Our report from the women's semi-final at Woking is now available at Volume 8 . Our Arsenal report will also appear here.
Charlton have not won at Anfield since 1954 when, in Liverpool's relegation year, two goals from Eddie Firmani helped the Addicks to a 3-2 victory clinched by O'Linn in the 88th minute. The last time Charlton scored a goal against Liverpool was three years ago when Keith Jones gave us a 1-0 victory at The Valley in our relegation season. So I did not go Anfield with great hopes and I was not disappointed.
An atmopsheric ground, but not one where the Addicks generally do well.
Two goals in the first half from Smicer and Owen dispatched any hopes that the Addicks might hang on for a creditable 0-0 draw. There was simply too much at stake for Liverpool with Manchester United having displaced them from the top of the table with their 4-2 win at Leeds. With Liverpool 2-0 up, the Bloke Beside Me expressed the hope that it would not be a 5-0 rout. But Charlton came into the game more in the second half and at least kept the scoreline to a respectable level. What the match showed was the growing gap between the top six of the Premiership and the rest. Charlton tried hard enough, more so than they did against Bolton last week. But they were simply outclassed. No doubt the amateur pundits will say that Curbs should have played a different formation, or a different combination of players, but I doubt whether it would have made much difference.
We shared a cab from Lime Street with a Liverpool fan from Epsom. I spotted Des from Worthing who shared some delicious chips. A 77-year old Liverpool fan, his only colours being a Liverpool tie, got into conversation with us and told us of his seventy years of following the club.
Liverpool tried to score in the opening minutes with Carragher blasting over. A quiet phase with a lot of throw ins followed. Berger burst through and won the home side a corner, but Deano comfortably caught Murphy's effort. Chris Bart-Williams put in a good tackle. Charlton made a good move on the right, but the effort ended in an offside decision. Jason Euell made an attempt which was not too far wide. However, a lot of Charlton's efforts were being caught by the offside trap. Deano made a good save. Svensson turned provider for Stuart whose shot was just over.
Charlton had started brightly, but their first moment of danger came when Young gave the ball away. An advancing Deano lost it, but Costa was in place to cover and gave Owen a little nudge, Deano then being able to collect it. The injured Heskey was pulled off for Smicer. Bart-Williams fouled Owen and received a yellow card. Murphy provided a well directed free kick. Chris Powell had failed to mark Smicer adequately and the Vlad was able to put a stinging header into the back of the net on 22 minutes. With Liverpool looking for their second, Rufus shepherded the ball out well. The home side won a corner, but it was partially cleared and then the Addicks benefitted for once from an offside decision favouring them. Luke Young won the first Charlton corner from a throw in down by the flag. Unfortunately, Scott Parker overhit the ball provided by the Bartman.
For much of the match the home crowd was surprisingly quiet, leading the Addickted to chant 'Is this Highbury in disguise?' Good work by Scott Parker enabled Luke Young to win Charlton a corner. Konchesky acquired the ball and his shot was only just over. At the other end, Costa provided a good defensive header. But Liverpool were keeping up the pressure. On 37 minutes a good long diagnol ball enabled Anelka to put in a good cross from the right. Smicer scuffed what appeared to be a shot but it have a golden opportunity to Owen to tap the ball into the back of the net. Some of the Addickted thought there was a hint of offside. Scott Parker picked up a yellow card for one of his trademark vigorous tackles.
Charlton kicked off the second half, but once again were forced back too easily at the expense of a Liverpool corner in the first minute. Jason Euell was brought down in a promising position, but Gallagher smiled and waved play on. A Liverpool corner was cleared off the line by the tireless Jason Euell. Deano then had to make a great save to his right. A Liverpool free kick was collected by the impressive keeper. Smicer got a yellow for a foul on Parker. The Addickted had been chanting 'Kins, Kins, Kinsella' and they got their wish on 57 minutes when he replaced Parker. This was not a popular decision with the Addickted, but he was looking tired. A good build up by the Addicks was wasted when Kinsella blasted over. Henchoz provided a spectacular dive. Good work by Stuart on the right won Charlton a corner. Charlton were now putting some pressure on the home side.
On 70 minutes Konchesky was pulled off in favour of Robbo. Deano had to make a good save from distance. Liverpool were now getting back into the game again and Deano had to save from Berger. On 76 minutes Svensson, yet to score a goal this season, was replaced by JJ. The 44,000 crowd now woke up and started to chant 'We shall not be moved'. Houllier felt confident enough to remove Owen and bring on Litmanen to exchange greetings with JJ.
Jase was brought down and Gallagher decided that it could now do no harm to award the Addicks a free kick. The effort from the Bartman was punched out and the Addicks won a corner, Dudek collapsing on the ground. When the corner was taken it led to a Liverpool break which Deano rushed out of his goal to deal with it. A foul on the keeper led to a Charlton free kick. Liverpool brought on McAllister in place of Berger. Deano made a great save from Smicer. With the ball dangerously in the air, Rufus calmly intervened at the expense of a Liverpool corner. Jase had a half chance, but blasted over. A good cross was provided for McAllister, but he blasted over. Robbo had a go, but his effort was saved. With two minutes added on, Robbo won Charlton a corner, but there was going to be no consolation goal.
Choosing man of the match was a tough call for Hooch the Pooch, although this was one occasion when the shades that the geographically challenged match analyst win on his trips north actually came in handy. Indeed, Valley pitch announcer Brian Cole had given his shades their first airing of the season. Hooch finally settled on Richard Rufus as the recipient of the Silver Bone for a performance of rock like solidity. Deano may have let two goals in, but he also made two brilliant saves which prevented the score line being much worse. The Bloke Beside Me commented that he would be sorry when Costa returned to Portugal and I must say that I agree. He does make the occasional mistake, but alongside Rufus, he presents an impressive central defence. Charlton were more exposed on the wings and Chris Powell did not have one of his better days. Luke Young made a full contribution to the game. Konchesky made one good clearance and positioned himself well for attempts to penetrate the home defence. Bart-Williams remains controversial with many of the Addickted, but he was always involved and, apart from one poor corner, generally contributed well. Stuart managed to avoid simple errors and made some useful contributions, mainly on the wings which is not his natural position. Parker was tireless and his substitution was not popular, but with his U-21 contribution in midweek, he may have tired himself out. Svensson tried to get involved, but he never looked like scoring. He received only lukewarm applause when he was substituted. Euell showed some real skill and came as close as anyone to scoring. The fans called for Kinsella to come on, but he was a disappointment when he did. Robbo tried to bring vigour and determination to the game and did create some half chances. JJ did not make that much of an impact.
Referee Dermot Gallagher may not have been quite as biased as some of the Addicked thought, but it was hardly a display of even handedness. Jimmy Seed would have marked him down in his ledger as a homer. Hence, Gallagher was startled on his return to Banbury by a large American cat jumping out of the bushes and giving him the Hiss of the Match.
Crowd rating: I thought that the Addickted were a bit subdued, although the idea of countering 'Liver-pool; with 'Jason Eu-ell' was a good one. 6/10.
The last time I saw Charlton beaten 1-2 at The Valley by Bolton Wanderers was in 1994. Then the Trotters were heading for promotion while Charlton were seeking to build on the return to The Valley by securing mid-table respectability in Division 1. Now Charlton are a mid-table Premiership team while Bolton are battling relegation. At least in 1994 we were able to score the penalty we were awarded through Steve Brown.
With hindsight the scenario was predictable. The Trotters would battle for the points, while Charlton would only wake up when they had gone behind. Two goals from the only on target shots on goal they had all game put Bolton 2-0 ahead by half time. The Addicks had had a chance to make it 1-1 after Scott Parker had been brought down in the box, but Jason Euell sent his shot wide. Curbs made a double substitution taking off the Bartman and Luke Young and bringing on JJ and Robbo. The substitution had the desired effect and JJ got Charlton back into the game on 52 minutes. But gradually Charlton lost their grip and Bolton came back into the game. It increasingly became clear that the Addicks were not going to salvage a draw.
While we waited for the teams to come on the pitch, announcer Brian Cole casually put a ball into the Covered End goal. It was going to be the only Charlton goal at that end during the whole afternoon. The Bloke Beside Me said, 'It couldn't be better. It's a lovely sunny day. We're safe in the Premiership. All we need to do is to win.' However, his spirits were quickly dampened when the Addicks were obliged to change ends. Someone had said to be in the pub beforehand that we would be able to tell in the first five minutes whether Charlton were up for it. What we got was a very quiet start, with the opening phase being occupied by a series of throw ins on the West Stand side. Bolton looked as if they were up for it and one moment of danger was cleared by Costa. However, Charlton's marking seemed to be too casual. Then on fifteen minutes Bobic was given too much space on the right to put the ball into Djorkaeff who put his shot into the net just inside the far post.
Charlton started to wake up and a speculative ball from the Bartman won the Addicks a corner. Then Scott Parker tried to take advantage of a loose ball and was brought down by Warhurst with a sliding tackle. With Stuart no longer taking penalties, Euell stepped up to the plate and sent his shot wide of the post. There was some discussion around us about who would have been capable of taking the penalty and no clear answer emerged.
Bolton continued to apply pressure and Konchesky made a good recovery. Costa went in well at the expense of a Bolton corner. This was taken short and easily dealt with. Good work by Svensson gave Stuart a chance but his shot was straight at the keeper. The Bartman turned provided for Scott Parker, but the busy midfielder hesitated and the ball was put out for a throw in. Bolton were given a free kick thirty yards out after Costa barged into Fransden. I was concerned that Stuart did not go back on the line as is usual in these situations. My forebodings were justified when the ball deflected off the defensive wall and into the back of the net, giving Djorkaeff a second goal.
Curbs had warned before the match that if any of his players did not give 110%, there were others on the bench who were eager to take their place. He was as good as his word with the half time double substitution. With three instead of four at the back, the Addicks started to push forward. Euell skipped through the Bolton defence, but all that was achieved was a Charlton throw in. There was a scramble in front of the Bolton goal and Jaaskelanien momentarily spilled the ball. On 53 minutes Svensson turned provided for Euell on the right. Jaaskelanien came rushing out of his goal, enabling Euell to put in an excellent cross and JJ to head into the unguarded net.
JJ powered forward on the wing and was fouled. Unfortunately, Konchesky's free kick was overhit. More Euell magic saw him penetrating the Bolton defence again, despite attempts to foul him. Then Jase himself was booked for a foul. A foul on Stuart led to a yellow card for Bolton. A Charlton corner was taken by Konchesky but produced nothing more than two Charlton throw ins. Bolton took off Holdsworth and replaced him with Southall.
Charlton really needed to score a second goal shortly after the first one, but a lack of creativity in their play meant that they were not creating enough chances. On 77 minutes Ricketts was at last brought on in place of Bobic. Charlton won a couple of more corners through JJ, but their play was becoming increasingly frenetic. With little cover in defence, there was always the risk of a third Bolton goal, although Costa dealt effectively with Ricketts on one occasion. Jaaskelanien had to deal with a deflected Robbo cross just under his crossbar on 82 minutes. Bolton threatened on 88 minutes when Ricketts raced down the right. Djorkaeff connected with his cross and his effort was not far wide. Fortune was brought on for Powell in a baffling substitution. Four minutes of time were added on, but the Addicks were able to make nothing of it. Possession between the two sides was roughly fifty-fifty and Charlton had more shots on target, but they lacked the spark which brings goals.
Gutted senior match analyst Bob the Dog considered taking the rare step of not awarding the Silver Bone but decided to give it to Richard Rufus who was not only exemplary in defence, but tried his best to bring the ball forward. Deano will be gutted at letting in two goals, but the second one from the free kick was unstoppable. Costa made some good blocks at the heart of defence. Luke Young was not in the game very much when he was on the pitch. Chris Powell did his best to use his skill to get the ball forward. Stuart had his moments and did play some good balls, but he is also prone to making simple errors, sometimes as a result of trying to be too clever. Bart-Williams did play a couple of good long balls, but he had to be sacrificed to try and turn the game around. Konchesky made some good runs forward, but was not as commanding as he has been in some games. Scott Parker did his best to be creative. Svensson had a mare of a game and it might have been better to take him off rather than putting Euell into midfield. Nevertheless, Jase showed real skill in both positions he played in, particularly in evading attempts to foul him by the Trotters. JJ was clearly up for it when he came on and his goal was well taken. Robbo did his best to energise the game when he came on and put in some good crosses. Fortune was brought on in a puzzling late substitution.
Juneau the Soccer Cat was not impressed by referee Mr Foy who has relatively limited Premiership experience which shouldn't be extended on the basis of this performance. The hapless ref had a nasty shock when a large American cat delivered the Hiss of the Match.
Crowd rating: Not surprisingly subdued for much of the match. I'm not sure that the booing at half time achieves anything: the players must have known it was a below par performance. The drummers kept going, but were perhaps too insistent. 6/10.
That was the chant of the Addickted as Charlton beat Spurs 1-0 at the Lane to confirm their position at the top of the league calculated from London derbies. And what a night it was! The club's first ever double against Spurs. Chris Powell's first Premiership goal for the Addicks at the team he supported as a kid. A great return for Richard Rufus. And three great saves from Deano, including two from Gus Poyet. Charlton move to 7th in the table and even the most diehard pessimists will be hard placed to argue that that is a relegation position.
Driving into work on Monday morning, I heard Radio 5 advertise their commentary as 'coverage of Charlton's away win at Tottenham', an unusually prophetic statement for a station which was last heard predicting a defeat at Leicester. The Addickted were also optimistic, chanting 'we want four' in the early stages of the match. Charlton started well with good work from Matt Svensson. Good work by Luke Young on the wings produced a good cross that led to a blocked shot from the Bartman. Scott Parker was combative in midfield. He then burst through, but was offside. Graham Stuart provided some good defensive work, but Charlton continued to apply some effective pressure. A high shot was saved by Deano and then Anthony Gardner, the subject of a grumpy feature in the programme, shot wide of the post. A shot from Stuart was saved.
With Spurs producing their first spell of real pressure, Rufus put in a good block that sent the ball spinnng off the pitch. With Spurs threatening to go through again, Rufus showed once again that he had lost none of his old skills. The Addickted showed their appreciation with a chorus of 'Rufus is back'.
Spurs were then awarded the first of a series of free kicks. This was immediately followed by a second nearer the goal, but Deano was able to collect. With the twenty minute mark approaching, another Spurs free kick led to an attack which was eventually cleared through good work by on form Graham Stuart. A vigorous tackle by Scott Parker on Ferdinand saw the striker go down and require treatment. A period of Spurs pressure produced nothing more than a wild ball across the front of the goal. As the Addickted burst into their customary tribute to 'Super Clive Mendonca', good work by Scott Parker produced an opportunity for Svensson which he was not able to make anything of. Rebrov went down injured.
Luke Young won the Addicks a corner which was taken by the Bartman. An unmarked Rufus was clearly hungry for a goal, but his header went just wide of the post. A good downwards header by Matt Svensson allowed Scott Parker through, but Young sliced his shot over the goal. Ferdinand was followed by Costa just on the edge of the 'D', but Ziege blasted the ball over. As the half hour approached, Gardner turned provider for Ziege and his cross went over Costa, but Deano made an excellent save with his outstreched hand. Chris Powell made a good clearance. A promising Charlton attack involving Euell came to nothing. Gardner received the only yellow card of the evening for a foul on Parker.
Luke Young won Charlton a corner taken by the Bartman. The not particularly impressive Sullivan punched the ball out, the Bartman played it back in, Scott Parker controlled it, and Matt Svensson's effort was just over. An attempt by Luke Young won Charlton another corner and Costa's effort was only just over the bar. In the three minutes of time added on, Spurs won their first corner of the game. Poyet put in a header, but the ball was cleared off the line by Scott Parker.
After the break Spurs withdrew Ferdinand and brought on Iversen. Charlton started brightly and good work by Luke Young and Graham Stuart produced a corner for the Addicks, but it was a poor effort by the Bartman. George Costa covered the ball well, making sure that Spurs were denied as it went out of play. Matt Svensson won a Charlton corner. It ended up with a Charlton throw in, but this eventually led to a one-two between Euell and Parker, but Parker's shot was straight at Sullivan. Spurs won a corner and referee Winter decided that the Bartman and Ziege needed a talking to. With danger threatening, Stuart made a great clearance. On 62 minutes, Poyet put a shot across goal, but Deano managed to push it just wide, the referee awarding a goal kick. A free kick awarded against Rufus was cleared, but then Poyet was through again. The impeccable Deano made a good save with a kick from the low shot.
Calls began to be heard for Chris Powell to be pulled off in favour of Konchesky. Graham Stuart put a ball into the area, probably aimed for Euell, the hapless Ledley and King failed to deal with the situation, and England's No.3 was able to scramble the ball into the net. According to the surprisingly full report in the Toronto Globe and Mail , it came off the left back's right thigh, but who cares what part of his anatomy was involved? Spurs made a double substitution in an effort to get back into things and they started to look dangerous on the break. The Addickted began to sing 'No.1 in London Town' and 'there's only one team in London'. Parker was pulled off for Konchesky. A Spurs free kick was calmly caught by Deano. On 87 minutes Spurs won a corner. With Charlton riding their luck, a header from Poyet hit the underside of the bar and was cleared by Konchesky. As the game headed into time added on, Robbo was brought on for Powell and he raced up the touchline to take a throw in and get a touch of the ball. The two minutes added on seemed interminable, but finally the referee blew up and the Addickted could begin their celebrations. According to the Globe and Mail Charlton 'staggered' Spurs, but the result was less surprising to the Addickted who have followed their team's recovery from the early season blight of injury.
A brilliant performance in goal initially persuaded match analyst Bob the Dog that Deano should add to his collection of Silver Bones, already the largest at the club. But the keeper insisted that the award should go to an outfield player. Bob the Dog's choice for the coveted award was Scott Parker who must have impressed watching England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. His trademark runs down the centre of the pitch gave the Spurs defence a lot of trouble, he was a commanding presence in midfield and was available to help in defence when needed. A close runner up for the award was Richard Rufus who made an impressive return to the side, leaving aside a couple of sliced clearances that went out for throw ins. The Costa song was heard several times during the evening and it was another impressive performance by the Millwall hater who is no doubt responsible for the increasing amount of Portuguese heard around The Valley. He was also not far off scoring and his first Premiership goal must come soon. Fortune sometimes looked a little overawed, but he made some good tackles. Young was particularly good in the first half and came close to scoring, but faded a little towards the end. However, it was the first time I have heard the chant of 'There's only one Luke Young.' Apart from his goal Powell had a good game, although sometimes he had some problems with Rebrov. Stuart had one of his more effective games, apart from an over clever back flick which delivered the ball to a Spurs player. Bart-Williams makes superb accurate passes, some of them long range and, one disaster aside, his corners posed some questions for the Spurs defence. Svensson was the only mildly disappointing player. He gets an A for effort and energy, but never really looked scoring. Euell was also full of energy, but this was not a night for the strikers. Konchesky came on late in the game and made an authoritative contribution. Robbo was an injury time substitution.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to the over zealous Spurs stewards. The chief tin opener was searched and had my water bottle top confiscated (I could easily have had another in my pocket), but the lady tin opener's apple, surely a more dangerous weapon, was ignored. Once in the ground, a vein bulging steward to our right with a parade ground voice went into paroxysms every time a Charlton fan dared to stand up.
Crowd rating: The tannoy blasted out a series of inane 'Spurs' songs celebrating their players before the game started, no doubt to compensate for the lack of noise generated by the home fans. The Addickted made up for it and were in great voice. 9/10.
That was one of the chants most frequently heard from the Addickted who had taken advantage of the free coaches provided by the club to travel to Filbert Street on Saturday. The midfielder's energy, determination and skill contributed a great deal to an often drab game and by the end the Addickted were chanting 'Parker for England', acknowledged by a smile from the talented youngster. He was repeatedly and cynically fouled throughout the match, but it was only at the end that excuse for a referee Mr Wilkes took any action.
The bloke in front of me commented ironically at the end of the match, 'That was a quality game.' It was hardly a feast of football with the swirling wind making accurate passing play difficult and giving more tha a few headaches for keeper Dean Kiely. At least Mark Lawrenson's forecast on Radio 5 that the Foxes would win 1-0 was disproved with Jason Euell levelling for the Addicks after Leicester had gone ahead. He should have looked at the form book and seen that three of the last four fixtures between the Addicks and the Foxes at Filbert Street have ended 1-1. Charlton have now not been beaten away in the Premiership for nearly two months.
Geographically challenged Hooch the Pooch put in a claim to cover the match on the grounds that Leicester was 'oop north' (scroll down to bottom of page for photo), while visiting Homer the Cherry Hound also made his claim. But senior match analyst Bob the Dog asserted his authority and dispatched the labrador to Nene Park to report on the progress of former Charlton midfielder Kevin Nicholls in the clash between Rushden and Diamonds and Luton. We were able to enjoy the rare luxury of lunch at home before the match, the drive to Leicester taking just forty-five minutes. As we headed up the M69 we were baffled to see three Charlton coaches heading in the other direction towards Coventry.
When we arrived at the ground, we could see that we were in for a quality experience: inadequate toilets, a scoreboard that couldn't be seen in the sunshine and two people in a refreshment hatch serving the hordes of Addicks from the coaches. We were also baffled to learn that Charlton had a Russian player called 'Yorgie Costa'. Leicester keeper Simon Royce was greeted with warm applause and shouts of 'You should stayed at The Valley', which he acknowledged with a wry smile and a nod of agreement. The popular player subsequently came over to sign programmes for Addickted youngsters. The programme has recently won the prize for the best in the Premiership and it was excellent with plenty of material about the 'Kings of the Capital' as Charlton were called.
Charlton started in attacking mode. The Bartman provided Scottie Parker with a good ball and keeper Ian Walker had to go down on the ground to save. The Addickted burst into a chant of 'Super Clive Mendonca', recalling a crucial goal scored at Filbert Street. Scott Parker had a great run, but Svensson blasted the ball over. Leicester had a somewhat dubious corner taken by Izzet. This was partially cleared, but then Deano had to put the ball out for a second corner, with the resulting action ruled offside. Good ball control by the Bartman released Graham Stuart and won the Addicks their first corner. This was taken short by Paul Konchesky working with the Bartman and Parker's effort was well wide. Dickov fell to the ground, but was soon up again, a pattern to be repeated a number of times by Leicester players. Charlton were falling for the offside trap, but Jason Euell put in a superb ball across the face of goal, but Svensson shot wide. The quality of Jase's effort was rewarded with the first rendition of the new Jason Euell song.
Costs was called on for some good defensive work. Then the Foxes won a corner, but Deano was able to get hold of the ball. Luke Young was then outmanouevred on the wing by Piper, although it should be said that he received no help from other Charlton players nearby, e.g., captain Graham Stuart. A good cross went in from Piper and Scowcroft, who had claimed in the programme that he knew a thing or two about Charlton, outdistanced Fortune and put in a quality header from short range which left Deano with no chance.
The first twenty minutes had been characterised by a failure by Charlton to stamp their authority on the game, but having gone 1-0 ahead, the Foxes started to look really threatening. A loose ball went just wide of Deano's goal. Piper continued to be a threat on the wings. With Izzet down, Leicester were awarded a free kick, and Savage put in a high ball. After some action in the area, a scrambled attempt by Brian Deane ended up in the side netting. Mr Wilkes has had a long standing ambition to book an England international and gave Chris Powell a yellow card for the most innocuous of fouls by the touchline. He then moved the kick ten yards forward, presumably because some comment had been made to the incompetent linesman. The situation created was a dangerous young and versatile Jason Euell had to clear off the line.
As the half hour mark was passed, the Addicks launched an attack and won a corner taken by the Bartman. Then a free kick led to a Leicester corner. Matt Svensson, who had been exchanging passes in midfield with Euell, then put in a good ball to Graham Stuart on the right. He put a cross behind the Foxed defence for Euell who put a half volley into the back of the net. Luke Young then created some good pressure for Charlton. As the game went into three minutes of time added on, good work by Parker created a tangle in the goalmouth, but Svensson was unable to make use of a chance to score. A series of throw ins culminated in a Leicester corner. Once again the ball had to be cleared off the line, this time by Scott Parker.
The Addicks attacked at the very start of the second half, forcing the keeper to save on the ground. The Foxes launched an attack, but Costa played a good ball and the Bartman was able to clear. Scott Parker received a nasty blow to the head, but the referee considered that a Charlton free kick was sufficient redress. Boos from the Foxes greeted the decision on 51 minutes to replace Scowcroft with Stefan Oakes. Rather than being a stroke of genius by Bertie Bassett, the man who gets you relegated so he can bring you up again, it may be that the striker had picked up a knock.
Charlton then had a bright spell. Jason Euell pounced on a loose ball and burst through the Leicester defence, but Konchesky's shot was deflected by Piper for a Charlton corner. Then some brilliant work by Svensson with a beautiful flick of the ball set up Konchesky again and a Leicester player was forced to head over his own goal to give the Addicks another corner which was eventually cleared.
Leicester won a corner which was partially cleared by the Bartman, but the Foxes won another chance on the opposite side. The ball was played out, then back in again, and Deano had to punch the ball out. Another cynical foul on Parker earned Charlton a free kick, but no yellow for the offender. Bart-Williams, Konchesky and Svensson combined well, but the ball was cleared. Scott Parker made a great run down the pitch, but his final effort was not fierce enough to challenge the keeper. Jason Euell won Charlton a corner, but after a Charlton throw in and some action in front of goal, the keeper was able to collect.
With 62 minutes on the clock, Leicester created some pressure at the other end. The second of two corners was only partially cleared and Deano had to punch the ball out again. Euell won Charlton a free kick in a promising position, but the attempt ended with the offside flag being raised. A bizarre announcement was made advising one group of Foxes about how they should 'egress from the arena'. Why not simply say 'here's how you should get out of this dump?' On 70 minutes a Leicester corner led to a shot from Brian Deane which required a brilliant save from Deano at the expense of a second corner. Scott Parker made another of his trademark runs, but spoilt the effect with a poor ball to Konchesky on the wing. A free kick near the halfway line produced a high ball aided by the wind which Deano had to save against his crossbar.
On 79 minutes the impressive Konchesky was replaced by Steve Brown, the intention no doubt being to make sure Charlton got their away point. He had only been on the pitch a minute when the ref took exception to a tackle and booked him. The resulant Leicester free kick sailed way over the goal, perhaps explaining why the Foxes are in such trouble when they are evidently capable of some attractive football. With Parker fouled yet again, the referee did decide to administer a yellow card. Steve Brown played an excellent angled ball across two-thirds of the pitch which came close to giving Svensson a golden opportunity. A bloke behind me directed some expletives at the referee and was threatened with being thrown out for swearing at the stewards. With the Foxes awarded a free kick, Costa, fired up by the earlier announcement of Millwall's slaughter by Portsmouth, took the ball away with him. Mr Wilkes flourished his yellow card again and pompously moved the ball ten yards forward from one side of the halfway line to the other. Leicester continued to apply pressure during the three minutes of time added on, but the whistle was blown as the Addickted chanted the names of Euell and Parker.
Leaving the ground, I saw a notice which depicted a spanner among the list of prohibited items. This should be kept for the new stadium and the match against Millwall. Homer the Cherry Hound phoned in from Nene Park where Rushden had lost 1-2 to Luton and groups of Hatters had been among the home fans. Nicholls had played well and seen a lot of the ball. It is curious to reflect on the different course of his career from that of his old friend Lee Bowyer and to reflect which player emerges with the greater credit.
With the team coach positioned for a quick departure after the game, arthiritis victim Bob the Dog required assistance to get round the ground to present a grateful Scott Parker with the coveted Silver Bone. Deano had to cope with conditions that were very tricky for a goalkeeper, but, as always, he did well, making one outstanding save. As he may have popped home to visit his parents in Leamington, Bob is proposing a trip to the Simple Simon pub later to offer personal congratulations. Jorge Costa had another excellent game and with Porto's manager ill disposed towards him the time has surely come to start talking about his remaining at The Valley. Fortune had a solid if unspectacular game, although he was beaten on two key occasions. Chris Powell was often bettered by Matthew Piper who had an excellent game on the wing for the Foxes. Luke Young was outmanoeuvred in the move that led to the Leicester goal, but didn't get much support from his fellow players. Konchesky had another excellent game, looking threatening on the break and it was a disappointment when he was substituted. Graham Stuart made his contribution, but was hardly oustanding. Although he was often involved, Chris Bart-Williams did not have the best of games. Svensson was an active presence up front and displayed real skill when it came to laying the ball off to other Charlton players. Jason Euell not only added to his goal tally, but was also a great help in defence. His work rate was phenomenal. Steve Brown came on for the last phase of the game and deployed his trademark headers.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to referee C Wilkes who booked Charlton players for minor offences, but smiled beningly on fouls by the Foxes.
Crowd rating: The Addickted start their chants a good twenty minutes before the match began. They were a little subdued after the Leicester goal, but soon got in their stride again, congratulating Leicester on their forthcoming Nationwide tour. 8/10.
Two excellent strikes by pennant sponsor Jason Euell gave Charlton victory over Chelsea at The Valley on Saturday. The match started very cautiously with each side seemingly wary of each other. The score at half time was 0-0 after one of the best performances we have seen at home this season. Chelsea tried to take command in the second half, but the Addicks resisted the pressure and Jason Euell put Charlton ahead. Chelsea made a double substitution and with the Addicks tiring, and the midfield suddenly disappearing, the Blues pulled level. But Charlton were not going to give up and a superb volley from Euell made it 2-1. Charlton have now won their last four matches against Chelsea and are in a clear lead in the London Premiership League based on matches between the capital's teams.
The game took some minutes to really get going. Charlton were making their first promising move when referee Poll decided that the ball was the wrong weight for Planet Zog. Having then realised that he was on Planet Earth, he allowed play to continue, but at the expense of a useful build up. Svensson turned provider for Euell who was bowled over in the area. Chelsea manager Ranieri later said that he though the Addicks deserved a penalty. Euell was caught a glancing blow, but it was one of those decisions that can justifiably go either way.
Valley favourite Graham Le Saux delivered a nasty foul on Parker, but Poll felt that no yellow card was necessary. Some Charlton moves at this stage of the game were ending up offside. The Addicks won their first corner, but it was comfortably caught by Cudicini who used to play for Castel di Sangro, the Italian equivalent of Herne Bay. (The book on their story is well worth reading). The Bartram End broke into a chant of 'Super Clive Mendonca' and 'Stand up for Super Clive.' Good work by Paul Konchesky provided an opportunity for Chris Bart-Williams whose attempt was just wide. Then it was Costa who set up the Bartman, but his shot was well over. Excellent on the ball skills displayed by Scott Parker set up the Addicks in front of the Chelsea goal, but after a scramble the ball was cleared for an unproductive Charlton corner. Svensson put in a good shot which was intially spilled by the keeper. With the action switching to the other end, Luke Young put in some good defensive work.
There was a worrying moment when Svensson went down. Then Gudjohnsen burst through on goal. For those who think the tank can only operate at low speeds, this was an illustration of the fact that he does have some pace. He prevented a Blues goal shortly before half time by making a swift recovery and putting the ball out for a Chelsea corner which was eventually cleared. At the other end Paul Konchesky put in an excellent cross, but Graham Stuart was not well placed to take full advantage of it.
At half time a Charlton fan who hopes to get his song chosen as the British entry for the Eurovision song contest was interviewed by pitch announcer Brian Cole. The secret heavy metal fan made clear his contempt for 'plinkety plonk' music. At least it offers Charlton a route into Europe, but when our only hope announced that he had been a Charlton fan for thirty-three years, the Bloke Beside Me shouted 'that's nothing'.
Charlton had a shout for a corner early in the second half, but Poll had clearly been breathing methane throughout the break and awarded a goal kick, once again explaining why his fan club is the smallest in the world. The Bartman put in a good ball to Stuart but the keeper was able to collect. Deano came rushing out in a worrying move, but Costa was able to clear. Konchesky put in a good low drive which Cudicini dealt with well.
Chelsea were awarded a free kick about 35 yards out but it was bravely blocked by Scott Parker at some pain to himself. Konchesky was given a yellow card for a foul over by the West Stand touchline, bringing his total to four. Chris Powell was the next to go into referee Poll's book, a decision greeted with incredulity by the notorious hard man. A free kick led to a Blues corner, but it was unproductive. With Svensson brought down by Melchiot, the Chelsea player received a yellow card. Charlton won a corner, but it was a poor effort by the Bartman. Then Svensson managed to head the ball away from a defensive scramble to Jason Euell who chested it down and delivered a precise volley into the corner of the net on 72 minutes, ending Charlton's goal drought.
Blues won a corner, but then the Addicks applied pressure at the other end. A good ball in by Powell was pushed out by the keeper, but Jason Euell collected. With the goalkeeper exposed, Euell's attempt was cleared off the line by Gallas. Svensson then had an attempt, but Gallas managed to clear again. The Charlton corner was unproductive.
Chelsea decided that the time had come to change things around. Babayaro and Morris came off to be replaced by Gronkjaer and Zola. Chelsea started to step up the pressure. Luke Young made an important intervention and then Costa was called on for some of his trademark defensive work. With Hasselbaink through, he dived spectacularly and appealed for a penalty. The video shows that Deano did make contact, but after the Chelsea striker had played the ball. Then with the Charlton midfield out of position, Chelsea were able to play in a good ball from the left. It fell among a group of Charlton players, Bart-Williams miscued his effort and the ball fell to Lampard who was able to put it in the net. Chelsea reinforced themselves by replacing Stanic with Forsell, but there was no sign of movement on the Charlton bench. This was surprising given that some of the home side were starting to tire, as was revealed by some inaccurate passing.
Chelsea had operated the offside trap efficiently in the first half, but thet were caught out when Jason Euell burst through unchallenged and delivered a superb shot over Cuddicini and into the net on 89 minutes. Steve Brown was immediately brought on to shore up the defence in place of Svensson. Blues won a corner in the three minutes of time added on, but Deano saved the attempt. Kishishev was brought on to replace Konchesky in order to save some time. Once Poll had blown the whistle, he lined up with his assistants and received some voluble protests from Cudicini who clearly thought Chelsea should have had a penalty.
A bloke in the gents said to me that the match showed that having a team is more important than having money. He predicted that the headlines would refer to 'lucky Charlton'. In fact the Sunday Times referred to an 'unglamorous team' made up of a 'workaday collection of professionals.' After promises of being a featured match, Charlton got a couple of minutes tucked right at the end of ITV's Premiership programme. Still at least (apart from Planet Teamtalk) the adjective 'plucky' is heard no longer.
Homer the Cherry Hound has been visiting with Bob the Dog while his owners have been in Wales for St.David's Day and the senior match analyst gave permission for the lucky black lab to cover the match.
Homer the Cherry Hound has often been a lucky match analyst for Charlton
Homer had no hesitation in awarding the Silver Bone to Jason Euell who put the goals he has scored this season into double figures with his first strike. Deano did not have a lot to do, which reflects credit on the Charlton defence, but played his part admirably. Following on from his excellent performance at Leeds, Millwall hating Jorge Costa had another superb game, making one vital tackle. From being on loan in the 3rd division last season, Jonathan Fortune has settled into a regular first team spot well and had another great game. It's rare for Chris Powell to get a yellow card, but he received his second of the season from Planet Tring referee Graham Poll, thus spoiling an accomplished performance. Luke Young was not the most prominent player in the game, but he used his speed on the wing to good effect. It is a long time since Paul Konchesky's sister E mailed to complain about comments on her brother and the reason is that he simply gets better and better as time goes on. This was another first rate performance. Graham Stuart was back to his better form, only making a few errors. Scott Parker had another excellent game at the centre of midfield. Chris Bart-Williams is probably the most unashamedly post-modernist player in the Premiership. He made some excellent lay offs, but made a few errors as the game went on and his corners were less impressive than in some earlier matches. Svensson really bothered the Chelsea defence and received warm applause when he was eventually substituted for tactical reasons. Steve Brown was brought on to shore up the defence in the closing minutes of the game. Kishishev was an injury time substitution.
Juneau the Soccer Cat did not expect anything from referee Graham Poll and she was not disappointed. He may be our World Cup nominee, but his decisions are amazingly inconsistent, possibly because he either breathes in too much or too little methane. Juneau has also given a special award to David Hatch . She founded a fan club for him when she learnt that he used to be cat food taster for Sainsbury's, but at yesterday's match he gave up his seat to a lady from Canada who came to see the game and could not get a ticket.
Crowd rating: A little quiet in the first half, but came alive in the second. 8/10
A battling performance by the Addicks won them an important away point at Elland Road on Sunday. Admittedly, they rode their luck, but also showed considerable determination in defence and managed to threaten on the break. Charlton matched Leeds in terms of the number of shots on target (four). Before the game the triumphalist Leeds announcer had anticipated a 'big win'. Afterwards, a doleful Leeds fan rang into 606 to bemoan the prospect of the Inter Toto cup. It took Charlton fan Martin to ring into to draw attention to Charlton's positive record on the road and the credit it reflected on Alan Curbishley and his young team.
Before the match we were joined by pitch announcer Brian Cole, but he evidently had not recovered from his encounter with Sooty as he had no memorable quote to offer. Leeds made an inspid start to the match, reflected in the almost complete silence of the home support. Matt Svensson started as he was going to go on and burst through in the first minute, but the ball was cleared. The impressive Konchesky was the next to launch an attack, but his ball was wide. Euell used his skill to win the ball, but the move petered out. With Leeds on the attack, there was good defensive work by Konchesky. Svensson won a free kick for Charlton, but the effort by Bart-Williams was saved.
With Leeds on the attack, Deano had to make the first of his saves at the expense of a corner. There was a worrying moment when Deano rushed out of his area, but he managed to clear the ball while the tank stood guard in the goalmouth. With Luke Young out manoeuvred, Leeds were able to put a shot in across the goalmouth. With Leeds on the attack, Konchesky rescued Charlton by winning the ball. Another Leeds attack saw the ball soaring over the goal. A push on Euell won the Addicks a free kick and the effort by Bart-Williams went just past the post. Svensson won the Addicks a corner, but with the ball played out to him, Konchesky tried an opportunistic shot which went over the crossbar. Scott Parker was called on for some good defensive work. Graham Stuart managed to give the ball away when all that was required to keep possession was a simple pass. Then it was Fortune's turn to show his prowess in defence. Leeds won a corner, but were not able to do anything with it. The home side continued to be let down by their finishing with two attempts blasted over.
With a fierce shot directed at the heart of his goal, Deano had to tip the ball over. The Leeds corner was unproductive. Svensson played in Stuart and for a moment a goal looked inevitable but the ball was deflected for a Charlton corner. Chris Powell was called on for some good defending. A Leeds corner was cleared by Stuart and another one by Bart-Williams. Svensson had been too dominant for the liking of the referee and he received a yellow for a foul. Luke Young won a fair tackle by the touchline, but Dacourt was injured as a result.
Leeds brought on David Batty in place of Dacourt at the start of the second half. Leeds had obviously been told to secure an early goal and Costa had to made a good interception and then do the same again shortly afterwards. With Leeds on the attack again, Luke Young provided good defensive cover. A shot from Leeds was just over, but then Charlton counter attacked and an effort from Scott Parker was just over. With Young losing the ball at the other end and Deano off his line an effort from Fowler hit the cross bar. With the pressure continuing, Costa was called on for a vital interception. With Parker fouled, Charlton were awarded a free kick in a promising position but all the ball from Bart-Williams produced was a Charlton throw in. Chris Powell played a poor ball and gave Leeds a throw in. Konchesky got away on a break, but his enthusiasm got the better of him and he received a yellow card.
Stuart decided for some reason to give Deano a difficult back pass to deal with. With Charlton having difficulty in clearing their lines, Deano was fouled. The Addickted start to chant 'Super Cluve Mendnca'. Konchesky was called on once again to deploy his defensive skills. A sustained Charlton attack gave the Addicks some relief from the pressure on their goal, even if all it produced was a shot from Svensson which was saved by Martyn. Charlton might have been able to create something minutes later if Stuart had not overhit a cross. With Leeds maintaining the pressure, Fowler somehow managed to drag a promising shot wide of the post. A Leeds free kick led to a corner which was cleared by Stuart.
Charlton again managed to relieve the pressure by attacking the Leeds goal. But soon Leeds were back again and this time it was Chris Powell who had to provide defensive cover. With less than quarter of an hour to go, Charlton got the ball in the net but it was disallowed for offside. Scott Parker was pulled off in favour of the returning Mark Kinsella. Deano made a great save, but the offside flag was up anyway. The tireless Konchesky was called on to defend again. Leeds won a corner taken in front of the Addickted by Kewell, bit it was cleared. Error prone Luke Young made another mistake, but Jorge Costa cleared.
With the emphasis now having to be on defence, Svensson was pulled off in favour of Kishishev with five minutes of normal time to go. A Leeds corner was cleared, but another corner produced a shot that was just a cigarette paper over the bar. Then with two minutes of added time to be played, Leeds were awarded a free kick. Bart-Williams told the referee that he was the King of Cool, or something to which Mr Dean took offence and he officiously paced out ten yards to move the ball forward. However, the Leeds shot was over and the Addicks had gained an away point that restored them to 10th place in the table. Although the pessimists will no doubt insist that this is a relegation position, I left the match feeling that our place in the Premiership was assured.
Keeper Dean Kiely wins another Silver Bone to add to his growing collection for a number of excellent saves that kept Charlton in the game. In the view of northern match analyst Hooch the Pooch there were a number of another players in contention for the award, not least Jorge Costa who has been the target of criticism for some Charlton fans recently, but was a stalwart in defence in the absence of Mark Feesh who had suffered fin damage in training. Fortune was less in evidence, but made his contribution. Chris Powell had a generally good game, but does show a worrying contribution to fade occasionally in the second half. Luke Young was beaten more often than was comfortable. Konchesky looked up for it from the moment he came out and had an excellent game. Captain Graham Stuart was fully involved in the game, but has a tendency to make occasional basic errors. Scott Parker was involved in some good moves, but faded somewhat in the second half. Bart-Williams is now supposedly under threat from the returning Kinsella, but had a good game. Svensson had an excellent game, fully committed and challenging very effectively in the air. Euell was less in evidence than in some games, but still put in a good performance. Kinsella was not greatly involved when he came on, but it was another step on his path back to the first team. Kishishev was limited to a cameo appearance.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to Mike Dean (who sent Steve Brown off at The Valley). He did everything he could to try and see that the big club playing at home got the expected three points.
Crowd rating: About a thousand Addicks were there, but they were in good heart and voice. 7/10.
Geographically challenged northern match analyst Hooch the Pooch thinks that sunglasses are de rigeur for covering matches up north. See picture below.
The number of Addickted to have visited this page is
Block E, Row Q
Next to Steve from Sidcup, and the Bloke Beside Me Behind
A bunch of moaners