For reports on the Spurs games go to Volume 9
He may be 'Mr Useless' to a tiny minority of Charlton supporters, but Deano was the hero again as he made a crucial penalty save against Derby just before half time. Deano had to go off injured at half time, his place being taken by the capable Tony Caig. However, if the penalty had gone in it would have put the Rams 2-1 ahead. Charlton had gone ahead with an early goal, eventually attributed to Svensson after a curious delay. Charlton looked like scoring again against a poor Derby side, but instead just had a number of near misses. Charlton then started to lose control of the game and the Rams equalised through a 30 yard free kick taken before the referee had blown his whistle (although I have since learnt that he is not necessarily required to do so). Charlton won the game in the second half with a Scott Parker goal created through a superb run by Claus Jensen.
It was Alan Curbishley's 200th win with Charlton as manager, coming just after his 500th match in the hot seat at Dagenham last Saturday. The three points mean that Charlton have now equalled the total achieved in their last Premiership campaign and put them, at least temporarily, in 8th slot in the table. It also represented the seventh unbeaten match in a row for the Addicks
Sorry for the delay in posting this report, but it was a mad dash from work to London. We arrived just after the players came out and we weren't back until the (relatively early) time of 1 a.m. Derby's difficulties were evident when soon after the start a Charlton throw in led to a near own goal by the Rams. Feesh then put in a shot which the goalkeeper collected but it was good to see Charlton having a go. A Charlton free kick was also collected by the magnificently coiffeured Poom, but then a Svennson shot produced a corner. Initially cleared, it was played in, collected by Rufus and fired in by Rufus, but Poom managed to turn it over the bar for another corner. This time Svensson found the back of the net with a header. It is rumoured that this was greeted by a chant of 'We just don't believe it' in the Covered End. The absence of a goal announcement was later explained by a need to verify this event.
An extraordinary scene followed on the East Stand side when a lino gave a marginal free kick to Charlton. Throughout the evening both linos seemed to have a reasonable understanding of the offside rule, an event worthy of note. Scott Parker put in a ball which was spilt by Poom. Jensen then attacked, winning a Charlton corner. This led to a Derby break but good work by Scott Parker meant they got a throw in rather than a corner. Jensen put in a useful ball to Svensson who was not far off the target with his shot. A Charlton free kick was taken with undue haste with Rufus felled and it required good work by Feesh to stop a corner. Derby actually won a corner, but it was cleared. Charlton had two corners in succession, but a foul was awarded against them on the second occasion. Stuart was down and had to receive attention. Svensson was fouled, but the free kick was cleared eventually. With the game past the half hour point, referee Dean awarded a free kick against Scott Parker. There are two views of this: either it wasn't a free kick or it was an unncessary tackle. In any event Craig Burley took it quickly and with no Charlton player on the line it rocketed just past Deano's left hand post.
The Rams took off Mawene and brought on another Peak District lad, Bjorn Bragstad. O'Neil was yellow carded for a foul. Parker managed to break through, but put in a weak shot that was easily collected by Poom. Then the penalty was awarded against Deano, accompanied by a yellow card. Jim Smith argued afterwards that he should have gone off. Presumably the erratic referee took the view that it was a tackle that went wrong rather than a deliberate attempt to bring a player down. Burley's shot was straight at Deano and he was able to put the ball behind for a corner, his second penalty save this year. What quickly became apparently was that Deano had injured himself in the attempt, but Charlton were able to prevent an attack on goal before half time.
Would Charlton be able to regain their lead having failed to make full use of their dominance in the first thirty minutes? Scott Parker shot at Poom and a Charlton corner was wasted. A free kick produced another corner from which nothing resulted. Then a Derby free kick allowed Jensen to power away on his remarkable sixty yard run. Although his shot was blocked by Poom, the net was left unguarded for Parker to put it away. We then saw some amazing football skills from Kishishev who made his way from one side of the field to the other, evading one Derby defender after another. A free kick by Jensen was just wide. Charlton had two corners in succession, but the second was taken short and led to nothing more than a Charlton throw in. Petulant Manure reject Higginbotham was replaced by Stefano Eranio, formerly with the Milan club that we are not 'linked' with. Kishishev put in a good cross, but no one was able to make use of it. Scott Parker handballed and received a yellow card. Good work by Jensen and then by Parker produced a corner for the Addicks which was considerably delayed while Riggott received treatment. Parker was replaced by Steve Brown and later Svensson went off in favour of Lisbie. Although Derby rarely seemed to be able to get hold of the ball or to keep it when they had it, there were no more scoring attempts by Charlton, the 2-1 scoreline perhaps not fully reflecting the difference between the teams. As a match it didn't compare with the draw over Manure or the win over Arsenal in terms of elation, but it was a very satisfactory performance. Derby looked like a Division 1 side and Charlton looked as if they were the true Premiership side.
Match analyst Bob the Dog has announced that Claus Jensen has received the Silver Bone. There were some superb displays of skill by the midfielder, not least that which led to the goal, but as well as pace, he also showed an ability to tackle which has often been absent. Deano was caught out by the free kick, as were the rest of the side, but made an excellent penalty save. Let's hope he's not out for long. It was good to see Powell back because I feel that he does more in terms of getting the ball forward when we are trying to win. Kishishev in my view is revealing himself as a superb football technician: indeed, 'technical' is a favourite word of praise for him to judge by the feature on him in the programme. Feesh made some excellent interventions and Todd was a model of reliability. Rufus provided his man marking service with his usual skill. Stuart was not as evident as he been in some games, but made some good runs and passes. Parker was one of the most controversial players on the pitch to judge from post match comment from fans. I thought that his distribution was often poor and he showed his usual tendency to drift in and out of the game. On the other hand, he put in some excellent tackles. Bartlett's positioning was good but he never came close to scoring despite a good work rate. Svensson came close to adding to his goal more than once. His distribution was sometimes poor and any error was seized on by the unforgiving elements in the crowd. On the whole, however, I thought that he had a good game. Caig did a good job when he came on. He can certainly kick out well, although he showed a worrying tendency to spill the ball. Certainly some of the moaners were already on his case. I'm not sure that his prior experience in the 3rd division is that relevant. For the moment, I would rather have him in goal than Ilic. Brown must have a seat with his name on it on the bench. As usual, he performed reliably in the closing minutes. Lisbie showed his usual pace, but did not really create anything.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to Mart Poom. When Caig was warming up at half time he came to use the Covered End goal as well in an evident piece of gamesmanship. All credit to Keith Peacock for telling him and his accomplice where to go.
Charlton are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after a Shaun Newton goal at the start of extra time gave them a 1-0 victory over Conference side Dagenham and Redbridge. But they made very hard work of it and times it looked as if the non-league side might go through. During normal time, Charlton failed to pass with any accuracy, kept giving away the ball or failing to win fifty-fifty balls and were often forced into some desperate defending. The back four were probably the most reliable part of Charlton's performance. The midfield often seemed to be absent, or hopelessly out of position, and the forward line, even when adjusted by the introduction of Charlie MacDonald, lacked any real punch.
Admittedly the pitch was atrocious. Much of it consisted of areas of sand left behind by Weymouth after their recent 1-0 victory at Victoria Road. The right flank, as seen from the Charlton terrace, resembled a ploughed field. Admittedly, both sides had to use the pitch, but the Daggers were probably more used to playing in such conditions. Certainly very little attention was given to the pitch at half time.
It was only around the 80th minute that the Addicks started to play anything resembling football, let alone Premiership football. Perhaps this was because the part-timers were starting to tire, although Charlton should have imposed themselves on the game long before then. One well-known figure at The Valley predicted a 7-0 victory to me beforehand and I said that I was hoping for a comfortable 2-0. As it was, the Daggers won a series of corners throughout the game, at which they looked very dangerous, and continued to press for an equaliser after they went 1-0 down. All credit to them for their performance in both matches: they have enjoyed their fifteen days' of fame. No doubt we will hear much from the media about the lack of a gap between the Conference and the Premiership. However, put the top Conference side in the Premiership and they would probably come bottom with a points total that didn't reach double figures. Charlton have to put this nightmare behind them and concentrate on the important Premiership games in the coming week with Derby and Spurs. It was a poor Charlton performance in which the Addicks sunk to or below Dagenham's level, but, as they showed following the West Ham match they can bounce back from such setbacks. We will also presumably field a more normal side against Derby, instead one which emphasised toughness as a selection criterion.
Saturday afternoon saw us trundling along the District Line through the LCC estates and downmarket private housing that filled the flatlands across the river between the First and Second World War. It is a journey which I have not made since I was a child when we get the Free Ferry, a bus to East Ham (often interrupted by a 'bridger' at the Royal Docks) and then from East Ham to Elm Park where an aunt and uncle lived. It was a journey often frustrated by the propensity of trains to terminate at Dagenham East, today's destination. We had some difficulty in finding the away end, eventually making a trudge across a large field.
Once inside, the ground lived down to expectations. This was not a neat stadium like Nene Park, the home of Rushden and Diamonds. It was more towards the New Windmill Ground end of the spectrum (home of Leamington's Midland Combination Division Two team). Some of the stands looked as if they had come second hand from Oxford United. Welling's Park View Road looked relatively sophisticated by comparison. The public address system was incomprehensible as those found at the worst railway station. From the well produced programme, we learnt that the match had been sponsored by a local firm of plumbers who had refurbished the club's toilets. Becontree Furnishings were advertising a curious kind of ejector seat chair which presumably could be bought by many clubs up and down the country for their managers.
No folks, this is not Dagenham, but Nene Park, the home of Rushden and Diamonds to show you what a decent non-league ground can look like. (Note the luxury of crush barriers on the terracing). By way of comparison, scroll down to the bottom of the page for a photo of the New Windmill Ground, home of Midland Combination Division Two side, Leamington. Anti-Curbishley types have always had a problem in suggesting a replacement, but we now feature (scroll down to the end)a picture of Brakes' Director of Football Dave Draper larging it in front of the 'stand' at Harbury Lane. Indeed, Draper has already E mailed me to say he 'wants a word'.
Daggers were clearly up for it again from the start. After Konchesky slipped on the uneven surface, Janney powered through to put a shot just past the post on three minutes. Within a minute, Terry was through. Kiely beat him to the ball, but went down injured. The Daggers started up their chart of 'She fell over', but Kiely had to have a bandage through which the blood could later been seen seeping through. Clearly studs had made contact, although whether it was intentional or not is a matter for argument. Referee Wiley was eventually to book ten players, but saw no grounds for intervention on this occasion. Until Deano was on his feet, it was a worrying moment for the Addickted, not just in terms of this match but of those coming up.
There was a rare moment of action at the other end when Salako won a corner for Charlton. The favourite chant of the Daggers was about Salako's alleged Onanism, but it seems to have been his equaliser at The Valley that really offended them. On fifteen minutes, Charlton managed to create a bit of pressure, but it ended in a goal kick. Salako then put in a ball to Newts, but the word 'hopeless' entered my notebook to describe his cross. On eighteen minutes Daggers were awarded a free kick against Rufus just outside the 'D' and to the left as seen from behind Deano's goal. The kick was taken by Lee Matthews and the shot deflected dangerously by Lee Goodwin, but Dean Kiely pulled off a great save (we know Colin Sams was watching, so it would be interesting to know what level of uselessness was revealed on this occasion).
Dagenham kept up the presure and a Jason Broom corner was headed out by Steve Brown, leading to a second. On 23 minutes Deano pulled off another save from Danny Shipp. Two more Dagenham corners followed. I was now worried that the patches of sand on the pitch were in fact quicksands, as the Charlton midfield seem to have disappeared. Dagenham were awarded a free kick after the always involved Junior McDougald had gone down to add to his shell collection. Lee Matthews put in an excellent free kick which was sell saved by Kiely. With Dagenham still in charge of the game, and Charlton failing to pass accurately, the home side won another two corners. The first was pushed out by Deano and the second was caught. Jason Broom received a yellow card along with Svensson for an exchange of views. On 36 minutes it looked as if Lisbie might be in with a chance, but the ball went straight at the keeper. Rufus got a yellow on 38 minutes for a trip. Then Steve Brown put in an excellent high pass to Lisbie in front of goal. It was a great chance, but once again his finishing skills let him down as he put in a weak shot which was easily parried by Roberts. Shouts of 'Leaburn' could be heard in the Charlton end.
At half time I was hoping that the Dagenham Girl Pipers would appear, but there was no sign of them, nor did manager Gary Hill stage a demonstration of his car repossession skills. Listmaster Glynne standing next to me agreed that the back four had been ok, but there had been nothing in front of them. We felt that the match was probably heading for extra time, given the solidity of our defence and Glynne was dubious about how we would do in a penalty shootout, recalling the disaster at Bournemouth. There would probably be no tea cups for Curbs to rattle, as no doubt paper cups were used, but the supremo surely needing to do something to inspire his side.
Much to the distress of Brian Cole who at one time started a chant of 'there's only eight people singing' (him and the West Sussex executive), the Addickted had been largely silent during the first half, apart from the odd chant of 'Weymouth, Weymouth, they left their sand behind.' Admittedly the Dagenham had occasionally fallen silent as well, leading one wag to shout 'Is this another example of this intimidating non-league atmosphere'? The Addickted did, however, start to get noisier in the second half with such chants as 'Back to work on Monday' and later 'We're **** and we're 1-0 ahead.' Another thrill during the second half was when someone found ten pence for the meter and the lights came on, some of them evidently former car headlights acquired by the manager in the course of his day job. The Dagenham started up a new chant of 'You'll never reach the station' which probably referred to the difficulty of navigating round the desolate streets rather than any action by their hard men. A variant of this was 'You'll never reach the chip shop' which we never did see, although we did pass the well named 'Good Luck' Chinese takeway.
Returning to the football, it was Dagenham who were on top again. Former Addick Terry hit two shots over the bar. Svensson somehow got through but let the keeper claim the ball. Heffer received a yellow card for a foul on Brown. Graham Stuart put in a poor shot which went well wide. Dagenham continued to show an ability to win corners and on 57 minutes got three in succession until Charlton eventually managed to clear the ball to safety. On 64 minutes they got another two corners, the second producing a save from Deano. The continuing risk was that Dagenham would sneak a goal, as when Shipp beat Kiely and hit the side netting (although Deano had been pushed to the ground by a Dagenham pkayer in the goalmouth), while it was difficult to see how Charlton were going to score one. On 67 minutes Curbs took one step towards increasing our strike power by pulling off the hapless Svensson and bringing on Macdonald who was greeted with shouts of 'Charlie' by the faithful. Daggers pulled off Terry and brought on Matt Jones who received an early yellow card.
Suddenly around 80 minutes Charlton discovered that they could play football and were not a Sunday league side playing for the Barking Relegation Trophy. (One of the more obscure chants of the Daggers was 'Are you Barking in disguise?') Graham Stuart, always one of the hopes to score, put in a shot which went just past the post. Then Newts put in a decent cross with Macdonald's header going just over. Nevertheless, the worry remained that Dagenham would score a late winner. On 86 minutes the ball from a Dagenham corner flashed across the front of the Charlton goal.
Charlton's goal came in the first minute of extra time. John Salako put an excellent cross into the box from the left. Newts evaded the defence and got hold of the ball at the far post, putting the ball in the net from an acute angle. The Addickted burst into a chant of 'We only sing when we're winning.' But then Dagenham were down the Charlton end and won a corner taken by Matt Jones. The impressive Junior MacDougald put the ball in the net, but referee Wiley had remembered to put in his contact lenses and noticed a blatant foul on Kiely. Eight minutes into extra time Charlton won a rare corner which was wasted by being taken short. On 96 minutes Broom was replaced by Haworth as the fitness difference between the two sides began to show. At the extra time break, Lisbie was pulled off in favour of Robbo.,
Dagenham were keeping up the pressure and the Charlton midfield was conspicuous by its absence. Dagenham took their final throw of the dice by pulling off Shipp in favour of Cobb. Roberts seemed to be losing it and ended up playing the ball up field. Newts managed to get hold of it as the keeper raced back but there was no one to connect with his cross. Janney put in a shot which was not far wide. It all then went off and the referee booked two players on each side, Robbo and Todd for Charlton. A Dagenham free kick led to a Dagenham corner and Curbs decided to disrupt the home side's flow by bringing on Parker in place of Newts. Goodwin had a chance to score and then Haworth put the ball on top of the net. Charlton wisely decided to try and keep possession and there was considerable relief when the referee blew up.
At last I heard the loudspeaker as a rather despairing plea was made for 'all our new fans' to come back again. I'm afraid they will be following West Ham's fate at Old Trafford on Sunday. The Dagenham players did a lap of honour and received applause from most of the Charlton fans. Their success is a double edged sword for Dagenham as one or two of their players (notably McDougald) may attract interest from league clubs.
We stumbled across the field to the station. Despite the fact that we had won, Chalfont St.Peters Addick Dick Sheppard was inconsolable, arguing that we should have slaughtered Dagenham. We have not looked good against them over two matches, but if we did play them every week, as the home crowd requested, there is no doubt which way the results would go. Dick was taken off at West Ham by Glynne to go back south of the river to drown his sorrows. For me, I've had enough of the magic of the FA Cup for one season.
Match analyst Bob the Dog has awarded the Silver Bone to Dean Kiely who kept another clean sheet in challenging circumstances. The defensive line up generally did well. Rufus was particularly good, but Brown and Todd were models of reliability. (Brown, of course, was playing in more of a defensive midfield role and put in a superb pass to Lisbie which the latter should have made more of). I did wonder if Powell might have unsettled Dagenham more than Konchesky . For me the Powell v. Konchesky debate is unresolved and I will say no more about the subject. Apart from one error which was probably down to the pitch, Feesh confirmed his status as an ever present in the side. Apart from one good shot on goal, I thought that Stuart had a disappointing game. Newts scored the goal and came into the match more after that, confirming that he is very much a confidence player. My half time comment on him was 'useless'. Which just goes to show why Curbs is the manager. I thought that Salako was one of the few Charlton players to show some skill throughout the match. Svensson was again disappointing. I have not been able to access his web site as I do not have 'flash', but he certainly wasn't 'flash' in this game. And I really would like him to succeed and prove the moaners wrong. Lisbie had a golden opportunity to put Charlton 1-0 ahead just before the break and showed once again that he is a poor finisher. Apart from one header, Macdonald did not come close to scoring, although he was energetic in the manner of Bradley Allen. Equine magnate John Window forecast that Robbo would get himself sent off when he came on and he did get a yellow. He had a few attempts at creating something, but they never really got anywhere. Parker had a cameo appearance.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to London Underground. Why do they advertise to attract more people on to overcrowded trains which run at infrequent intervals? On the Jubilee Line, we had to change and there was a fifteen minute gap after the train we got. On the Central Line going back, we had to wait some time for a train and then it was held at Liverpool Street to 'regulate' the service. Sort it out Ken!
A man for cup games? Shaun Newton in action at last season's cup match against Coventry City where he played a key role in securing victory.
One of the questions being asked on Charlton Live recently has been where are the goals going to come from? People seem to have forgotten 'Super Shaun Bartlett' as he was saluted by the Covered End last night. Two goals against Manchester United should at least indicate some promise. Unfortunately, it was another disappointing night for his striking partner, Matthias Svensson. As the game progressed, and particularly after the Irons equalised, Charlton started to lose their shape and the midfield in particular seemed to have disappeared. Advocates of Route One footbal l found their scapegoat in Claus Jensen. However, the back four had a great game, while Dean Kiely showed once again that he is a superb goalkeeper.
The game started a little hesitantly as it often does in the Premiership with each side sizing the other up. Rufus was called on to make the first of a number of good interceptions. A rare Feesh error led to a powerful Irons shot angled across the front of the Charlton goal. But then the goal came off obliging referee Dermot Gallagher, it was picked up by Konchesky who provided a first rate pass for Bartlett. The Springbok had no hesitation in slamming the ball low into the corner of the net on seven minutes. Some six minutes later a fair tackle by Rufus produced a blatant dive and a free kick for the Irons. Referee Gallagher, who generally had a good game, but later attracted the ire of the Irons, then ignored a blatant hand ball by Di Canio and awarded the visitors the first corner of the match which was taken short. This didn't work very much better for the Irons than it does for us and when a shot came in it was blasted over. This was the first example of woeful finishing by West Ham which meant that they were unable to get more from their excellent midfield and attack play. Song then blatantly fouled Svensson, but instead of accepting the Charlton free kick made a great song and dance about it.
A problem that was to continue throughout the match was beginning to be displayed with the Charlton midfield seemingly absent and allowing West Ham plenty of time and space to build up their attack. The Route One advocates would no doubt blame it on Jensen's failure to tackle, but it was a broader problem than that. Di Canio decided that the time had come to give the lino on the East Stand side some verbal while referee Gallagher looked benignly on. Deano was called on to save at his feet and then Graham Stuart put in an unbelievably wild shot. Mr Cool, Andy Todd, made an excellent intervention. Then a deflected West Ham shot cam in just past Deano's post, the goalkeeper furious with his defence.
Just after the half hour, the Irons had a free kick in a promising position, but Feesh was able to clear. Charlton were increasingly been driven back, to the fury of the row behind me. The simple explanation is that West Ham are a better side and, with three of our best players out of action, we cannot match their quality. A foul on Stuart which saw him virtually wrestled to the ground saw Jensen deliver a poor free kick for Charlton. West Ham continued to pile on the pressure, hoping for an equaliser before the break. A West Ham corner saw the ball flash across the front of Deano's goal. Then Di Canio somehow failed to take a great chance to equalise. A free kick taken quickly by Lampard put Di Canio through and I though the ball was destined for the back of the net, but somehow he put his shot across the face of the goal. Fortunately, there was only one minute of injury time added on as the nerves of the Addickted were stretched to breaking point.
The interval saw JJ on the pitch to make the Valley Gold draw. Brian Cole, now with a functioning microphone, was able to ask him when he would be back, the answer being three weeks. The cheerful charlies in the row behind me commented that without JJ we would have been in a relegation position.
There has been talk recently of Svensson being picked for Sweden, but the wild shot with which he started the second half would be unlikely to impress. A West Ham corner was cleared by Kishishev, but then Deano had to make a save. The Irons then made another of their trademark wild shots on goal, puzzling in a team of such quality. Nevertheless, it increasingly looked liked a question of when West Ham would equalise, not if. West Ham must have thought their chance had come when a good cross from impressive Michael Carrick found Joe Cole unmarked. Scoring seemed like a simple task, but the redoubtable Andy Todd interposed himself and made a superb block with his chest. Remember that this is a player who not so long ago was being condemned as another useless signing by the supposedly inept Curbishley. With Svensson clearly flagging, Curbs brought on Lisbie on 65 minutes who as usual added pace, flair and commitment, but had difficulty in picking up long balls from Deano. The keeper was still being called into action from time to time, but it was Jensen who cleared a West Ham corner. With Kishishev wrestled to the ground, Gallagher decided that he had had enough of Di Canio's physical play and produced a yellow card. The Covered End burst into an amusing chant of '****** Di Canio' sung tunefully to a famous Italian air. This simply fired him up and on 74 minutes he collected a lay off from Kanoute and put in an unstoppable shot past Kiely from twenty yards out. No doubt Kiely's critics will say he should have saved it but as the Bloke Beside Me commented correctly, 'that was a superb strike'. (Steve from Sidcup is in New Zealand with brother Pete).
Curbs decided to change things around and Konchesky was replaced by Powell, while Jensen came off for Salako who gave the Addicks some much needed width. Salako put in some excellent crosses, but as the Addicks tried to get a winner, they found themselves increasingly exposed at the back. Quality player Kanoute thumped the ball off the post into the side netting. An Irons free kick in a dangerous position was deflected just past the post for a corner. The row behind me was now predicting 2-1 to the Irons. A good Scott Parker run ended up with a Charlton throw in. Salako put in a good ball to Lisbie, but once again the forward managed to put himself into an offside position. We saw more good defensive play from Todd. Salako put in a good cross, but there was no one there. Moncur was brought on in place of Cole on 89 minutes. With a long journey up the M11, M25 and M40 ahead of him, referee Gallagher blew up promptly, leaving me happy with a valuable point.
Sky Sports commented in their report that visiting England boss Sven Goran Eriksson 'will have noticed the tremendous performance of Charlton's backline following Tony Adams' decision to retire from international football.' The chant is ' Rufus for England' and he played very well, but match analyst Bob the Dog has awarded the coveted Silver Bone to Andy Todd for another superb performance. Deano made some good saves and I can't get my head round the thinking of those people who think we have a goalkeeping problem. Konchesky has received some criticism for playing too far forward, but that was how he created the goal. Presumably he was told to play that way. Apart from one error, Feesh had a good game. There has been speculation that Kishishev may be dropped when Kinsella returns, but he showed some sublime skill in this game. Jensen was below par, although I wish some supporters would recognise that skill does count in the Premiership. Stuart was also not as prominent as he has been in some games. Parker had some good moments, producing a tentative chant of 'Ooh, ooh, Scotty Parker' from the Covered End, but he tends to drift in and out of games in a way that Kinsella does not. The midfield was simply outplayed by the Irons in this match. Bartlett scored an excellent goal, but never came close to scoring again. Full marks to Svensson for giving Winterburn as good as he dished out, but otherwise it was an uninspring performance. Lisbie could do well against Dagenham, but I still remain to be convinced that he can succeed against Premiership opposition, in part because of his height, in part because he keeps falling into offside traps. The pace, width and verve of Salako does add something and I am surprised that some people want him to be part of the end of season clear out. We were exposed on the right earlier on the match and the experience of Powell helped to solve that problem when he came on.
The Bloke Behind Me was absent, but Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to the row behind me. I know that Brits are professional whingers: they say in Australia that you can always tell when a British Airways jet has landed because you can hear the whine after the engine has been switched off. But expectations at The Valley are getting out of hand. The fact that we are in the Premiership at all has a lot to do with the skill of Alan Curbishley. 9th is a perfectly respectable position. So relax and enjoy - or is it that what some people really like about coming to football is slagging off their own team.
The number of Addickted who have visited this page is:.
Block E, Row Q Near
The Bloke Behind Me