up front, implying a 4-5-1 formation. Consequently, JJ either found himself surrounded by Ipswich defenders or beaten by the offside trap. Ipswich continued to make penetrating attacks and Feesh made a good clearance. Ipswich were given a free kick for the use of the elbow and the shot flashed across the face of goal. Deano made a good save from George as the Tractors attacked again. Graham Stuart was booked for dissent as Ipswich were given another free kick and Mr Dunne pompously paced out the ten yards by which the kick was moved forward. With the half hour approaching, the free kick produced an Ipswich corner taken by Wright. An excellent defensive header by Rufus played an important part in clearing it.
Charlton seemed to be playing too defensively and when they did have half a chance of moving forward, all too often the ball was played back to Deano. Finidi George is supposed to be the greatest force to hit East Anglia since the tractor replaced the horse, but his next attempt was blasted over. Rufus was down and had to be helped off, having collected a yellow card. With Charlton down to ten men, Ipswich had a free kick, but Feesh played an important role in clearing the danger.
Steve Brown came on on 35 minutes to replace Rufus who had been having an excellent game and this was the point at which some Addicks abandoned what little hope they had. However, the Charlton defence continued to put in a gritty if not always polished performance while Deano in goal was on top form. With another Ipswich corner, he made a good save from George at close range. Charlton seemed unable to clear the ball very effectively, but another shot went over the goal. An Ipswich free kick in a dangerous position to the left of Deano's goal came off the wall. In a worrying moment as half time approached, Deano spilt the ball but it went just the right side of the post. The Ipswich corner was cleared, as was another shortly afterwards. Then a deflection off a short by JJ won Charlton a corner, but the whistle blew for half time before it could be taken.
It all seemed a repeat of last week: survival until half time. John Window raised his eyes to the sky before seeking the consolation of a Hamlet. There was speculation about Charlton changes at the break, but the only change was that the two seats next to pitch announcer Brian Cole were evacuated to allow more room for his girth.
Ipswich had irrigated the pitch at half time with giant sprays borrowed from a local potato farmer. This seemed to briefly easy the sweltering temperature. Young made the temperature even more luke warm with a hopeless ball which went zooming into the sky, but redeemed himself almost immediately with a good interception. Scott Parker then showed that Charlton meant business with a shot from 25 yards out that went just over.
Reports in Farmers Weekly suggested that the yield from this year's harvest has been disappointing and Ipswich also seemed to be failing to harvest the goals they thought were theirs as of right. In an attempt to change things round, Burley pulled off Stuart Naylor on 51 minutes, to the disappointment of some of the home fans, and brought on Pablo Counago. Reuser then put a ball just over Deano's goal in front of the most vociferous section of home fans.
Charlton did seem to be more positive in this half and Stuart launched an attack which came to nothing after he extended himself too far without support. Luke Young made a good run. A curling free kick from Salako made Sereni in the Ipswich goal justify his transfer fee. The change that Charlton fans had been waiting for happened when Salako went off to be replaced by Lisbie. A further sign of disquiet in the Ipswich camp was shown when another striker, high scoring Marcus Stewart was pulled off on 64 minutes and replaced by Jim Magilton, returning from injury. Jason Euell lifted the hearts of the Addickted with a fierce volley that Sereni had to turn round the post. Charlton's corner was taken by Graham Stuart who gave another textbook example of how not to take one.
Nevertheless, Charlton were getting back into things and a clearly worried Mr Dunne awarded Ipswich one free kick and then another. Feesh provided a good headed clearance to keep the Addicks out of trouble. Mr Dunne was the able to brandish his yellow card at Luke Young for a foul. It was now that the Ipswich faithful eased their frustration with their first chant of 'boring, boring Charlton'. An Ipswich corner produced nothing more than a Charlton throw in. Ipswich were given a free kick in a direct line with the goal thirty yards out, but it came off the wall. Jason Euell was the next victim of Mr Dunne's yellow fever, for dissent. Ipswich got another corner. Good work by Feesh frustrated an Ipswich attack.
The strategy at this stage appeared to be to make sure of the point and JJ was replaced by Paul Konchesky on 78 minutes. With Lisbie through on goal, he was cynically brought down by Titus Bramble, but the punishment was limited to a yellow card. With five minutes remaining, Lisbie got hold of a forward ball from Young down the right, evaded the hapless Jamie Clapham and put in a volley at an angle across Sereni and into the opposite corner of the net. The ecstatic Lisbie threw off his shirt and left it on the ground while he was surrounded by his teammates. But, under a new interpretation of the rules, Mr Dunne was unable to give the youngster a yellow card, no doubt much to his chagrin.
Ipswich were determined to equalise and Deano made a good save in dangerous conditions. Scott Parker made a good clearance. Ipswich took off own goal specialist Clapham and brought on another forward, Armstrong, on 87 minutes. Jason Euell was brought down, but the referee did nothing. Ipswich won a free kick, but Deano grabbed the ball on the ground. With four minutes time added on, Ipswich won another free kick. A scramble in the Charlton goalmouth saw the ball go just past the post. Charlton were able to keep the ball up the other end for the remaining time, although Mr Dunne managed to take a throw in away from them for time wasting. Then the whistle blew and the team came forward to receive the applause of the Addickted, with a special chant for Kevin Lisbie. John Window turned to me and said, 'You were there, you saw Lisbie score.' Deano also got warm applause, while Chris Powell did his trademark three cheers routine. It was an important victory for Charlton and one earnt by consistent hard work in some of the hottest weather I have encountered at a match in England.
There was a dispute during the week between geographically challenged Hooch the Pooch (northern match analyst)and south coast match analyst Homer the Cherry Hound which was not resolved by an inconclusive dog wrestling match refereed by Bob the Dog. However, Homer then pointed out that Ipswich was at the head of an estuary like Southampton and this argument won the day. The black labrador may have wished he hadn't when he eased himself into his seat in the press box to be greeted with a chant of 'Who ate all the pies?' But it was all worthwhile after the match when he was able to bound round to the dressing room and award Kevin Lisbie his first ever Silver Bone. Sport First has named his goal as an early candidate for Goal of the Season. Deano had another great game, keeping a clean sheet for Charlton. Chris Powell must have increased his England selection with a sparkling performance which contained some moments of real skill. Rufus showed his quality until he had to hobble off: thankfully, he has a fortnight to recover. Feesh made a number of important defensive interventions and surged forward threateningly at one stage. Young continues to improve and showed some real pace in very hot conditions. In midfield Stuart was workmanlike, but his corners were once again disappointing. Salako saw a lot of the ball in the first half, but his delivery lacked accuracy, although his free kick is worthy of mention. After last week's lacklustre performance, Parker had a much better game and had one good attempt on goal. Peacock showed the combination of commitment, aggression and skill which demonstrated that he is more than a bit part player filling in for an injury crisis. JJ had insufficient support up front in the first half to achieve anything and received considerable attention from the Ipswich defence. Euell improved considerably as the game went on and he felt able to attack more. Brown put in an accomplished performance when he came on and made some important defensive headers. Konchesky was on for too short a period to make much impression on the game.
Juneau the Soccer Cat had no hesitation in awarding the Hiss of the Match to referee Steve Dumb who managed to dish out six yellow cards to Charlton players, as well as constantly interrupting the match with his whistle. So much for professional referees!
That was the forecast of the pessimists (of whom Charlton has more than its fair share) after the Addicks lost 1-2 in their first match of the season to Everton. Bolton Wanderers are top of the Premiership tonight, but that does not mean their relegation worries are over, any more than Charlton's 5-0 opening victory during their first Premiership season saved them from relegation. The first result of the season does not mean an inevitable relegation dogfight.
With Charlton so badly depleted by injuries and the suspension of one of their most important players, Richard Rufus, I thought that a point was a realistic target for the match. Everton proved not to be a very good side, but their physical aggression was sometimes too much for Charlton. After an insipid first half, I reflected that I had seen better football at Nene Park on Thursday when Rushden and Diamonds entertained Lincoln City. But Curbs sought to sort it out at half time pulling off Parker and Salako in favour of Fortune (making his first appearance in the first team) and loan signing Gavin Peacock. The Addicks had an excellent spell just after half time and eventually went ahead through a goal from JJ. The Toffeemen drew level with a penalty and then made it 2-1 with a conversion from a corner, a department in which Charlton were woefully lacking. The simple fact of the matter was that the midfield were largely absent in terms of their impact of the game and the forwards did not get the service they required. This was reflected in a general absence of chances for Charlton. Without Jensen and Kinsella, the midfield was not of Premiership standard.
Both sides started the match rather hesitantly as if they were surprised to find themselves playing a real match at last. A Charlton free kick was delivered far too deep by Graham Stuart and then Steve Brown defended by putting the ball just over the Charlton goal, although the referee awarded the Addicks a goal kick. He made up for it by giving the Toffeemen a couple of dubious free kicks. Meanwhile, Ferguson had felled Kiely, who required treatment, Young having put the ball out of danger. Then as the quarter hour approached, with little worth writing about, Everton were given a free kick to the right of the Charlton goal. The ball bounced off the crossbar, but the referee had already blown up for a free kick. JJ was brought down twice in succession, but the referee, who appeared to believe that Scousers are allowed to be physical did nothinng. Salako won a free kick and then managed to put the ball well over the goal.
Everton stepped up the pressure and Deano made a good save, followed by a clearance by Steve Brown. Then Deano had to make another clearance. Parker had a shot at goal which was at least on target, but he might have done better to lay the ball off to Bartlett. Chris Powell needed to clear an attack and did. A good tackle was put in by Young. JJ burst through, but was judged to be offside, although he felt that he had been fouled. Just after the half hour, JJ won Charlton their first corner, but it was easily cleared, a foretaste of what was to happen for the rest of the afternoon. A foul by Steve Brown led to an Everton free kick about 35 yards out. The short was a fierce one, but a good save was then made by Deano. A couple of minutes of sheer panic in the Charlton defence followed as they tried to clear the ball and lamentably failed. With three minutes of time added on, Deano made a save, but was caught out of position, leading to an Everton corner. Stuart was felled in the confusion and required treatment. Fortunately, the ref eventually blew the whistle and the Addickted could reflect with relief that they had not gone behind in a poor first half.
Charlton were on the attack in the opening minutes of the second half. Good approach work involving Luke Young among others gave a chance to Bartlett and the ball was only just over. As Euell pounded towards goal, he was obstructed, earning Everton their first yellow card. However, the ball from the resultant free kick came off the wall. Everton were soon back in the game again and Feesh had to make a key clearance at the expense of a throw in. With Everton piling on the pressure, Deano could only see the incoming ball from Pembridge late and made a brilliant fingertip save. Graham Stuart showed good control for once and put in a ball to JJ which drew a save from Gerrard. Luke Young won Charlton a corner, an opportunity used to no good effect by Stuart. However, JJ then made good use of a weak header by Weir and scored by putting the ball over the keeper at the Uncovered End.
Charlton are at greatest danger just after they have gone ahead and Everton were soon piling on the pressure again. An Everton free kick produced a corner. Deano fumbled the ball and it had to be cleared off the line, but then the keeper redeemed himself with an excellent save. Young made an excellent tackle to win the ball, but then Euell was ruled offside. Bartlett was injured, eventually leading to him being pulled off. Ferguson seemed to handle the ball, but Brown felled Campbell. There was little protest at the penalty and Ferguson scored for Everton.
Somehow Charlton seemed to lack the spirit to take charge of the game once more. Confusion in the Addicks defence presented a golden opportunity to Kevin Campbell who only just missed. Luke Young put in a hot cross, but there was no one there to connect with it. Peacock won a corner, but he might as well not have bothered. The hearts of the Addickted were not raised when Bartlett had to be taken off with an injury in favour of Missbie. No doubt some would have preferred to see Sir Clive Mendonca on the subs' bench, but such a physical game was not for him. Ferguson fouled Steve Brown yet again, and when the Scottish oasis of calm protested to Mr Barry, the referee pointed to various locations aroubd the pitch, saying 'there, and there and there'. Graham Stuart broke through, but found several Toffeemen sticking to him and was easily dispossessed.
Everton made one of their best moves of the afternoon when an excellent diagonal ball was put into Mark Pembridge near the corner flag. His cross flashed across the goal, Everton winning a corner. This was delivered with much more pace and accuracy than anything Charlton had been able to offer and the ball was slammed into the back of the net by David Weir. A Charlton corner shortly afterwards was a textbook example of how not to do it.
Everton made their first substitution of the afternoon, replacing Niclas Alexandersson by one of the leading graduates of their charm school, David Unsworth who got a warm welcome from the away support. Gravesen fouled Peacock and Mr Barry gave Everton their third yellow card of the afternoon, Charlton receiving none. Stuart put in a hopeful shot that was way over. JJ put in a good cross, but all it led to was a Charlton corner. Stuart had now given up trying to deliver accurate balls and took it short, but to no greater effect. Lisbie managed to beat his marker, but drove the ball into the side netting, rather than giving JJ an opportunity to equalise. With three minutes of time added on, Graham Stuart courteously delivered a free kick into Gerrard's arms. In the closing minutes, it looked as if Everton might make it 3-1, but a good tackle by Fortune avoided humiliation.
Match analyst Bob the Dog has awarded the first Silver Bone of the season to Dean Kiely for a number of saves that kept Charlton in the game. Steve Brown played his usual game with a number of his reliable trademark defensive headers. Chris Powell was effective at penetrating down the wings and was reliable in defence. Feesh had a generally good game, making a number of key interceptions. Luke Young had given some concern during the pre-season friendlies, leading some fans to nickname him 'Luke Warm', but he looked much more effective today. Stuart had a generally poor game, making a number of errors. His corners leave much to be desired and it would have been better to let Salako take them while he was on. Euell showed some nice touches, but the problem was that he seemed uncertain what his role should be. Indeed, he seemed to be playing in about three different positions in the course of the game. JJ had a generally good game, scoring an unusual but excellent goal. In the first half, he seemed to be the only forward that Charlton had and received the full attention of the Everton defence with no intervention from the ref. Bartlett also played well and it was worrying to see him substituted because of an injury. Parker had a surprisingly insipid first half in which he played very little part in the match and it was a relief when he was taken off. Salako did make a couple of nice moves, but once again showed that he should not start at this level. Peacock had an excellent game when he came on, showing the skills he displayed at Roda. Fortune was solid enough, but requires to develop further to be an effective Premiership player. Many fans' hearts sunk when Lisbie came on and his performance did little to reassure them.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to the Bloke Behind Me. Steve from Sidcup and I had decided to call a truce on criticising the BBM, but his incessant stream of negative and ill informed comments was too much to endure.
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