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Our report from the Liverpool game and subsequent matches will appear at Volume 3 .
Charlton were outplayed by an impressive Aston Villa team at Villa Park on Wednesday night. In many ways they were fortunate that the margin was not greater than 1-0. After a ragged start and a first half in which Deano was below his usual standards, Charlton were more impressive after the break, but could not penetrate the Villa defence. Villa continued to enjoy plenty of space, especially on the wings, where Charlton had fewer assets to deploy. Afterwards at New Street Station fans were heard to utter the dread 'R' word.
As we arrived at Villa Park, it started to rain, bringing the familiar train of thought: Villa Park, raining, away defeat. Following reports of a training ground bust up, Todd was missing from the line up, although the absence of Stuart from the bench was more puzzling (I subsequently learned that he was injured in training). (BTW, the University of Warwick was pleased to provide pre-match training facilities for Charlton). One consolation was that I did not have any problems seeing the action in the first half, as it was largely in front of the Charlton goal. Villa were soon on the attack and early danger was averted by good play by Chris Powell in front of goal. Deano then made a risky clearance to avoid an early corner. He then had to make a good save from Hendrie. With the pressure mounting, Chris Powell was called into action again and then Deano collected a cross.
The sequence of events that led to the Villa goal began with a free kick awarded against Scott Parker for a foul on Hendrie. Chris Powell put the ball out at the expense of a corner. The ball was poorly and weakly cleared by Deano and Kachloul had no great difficulty in putting it in the back of the net on eight minutes, a feat for which text messaging Villains were later to ward him man of the match.
The pressure on Charlton was showing with the usually reliable Paul Konchesky making a panic clearance. A free kick from thirty yards out was collected by the busy Deano, but then Villa put in a shot just past the post. Villa came in again, but two players got in each other's way which was just as well as the Charlton defence had gone awol. Villa were simply better in every department at this stage of the match. Then the first time in the match Charlton mounted an attack. A slow and patient build up started with good work by Scott Parker with Chris Powell contributing. The final outcome was a shot from JJ that flashed across the Villa goal.
Luke Young helped the Addicks to win their first corner on 19 minutes, taken by Paul Konchesky. CJ played a good ball to Luke Young, but nothing came of it. Shaun Bartlett put in a promising cross which produced a Charlton corner, but the corner itself was cleared. Steve Brown showed once again that he is a man who won't let you down with a good clearance. Vassell broke through with Konchesky on his heels, but Deano was able to clear the loose ball. A hopeful shot by Hendrie went over. Luke Young put in some good defensive work. With Jensen beaten in midfield, Feesh made a crucial defensive intervention. Deano inexplicably cleared straight to Dublin, but his header was not well controlled and missed. JJ put in a cross which was collected by Schmeichel. Kachloul put in a shot across goal and I thought Deano might have made contact, but instead of a Villa corner Charlton were given a throw in.
Scott Parker tried one of his trademark runs, but it came to nothing. Deano was caught off his line, but was able to back pedal in time to make a save in front of the crossbar. Konchesky received treatment after a tackle which seemed a bit late, but no yellow cards were given in the match. In time added on, Charlton won a corner. Konchesky's delivery was excellent, but it all came too late in a poor half for the Addicks.
Curbs tried to sort it out, bringing Euell on immediately after the break to replace Shaun Bartlett. Deano was caught off his line, but the shot missed. Then a cross flashed across his goal. JJ put in a shot across Schmiechel's goal which was not too far off. Villa won a corner, but Deano collected. Luke Young put in an excellent angled shot, but there was no one there to collect. Charlton also showed themselves vulnerable to the offside trap. On 61 minutes Deano made a brilliant save which went off the woodwork at the expense of a Villa corner. Scott Parker made a good run, but Jason Euell just failed to connect with the available ball. With Villa making another dangerous attack, Feesh made a good clearance. Charlton won a corner taken by Jensen, but it was eventually cleared. Jensen was pulled off in favour of Robbo, presumably in an attempt to give us some width. On 69 minutes Hendrie was replaced by Ian Taylor. On 84 minutes Curbs played his final card with Chris Powell being replaced by Gavin Peacock. Scott Parker put in a shot that was just over. Charlton were denied what seemed to be a corner. With two minutes time added on, last desperate efforts were made to equalise, with JJ connecting with a cross but putting the ball out for a goal kick.
Someone said to me last Saturday that Charlton had the sort of side that drew, won 1-0 or lost 0-1 and that seemed to be confirmed at Villa Park. The defence was solid enough, but the midfield and the attack did not combine to produce any real threats to Schemichel (who nevertheless got so agitated running around, screaming instructions and putting his head in his hands that he had to towel himself down). The usual suspects on the list are calling for spending on players, but I am informed that there is no real money available.
With no Charlton player particularly outstanding, match analyst Bob the Dog has awarded the Silver Bone to a spectator for the first time ever. Former Charlton and now Wolves player Shaun Newton was in the crowd supporting his former teammates and receives the Silver Bone for his loyalty. Deano had a mare of the first half and the Villa fans clearly thought they had a dodgy keeper on his hands, but the more they jeered him, the more his performance (and especially his kicking) improved. But wouldn't he kick more accurately if he ran straight at the ball? Steve Brown once again demonstrated why he is Mr.Dependable, always to be relied on in an emergency. Chris Powell played well and Feesh made some vital clearances. The much criticised Luke Young had quite a good game. Apart from one error Konchesky did well. He is certainly our best corner taker. In midfield Jensen did not show much creativity and is of little use at closing people down. Parker had another good game. Although it is almost sacrilege to say off, I think that Kinsella is well below his usual standards and played relatively little part in this game. John Window was among those who thought that JJ rather than Bartlett should have come off. JJ is certainly playing less well this season, but he did look a threat on the wings sometimes. Bartlett contributed very little. Euell showed some nice touches when he came on , but was closely marked and was unable to make a decisive breakthrough. Robbo was as enthusiastic as ever, but did not add much value. Peacock was limited to a cameo role.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to the silly clip of a kitten with a ball of wool that was played on the big screen whenever there was a corner. It made her hair stand on end.
Crowd rating:At one point some of the Covered End lads ironically shouted 'All together now'. Even the Villa were quiet, but the Charlton support never recovered from the hammer blow of the early goal. 3/10.
Charlton have only scored twice in their last three games and both of those goals came from Jason Euell. The first was a penalty against the Baggies, but Euell scored his first goal in free play for the Addicks to win a deserved share of the points against Derby at Pride Park. His stunning 25 yard shot in the 73rd minute came after Charlton had been 1-0 behind for most of the match despite playing the better football for much of the game. The one big question was how the Addicks were going to find the back of the net and Euell provided the answer three minutes after coming on as a substitute.
We had joined the West Sussex minibus at Watford Gap and the sight of Des from Worthing on board reassured that us that we could deal with any rampant Rams. As driver Roland Silcox edged us through the M1 roadworks we were overtaken by a lorry laded down with canisters of helium and methane. It appeared that we were to receive a visitation from Planet Tring and the name of Graham Poll appeared in the programme. However, it was the banker from Billericay, Andy D'Urso, who officiated and, apart from one bad error, he had quite a good game. As we waited for the match to begin, I was able to observe the ball control skills of the sister of one of my students who was a Derby mascot. A special two year season ticket deal was announced with a guarantee of one season in the Nationwide.
Charlton kicked off and started brightly. Scott Parker won an almost instant free kick and within a minute of the start Jensen was taking a corner for Charlton. This was easily saved by the man mountain in the Derby goal, American Ian Feuer, who presumably played basketball before he learnt about soccer. Jensen put in a good ball to JJ and the Derby clearance seemed to receive assistance from a player's hand. Derby started to attack and Feesh made a good defensive clearance at the expense of a throw in. A moment of danger was dealt with and then Kinsella was called on to defend. Derby won their first corner. Good work by Chris Powell delivered the ball to Jensen, who passed it on to JJ but Feuer collected confidently. On seven minutes Derby won a second corner taken by Darryl Powell which Deano collected.
Danny Higginbotham collected a yellow card for a tackle on Scott Parker. Derby burst through and Darryl Powell put a shot into the side of the netting. Luke Young put in a poor ball which was presumably intended to be a cross but was easily collected by Feuer. Then on fourteen minutes Andy Todd conceded a corner. Craig Burley put the ball in and Ravanelli found enough space at the near post to put in a header that Deano could only push into the back of the net. The Addickted were shocked by the rare sight of Charlton conceding a goal.
Charlton tried to get back into things and JJ came powering in, but the ball was cleared for a throw in for the Addicks near the corner flag. On twenty minutes JJ put in a decent ball to Bartlett, but the South African's bicycle kick caused no problems for Feuer. Chris Powell and Ravanelli got involved in handbags at six paces and d'Urso had a word with both of them, threatening that any repetition meant that they could spend their next free weekend in Billericay. On 26 minutes Jensen had a half chance but missed. Scott Parker gave the Rams a free kick in a potentially dangerous position, but nothing came of it.
Errors by Charlton threatened to give the home side the chance to double their lead. Luke Young, who was having a mare of a game, lost the ball for a Derby throw in. An error by Konchesky allowed Ravanelli to advance on goal, but Deano was able to deny him at the expense of a corner which was cleared. Scott Parker made a great run through the heart of the Derby defence, but his effort was marred by a poor finish. Christie broke through and put a ball across the face of the goal. JJ, who was doing good work on the wings, turned provider for Bartlett. Feuer pushed the ball round the post, but the referee failed to give a corner. Deano was called on to make a great save. The Addicks won a corner but Feuer collected. Great work by JJ fed the ball to Chris Powell who passed it to Kinsella who won a corner for Charlton. There was a bit of a scramble in front of the goal, but the ball was cleared and Derby went in at half time with a 1-0 lead.
Would this be the first match at Pride Park that Charlton lost? Fortunately I was able to get an expert opinion at half time from pitchside announcer Brian Cole. Normally he asks players how their broken toe is coming along, but I was able to ask him about the match. He commented, 'We have had seventy per cent of the possession, but we can't cross the ball into the box.'
The opening minutes of the second half did not suggest that Charlton were going to get back into the match. After three minutes the Addicks won a corner, but it was taken short which never produces anything. A good cross from CJ led to a Charlton corner. Jensen took it, but the keeper collected. Why are our corners so unproductive? Perhaps Konchesky should have taken some of them.
A challenge on Scott Parker led to a yellow card for Christie. With Derby looking threatening on the break once again, Kinsella made a good clearance. Jensen decided to try a long curling shot which was not far wide of the post. Curbs decided that Luke Young had to come off and he was replaced in the 58th minute by Robbo. With Feuer down on the ground, Charlton had a great chance to score, but Bartlett sent the ball past the post. Deano made a good save, deflecting the ball for a corner. Shaun Bartlett put in a decent cross, but no one was there to connect. On 62 minutes Christie was pulled off in favour of Burton. Kinsella decided to have a shot, but the ball was easily collected by Feuer. Jensen put in a good cross but Bartlett missed. A foul on Robbo produced the third yellow card for Derby and a Charlton free kick in a promising position. Jensen put in a good shot and Feuer had to dive low to his right to palm the ball away.
Curbs now played what turned out to be his trump card and pulled off Bartlett in favour of Euell. Making use of a long kick from Deano, Euell made a move reminiscent of Lisbie at Ipswich. He let the ball bounce over his shoulder before unleashing a thunderbolt of a right-foot volley over Feuer and into the far corner of the net. Alongside Lisbie's effort it was a contender for goal of the season and it produced a delirious reaction among the Addickted.
The closing phase of the match provided some pulsating football for the crowd of over 30,000. Deano made a good save from a cross. A dangerous loose ball was collected by the keeper. On 85 minutes Jensen was taken off in favour of Gavin Peacock. Ravanelli put in a dangerous ball, bit it was saved on the ground by Deano. Pressure from Ravanelli earned Derby a corner. A late Derby break fizzled out. With three minutes of time added on, Robbo preferred safety first and put the ball into touch for a Derby throw in. Then the whistle blew and the Addickted saluted their side. It was a much better performance than against 'Boro. The local Villa are nervous about our visit there on Wednesday. The throwaway line on Radio 5 news, 'Elsewhere Derby drew 1-1 with Charlton' failed to capture the excitement of this tense match.
Match analyst Bob the Dog was able to present Euell with his first ever Silver Bone. 'We never had anything like this at Wimbledon', the striker commented, adding that he hoped to build up a collection to rival that of Deano's. Deano had another great game, making a number of important saves. Chris Powell had a generally good game, often looking threatening coming forward. Todd sometimes look a bit overawed by playing on his dad's inmmaculate pitch which was subject to synchronised lawnmowing at the end of the game. Feesh was impeccable, making some key interceptions. Luke Young was back in lukewarm mode with a mare of a game. Konchesky was not as solid or impressive as he has been in some recent matches, but was generally satisfactory. Kinsella plays very defensively these days and seems below his very best. He seems often to be playing in the same position as the busy and dynamic Scott Parker to the extent that they seem in danger of colliding. Jensen had an excellent game, particularly in the second half when he played out on the wing. Bartlett had a disappointing game, again failing to take chances to score. JJ has never been at his best since he had his new haircut, but did some good work on the wings, feeding the ball into Bartlett. Robbo was no great improvement on Young when he came on. His enthusiasm and work rate is excellent, but has he peaked? Peacock was on for a short period, but made a substantial contribution with some nice touches.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to the person in charge of the electronic scoreboard which announced that Steve Brown was coming on to replace Euell.
Crowd rating: More a red batallion than a red army complained Brian Cole who claimed that only twelve people wanted to sing. Often all that could be heard was the advice of Pam from Sidcup which can sometimes be almost Acworthian. The Addickted came alive after the Euell goal. 6/10
After Saturday's 0-0 draw only one goal has been scored in the last three games between Charlton and Middlesbrough. So perhaps it wasn't so hard for the Boro fan writing in the programme to say that the match had 0-0 written all over it.
Middlesbrough's plan on a very warm October day was clear enough. Keep things tight defensively, make use of the offside trap and secure a point. The script was followed. Indeed, even the extra scene of a winning goal scored by their one outstanding player, Boksic, nearly came true. Boro were more than a little helped by the desire of referee David Elleray to ensure that the chaps from the north had a spiffing day out and by some strange offside decisions by the East Stand linesman.
It wasn't that the Addicks played bad football. Particularly in the first half, their passing was neat and assured. But despite their dominance in the first half hour, they rarely threatened the Boro goal. As the game went on, Boro came into it more and nearly scored through Boksic. In the second half, the Charlton midfield often seemed absent, while an unmarked Luke Young was often ignored as he called for the ball on the right.
Drinkers spilled out on to the pavement of local pubs before the match as they enjoyed the warm sunshine. At the R*se of D*enma*k, as a fire engine sped past, there were worries that a tender part of Mervyn Day's anatomy had caught fire. A second pump screeched to a halt opposite the pub under the mistaken impression that last orders had been called. When I got to the ground, Steve from Sidcup informed me that he had been 'Acworthed' on his way to the ground. The Sage of Sidcup had got on to the bus, accompanied by two disciples eager to learn from his expert knowledge of football, leading Steve to retreat upstairs.
JJ earned an early free kick which led to two successive Charlton throw ins, but when the striker was fed the ball in front of goal his shot lacked power. Boro were always looking for a chance to break and two good stops were made by the head of Feesh. With Robbo surging away on the right flank, an interception by Gavin led to him being injured and to his later substitution. Chris Powell won the first of a succession of Charlton corners which reflected the home side's dominance in this phase of the game. Although Konchesky was able to work the ball back to Kinsella, the keeper was able to collect the ball. It wasn't long before a second corner followed, but although Bartlett made contact with Konchesky's delivery, his header went over the bar. Good work by Scott Parker won a third Charlton corner, but it was cleared. An excellent tackle by the impressive midfield player gave the Addicks the chance to break, but they were not quick enough to make the most of the chance. It was Parker who won Charlton their fourth corner, which was followed immediately by their fifth.
Around the half hour Boro had their first spell of sustained possession. A tackle by Scott Parker led to him receiving a ticking off from Mr Elleray. Ince tried to score from the free kick, but his shot went over. Boksic put in an excellent shot that flashed across the front of the goal and went just wide of the far post. Feesh made a good tackle to deny Greening. Robbie Mustoe was brought on in place of the injured Gavin. Robbo won Charlton their sixth corner, but it led to nothing more than a throw in. Boksic broke through and Deano was called on to make a good save. Konchesky put in a good diagonal ball which was deflected for a Charlton corner, followed immediately by the home side's eight which, once again, was not productive. Andy Todd made a good interception.
The Addicks won a free kick after a foul on JJ. From over thirty yards out, Paul Konchesky put in a thunderous drive that almost went in. With a good cross put in by Robbo, JJ just missed the chance to score from a header. A Charlton corner was taken short and immediately followed by a second, the tenth of the half. If corners counted in some way, Charlton would have had a commanding lead. But you have to make something of them. Luke Young put in a good cross, but with only one minute added on, Mr Elleray was able to blow up for his cup of tea.
Immediately after the break a shot by Parker drew a save from Crossley. Todd got the better of Boksic and Parker had a good run on goal. Mr Elleray is a three cards a game man and he gave his first to Andy Todd for a foul on Nemeth. A Boro free kick led to a Boro corner which was only partially cleared and required a save from Deano. JJ was able to break through and have a go. Nemeth was pulled off in favour of Carlos Marinelli. A free kick was awarded against Todd in a dangerous position and Marinelli was not far off with his shot. Boksic put in a powerful shot which was only just past the post. Seeking to reinvigorate the midfield, Curbs pulled off Robbo and brought on Jensen. Scott Parker was given a yellow card for a foul, although a foul by Ince (who had been up to all sorts of tricks when the ref's back was turned) on JJ was studiously ignored by the geography master. Boro had a free kick in a dangerous position to the right of the box, taken by Marinelli. A dubious free kick awarded by Mr Elleray, who had clearly taken a shine to the northerners, led to a Boro corner. Play continued in front of the Charlton goal and Boro won a second corner. A push on Shaun Bartlett in the area was greeted with a benign smile by Mr Elleray. Boro were given a free kick against Todd and Deano was called into action to make a save.
Things seemed to be going Boro's way, but great work by Chris Powell won the Addicks a corner, but once again to no avail. Luke Young then won a corner for Charlton, but Boro were able to break and Deano had to make a save. With Mark Wilson fouling Scott Parker, Mr Elleray was able to fill his quota of three yellow cards. Shaun Bartlett had not been much in evidence for some time and he was taken off in favour of Jason Euell.
The tireless Scott Parker was able to stop a dangerous surge by Marinelli. In a dangerous moment, Deano stopped an attack by Boksic on the floor. Euell won Charlton a corner, but it was cleared. Luke Young broke through, but his effort, perhaps meant to be a cross, was hopelessly wide. Boro took off Boksic and brought on Dean Windass. With three minutes of time added on, Kinsella put in a fierce shot which Crossley spilled. Were we going to see a last minute goal? No, Mr Elleray blew the whistle. The result was not an unfair reflection of the match, Charlton failing to capitalise on their early dominance.
Match analyst Bob the Dog has announced the award of the Silver Bone to Deano who secured his third clean sheet in a row.
Although showing an earlier hairstyle, this Roland Silcox picture of Deano remains a favourite. With so many Silver Bones, perhaps Deano will give one to the Simple Simon pub he visits when he is in Warwick.
Chris Powell had a good if not inspiring game and received a patronising pat on the back from the referee for one effort. Todd did his job, if at the price of giving away too many free kicks. Feesh made a couple of important interceptions. Luke Young was one of the more inventive players and should have been given more of the ball when he was in a good position and signalling for it. Robbo started well and was in the thick of things, but faded somewhat before he was substituted. Konchesky had an excellent game and his continued improvement is one of the encouraging features of the season. Apart from Deano, Scott Parker was the best Charlton player on the pitch, always busy in attack and defence. Kinsella is below his best standards, but came as close as any Charlton player to scoring. Apart from one header, Bartlett was not very prominent in this game. JJ did his best, but never looked like scoring. Jensen was competent enough when he came on, but did not provide the creative spark one might have hoped for. Euell had relatively little time in which to make an impact, but did little beyond winning a corner.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to the East Stand linesman. Steve from Sidcup took the view that he ruined one scoring opportunity with a poor decision.
Crowd rating One of our readers has asked us to give a crowd rating. Against Leicester it would have been 9/10. Curbs complained in the programme about the crowd and today's effort would merit only 5/10. The crowd were generally subdued in Charlton's best spell. They came alive towards the end, but the noise was often generated by frustration rather than anything else.
A well taken penalty by Jason Euell in the 19th minute was enough to give the Addicks a 1-0 victory at The Hawthorns in the Worthington Cup on Tuesday, representing the best progress in the competition for Charlton in fifteen years. The Addicks were able to hold on to their early lead and could have made it more substantial if some chances had been taken, although credit should be given to Fortune, Robbo and Kinsella for opportunities they seized and nearly scored from. At the other end, Deano kept Charlton in the game with some great saves.
The penalty was highly controversial with the home support who chanted '1-0 to the referee', booed off the officials at half time and booed Chris Powell every time he got the ball. However, television pictures confirmed that the No.3 had been brought down in the area by a sliding tackle. Central Television argued that the Baggies should have had a penalty in the 53rd minute following a challenge by Scott Parker. However, although the Baggies piled on the pressure in the second half, and there were some moments when all depended on Deano, the Londoners generally commanded the midfield and were more accurate in their passing.
It is a rare match when I can take a direct train from Leamington to the ground. At Birmingham Snow Hill we were joined by listmaster Glynne, club development officer Ian Cartwright and other supporters, many of them well fortified for their visit to England's highest ground. Reliant on night buses, they expected not to get home until 3 a.m., but we were back in the Spa in time to see the highlights on television. Apparently only 250 tickets had been sold in advance, but many Addicks paid on the night to boost the numbers to several hundred.
The match started fairly quietly, giving the Addickted a chance to admire Deano's new lime green kit which merged into the grass. Presumably a sign of the new Marks and Spencers influence at the club. West Brom decided to have a pop at goal with a free kick from forty yards out which went way over the crossbar. Kinsella made a good defensive header to Deano, but the ball came back in and a cross was cleared by Fortune. West Brom started to step up the pressure and won their first corner after nine minutes. This was cleared, but a second corner followed. After a spell of head tennis in midfield the Baggies made a break and Fortune was outwitted by Scott Dobie, supposedly the greatest thing to come to The Hawthorns since the Metro. He put in an excellent cross, but fortunately none of the Baggies managed to connect with it. West Brom won a third corner and the ball had to be punched out by Deano. After a Charlton free kick had been dealt with by the keeper, Fortune was beaten again. The West Brom corner was followed by a throw in from near the corner flag, but was followed up by the kind of wild shot which seems to be a local speciality. West Brom were dominating the game at this stage and this is perhaps why there were so aggrieved about what their manager later admitted was a fair penalty. Euell looked very anxious on the television pictures, but dispatched his shot into the corner of the net.
With their confidence enhanced, the Addicks went on the attack. Scott Parker broke meancingly on the right, but managed to deliver the ball to a Baggie. Then a chance fell to Chris Powell in front of goal, but he blasted the ball over, the agony showing on his face in the television pictures. Robbo was released and, seeing the keeper off his line, put in a shot which was not far off target.
The Covered End contingent broke into a chant of 'If you can't spell Charlton stand up'. Charlton won their first corner and Jensen drew a good save from the keeper at the post. Fortune received a yellow card. As the game moved into one minute of time added on, West Brom had a corner.
West Brom came out with renewed determination in the second half and for a while had Charlton under the cosh. A free kick for the Baggies was cleared and then they over hit a corner. Deano was put under real pressure and just managed to clear the ball with his hands before it was kicked away, I think by Brown. A Charlton corner was cleared and then Kinsella put in a fierce shot which went just past the post. Dobie put in a fierce shot which drew a great save from Deano. With Jensen not fully match fit, Paul Konchesky was brought on. The Baggies took off Adam Chambers in favour of Warren Cummings. James Chambers was then withdrawn in favour of Des Lyttle. West Brom produced another hopeful shot from a free kick forty yards out which went way over. A dispute over a throw in led Robbo to get a yellow for dissent. A free kick taken by Deano produced a Charlton corner taken by Konchesky.
The Baggies produced a new ball whenever one went out of play and this produced two balls on the pitch at one time. Tempers were start to fray and JJ was booked along with a Baggie after handbags at six paces. Jason Euell had a great chance to score in free play when he was one-on-one with the keeper in front of goal, but managed to put the ball just over. Deano made a good save from a long diagnol shot. It was really now a matter of clock watching. Robbo was pulled off in favour of Lisbie. A West Brom corner was overhit. A free kick produced another corner for the home side, but it was cleared. Then it was all over and the Baggies could look forward to Millwall on Thursday, a fixture for which we wish them luck. Charlton were the marginally better side on the night and in that sense the result was fair. Away at Grimsby anyone?
Match analyst Homer the Cherry Hound has awarded the Silver Bone to Deano whose parents live half a mile from where this report is being written. The keeper made some superb and vital stops. Didcot based labrador Homer arrived in Leamington in time to cover the match, Bob the Dog being preoccupied with a visit to the canine beautician the next day. We have won every match at which Homer has been the analyst. Presumably drafted in to replace the injured Andy Todd, Fortune was sometimes outmanoeuvred by Dobie in particular, but he had one good attempt on goal with a header. Brown was on good form and made one vital block. Chris Powell had a great game in both attack and defence, pausing to applaud the away support at one point. Luke Young was less involved than some of the other players. With Charlton starting with a 3-5-2 formation, this was a match in which the midfield shone. Kinsella had another great game, showing how vital he is to our success. Some fans thought he was below his best, but he still had a very positive influence. Jensen showed that he has lost none of his skill, although he is still not fully match fit. Robbo was very much involved, with mixed results, collecting a card for dissent which is rarer these days. One was left with doubts about his future role in the team. Parker was on great form and made a good contribution. Apart from his penalty, Euell's contribution was sometimes disappointing and he missed one golden chance to score. JJ was somewhat less in evidence than usual, although his most important contribution was clearing the ball off the line. When he came on Konchesky was as effective as we have recently expected him to be, often surging forward. Unfortunately, there was going to be no repetition of the 'Fleet match and a t-shirt saying 'I saw Euell and Lisbie score.'
Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to the stewards who were trying to make a Covered End contingent at the back of the stand sit down. Does it really matter in a sparsely populated stand?
Thunder and lightning marked the interval at The Valley on September 29th, but it also characterised the first half of the Premiership encounter with Leicester City. Since the return to The Valley I have not seen a Charlton crowd as angry as they were following referee M Dean's dismissal of Steve Brown as he lay on a stretcher. Intitial rumours suggested a broken ankle or leg, but this was later denied by Mick Collins from the press room and John Window saw Brownie setting off for Brighton after the match in his car. The pitch was bombarded with merchandise catalogues, leading to the new quiz question 'Who has 10,000 copies of the Charlton catalogue? The referee'.
However, the sending off of Steve Brown revitalised a match that had up to then been in line with the dour draw forecast by Sport First. Leicester had been playing for the point and Charlton seemed to lack the determination and penetration to break them down. Reduced to ten men, the Addicks showed a new fighting spirit. The lino drew the referee's attention to what was judged to be a professional foul by Junior Lewis (who should not have been on the pitch at all according to some Foxes)on JJ and he also went for an early shower. A superb cross by Chris Powell allowed JJ to put the Addicks 1-0 ahead with a sweet goal. Bartlett put the issue beyond doubt by making it 2-0 in the second half. Leicester were ultimately reduced to nine men with a concussed Matt Heath being stretchered off after they had used up their three substitutes. Charlton failed to use their numerical advantage with Jason Euell missing a sitter and then hitting the post. Ironically, the Leicester fan writing in the programme named Carl Leaburn as the player he would have most liked to sign for Leicester. A number of people behind me felt that a third goal might be vital at the end of the season when Charlton were battling with Southampton for the third relegation place. Such fans would take no notice of the 'No Whingeing' sign on the desk of my new American boss. For me, the first home victory of the season, propelling Charlton (at least until Sunday) into twelth place was good enough. Moreover, I had watched one of the oddest matches I had ever seen at The Valley. The football may have been nothing special, but I heard fans using words like 'surreal' to describe it.
With the kick off delayed for fifteen minutes by traffic congestion on the A2, what was happening on the pitch in the early phase of the match was of little more interest than being in a slow moving line of traffic. One wag shouted out in relation to the lack of action, 'What is this? A PFA meeting.' One worrying feature, however, was that Steve Brown was getting beaten in defence. This happened twice. On the second occasion, after Sturridge had evaded the Brighton battler, Deano had to make a save for a Leicester corner. The corner was taken short and Deano had no trouble in saving the attempt when it was made. Chris Powell played in the ball to JJ who fed it to the continually improving Paul Konchesky who put in a good cross. When Walker in the Leicester goal did get the ball, he used every time wasting tactic in the book. Good work from Konchesky drew a save from Walker. Scowcroft had managed to collide with the hoardings at the Jimmy Seed Stand end and had to be substituted for former Cambridge United ace, Trevor Benjamin, demonstrating once again how the Foxes represent quality in depth. With Chris Powell winning the ball well by the goal line, Scott Parker put in a shot from distance which was deflected for a Charlton corner. Paul Konchesky showed that one of his many developing strengths is the ability to put in a good corner. Feesh's header was on target but was caught by Walker.
With Sturridge bursting through for the Foxes, Steve Brown (under pressure from Savage) leapt into the air, but seemed to twist his ankle while he was in the air, inadvertently touching the ball. (Some fans who have seen the video think that it was deliberate: no doubt it will be some time before this one is resolved). Sturridge continued onwards, but his shot hit the post. As far as Mr Dean was concerned, it was no accident and the red card was flourished over the suffering Brown. The showering of the pitch with catalogues (not programmes as a Leicester report claims, suggesting it was the only fit fate for them) probably disrupted the Foxes' rhythm, but may well earn Charlton a fine. The subsequent free kick was an anxious momnent for the Addickted, but Izzet's effort was deflected. JJ had a go, but his effort was saved. Good work by Chris Powell feeding the ball to JJ produced a Charlton corner after Walker had made a good stop. Charlton had a shout for a handball in the box, but Mr Dean was not taking any notice. Lee Marshall put in a hopelessly wide shot, demonstrating the quality of Leicester's work in front of goal. JJ was apparently fouled as he advanced on goal (although it was difficult to see what happened from the centre of the East Stand). The referee showed no interest, but the West Stand linesman showed unusual initiative in calling for the referee's attention. I thought he was going to call for a free kick (although Mick Collins, well positioned in the West, thought it would be a Leicester free kick). As the ref attempted to speak to the linesman, he had to wave away oasis of calm Robbie Savage, whose every move had been greeted with a boo. Mr Dean produced the red card, although the decision was certainly less justified than that relating to Brown. But possibly he wanted to be able to visit the club shop afterwards to take advantage of some of the offers in the catalogue. Sadly, it was once again a case of inept refereeing shaping a match, but the FA will show no interest in Mr Dean's gross negligence. Fans do not pay to go to a match to see whether the referee is up to it (usually he isn't).
Charlton's free kick was taken by Konchesky. Accurate and forceful, it was saved by Walker. Then came the moment of joy for the Addickted. Chris Powell's superb cross was converted by a header from JJ as normal time came to an end. Charlton did not do anything foolish in the four minutes remaining. As the officials left the field under escort, Izzet was arguing vociferously with them.
When the second half resumed, the rain was torrential and those in the uncovered part of the Covered End were forced to run for shelter. Chris Powell seemed to be having some trouble with his back in the first half and Andy Todd came on in his place. Mr Dean generally makes about four bookings a match and he moved towards his quota with a booking of Todd for daring to make a challenge. The Foxes put in a shot through the middle which Deano saved. Frank Sinclair then put in a long, high shot which could have proved awkward, but Deano saved it well. Scott Parker could have broken through, but instead laid the ball off. Luke Young made a good run, but all it produced was a Charlton throw it. Deano was fouled by the ace from the Fens, Benjamin. Some brilliant work by Andy Todd saw him take a free kick quickly, allowing the ball to be released forward. Although Scott Parker missed the chance to score,he passed the ball to JJ who put it across to the far post where Shaun Bartlett made no mistake to put the Addicks 2-0 ahead. Frank Sinclair received a yellow for fouling JJ. Kinsella put in a good shot at an angle from the free kick, but Walker managed to save it.
Determined not to be yet another manager to fall to the curse of Charlton, Peter Taylor made two sizzling substitutions. The substitute Benjamin was himself substituted by Andy Impy while Sinclair was pulled off in favour of the taxi drivers' friend, Denis Wise who did subsequently force a good save from Deano.
Leicester won a couple of corners and Shaun Bartlett was somehow injured. It took a time, however, for his signals to the bench to get a response, producing shouts of 'Sort this one out Curbishley.' As Euell changed leisurely out of his track suit, JJ made a good run and Deano was called on to make a great save. Euell finally came on after 66 minutes. With Leicester reduced to nine men after Feesh's legitimate challenge on Heath, he missed from an awkward angle. JJ then burst through, skinned the Leicester defence and evaded an attempt at a foul. Unfortunately, Euell was unable to put the ball in the net, although every Charlton fan was willing him to do so. As Tracy from Dartford commented afterwards, 'Last year against Leicester we saw the goal of the season. This year we saw the miss of the season.' Good work by Luke Young gave JJ a chance, but he shot at the keeper. Leicester were still trying to get back into the game and Deano made a good save. Kinsella put in a great shot which just missed. A Luke Young run ended in an offside decision. Paul Konchesky advanced threateningly, but was dealt with by a good tackle. Scott Parker put in a lame shot. When Kinsella's shot at close range rebounded from Walker's chest, it should have been easy for Euell to score. However, showing once again that he appears to be a cross between Leaburn and Lisbie, Euell managed to hit the post. With three minutes added on, it was evident that the score was not going to change. A tiring Mark Kinsella was replaced by John Robinson. We went to the pub to see Taylor's resignation speech, but he declared his intention to soldier on, saying that 'the Chairman had been in the dressing room', no doubt to deliver the vote of confidence. One wonders whether a change of manager would make any difference, given the quality of the Leicester side. Charlton have now won two, drawn two and lost two, respectable enough given the injury crisis. And the sight of Jensen on the bench gives hope for the future.
With Bob the Dog suffering from his arthiritis, Homer the Cherry Hound was persuaded that The Valley would be more exciting than Didcot Town in the Cherry Red Records Hellenic. Given that he covered Charlton's victory at Ipswich, the choice was a fortuitous one. The black labrador has awarded the Silver Bone to captain Mark Kinsella for the way he lifted the team after the sending off and the general quality of his performance in midfield. It is not surprising that Deano is ranked equally by The Independent with Nigel Martyn as the best Premiership keeper. He had another great game. Chris Powell had an excellent game before he was injured, providing an excellent cross for the first goal. Steve Brown was very error prone. Feesh made some good defensive interventions, although he was not very prominent in the game. Luke Young came into it more as the game went on, making some excellent runs with the ball. Paul Konchesky continues to be a revelation, even though he is playing out of his favoured position. Stuart once again made a relatively limited contribution. Parker seemed to fade as the game went on, although he is clearly an ever present. JJ had a great game, an excellent goal and some great penetrating runs. Bartlett got the ball in the net and was energetic and committed until his injury. Euell remains a baffling disappointment. If only he could find the net once, his confidence would be boosted. Robbo had a walk on part. Juneau the Soccer Cat has given her loudest hiss ever to the referee. One is reminded of former prime minister Harold Macmillan's remark about The Wirral from whence Mr Dean comes, 'Funny place. Sticks out up there.'
After a twelve year absence, Leamington returned to playing football at the New Windmill Ground in Harbury Lane last year. Attracting average attendances of over 500, and a record of over 1,300 for a local derby against the 'Scummers' (aka Rugby Town), they stormed to the Midland Combination Division 2 championship. This year so far they are unbeaten in Division 1, but are in second place behind Rugby Town. Conference standard floodlights and a second stand are soon to be installed. Attendances remain above the 500 mark, a phenomenally high level for the Midland Combination. Our picture below shows this year's programme cover featuring striker Josh Blake in front of the North Bank. One blow to fans has been the news that Italian goalkeeper Fabio Tosti has left football, having been signed by the Italian resturant opposite the Voodoo club.The number of Addickted who have visited this page is:
East Stand, next to Steve from Sidcup
In front of the Bloke Behind Me
Block E, Row Q, And before games at the
R*se of D*nm**k