Watford report We expect to report from Watford sometime on Wednesday in so far as work constraints allow. Please go to Volume 4
Hythe, Hants.Joe the Saint is about to open the champagne after Southampton gained their first ever victory at St.Mary's Stadium at the expense of Charlton. The attendance was the highest ever at either St.Mary's or The Dell: 31,198. On Friday the stadium had been blessed by a leading Hampshire pagan, Cerridwen 'Dragonoak' Connelly. St.Mary's had been built on a Saxon burial site and it had been suggested that the spirits of the pagans had been offended by being given a Christian burial after they had been disturbed.
Saxon spirits, however, had little to do with a poor performance by the Addicks. The scoreline was 1-0, but it could have been much worse if it hadn't been for some great saves by Deano and the Saints' profligacy in front of goal. Charlton seemed to specialise in playing the ball out of defence to the nearest Saint. Joe the Saint commented that Charlton's back four had given Southampton plenty of space. This was particularly evident at the start of the second half when the Saints started playing high balls into the box. As Saints piled on the pressure, they managed to break from a poorly taken Charlton corner. Beattie crossed to Pahars who put a near post header past Deano on the hour. Charlton tried to get back into the match, but the nearest they came was a shot from Steve Brown that hit the post. But they hardly deserved an equaliser and there was some booing from the Addickted at the end of the match. As we came back on the Hythe Ferry, the safety announcement seem slurred, so obviously the captain was a Saint, while Joe pointed out a passenger with a 'I hate myself and want to die' sweatshirt as an likely Addick.
Charlton started in a composed enough fashion and their early defensive moves were well worked out. Chris Powell won an early free kick in a promising position, but Jensen's effort came off the wall. Saints won a corner on six minutes. The ball was put out by Feesh for a second corner. The programme had drawn attention to Deano's propensity to punch the ball out and this is what he did, leading to an eventual clearance. With Saints coming forward again, Steve Brown was called into action for one of his trademark headers. On 14 minutes Saints won their third corner. A second corner was unnecessarily conceded by Chris Powell when the ball was going out of play, but fortunately it was cleared. As Saints piled on the pressure, Feesh had to make two defensive headers and then the error prone Powell played the ball into danger. Some twenty minutes into the game, Charlton managed to put together a decent build up, but it petered out.Graham Stuart put in a decent ball into JJ, but his cross was hopeless with no one in sight to connect with it. Deano had to make a great save on 23 minutes. Southampton came powering in, although they look offside and the ball went right across the face of the Charlton goal. Luke Young turned provider for Jensen who won Charlton their first corner of the game, but it was comfortably collected by Paul Jones. Deano was called on to make another important save from a short distance shot which went straight at him. The valiant Feesh provided some more good defensive work.
With half an hour of the game gone, Strachan was seen going beserk on the touchline. A colleague was obliged to share a garden with him at his Warwickshire home and used to wake to the sight of the ginger nut running round the garden screaming at the flower beds. On 40 minutes Deano had to save at the feet of a Southampton attack. The Southampton corner was followed by a second which was cleared by a Feesh header. With two minutes time added on, Konchesky gave the ball away, but the Addicks fortunately survived.
Any hope that things might improve for the Addicks after half time proved to be forlorn. If anything, Saints stepped up the pressure. On 51 minutes Saints won a corner and although it was partially cleared a shot came in that was just over. A Charlton corner was taken short which is always a waste of time. Luke Young won a Charlton corner, but Saints broke away and, Beattie evading Konchesky, for Pahars to put the ball in for the winning goal on 59 minutes. On 64 minutes Konchesky was pulled off for 'super sub' Robbo. With little improvement in Charlton's performance, Scott Parker came on at 70 minutes for Kinsella. A Charlton free kick was turned on to the top of the net by Jones, but the corner produced nothing more than a throw in which was cleared. Following another Saints corner, JJ won one for Charlton on 78 minutes, but Bartlett's effort was well over. Pahars had a chance, but failed to convert it. The ball then went across the front of Deano's goal, but he just managed to get a hand to it to prevent the Saints going 2-0.
With another Saints shot coming in, it was deflected for a corner. The Saints won a second chance. Stuart was pulled off for MacDonald. The Saints took off Pahars in favour of Kevin Davies. It was then that Steve Brown hit the post. Three minutes added on saw the Addicks making last desperate efforts with no success.
Milly wrote 'Rubbish' in my notebook at the end of the game. Joe the Saint thought it was the best Southampton performance so far this season. Charlton missed Euell in attack, but the main problem was the leaden defence, although, apart from Jensen, the midfield hardly sparkled.
Match analyst Homer the Cherry Hound having lost his 100% away record has awarded the Silver Bone to Racing and Footabll Outlook columnist Deano. He had to cope with onslaught after onslaught and made a series of great saves. Feesh was the best performer in a disappointing defence, making some important clearances. Steve Brown did his best, earning a yellow card as he stopped one attack on goal. Chris Powell seemed unusually error prone. Paul Konchesky made one potentially serious error and seemed below his usual standards and was eventually taken off. Luke Young had a reasonable game, but sometimes seemed to be out of position. Graham Stuart replaced Scott Parker, but the decision was a dubious one given his contribution. Mark Kinsella has not seemed to be at his sharpest for some time and eventually had to be withdrawn. Jensen made as good a contribution as anyone in going forward, but his unwillingness to tackle sometimes caused problems. Bartlett never really seemed to get much of a chance to exercise his skills. JJ made a positive contribution, but never really came near scoring. Robbo was energetic when he came on, but did not make a great difference. The same could be said of Parker . It is a long time since we have seen Charlie MacDonald playing in the first team, but he had few opportunities to impress.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to the stadium manager for (a) not maintaining the locks in the ladies loos, so that a lady Addick was trapped and (b) turning the lights off in the away section at half time.
Crowd rating: The visiting Addickted were there in force and were in good voice despite the poor fare on the pitch. 8/10. (Some people have subsequently said on the list that they thought the level of support was poor, most significantly someone sitting in the Southampton seats. I suppose it depends on where you sit).
The last time there was a 4-4 draw at The Valley was before Charlton's first Premiership season when they battled back from a 2-4 deficit against Norwich to secure a point. That was when there was no modern West Stand and when the Covered End was still basically as it had been between the wars. On Monday night Charlton were playing in what for me was at first a different stadium with the combined effect of the new floodlights, seen for the first time at night, and the further enlarged Bartram End. The new fans sitting in the north-west quadrant certainly had plenty of entertainment. First Thames Ironworks went ahead with a fluke goal, then Jason Euell equalised. Euell made it 2-1 for Charlton, but then the Hammers were level again. 2-2 was the half-time score. Charlton went 3-2 ahead through a well taken goal by JJ, but poor defending allowed the visitors to make it 3-3 through an unlikely Kitson hattrick (what odds would you have got on that before the game?). When Defoe made it 3-4, the Addickted faced the prospect of being defeated on their own ground by a player who had deserted the club. However, a bicycle kick from JJ provided the equaliser to make it 4-4 in the dying minutes of the game.
Monday night also saw the last issue of long-standing Charlton fanzine, Voice of the Valley . When we drew 4-4 with Norwich, editor Rick Everitt remarked that it was not a good result. Charlton should have beaten the Ironworks if their woeful defence had not been almost matched by that of Charlton. The Hammers were allowed too much space and too much time on the ball to build up their attacks (particularly noticeable with the third goal). Charlton once again showed their propensity to go behind to an early goal and to fail to be able to hold on a lead. We continue to miss Richard Rufus and some strengthening of the defence is required. What happened to the prospect of Bak at the back is unclear.
The match started with a series of interedterminate throw ins. Then Chris Powell made a rare mistake creating a moment of danger which ended with an offside decision. West Ham's first goal started with what looked to me like a push on Steve Brown in front of the East Stand. A pass from Di Canio was collected by Kiston who put in a low drive which bounced off the post and into the corner of the net beyond Kiely's reach. Jason Euell tried to put Charlton back in the match, powering through the West Ham 'defence', but there was no one to connect with his cross. The Irons won a corner, but Steve Brown was able to head the ball out. Deano dealt with a deflected shot from a free kick. Parker made a great run, but his shot was woefully off target. He then had another attempt, but Hislop saved his shot without any great difficulty. Hutchinson made the first of his trademark dives. As the quarter hour approached, a free kick gave the Addicks a half chance, but Feesh's shot was off target. On seventeen minutes a misplaced and foul throw in gave Kitson another scoring opportunity, but Deano produced a reflex save low to his left. The West Ham corner was dealt with through a Chris Powell header.
Charlton's first equaliser came on 21 minutes. Kinsella put a high free kick into the box and Christian Dailly messed up an attempted haded clearance. Hislop fumbled the ball and Euell slotted it into the back of the net from five yards. Hislop rushed to the very edge of his area to deal with a Charlton attack, producing a corner taken by JJ. A second corner was taken by Konchesky. The ball was played in again, but eventually saved. On 28 minutes brilliant defender Repla gave the ball away in the box to JJ who passed it to his strike partner. Euell put in a close range shot which beat Hislop at the near post.
It is an old football cliche that a team is most vulnerable when they have just gone ahead and that is particularly true when the team concerned is Charlton. A ball from Minto set up Kitson who got the better of Kiely and scored his second from fifteen yards. Euell was soon in again, but his attempt was saved. Then a Feesh header was tipped round by Hislop, producing a Charlton corner that was wasted by being taken short. Kinsella was brought down by Minto. Good work by Konchesky won Charlton another corner. At the other end Deano was called on to make a save. Euell burst through again, but his shot was just wide of the top of the post. Steve Brown was brought down and required treatemnt. On 43 minutes an unmarked Euell had a chance for a free header, but Hislop made a save at full stretch at the expense of a Charlton corner. West Ham made a break, but they were stopped by Chris Powell. Jensen made a good run, but it came to nothing. In the two minutes added on, Charlton continued to press home the attack but to no avail.
In the second half an early Charlton corner was collected by Hislop. Di Canio broke away from what passed for the Charlton defence and bore down threateningly on Deano's goal, but the angle was such that his shot ended up on the roof of the net. Then after six minutes Parker put a great ball through to JJ, leaving him one on one with Hislop. The calm Finn slotted the ball past the keeper to score an excellent goal. Luke Young was released by Jensen, but was off target. Chris Powell won Charlton a corner, but all it led to was a Charlton throw in. Luke Young made a powerful run, but it led to nothing. Brilliant work by Claus Jensen won the Addicks a corner, but it was cleared. The Hammers decided it was time to change things around and on 62 minutes Scott Minto went off to tepid applause to be replaced by Steve Lomas. Hutchinson was withdrawn in favour of Joe Cole. Then on 64 minutes the Irons made it 3-3. Feesh failed to clear a cross from Di Canio with a header and Sinclair was able to turn provider for Kitson to complete his hattrick. It has to be said that it was poor defending that allowed West Ham to get the equaliser. Schemmel put in a terrible tackle which left Chris Powell on the ground, but Mr Wiley thought that it only merited a yellow card. Luke Young powered in and won Charlton a corner. Konchesky played the ball into JJ, but his shot was deflected for another Charlton corner. Luke Young put in a header from the corner which was not far over. Good work by the increasingly influential Luke Young with JJ won a Charlton corner, but Hislop was able to collect.
Kitson was pulled off in favour of Jermain Defoe who was greeted with a chorus of boos and shouts of 'Judas'. A West Ham corner was cleared by Scott Parker, but he collided with the hoardings on the West Stand side in doing so and was unable to rejoin the game for a couple of minutes. JJ won a Charlton corner and then a West Ham corner from a deflected shot was cleared. Defoe then gave his critics their answer by making good use of a Di Canio cross to put West Ham 4-3 up with a volley. Rather late in the day, Curbs decided to make some changes. On 84 minutes Luke Young was replaced by Robbo and Scott Parker went off in favour of Bartlett. There was a scramble in front of Hislop's goal and Euell got booked for giving Mr Wiley his opinions about his failure to award a corner. It was only in time added on that JJ was able to pull things level with his bicycle kick and give the Addicks a well deserved point.
Match analyst Bob the Dog hurried round to the dressing room as fast as his arthirtic legs would carry him to present the Silver Bone to programme sponsor Jason Euell not just for his two goals, but for an all round battling performance. When he won his first Silver Bone at the Hawthorns, Euell vowed to add to his collection and he shows every sign of doing so. Deano let in four goals, but each of them was difficult to save and to some extent he was let down by his defence. Apart from one or two moments, Powell seemed to be less in evidence than in some matches. But perhaps this was because he was playing in front of Konchesky and I was not finding him where I expected to see him. Brown made some of his trademark headers, but a question remains about whether he has enough pace to compete effectively at this level. Young was criticised by some fans for getting forward too much. As one fan suggested, if he is going to do that, he would benefit from shooting practice. Feesh made some good interventions, but was he always in the right position to cope with the Irons attack? Konchesky had a good game, including one moment when he outwitted Di Canio. Parker seemed to have been told to shoot at goal when he had a half chance, but his efforts did not trouble Hislop. Kinsella was often quite busy defensively which perhaps says something about the strength of the defence. He seemed a bit off the pace after his exertions in Iran. Jensen had an excellent game, always looked like a threat coming forward and displayed some moments of real brilliance. JJ was a little quiet to begin with, but more than redeemed himself later in the match. Bartlett had too little time to make an impression. Robbo did his valiant best in the limited time available to him.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to Jermaine Defoe. No explanation needed.
Crowd rating: Further work on the Covered End and the additional numbers seemed to make a difference. There was good volume for much of the match. 7/10.
We are confident that our quality can bring us a valuable three points this afternoon - Arsene Wenger in the programme
No disrespect to Alan Curbishley's team but we are expected to beat them here at Higbury and that's right, we should beat them on our own turf with the huge talent we have in the squad - Arsenal hero Tony Adams in the programme.
You're surely not going to take those three points - Arsenal fan at Marleybone.
I bet you enjoyed that - Irishman on the train.
We were beaten today by an average pub team - Arsenal fan on 606.
These quotations sum up the flavour of Charlton's great day out at Highbury. The one about an average pub team soon had Charlton fans ringing up 606 to ask what it said about Arsenal if they were beaten at home 4-2 by a pub team. The post match commentary inevitably concentrated on the 'crisis at Arsenal'. But nothing could detract from Charlton's victory in a match which all the pundits had declared a foregone conclusion apart from the size of Arsenal's margin. The last time Charlton won at Highbury was on 29th October 1955 when the scoreline was also 4-2 (Ryan, Kiernan, White and the great Stuart Leary scoring for the Addicks).
Before the match an invariably cautious Alan Curbishley said that anything Charlton picked up at Arsenal would be a bonus ball. I started to think we might have a chance on Saturday when a red robin came to enjoy some worms I have revealed digging up tomato plants. Then, following a Leamington victory against superior opposition on Saturday, the Association of Canine Match Analysts made its shock decision to drop senior match analyst Bob the Dog and replace him by the lucky labrador, Homer the Cherry Hound, who covered Charlton's away wins at Ipswich and West Brom. Hooch the Pooch came to pick up a disgruntled Bob the Dog at breakfast time to visit mutual canine friends around Shipston on Stour, but the decision turned out to be a wise one.
What was evident from the start of the game was that Arsenal had tremendous pace, particularly on the break. The initial attention of the Addickted was taken by Ljungberg's bizarre haircut which had a red stripe down the middle. A free kick gave Scott Parker the chance to power away, but Arsenal soon had the ball back again. Steve Brown was called on to clear an attack. Then after just five minutes what the Addickted had dreaded happened. Having hit the post moments before, Thierry Henry used a pass from Viera to power through, and with Deano stranded at the near post, he put in an angled ball which went off the inside of the post and into the back of the net. Then the Gooners threatened to make it 2-0 with Pires putting in an angled shot that was just wide. Then Deano had to collect a deflected shot from an Arsenal corner, before Jensen decided to have a go from distance, but his shot was well over. Feesh was obliged to condede an Arsenal corner. The Addicks were clearly under pressure and the real risk of a rout was in the air. The corner was taken by van Bronckhorst and Kinsella had to stop Viera's header with a goal line clearance. The ball came in again, but Scott Parker was able to clear. Charlton were able to apply some pressure at the other end and Jensen won Charlton their first corner, but it was cleared.
With Arsenal on the attack again, Chris Powell made a good defensive header to Deano. Then Deano was called on to make a diving save. Chris Powell won a corner for the Addicks, but it was taken short which never works. Then with Deano caught out Steve Brown cleared and it ended with a goal kick. There was some trouble between Paul Konchesky and Henry and referee Halsey had to have a word. In a smart move, Konchesky cleared the ball off Lauren not far from the corner flag to win a Charlton throw in. The reliable Feesh made a good clearance. Charlton then engaged in a slow and patient build up, but Konchesly over hit his cross from the left, leading to an Arsenal throw in near the corner flag. Although Feesh had a good game, there was a moment of danger when his hesitation in front of goal failed to clear a ball from Pires and allowed Henry to win the ball, but the shot went just past the post. Steve Brown showed he was up to the occasion by winning the ball. Charlton were beginning to get into the game more, but then Arsenal had another break with Ashley Cole shooting over. Feesh leapt into action with a great tackle. With Deano well beaten, Henry put the ball across the front of the goal. Steve Brown cleared and Viera's attempt was blasted over.
JJ was brought down on the wing. Ashley Cole, a popular figure with the Addickted, won a yellow card and Jensen's free kick was intercepted by Steve Brown who put a header into the net on 34 minutes. Arsenal were rattled and Vieira quickly earned another yellow card, but Wright collected the free kick. Deano was called into action again and made a great stop, Feesh getting rid of the ball. Charlton were now applying real pressure and the Woolwich rejects were starting to look unsettled. Nevertheless, they launched another attack, Chris Powell clearing initially and then Deano saving on the ground. Then another Charlton free kick taken by Konchesky enabled Jason Euell to pressure dodgy keeper Richard Wright who headed the ball into the back of his own net. A Charlton corner was punched out. Then Scott Parker was given a yellow card for fouling Henry as he was launching an attack, although the Arsenal player received nothing for his shove on the midfielder. The free kick came off the wall and Luke Young was able to get the ball away. Deano was called on to make another stop and Keown blasted over. Some excellent play from Euell brought the half to a close. The pundits in the gents gloomily pointed out that we were 2-1 ahead at half time last year before going down 5-3.
As the second half started, Deano rushed out of the area to challenge for the ball and won a Charlton throw in. Van Bronckhorst put in a diagonal cross that went fractionally wide of the post. A Charlton corner was taken short in a routine involving Konchesky and Jensen and was cleared. Then Viera lost the ball in a dangerous position to JJ. Jensen got the ball to the left of goal in what looked like an impossible position. However, he curled in a great ball over the hapless Wright to make it 3-1. 'We Want 4' chanted the Addickted and a shot from JJ was just over. Then on 54 minutes Euell took advantage of a pass from Jensen to burst through an Arsenal defence that was in tatters to put in a low ball past Wright. An ecstatic Jase celebrated in front of the Addickted. Fortunately, he remembered that he did not have to run out of the ground but could text message his friend. Deano was called on to make a save and Euell won a Charlton corner but it was cleared.
Despite coming from the Hertfordshire triangle (which has its apex at the dreaded Tring), referee Halsey had had a good game, ably assisted by Wendy Toms on the line. However, when Feesh tried to win the ball off Henry, he dived and a penalty was awarded which Henry duly converted on 59 minutes. With over half an hour left, the Gooners clearly thought they were in with a chance against the pub side, but the Addicks defended resolutely. Deano was required to punch out the ball and then had to save a fierce shot from the left. Arsenal kept up the pressure and Scott Parker was replaced by the more experienced Gavin Peacock on 67 minutes. A minute later Arsenal pulled off Cole in favour of Wiltord to give them more punch up front. After Jensen was obstructed, Charlton won a free kick in a promising player, but Konchesky's ball came off an Arsenal defender. Konchesky made an error which gave von Bronckhorst some space, but Deano was able to make the save. A shot from Cole was put out for a throw in. Arsenal claimed a corner, but got a goal kick. With the pressure piling on, the Addicks were happy to clear the ball for a succession of Arsenal throw ins.
Like most Addicks, I was now anxiously watching the electronic scoreboard. There was a worrying moment when an Arsenal shot came off the post: 3-4 would have been difficult with time left. There was trouble between Lauren and Konchesky and both were booked. On 79 minutes JJ was pulled off in favour of Robbo who could be relied on to put himself about for the remaining minutes of the game. A couple of minutes later Jensen was replaced by Bartlett. There was a worrying moment when Steve Brown was down for a while. Gavin Peacock did just what was required by playing the ball down the wing. With three minutes time added on, Peacock won Charlton a useful corner which was taken short.
Then the referee blew up and the Addickted saluted the team. I thought it was a dream and I would soon wake up. Joe from New Eltham commented, 'There'll be some thick heads tomorrow.' A Charlton fan said to me on the tube station, 'Cheer up, we've just won.' I replied, 'I still can't believe it.'
Homer the Cherry Hound was spoilt for choice in deciding which of the team of Premiership strugglers should win the Silver Bone. Eventually he decided it should go to Claus Jensen for a truly wonderful goal that made a comeback by Arsenal difficult. Deano had some worrying moments in the first half, but was more secure in the second. Apart from one error, Feesh was a rock at the heart of the defence. Steve Brown showed once again that he is not a bit part player. There could be few more popular opening goal scorers. Chris Powell had a game which showed that he is still in contention to be England's No.3. Apart from one error, Konchesky once again played very well. Luke Young had a new, more severe haircut and, as in JJ's case, this may have been a mistake as he was not very prominent. Scott Parker was busy and effective in midfield. The contribution of Kinsella was more defensive, including one vital clearance. JJ was not much in evidence in the first half, but made an important contribution in the early part of the second half. Euell had an excellent game, including a great goal, and must be beginning to silence his critics. Peacock made a good contribution in midfield when he came on. Robbo gave his all and was involved in one threatening attack. Bartlett had insufficient time to make a major impact.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to Henry for diving.
Crowd rating: The Addicks were understandably subdued after Arsenal's early goal and for a while all we could hear was a stream of advice from Pam from Sidcup seated immediately to our right and egged on at one stage by Brian Cole. But they recovered their voices after Charlton equalised. 8/10.
Leamington faced one of their toughest tests of the season when they faced Midland Combination Premiership side Pershore Town (Borchester to Archers fans) at the New Windmill Ground in the Endsleigh Challenge Cup. However, a 18th minute goal from veteran captain Brian Agar was enough to give the Brakes victory. A missed first half penalty denied them the chance to make it 2-0, but the discipline of Leamington, with midfielder Nick Mort outstanding, blunted the attempts of the Vale of Evesham side to draw level. The nimble feet of Joshua Blake taunted the Pershore defence and a grumpy Bob the Dog, denied the chance to go to Highbury tomorrow, has awarded him the Silver Bone.
A joyful Josh Blake in front of the North Bank at Harbury Lane
We placed ourselves between the two dugouts at the New Windmill Ground. The dulcet tones of Worcestershire to our left suggested that the Vale side had brought some support. Indeed, some strange banners were seen alongside the giant Leamington St.George's Cross on the North Bank, including a red banner that appeared to have an eastern looking castle on it. The attendance was later announced as 451 which would be better than at many Scottish League matches. The referee was sponsored by Grecian 2000 and within two minutes of the start the officious lino on our side, enjoying his period in the limelight, was telling the Pershore coach to sit down. Pershore's strategy was clearly to go for an early goal and they forced two early corners. Then on 18 minutes Josh Blake burst through. The Pershore keeper headed the ball away, but if fell to Brian Agar who put a beautiful arcing ball into the back of the net. Then the Brakes had the chance to make it 2-0 when Blake was brought down in the box, but the shot went outside the post. Pershore's injured No.11 went off and a fat defender was put on. I thought the public address system said that he was called 'Nigel Little' which would have been very appropriate, but in fact his name was Nigel Russell.
As Leamington continued to outplay the visitors, the despairing Pershore coach was heard to yell, 'Start winning some balls.' Then Pershore made a break, but superb defending by Glenn Webb ended a moment of danger. Suddenly Leamington keeper Richard Morris was way out of his area trying to win a throw in on the wing. 'He thinks he's Barthez' commented the bloke beside me. Leamington won a corner, but the ball was cleared off the line. As the teams went off for the break, the crowd was invited to win £500 by forecasting the Arsenal-Charlton score.
After the break a Pershore corner demanded a good save from Richard Morris who tipped the ball over the crossbar. Good work by Josh Blake won the home side a corner. The Pershore coach kept yelling 'second ball', but their first ball wasn't that marvellous as they were harried by a mobile Leamington side. Good work by Leamington created a chance for right back Ian Billington, but he missed. There was concern among the home support when keeper Richard Morris needed attention.
Good work by Josh Blake on the right wing saw him break through, but his shot was just over. Then the irrepressible Joshua came in with a cross from the left, but Glen Webb just missed. There was more grounds for concern when Morris went down again when the play was at the other end. With the keeper limping, the key was for Leamington to keep possession which they mostly managed to do. Blake just missed again. Pershore's day was summed up when they managed to put a free kick out of play for a throw in. Without scoring seven goals as they had in their last two matches, Leamington were on top for most of the match.
The Association of Canine Match Analysts has named Homer the Cherry Hound as match analyst for Charlton's clash with Arsenal at the Library on Sunday. Senior match analyst Bob the Dog described the decision as 'barking mad', but Homer had specially asked for the job as his local team, Didcot Town, plays in Arsenal kit. ACMA's decision was influenced by the fact that the black labrador has never seen Charlton lose this season and was present at the away victories at Portman Road and The Hawthorns.
The three canine match analysts with Homer the Cherry Hound in the centre.
Charlton fans tried to take what consolation they could as the Addicks went down 0-2 at home to Liverpool. The defeat halved the 0-4 scoreline at the end of last season. When Bartlett came on and the Addicks played three up front with JJ on the wing, the Addicks looked more threatening. But the fact remains that they were unable to score even a consolation goal. The Premiership today is big business and Charlton is a successful medium-sized business trying to compete with the big boys. As Steve from Sidcup put it, 'it was men against boys.' Liverpool had world class footballers on the bench, Charlton had none in the team. The newly opened upper tier of the North Stand (perhaps one day to be called the Sam Bartram End) looked impressive enough, but invited the reflection that it would be a superior setting for Division 1 football. Charlton certainly cannot buy their way out of trouble. A club with a £12 million debt and a £28 million turnover cannot go much further into debt. Which leave selling players as the only and controversial solution.
Charlton started brightly enough in front of a crowd of 22,887, their largest for nearly quarter of a century. However, Feesh was soon called into action more than once to provide defensive cover. Konchesky was also good in defence at this stage, returning the ball to Deano. A foul by Henchoz looked as if it might be a yellow card but referee Peter Jones was disinclined to act. Charlton looked unlikely to break through, despite a good Chris Powell cross, a useful long ball to Euell and a good build up which ended in an offside decision. Then on 14 minutes a long throw from Wright found Konchesky inadvertently turning provider. Redknapp put in a clean shot which left Deano with no chance.
Charlton's response seemed to be that of a demoralised team lacking confidence. Too many simple errors were made. For example, Kinsella over hit a pass to give Liverpool a throw in. Good work by Jensen led to Charlton's first corner, but Konchesky's delivery was headed over the bar by Jason Euell. Good work by Euell then produced a useful cross, but there was no one to connect with it. Deano had to make a save from Litmanen. Kinsella gave the ball away again, but then JJ was able to win a corner for Charlton. This was a repeat of the earlier corner, but Konchesky's delivery being headed over by Euell. A Liverpool corner was cleared. Feesh was again involved in good defensive work. Kinsella gave the ball away yet again and hit the ground in frustration. Steve Brown made a good stop with Owen bearing down on Deano's goal. Programme sponsor Jason Euell was involved in winning Charlton a corner. This was partially cleared with the Addicks winning a second.
Then suddenly Luke Young was storming in aggressively. He put in a good ball to Euell, but the striker's shot was deflected for a Charlton corner. Konchesky's corner was punched out by Dudek and Jensen put in a shot which was just past the post. Charlton were now showing more spirit and their best chance of the half came when unusually good work by Kinsella gave JJ a chance, but he put his shot wide. Deano was then called on to make a good save from a stinging shot. Then, just as Charlton looked as if they might be getting back into things, the match was put effectively beyond doubt. A good pass forward by Hamaan was collected by Owen. Deano advanced off his line and Owen had no difficulty in putting the ball over him. Some Addicks liked to think that the goal was offside, but I do not believe that it was.
Charlton started the second half with renewed determination, but Steve Brown was called on once again to block Owen. Luke Young made a break but was denied. Kinsella put in a hopeful shot that was from too far out and did not have enough pace, perhaps explaining why we have not scored from the midfield so far this year. Robbo was tripped as he advanced on goal, but no yellow card was given. Charlton did, however, get a free kick at an angle to the goal, but Konchesky's shot went off the wall. Much to his annoyance, Owen was caught offside twice.
Konchesky put in a good ball to JJ and his shot went off the post. Feesh was called on to make a block. On 60 minutes, Curbs decided to try to sort it out and replaced Konchesky by Bartlett. Two minutes later Owen was replaced by Fowler. Euell played a nice one-two with JJ, but his shot missed. The ref at last brought out the yellow card when Robbo was fouled by Wright. Charlton pressure won a corner, but it was taken short and cleared. More good work by JJ enjoying his space on the wings led to a Charlton corner, followed by a second. Robbo put in a shot which hit the woodwork.
This was probably Charlton's best spell of the match. Excellent ball control by Feesh down by the corner flag allowed Charlton to break. Then Redknapp fouled Jensen. The resultant free kick led to a Charlton corner. Luke Young put in an anything but lukewarm drive from 25 yards out which Dudek had to turn aside for a throw in, followed by a Charlton corner. Then a throw in by Luke Young had to be punched out. On 71 minutes Redknapp was pulled off in favour of Berger. Good work by JJ produced another Charlton corner, but Feesh's header was off target. Then Feesh almost blotted his copybook by playing a dangerous ball back to Deano. Chris Powell turned provided for JJ, but the Finn's header was very poor and well off target.
More pressure produced another corner for Charlton, but the ball was collected by Dudek. Charlton attacks often seemed to end in free kicks for the visitors. Heskey was brought on in place of Litmanen on 82 minutes. Berger put in a hopelessly wide shot. On 86 minutes Parker was brought on for Jensen. A puzzlingly large number of early leavers were spotted in the upper tier of the north, but someone explained that there were special discounted tickets that allowed you to watch the first 85 minutes. A challenge by Wright on Kinsella led the full back to get his marching orders. The free kick was wasted. Euell put in the ball to JJ, but he was just wide from an angle. In three minutes time added on, Charlton had one last chance from a corner, but the keeper collected.
Match analyst Bob the Dog has awarded the Silver Bone to Steve Brown for a defensive performance which exceeded all expectations and included a number of vital stops. Deano did not have a lot to do, but might have dealt with the second goal better. Feesh had an excellent game, making some important defensive interventions. Young was one of the best Charlton players and came close to scoring. Powell had a solid game, although he found it difficult to penetrate the Liverpool defence. After one of the better performances at Villa, Konchesky was something of a disappointment, giving the ball away more than once. Robbo did hit the post, but one is still left with questions about whether he is good enough at this level. Jensen had his chances, but was not able to take them. He was not particularly creative. Kinsella had another poor game, more than once hitting the ground in frustration. What is his problem? Euell did as much as anyone to lift the Charlton crowd, but was not able to find the back of the net. JJ was at his best after Bartlett came on and he had more space in which to operate. Bartlett made a useful but not outstanding contribution after he came on. Parker was on for too short a time to make a difference, but had one or two good runs.
Controversial guest Hiss of the Match analyst, Penny from Dartford, awarded the hiss to Alan Curbishley for not starting Parker and bringing him on too late. She also accused the manager of 'lack of vision'. Juneau the Soccer Cat had the East Stand linesman in mind.
Penny from Dartford - guest Hiss of the Match analyst. Emblematic of the current state of Charlton
The crowd only really got going in the second half and is given 6/10. It was difficult to estimate the effect of the new upper tier. It didn't sound too impressive from the East, but Dick Sheppard, who is partially deaf, thought the effect was impressive when heard from the West Stand.
Match analyst Bob the Dog received national recognition when his decision to give spectator Shaun Newton the Silver Bone after the dismal performance at Villa was referred to in the Independent on Sunday report on the Liverpool game.
Match analyst Bob the Dog
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