Leicester report There was a period of a few days when I encountered problems with Tripod. The Leicester report can be found at Leicester and onwards

THERE'S ONLY ONE JJ!

This headline has been gathering dust on the shelf for what seems like a very long time and we thought that we would never use it again. But it was what was chanted by the Addickted after two goals from the flying Finn helped Charlton to a 3-1 victory over Premiership bogey team Fulham at The Valley. JJ also created Charlton's first goal scoring opportunity which enabled Graham Stuart to put the ball into the net for the first time in 22 months.

I was feeling in confident mood before the game and I was not the only person in the pub to back a 3-1 victory in the jackpot, despite the presence of Hannah from Old Couldson whose record to date was watched two, lost two. However, the arrival of Richard Poole on the red eye from Thailand convinced me that this must be a day when we would finally beat the Cottagers in the Premiership.

Fulham managed to provide some early pressure. A kamikaze tackle from Inamoto was ignored by referee d'Urso, but this made a change from the official's usual fusspot style and it has to be admitted that the banker from Billericay had a good game. JJ put in a good cross, but there was no one there to connect. Deano had to make a save from Saha. Then after just ten minutes Van der Saar ineffectually parried a shot from JJ and Graham Stuart stumbled but nevertheless managed to drive the ball into the back of the net.

Shortly afterwards the speedway fan tried to get a brace, but his effort was off target and ended up on top of the net. Scott Parker put in a powerful effort from distance, but it just missed the target and ended up on top of the net. Jensen turned provider for Parker, but the England hopeful's effort was just wide. A nice back flick from Lisbie created an opportunity for another Charlton attack.

Fulham seemed to be making a lot of use of the long ball. Mischievously, I wondered if this was in homage to their recent lower division origins, but it was probably more to do with their 4-4-1-1 formation with Malbranque playing just behind Saha. The Herminator stopped an attack well. Saha gave a demonstration of his diving skills. Inamoto put in a good effort from distance which went just over the bar. Feesh stopped a menacing thrust from Volz on the wing. Fulham won a corner and after Deano pushed Ianomoto's effort out, their second corner was cleared and the Addicks mounted an attack on the break with JJ putting in a good cross. Jensen went down after he made an error which exposed Charlton to attack and had to be helped off. He disappeared down the tunnel to applause and for a while Charlton were playing with ten men as there was no break in the play to enable Euell to come on. Eventually he did, but the game had entered a rather flat phase. Inamoto received a yellow for a foul off the ball.

The enthusiastic young woman leading the school children in songs to celebrate anti-racism day at half time seemed reluctant to leave the pitch and even provided an encore. As Steve from Sidcup remarked, there were times when her presence on the pitch might have been welcome when the players came out, but not today.

Charlton won an early corner, but Fulham were evidently determined to get into the game and Charlton seemed to have lost something since Jensen's replacement. After Kishishev was pushed, Fulham won a corner, but d'Urso gave a free kick for something he saw happen in front of goal, in fact probably no worse than one would see on the 8.07 from Billericay to Liverpool Street. The match was providing exciting end-to-end action. A long ball to Euell set up a promising opportunity for him, but he was deprived by a good tackle. On 62 minutes Boa Morte was pulled off and replaced by Hayles. Legwinski received a yellow card for a foul on Parker. On 69 minutes the ball bounced off Euell to JJ and the Finn drove the ball authoritatively into the net off his left foot.

Inamoto was asked to fall on his sword by Coleman and replaced by Davis. The Covered End broke into a chant of 'We're going to win the league'. The hapless Hayles was injured after ten minutes on the pitch and was replaced by Pratley (I think the Darren Pratley). On 76 minutes Melville provided such a weak back pass to Van der Saar that JJ had no difficulty in dashing in and make use of the wide gap in the Dutchman's dyke to make it 3-0. Euell then put in a shot which hit the post. Scott Parker, suffering from a groin injury, was replaced by Chris Powell.

Fulham were still making an effort and Deano had to make a good save from Saha. Di Canio had been desperate to get on for some time and he replaced Lisbie on 85 minutes. Making use of a free kick, Legwinski's shot richocheted wildly off the post and Davis made it 3-1. With two minutes added on, di Canio provided a great ball to JJ who fed Stuart whose effort was just over. Deano had to make a last save from Malbranque.

The Bloke Behind Me, who had not demanded Curbishley's immediate resignation at any point in the game, was actually heard to say that Charlton played well which must be a first for Mr Grumpy. The win put the Addicks 4th in the table: enjoy the moment. Tracy from Dartford must be thinking that she did not make such a mistake in calling one of her cats JJ. Watching a lachrymose Chris Coleman on television in the pub afterwards, there was much talk of Fulham not being 'at the races', but no admission that there had been another team on the pitch. This is as good as it gets!

JJ admitted that he thought that he might never win another Silver Bone to add to his collection when he was presented with the coveted award by grinning match analyst Hooch the Pooch. The award was not just for the two goals and creating the opening one, but also for his phenomenal efforts all over the pitch, in defence as well as attack. Deano did not have a lot to do, but he did make some important saves towards the end of the match and he can hardly be blamed for the consolation goal. Chris Perry continues to impress at the back. You do not necessarily notice him, but this his because of his calm, capable efficiency. Sign him up! Feesh had a better game than of late. Hreidarrson continues to impressive, managing to cover vast distances on the pitch and always being in the right place at the right time. Kishishev threw himself into the game with vereve and enthusiasm and managed to avoid making any serious errors. Parker started well, but faded as the game well, no doubt as his injury started to make an impact on his performance. Jensen was missed after he went off injured. Holland is not an obtrusive player, but he performs his role with a calm discipline and effectiveness. There was a time when I thought that Stuart's career was over as anything but a bench player, but he has proved me wrong with another good performance. Lisbie had some difficulty in imposing himself on the match. Euell is still not at his very best, but he did hit the post. Powell only had a few touches after he came on, but at least he was able to help the fans celebrate the result with his famous 'jack in the box' routine. Di Canio was on for too short a time to weave his magic.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to Saha for a spectacular dive in the area when Deano didn't get anywhere near making contact.

Crowd rating: Needless to say, the Addickted were in good heart. Therefore we did not miss Brian Cole's father. I hope that he makes a rapid recovery from his fall. 9/10.

Red Tide Turns Brum Blue

The Westcombe Park Addick with the permanent hangover, Paul May, reports from St.Andrews tonight

It was three wins on the spin for Charlton at St.Andrews as they beat Birmingham City 2-1 to give the Blues their first home defeat in the Premiership for nine months. The win saw Charlton go up to 7th in the Premiership. The Birmingham announcer called for a 'cooking atmosphere' in the game, but it was the Second City's finest who got roasted. It was a great team effort, but the main elements in the victory were

An unchanged side came out with JJ and Euell up front to deal with the team with the best defensive record in the Premiership as I took my place among just a few hundred Addickted. Feesh had recovered from fin damage. Lisbie was on the bench returning from a knee injury. Birmingham received an early yellow card after Dugarry caught Kishishev with his silver boots and ankle strapping late. The free kick was caught easily by Taylor. Lazaridis looked dangerous with his pace and Deano had to make a save at the expense of a corner which Jensen cleared. Feesh had to make a good tackle to deal with danger and shortly afterwards had to make another important challenge at the expense of a corner for the home team. JJ helped to head it away then Parker used his pace with a great break to threaten the Birmingham defence, although he should have laid it off to Kishishev also showing great pace to his right. After a good cross by Kishishev, Stuart (Acworth was demanding in Sport First on Sunday that he should be transferred) took an opportunistic shot that won Charlton a corner after five minutes. An excellent Jensen corner was turned into the net by Holland for his first Charlton goal. Birmingham had only conceded a goal in two Premiership matches this season.

The early goal helped to galvanise the Addicks. Charlton were denied a clear corner by referee Dowd after JJ burst into the penalty area. Then the 'Second City' team won a corner, but they were unable to use it well. Scott Parker, named as The Independent Premiership Player of the Month, was working well in midfield. Deano made a poor clearance, but fortunately Parker made a good challenge. The home crowd was flat. Lazaridis looked threatening for a moment, one of the few moments of Birmingham pressure, but Parker dealt effectively with the situation with the Charlton defence looking at sixes and sevens. Nevertheless, Kishishev was dealing well with Lazaridis. A Birmingham free kick 25 yards out came off the Charlton wall. Clapham was not booked for a bad tackle on Parker. A Forsell header went off target as he was challenged very effectively by the Herminator. Lazardis was challenged by Holland and then his cross was deflected by Holland's head at the expense of a corner which was unproductive. Birmingham were getting more possession. Deano had to make a save low down after the Herminator had made an error near the halfway line. The Birmingham corner was once again unproductive. Jensen and Kish forged forward impressively and Stuart collected. The move ended in a poor Kishishev volley.

Hreidarsson looked impressive up front, easily beating Dunn. JJ broke away and had time to control the ball but Taylor, on loan from Fulham, saved with his foot for a corner. It should have been 0-2 which would have really put the Blues under pressure. Euell was denied a clear call for a free kick for a tackle from behind. There was a moment of danger with the ball loose in the Charlton penalty area and Deano momentarily not in command. Parker broke away with a loose ball and turned provider for Euell but the half chance went wide. Nevertheless, Charlton looked good on the ball and were making effective use of the space. JJ, however, still looked less than the complete article in attack. David Dunn fouled Stuart in a clumsy fashion. Jensen's free kick was claimed by Taylor. Scott Parker was once again called into action in defence. He seemed to be everywhere. JJ was caught offside, but tucked the ball into the net to show that he could still do it. Lazaridis won a corner with a deflection off Perry. Birmingham won a second corner. A clash of heads saw the Herminator down with Clemence, while Parker was receiving treatment on the touchline. The Herminator looked as if he needed stitches and headed down the tunnel. Three minutes were added on. A quick free kick and a deflection off Parry led to another Birmingham corner, followed immediately by another. Charlton were, of course, down to ten men and without the height of Hreidarsson. The Addicks managed to get the ball away and Clemence also disappeared for treatment. Forsell made a decent attack, drawing a save from Deano, named in The Independent team of the season and ranked the best goalkeeper alongside Robinson of Leeds. The Charlton midfield had been commanding.

HT: Birmingham 0, Charlton 1

The Herminator came out for the second half sporting a large white bandage through which blood seeped as the match progressed. The home crowd was subdued and their mood was not improved when Laziridis made a mess of a free kick. Kiely dealt comfortably with an attempt by Dunn. JJ made a poor effort when a little more could have made it 2-0. It is fourteen appearances since he scored. A Dugarry free kick sailed high over the bar. Birmingham pressure in the penalty area ended with an effective block by on form Holland. Cissé was withdrawn and Hughes brought on in his place and it has to be admitted that the Blues upped their game after only the third appearance of the ex-Wrexham maestro this season. A Parker challenge dealt with a Blues threat and Jensen partially cleared, the Herminator giving the linesman some choice phrase in Icelandic when the lino denied Charlton a throw in that was theirs. I wish Olafur Johansson had been here to translate! JJ won Charlton a corner. Taylor saved well from Parker but at the expense of a second. Holland burst into the area with a purposeful run as the corner was delivered and chested the ball into the net to make it 2-0 for the Addicks. Two goals from a corner: am I dreaming?

An effort by JJ came off Cunningham, but the Addicks were denied a corner. Charlton were perhaps sitting back too much and defending their lead rather than taking the game to the Blues. Lazaridis threatened to be one on one with Deano but Parker got the ball away once again. A Hughes threat was headed away by Jensen but at the expense of a corner. The Blues quickly won a second and Dugarry popped up to put a header past Deano and make it 1-2. Game on.

It was nearly 2-2, but Deano made a fantastic reflex save from a Dugarry header. Birmingham made no use of the resultant corner. Euell was pulled off in favour of Lisbie, I was surprised that it was not JJ that was going. Forsell attempted to equalise, but Deano read the situation well and gathered the ball up. With Forsell through again, Deano once again grabbed the ball. If Birmingham had equalised at this stage of the match, it could easily have gone to 3-2 or worse. Svensson came on for JJ, having returned from his loan spell at Derby which looked as if it was on the way to becoming permanent. Lisbie won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, but Jensen's poor effort was way over the bar. Jensen turned provider for Lisbie who drew an important save from Taylor who prevented it going to 1-3. Parker blazed over from an Addicks corner. A Morrison shot was blocked by Hreidarsson. A good Parker run drew a save from Taylor. Scott Parker got a yellow card for a calculated foul on Dunn. Lisbie got free but should have given the ball to Jensen. Stuart was replaced by Fortune. Holland set up Lisbie who burst free and forced Taylor to make a good save. Dunn put in a shot, but Deano got his body behind it at the expense of a corner. Then Deano made another fantastic save to stop the ball going in the top corner.

The home side took off Laziridis and brought on Stern John. With three minutes added on, Charlton kept possession confidently with Holland, Jensen and Parker moving the ball between them. A last minute Birmingham attack gave the Blues a corner, but Scott Parker broke away and won a free kick. Charlton have won rarely at St.Andrews, but this was an accomplished and confident performance by a side who are always at thier best away from the tension created by high levels of expetancy at The Valley.

He Played Up Front!

We couldn't be there, but we understand from those who were that Andy Hunt easily lasted the ninety minutes he played for the reserves against Southampton. Great to see Andy back at The Valley, but any dreams of a return to Premiership football are probably just that. There will be no report from Everton as I have to be in Brussels that day.

ADDICKS SHARE THE SPOILS

A Paolo di Canio penalty cancelled out by a Henry free kick gave Charlton a share of the points against Arsenal at The Valley on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. The Addicks played with skill and determination throughout. That there was slight disappointment that the Addicks had been unable to pull off a last minute winner against the Woolwich Rejects is understandable, but most Charlton fans would have settled for a draw beforehand.

The teams changed ends at the beginning of the match, presumably so that Deano would not have to squint into the autumn sun. An on form Kish made a good interception and then provided a long ball to JJ but it was hit without a little too much power and he was unable to connect. Di Canio turned provider for JJ with a free kick, but his effort was saved. Charlton had done well in the opening phase, but then Arsenal started to apply a little more pressure. They won a free kick in front of the 'D', but their effort came off the Charlton well. Kishishev made a good defensive tackle. The offside flag remained down in an Arsenal attack that certainly appeared to be offside, but the visitors had a possible shout for a penalty with a handball, so the two non-decisions cancelled each other out.

Hreidarsson went down and this was worrying given that he had only recently returned from injury and the number of defenders we have out. Matt Holland showed that he is capable of good defensive work when he was necessary. Charlton then made a series of good attacking moves in which di Canio and Holland played key roles. However, the resultant first Charlton corner of the game was easily cleared. A shot by di Canio was deflected for another Charlton corner. With intense action in the box, Charlton then won what television later presented as a controversial penalty, although I have a good view from my seat in the East Stand and I thought that there was contact with Holland. A number of Arsenal players protested loudly to referee Steve Dunn. However, it is difficult to see what the point of such protests are as the referee is unlikely to change his mind and all that happened was that charm merchant Parlour received a yellow card for dissent. Di Canio stepped up and sent Lehmann the wrong way to place the ball in the back of the net.

Arsenal stepped up a gear after they went behind. They won a couple of corners, but they were both cleared. Kishishev was once again called upon to display his defensive skills. Then an fierce shot from Henry hit the post, although it must have been deflected because they won a corner. Scott Parker got a yellow card for a foul. JJ powered through in the way that he used to in the old days, but his shot went just wide. Then the Addicks foolishly gave away a free kick just in front of the D and Henry was able to power in what was admittedly a superb goal, his shot curling in just inside Deano's post and given the keeper little chance to make a save.

The Addicks won a corner, but it was a poor effort. With two minutes added on, the inspiring di Canio was taken off having pulled a calf muscle and replaced by Euell. Some questioned why Curbs couldn't have waited till half time, but it enabled di Canio to receive the ovation from the fans that he fully deserved. Arsenal had a last chance with a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the box, but fortunately were not able to make anything of it. Luke Young appeared on the pitch to do the Valley Gold draw to a chorus of boos from the gooners.

Charlton made quite a flat start to the second half and it was not long before the Bloke Behind Me was in full flow on his favourite subject of Curbishley's incompetence. JJ won a Charlton corner after an Arsenal error, but it was delivered straight to the keeper. An Arsenal corner was cleared by Jensen. Euell had a go at breaking through the middle, but there were two Arsenal defenders in attendance. He had another try when Kishihshev turned provider. Deano had to make one of his first real saves of the game. JJ gave the ball to Euell just in front of the goal. This was possibly one of the best chances to make it 2-1, but the ball went just over, presumably assisted by the keeper as Charlton were given a corner. Their effort from the corner was just tipped over by Lehmann, but the Addicks were unable to sustain the pressure as the second corner was cleared.

Arsenal made a double substitution. The constantly moaning Ljungberg was replaced by Kanu and Bergkamp gave way to Wiltord, showing that Arsenal meant to take all three points. Charlton then made their substitution, pulling off JJ and bringing on Jamal Campbell-Ryce who received an enthusiastic welcome from the Addickted. An error by Stuart meant that Deano had to make a save. Kishishev then made his customary error of the match by giving the ball away, compounding with a foul. However, the Arsenal effort went sailing into the Covered End. With Wiltord breaking free on the wing, it looked for a moment as if Perry was going to score an own goal, but he put it behind for an Arsenal corner. Charlton kept up their efforts in the two minutes of time added on and did win a corner in the dying seconds of the game. The satisfaction of the crowd at this result showed by the number who stayed behind to applaud the team. Oh, and thanks to Ben Hayes for the mention in the programme.

Choosing the recipient of the Silver Bone provided match analyst Hooch the Pooch with an unusal dilemma given that Charlton had played effectively as a team throughout the match. In the end he resolved the dilemma by presenting captain Matt Holland with a Silver Bone for the whole team. Such was the efficiency of Charlton's defence that Deano did not have many saves to make all afternoon, but he did pull off a couple of important ones. Feesh has been looking a little uncomfortable on dry land in recent outings, but he made some important interceptions in an authoritative fashion in this day. Perry was not noticeable at the heart of the defence but this was because he generally did his job well. Leaving aside one blunder, Kishishev had one of his best games, harrying Arsenal with determination and verve. Hreidarsson has an ability to move forward to great effect without leaving Charlton exposed at the back. Indeed, he received nominations for the Silver Bone. Holland played with a quiet effectiveness throughout, knitting in well with the rest of the team. Parker started brightly in his 100th Premiership apperance for the Addicks, but became more subdued after he received his yellow card. It was the 400th league game for Stuart and although cynics might say that it showed, he made an effective contribution. Jensen sometimes seemed to be a little hesitant and his set pieces made little impact on the game. Di Canio was an inspiration in the first half and it was a great disappointment when he had to be taken off injured. He was covering large areas of the pitch, inspiring both the team and the crowd. JJ put himself about, but not to any great effect. Euell did his best to create something in the second half, but did not always receive the service he needed. Campbell-Ryce was greeted with enthusiasm by the fans, and rightly so, but had relatively few opportunities to show his promise.

The Hiss of the Match was finally delivered to Arsene Wenger who insisted that there was no contact between Lauren and Holland in the penalty incident when in fact contact could be clearly seen. Wenger accused Matt Holland of diving, a charge he has denied. Wenger says that he saw the incident clearly. Given his well known problems with seeing any incident involving an Arsenal player, has there been a miraculous restoration of his sight? Is The Valley the new Lourdes?

Crowd rating: With such a feast of football, it's not so difficult to chant, chap and sing while the Arsenal supporters became increasingly subduded. 7/10

OLL TUNGAMÁL!

It was the first Icelandic goal for Charlton and the first win for the Addicks at Ewood Park in the top flight. Self-proclaimed No.1 Addick in Iceland Olafur Johansson was there to watch his countryman Hermann Hreidarsson give the Addicks a 1-0 victory over Blackburn after he converted a Paolo di Canio corner with a header in the 32nd minute. Hreidarsson was playing only his fifth game from the Addicks, having returned from injury. Later, OJ filed his report from his hotel in Preston.

I left the fishing sheds of Grindavik and the bright lights of the Mama Mia pizza parlour for a flight to Manchester. After a short stop to pick up a husky from the Icelandic Consulate as dog commentator, I joined approximately two hundred other Addicks at the home of the Rovers club of Blackburn. It was a cold night, but winter has already set in with a vengeance in Iceland.

It's grim oop north - in Iceland, not Blackburn!

The Rovers club elected to play with a 4-5-1 formation with Andy Cole as striker which showed a certain lack of ambition on their part. Indeed, they were more effective when they switched to 4-4-2 in the second half. Even so, I would translate their motto as 'Art and Effort' and there was none of the first and not much of the second. A special treat for Charlton fans was to see Mr Andy Todd playing after his return from a loan spell with Burnley. His father, Mr Colin Todd, was some player. With Mr Lisbie and Mr Bartlett both injured, Paolo Di Canio made his first league start for the Addicks, accompanied by Mr Jonathan Johansson. I was surprised to see that Mr Di Canio was wearing the kind of boots used by deckhands on our trawlers, but there was no negative effect on his pace or skill. Luke Young had to make an important early clearance, but received an ankle injury shortly afterwards and was replaced by Radostin Kishishev. No yellow card was awarded for this incident, but referee Mr Graham Barber flourished his amber signal three times against players of the Rovers club who became increasingly tetchy as the game went on. I am normally no fan of Mr Barber, who is reported to reside in the notorious 'Tring Triangle' alongside Mr Poll, but on this occasion he did well.

It is some time since I have seen the Addicks play, but I thought that they displayed a real confidence and fluency. Admittedly I have only seen Icelandic football over the summer, and all our best players play abroad, but I thought that the work rate of the Addicks was tremendous. However, it was more than a matter of gutsy effort. They hunted down the ball with skill as well as determination and the linking up between the players was generally good. As the game went on, the Addicks increasingly controlled the midfield. Mr Scott Parker received a lot of niggles from the players of the home club and at one time Mr Mervyn Day gave Mr Barber a four fingered message to indicate the number of fouls in quick succession against the tireless midfielder. As the man who sat beside me said, 'Why can't they play like that at The Valley?' (or words to that effect).

Paolo Di Canio was playing well and Hreidarsson converted well from his corner with a diving header. As the match went into the second half, Kishishev came close to scoring and keeper Brad Friedel had to make a good save from Scott Parker. Deano was tested by a thirty yard free kick which he saved superbly. A looping header from Thompson looked as if it might be going just inside the post, but the 33 year old keeper was as alert as ever and got a hand to it for a corner. Although Blackburn had one or two bright spells, they never really looked like equalising, even if Mr Souness does think that the outcome was unfair. It will be amusing to read the English newspapers which will no doubt focus on the slump at Blackburn rather than the achievements at Charlton who are now 7th in the table.

It was a difficult choice for Silver Bone , but Kendottir the Husky Dog eventually chose Paolo di Canio for his skill and commitment. However, Deano who kept another clean sheet and made some vital saves was a runner up. Luke Young looks like an improved player to me and it was sad to see him substituted so early on. Some people around me thought that Feesh had an indifferent game and would have preferred to see Fortune . As it was the younger player only came in the last few minutes of the game to allow Di Canio to come off. I thought that Perry was a dedicated and efficient defender. With the health of Mr Richard Rufus still uncertain, would it not be a good idea to make his move from White Hart Lane permanent, allowing Mr Konchesky to stay with the Hotspurs? I had not seen Holland before and I thought that he was somewhat anonymous, although those around me said that he was less so than usual. In contrast Stuart was bustling, although whether that is the same as effective is another question. Parker is such a wonderful player for the Addicks, a person of real skill. Let us hope that he does not move to Chelski. Jensen had a good game, apart from one poor free kick. Although criticised by some fans as a luxury player, I regard the experienced international as a creative presence on the park. JJ was given his chance to show what he can do. He did display effort and determination, only just being foiled by a Blackburn defender on one occasion. But I still thought that he had lost the sparkle I remember from the days when I lived in England. In any event, I will not be joining the fan club run by Mr Colin Sams. Indeed, some fans approached the husky dog afterwards and asked if she knew the cat that was doing the Hiss of the Match and, if so, would she give it to JJ. Kishishev had a mixed game, although on the whole I was impressed. He made some good runs going forward, although sometimes he got out of position. There were some good clearances, but also some poor ones. I was very disappointed by the performance of Euell when he came on. It lacked any real commitment. Was he cross because Mr Johnansson started because of him? Are there still lingering resentments from his disagreement with Mr Curbishley? I hope not.

Today's Hiss of the Match is given by guest analyst Penny who watched the match from the warmth of her living room in Dartford. The Sky commentators and the quiet home crowd were among the nominations, but the final choice went to Graham Sou(r)ness. He felt hard done by, but it was choice to play Cole alone up front in the first half, reducing the home side to wild shots from distance. Let's hope he hasn't damaged his chances for White Hart Lane.

Crowd rating: 10/10 for those who made the long journey north when they could have watched the game at home at Sky or in their local hostelry or listened it on the fifth radio channel.

For another report by Brian Cole go to Portsmouth viewpoint

Draper Back in Brakes Dugout

This is a Charlton page, but from time to time I report news of the club of which I am vice-president, Leamington FC. The Brakes maintained their challenge for the Midlands Combination Premier title when they took the numbers of West Midlands Police 5-1 away last Saturday. The striker we sponsor, Paul Nicholls, scored three goals.

However, the big talking point at Harbury Lane at the moment is return of former Director of Football, Dave Draper, to the dugout. 37-year old Draper had tried to revive his playing career at Woodford United across the county border in Northamptonshire, but has now returned to management. Fans everywhere will recall his time as assistant manager at Nuneaton Borough. Recalling this time, he stated 'I have seen the right way to do it and I have seen the wrong way to do it.'

DD larges it in front of the Harbury Lane end. Let's hope the wind wasn't blowing from the chicken farm.

Charlton content

Draper lives in the delightful Warwickshire village of Priors Marston. In fact, he is probably the most famous man in Priors Marston. Priors Marston has a Charlton connection. We will offer a small prize to the first person who E mails to say what it is (this competition is not open to any member of the Dray family!) Charlton link

Other news from Harbury Lane is that fans who use the stand opposite the Popular Side now have their own banner proclaiming them to be Sheepsiders.

Not a problem that Colin Powell faces at The Valley

SUBS SAVE THE DAY FOR ADDICKS

A 2-1 victory at Portsmouth propelled Charlton into the top half of the Premiership, but they have to thank second half substitutes Jon Fortune and Paolo di Canio. Charlton had gone one behind in the first half after a display that Alan Curbishley admitted afterwards was one of the worst he had ever seen from his players. Fortune, who was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed at Villa, scored the equaliser on 77 minutes. With his passion di Canio lifted the whole team and it was his corner that allowed Shaun Bartlett to score the winner in the 90th minute.

It's a few years since I've been to Pompey, but it was a shock to see the ground when they were in the 1st division. There is more space to sit down in the Sheepside stand at Leamington. They still have a sailor with a wiggle going round with a 'Play Up Pompey' board, but their mascot appears to be a frog. The symbolism of this choice is lost on me. An unexplained group of people dressed in black walked in front of us at the beginning and end of each half and were eventually greeted with the Funeral March. As we waited for the match to start, the smell of methane drifting across the pitch reminded us that the match was to be refereed by the Thing from Tring, Graham Poll.

The start to the match was ragged with neither side impressing, although things were not helped by Poll demonstrating the use of the whistle. There was a succession of throw ins, giving the game the feel of a poor quality 3rd division game. Jensen took a free kick but it was poor and Hislop collected the ball easily. Deano collided with Yakubu coming for the ball, leading to pathetic penalty calls from the locals. Deano also collected an effort from Berger.

Portsmouth were finding plenty of space on the wings and Jensen tracked back in front of an attack, leaving Deano to tip over a fierce attempt from Sheringham. Portsmouth were finding their rhythm and a dangerous shot whistled across the front of Deano's goal. Perry was booked and Portsmouth awarded a free kick in front of the 'D', but their effort came off the Charlton wall. A Jensen free kick led to a Charlton corner, but Poll awarded a free kick to the home side. Stone, who looked a stone overweight, managed to put an effort well wide. Smertin had to be brought off because of an injury and Sherwood replaced him.

We had reached the thirty minute mark without a Charlton attack worthy of the name. Lisbie won Charlton a corner, but Hislop was able to collect Jensen's tame effort. After Charlton had kicked the ball out when a Portsmouth player appeared to be injured, Sheringham kicked out the ball that was being returned to Deano, leading to a confrontation with Scott Parker. On 34 minutes the inevitable happened when a Portsmouth corner gave Sheringham a chance to put in a glancing header. For a moment I thought that Scott Parker had managed to clear the ball off the line, but in fact it had just gone over.

Charlton made an effort to get back into the game and Graham Stuart put a ball across the front of goal when he might have been better advised to have a go. Holland was only inches away from connecting with a diving header and had to receive treatment. Charlton won another corner, but Jensen's effort was predictably delivered to the near post for Hislop to collect. Lisbie was brought down with a cynical foul just outside the box and the perpetrator was awarded a yellow card. However, Jensen's free kick was far from threatening and was saved by Hislop.

Portsmouth were still clearly very much up for it in the second half and Deano had to make an early stop. Sheringham decided to get his retaliation in on Parker and was justifiably booked for a crude foul. Scott Parker turned provider for Lisbie but Hislop dived to collect the ball. Portsmouth were still dominating the match, egged on by a noisy home crowd and on 64 minutes Curbs made the double substitution that turned the game round. Feesh and Jensen, both of whom had been having a poor game, were replaced by Fortune and di Canio. Kishishev looked a bit disgruntled at his chances disappearing, while supporters advised JJ about the route to the station.

Bartlett received a yellow card for reasons which were evident to Mr Poll in his haze of methane. Then with 12 minutes to go a long throw from Luke Young gave Fortune the chance to score the equaliser, having already missed with a chance from a header. A Portsmouth free kick came off the Charlton wall and a Charlton corner led to an effort that was not far off. A chip from Parker led to another led to another effort from Fortune that went over. The locals were upset that Portsmouth's poor attempt at an offside trap had been sprung and took their ire out on the linesman who was the target of a couple of plastic bottles. Poll rushed over to the touchline and for a moment I thought he had taken in an excess of methane in the process and was going to red card the steward, but he merely asked him to clear the bottles off the pitch, while an excited bloke in a suit appeared talking in to his radio.

Berger was pulled off in favour of Taylor. After a lacklustre start, Parker was getting into the game more and this was too much for Sherwood who fouled him, receiving a yellow card for his pains. On 90 minutes di Canio put in another of his excellent corners and Bartlett popped up to head the ball into the back of the net. In the three minutes of time added on, Lisbie won Charlton another corner and the ball was kept down that end of the pitch. Charlton had shown that they could grind out a result without playing very well.

The Silver Bone is normally awarded only to players who have participated in the whole match, but match analyst Homer the Cherry Hound , returning to his south coast haunts, decided that the inspiring performance of Paolo di Canio deserved the award. It was the first Silver Bone the Italian had received, leaving him somewhat mystified about this English custom. Deano made some vital stops without which Charlton could have been out of the match. Although some allowance must be made for a blustery wind, his kicking was often off course, leaving one wag to urge him to 'keep the ball on the island'. Perry was competent enough, but he is no Richard Rufus and we continue to miss our central defender. Feesh had a rather poor game which seemed to centre on heading the ball out for avoidable throw ins. Luke Young did not maintain the progress he has displayed in recent months. Chris Powell was enthusiastic and energetic, but sometimes got caught out. Graham Stuart seems to be regaining some of his old form, powering through the centre a couple of times, but we shouldn't get too excited. Although our expectations are high, this was a below par performance from Scott Parker which perhaps goes to explain the team's woeful display for the first sixty minutes. Jensen looked out of it for much of the match and his set pieces were disappointing. I am still waiting to be impressed by Holland . He needs to make more of an impact of the match. Lisbie bore the weight of expectations although Curbs made it clear that he could not be expected to score in every game. He made his contribution, but suffered from a lack of service for much of the match. Bartlett experienced the same problem, but at least he got the ball in the net which is what he is expected to do. Fortune made a real difference in attack and defence when he came on and is another player whose game is improving.

Juneau the Soccer Cat awarded the Hiss of the Match to the carrot headed linesman who we have seen at The Valley and either doesn't know the rules or doesn't know how to interpret them. Juneau received a text message from Daisy the Saint who told her that she was a grinning Hampshire cat after the result at what she described as the Fratton Scrapyard.

Crowd rating: This was a sell out for the Addicks, but the crowd was rather subdued for much of the game. Perhaps that was not surprising given the quality of the play, but Portsmouth resident Brian Cole was unable to get things going at the start. Of course, the absence of a roof didn't help. 6/10.

SUPER KEVIN LISBIE!

That was the chant of the Addickted after a hattrick from the mercurial striker had given Charlton a 3-2 victory over Liverpool at The Valley. After a bright start by the home team, the hearts of the Addicketd sank after Liverpool went 1-0 ahead went with a goal that had a beautiful simplicity. But by half time the Addicks were 2-1 ahead thanks to Super Kev. Referee Rob Styles was seen chatting to Michael Owen before the resumption and one wag suggested that he was telling him when the penalty would be. These words proved sadly prophetic as within minutes Owen had levelled for Liverpool from the spot. It looked as if Charlton might have to settle for a share of the points, but a great run and sweet strike by the Jamaican international put them ahead again. And for once they were able to hold on to their lead in the remaining minutes of the game.

Charlton started as if they were out to win and excellent work by Jensen troubled Liverpool in the opening minute. However, it was quickly evident that Liverpool were very fast and dangerous on the break. An error by Stuart enabled the visitors to threaten Deano's goal, but good defensive work by the Addicks led to nothing more than a corner. Another good attack by Jensen (who is the leading Charlton player for shots on target) gave Charlton their first corner, but Parker's effort was well over. On 14 minutes an excellent pass by Kewell in the form of a long through ball was well collected by Smicer who put the visitors 1-0 ahead.

A Charlton throw in led to a Charlton corner and then to a second. An effort, possibly by Perry, was just over. Hyppia was being given by a torid time by Lisbie and the faltering Finn made a poor clearance which was immediately pounced on by Scott Parker. His pass enabled Lisbie to sprint clear and produce a superb one-touch finish to level the score on the half hour.

Somewhat surprisingly, the East Stand linesman was giving offside decisions in Charlton's favour and one of these meant that a Liverpool goal was disallowed. In a moment of sublime skill, Parker deprived Owen of the ball. Lisbie won Charlton a corner, but it was cleared. The Addicks won a corner for a foul on Bartlett and the less than impressive Dudek managed to spill the ball, producing a Charlton corner. Fish leapt up to head the ball and it also connected with the heads of Heskey and Bartlett, before Bartlett put in a shot that was parried by Dudek. Lisbie confidently stabbed in the rebound to make it 2-1 on 42 minutes. Young received a yellow card for a foul and Perry received one as well for doubting the wisdom of the referee's decision. The free kick was moved ten yards forward, but I'm not sure that this really helped Liverpool as it gave them less space in which to operate. In any event, the shot came off the Charlton wall.

Five minutes after the re-start, Perry pulled back Heskey in the box and the referee awarded a penalty. Owen stepped up to score by putting the ball low to Deano's right. From then on Liverpool stepped up the pressure in an effort to get all three points and Deano, rated as first equal keeper in the Premiership by The Independent , did much to keep the Addicks in the game. A deflection off Young gave Liverpool a corner taken by Smicer and as the ball flashed across the front of the goal, 'Pool failed to connect by inches. Smicer went down, leading the referee to blow up and halt a promising Charlton attack. Smicer made a miraculous recovery. Liverpool won a corner and Deano made a great save. The visitors won two more corners and then there was a shout for a penalty as Bartlett was pulled back in the box. However, it appears that referees are told only to give big clubs penalties for that kind of offence.

On 67 minutes Smicer was pulled off in favour of Murphy. Four minutes later the error prone Stuart was replaced by Kishishev. Deano comfortably saved a Liverpool free kick and was then called on to make another two saves as Liverpool contunued to look dangerous. Fish had been finding it difficult to cope out of water for some time and was replaced by Fortune on 74 minutes. A Charlton corner gave Lisbie a chance to try a header but it went over. Diouf was booked. A rare error by Luke Young meant that Deano had to make a good save from Kewell. Deano threw the ball out to Lisbie within his own half and the Hackney harrier surged forward, swerving past Finnan. Meanwhile, Jensen had powered forward past Murphy and Biscan was distracted by the marauding Dane invading his turf. Lisbie was able to run on without challenge and curled a shot past Dudek to make it 3-2 on 82 minutes. He later described it as his best ever goal and it must surely be a candidate for goal of the season. The last time we used the 'Super Kevin Lisbie' headline was for an almost as brilliant solo effort at Portman Road which gave Charlton three points at Ipswich.

Almost immediately Houllier pulled off Diouf and brought on Tallec. The Liverpool bench is less impressive than that of some other top clubs. A foul on Lisbie earned Charlton a free kick but no yellow card was shown. With three minutes time added on, an error by Kishishev gave Liverpool a corner. JJ was brought on to hold things up and to give Lisbie a chance to receive a personal standing ovation. Kewell still managed to hit the post, but a Parker clearance up field signalled the end of the match. As the Bloke Beside Me commented, 'These are the moments to saviour.' Chris Powell did has jack in the box act as the dejected Merseysiders left the stadium. Among them was Matt from Redhill who had predicted a 4-0 victory for the visitors from his Surrey fastness.

It was the third game in a row that Kevin Lisbie , booed off when was substituted in the first game of the season against Manchester City scored for his club. Hooch the Pooch had the pleasure of presenting him with the rare accolade of a Golden Bone , accompanied by an in car safe for maximum security. Deano made some superb saves, including one when a wicked deflection meant that he had to change the direction of his dive. Chris Perry an impressive game in the centre half role, making some important interventions. Feesh was less impressive, but did well enough, eventually being substituted after suffering fin damage. Chris Powell had a sparkling game, effective both in defence and in building attacks and showing no sign of tiring by the end of the game. He seems to have acquired a new lease of life. Luke Young is looking like one of the most improved players this season and in other circumstances would have been a Silver Bone candidate. He was commanding coming forward, including one superb nutmeg. Scott Parker dominated the centre of the park and was incisive in attack and effective in defence. Matt Holland was more involved than I have seen him so far, but I feel that he has yet more to offer. Jensen used his pace to make some great runs forward. Stuart gave his all once again, but increasingly looks like a player who is past his peak and would be better on the bench than as a starting player. Bartlett had a relatively quiet game and probably has his most effective phase acting as a central defender in the closing minutes. Kishishev replaced the tiring Stuart, but made relatively little impression on the game. Fortune came on to replace the injured Fish and at least avoided making any obvious errors. JJ was brought on in time added on.

Juneau the Soccer Cat Hiss of the Match to referee Rob Styles who was determined to give the Addicks as little as he could.

Crowd rating: Got more involved as the game went on, but what was particularly striking was the silence of the Scousers for much of the match. 7/10

DEANO SAVES THE DAY

A penalty save by Dean Kiely gave the Addicks eventual victory in a pulsating Carling cup tie against Luton at The Valley. The Hatters went 2-0 ahead in the first half, but a Scott Parker strike made it 1-2 by half-time. The Addicks then went 3-2 ahead only for Luton to equalise again. In extra time the Addicks went 4-3 ahead but the tireless Hatters levelled again. It was thus all down to a penalty shoot out and with the score at 4-4 there were hopes of a Wembley style 7-6 victory. In fact it went to 8-7 with Deano dealing with a shot from Luton captain Chris Coyne. This was the first ever Charlton victory over the Hatters in a cup competition, all three previous encounters having gone the way of Luton. Those at the match certainly got their money's worth, although the Bloke in Front of Me called it more Comedy Cup than Carling Cup. Chalfont St.Peters Addick Dick Sheppard who have been sporting designer stubble at the start of the match had a full beard by the time it finally ended.

I managed to get to The Valley early enough to buy one of the limited collection programmes which, it is rumoured, are already being auctioned on E Bay. The Hatters virtually filled the Jimmy Seed, although their chants seemed somewhat limited, including the tired old one advising di Canio where he might go. The Addicks started well enough, playing some fluent, intelligent football, but the visitors defended well. There was some Charlton pressure, but no real shots on target. Luton made effective use of the offside trap, assisted by an intellectually challenged linesman.

Lisbie messed up a potential chance to shoot. Di Canio showed his skills in providing a good ball to Jensen, but the Dane was unable to make use of it. A di Canio corner gave Lisbie the chance to head the ball into the net, but the eagle eyed referee, P Armstrong (one of the Berkshire berks) disallowed it on the grounds of an infringement. Luton started to look more dangerous, although David Bayliss was booked for a foul.

When Luton took the lead on the half hour it was somewhat against the run of play. Their work on the wings was good and Steve Howard found McSheffrey. He turned provider for Foley who evaded Chris Powell and slotted the ball home from an acute angle that would defy most of Charlton's strikers. Two minutes later the Hatters were 2-0 ahead. Charlton's corners are rarely dangerous, but an inswinging one from Matthew Spring allowed Bayliss to nod the ball past Deano, making it seem easy work for the Scouser. Then it was nearly 0-3 when Brkovic struck the post with a shot for Luton. Before any more calamities could strike the tattered Charlton defence, good work by Lisbie set up Scott Parker who dealt effectively with one challenge and then slotted the ball home from close range. Tracy from Dartford pointed out that this was the first goal from open play we had seen at The Valley this season.

Early in the second half, Scott Parker put in a good cross but it was well gathered by 19-year old keeper Rob Beckwith, an impressive presence in the Luton goal. Matt Holland then put in a superb ball to Luke Young but he dragged it wide from what was admittedly a difficult angle. Luton then stepped up the pressure with two corners in succession. Scott Parker burst through but was brought down by defender Sol Davis who received a yellow card for his trouble. Then on 58 minutes a move that started with a Claus Jensen free kick, with Paolo cleverly playing the ball back to Claus, saw Lisbie level for Charlton. Luton, however, stepped up the pressure while the Addicks seemed to slow down.

Curbs decided to replace Stuart by JJ, hardly the choice of fans with Euell on the bench. Paolo made a superb turn, but then somehow missed the target. Two Luton free kicks against Parker led to a Luton corner, but the blonde head of JJ rose to clear. Then the inevitable happened and McSheffrey put in a superb curling 25-yard shot to put the visitors ahead again.

JJ kept making excellent runs at goal, but lacked the confidence to shoot when he got there which seems odd when you are faced with a 19-year old keeper. 'He's like a greyhound' shouted the wits behind me. Anther wag suggested that he should keep on running and he would find a bus every twenty minutes. Chris Powell was pulled off in favour of Jason Euell. Surely our leading goalscorer could have been brought on earlier, but Curbs has alwaays been one for a cautious substitutions policy. Luton continued to look dangerous with a scramble in front of the Charlton goal. Finally, with the minutes ticking away, another substitution was made that the fans had been hoping for and Kevin Lisbie (who received warm applause in recognition of his efforts) was replaced by Jamal Campbell-Ryce. With victory for Luton seeming to be on the cards, di Canio made it 3-3 with a header on 90 minutes, an effort made possible by superb work by Campbell-Ryce. There were then some agonising times in what seemed to be a very long four minutes added on.

With the match going into extra time, JJ once again failed to take a golden opportunity to shoot. The keeper spilled the ball, leading to a Charlton corner. An excellent strike from Jensen then put the Addicks 4-3 ahead, but Luton were not going to give up. An error from JJ gave the opportunity to Danny Coyne to make it 4-4 on 110 minutes. JJ burst through again, but his effort was just wide. It would have been 4-5 but for an excellent diving save by Deano. Good approach work by Jensen allowed him to have a go. Deano had to back pedal to make a save on the line. Another effort by Luton was just inches wide.

Then it was time for penalties. Paolo, Jason Euell, John Fortune, JJ and Jensen all scored with calm confidence but Deano was not able to save any of the Luton efforts. It was then sudden death, but both Holland and a tired Scott Parker both did the business. The keeper got a hand to Mark Fish's effort, which looked as if it might be going over, but it found the back of the net. Only at 8-7 were Charlton able to creep into the next round. We headed off in a taxi to North Greenwich tube. We met the Stoke Poges Addick at Marleyborne who said there had nearly been a riot at Charlton Station when the gates were slammed shut in front of a few hundred fans with the platform far from full. I didn't get home until 2 a.m., but it was worth it to be at one of the most exciting matches I have seen at The Valley for a long time. Normally to get such excitement I have to go and see 2nd division matches at Nene Park.

Match analyst Hooch the Pooch awarded yet another Silver Bone to Scott Parker for his tireless effort and skill. If things go on like this, we will have to have another award for the player who is not Scott Parker.

Deano let in twelve goals and once again his kicking out left something to be desired with at least one ball being delivered in a dangerous fashion to the opposition. Fortune needlessly gave away a corner. Fish was often poor, but Rufus remained on the bench. Powell sometimes seem to lack the pace and positioning to deal with the 2nd division attack. Young showed real commitment and made some good runs forward. Holland put in a mature and controlled performance that showed why he is a good acquisition. Stuart did his best, but he is past his peak. Jensen is dispossessed too easily, but also showed some real skill and made a significant contribution to the match. The pace of Lisbie caused some problems for the 2nd division defenders.

Paolo di Canio displayed some moments of sublime skill, although once or twice he tried to be a little too clever. He did his best to fire up the crowd during the penalty shootout.

Up for it or what? Paolo di Canio delivered a superb strike and no one should doubt his commitment to the cause.

Apart from managing to score from his penalty, JJ was little short of disastrous. It is rare to see such a comprehensive decline in form and confidence by a player. Euell did not do as much as was hoped for when he came. Campbell-Ryce showed that he is a player of real skill and determination, but also that he is not quite the finished article. Some of the things he tried didn't work and sometimes he kept the ball for too long. But he certainly added something distinctive.

Juneau the Soccer Cat nearly gave the Hiss of the Match to JJ , but finally settled on the useless linesman who was on the East Stand side much of the time.

Crowd rating With a crowd of just over 10,000, of whom nearly 3,000 were Hatters, the volume of support was nevertheless good with the Covered End particularly lively. 7/10.

YOU'VE GOT TO TAKE YOUR CHANCES

If there is one clear lesson to emerge from Charlton's 2-1 defeat at Villa Park, it is that you've got to take your chances in the Premiership. Charlton had two good and one half chance to go ahead in the first half against an uninspiring Villa team, the best leading to Sean Bartlett over hitting the ball and the underside of the bar. With the Villa crowd starting to get on their team's back, the Addicks could have secured a valuable psychological advantage. Instead defensive confusion, resulting in large part from the team's increasing indiscipline, allowed Villa to go 1-0 ahead before half team. The defence are sadly missing the solid anchor normally provided by Richard Rufus and it was more incompetence and lack of confidence that allowed Jlloyd Samuel to put Villa two ahead after the break. A disallowed goal and a denied penalty claim did little for the Addicks and it was left to substitute Kevin Lisbie to claim a late goal for the Addicks that was little consolation. It was too late to battle for a share of the points. All Charlton had was more yellow cards to add to their growing tally.

I associate Villa Park with two things: rain and defeat. On this occasion it was a very warm late summer's day as I made the 45 minute trip from Leamington to Aston. Perhaps foolishly, I had hoped that Charlton might get something from the game, as many papers had predicted. Perhaps not all three points, but at least a decent draw. 'Back the manager, sack the board' was the slogan that summarised the mood of the home fans. Whether their Venezuelan saviour will arrive remains to be seen.

The opening phase of the game was very open and suggested that we were not up against the strongest of sides. Good work by Jensen set up Kishishev in a promising position, but somehow he managed to drag his shot wide of the target. Charlton then had another half chance that they were unable to take advantage of. On 24 minutes, Bartlett was presented with a great opportunity to score, but his excessively fierce effort hit the underside of the bar. The Bloke Behind Me kept insisting after this that Charlton should have been 3-0 up. Football isn't like that, but they should have gone one ahead and it would have been interesting to see what would have happened to the cohesion of the Villa team.

On 38 minutes Villa managed to score through the unlikely route of Alpay, one of the least popular players with the home fans. Charlton were still protesting about the lack of interest of the linesman in a late tackle on Scott Parker. More interested in arguing with the officials rather than organising their defence, a corner gave an opportunity for Alpay to score a soft goal from a header. Parker was also booked for his protests. As half time approached, Villa launched a final attack that was very dangerous.

Villa's first attack after the break ended with a shot that went well wide, but Charlton were not spared for long. None other than Jlloyd Samuel was able to dance through the Charlton defence, in part because he was initially unmarked and then because the defenders retreated helplessly before him, allowing him to put in a sizzling shot into the far top corner of the goal. Graham Stuart came on on 58 minutes. On 61 minutes a Jensen header had to be tipped over the crossbar by Sorensen. Charlton then had a goal disallowed for a foul, probably a correct decision. Jensen had another effort which was just over and Deano had to make a great save at the other end. The Addickted appealed vigorously for a penalty after a scything challenge in the box, but the players didn't seem to think there was much of a case and I wasn't convinced either.

In another avoidable booking, Luke Young got a yellow for dissent. Scott Parker made a great run along most of the length of the pitch. He then buried his face in the pitch after missing from short range. The arrival of Lisbie with some ten minutes left did little to raise the hopes of the Addickted. But following a booking for charm merchant Juan Pablo Angel, a Lisbie header found the back of the net. Jon Fortune was the next player to be booked. In the closing minutes it was Charlton who found themselves under pressure and any hope of a draw evaporated. What was disappointing about this performance was that it was against a side who are evidently not very good, but Charlton were unable to raise their game to match them.

Scott Parker was head and shoulders above any other Charlton player in terms of commitment and skill and Hooch the Pooch had no hesitation in awarding an admittedly somewhat tarnished Silver Bone to the young player. Deano did make a couple of good stops, but perhaps could have done more to stop the first goal. He showed a worrying tendency early in the game to rush out of his area. Probably the most impressive defensive player was Chris Powell who showed a real fluency in his play, especially in the first half. Once again, questions were left in one's mind about whether Jon Fortune is really quite good enough for the Premiership. The sight of him retreating from Samuel was not an inspiring one to behold. A returning Luke Young made some useful contributions both in defence and surging forward, but there was a lack of consistency across the game as a whole. Fish looked like he was out of his natural medium much of the time and made one or two potentially serious errors. Kishishev did his best to make a contribution, but faded and was eventually substituted. Holland was proficient enough, but has a worrying tendency to give the ball away. Nothing much that Jensen tried, either from set pieces or in open play, really worked apart from one good attempt to score. Bartlett looked quite impressive in the air, but his failure to take golden opportunities must count against him. Di Canio was quite active and skillful to begin with, but faded as the game went on. His main contribution was perhaps to arouse the ire of the Villains who more than once chanted their advice about where he might go. Stuart was presumably brought on to add the benefit of his experience, but apart from one or two surging moves forward, his contribution was limited. Lisbie was certainly up for it and managed to end Charlton's goal drought.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to inept referee C Foy who should return to the Nationwide where he generally displays his talents. He even managed to miss a blatant handball by Charlton.

Crowd rating: Someone remarked that they had never heard such a quiet Charlton crowd away. Away attendances are falling and those attending are less vociferous. 4/10

Are you watching Curbishley?

This was the comment bellowed about by Tracy from Dartford at Monday's 0-0 reserves draw with Watford in response to a sparking performance by Jamal Campbell-Ryce which enlivened an otherwise somewhat dull encounter. Sitting further along the row, the quick witted supremo replied, 'Watching what?' There is no doubt that Campbell-Ryce was the outstanding player. Fast, committed and accurate and with a good sense of positioning, he eventually had to be attended by two Watford players. He was clearly man of the match as far as the row of Rodsters was concerned and, as one of his last duties for Sainsbury's, David Hatch was dispatched with a £25 cat food voucher redeemable at any Sainsbury's store as a substitute for the Silver Bone.

From the moment that Paolo Vernazza ran out cupping his hand to a silent crowd, it was clear that Watford were up for it against the reserve league leaders. The Hornets were buzzing and more than once they came close to scoring. At other times, their containment game was very effective and a somewhat insipid Addicks forward line was unable to break through a well organised Watford defence. At least the reserve team kept their unbeaten record. The experience of 40-year old Canning Town born and former Chelsea keeper Kevin Hitchcock helped Watford in goal. However, defender Lloyd Doyley found the game far from a piece of cake, while Dominic Blizzard failed to generate a storm in the very warm September weather. Jack Smith (surely a pseudonym?) make his greatest impact on the match when he was booked for kicking the ball away.

Homer the Cherry Hound was given some practice in evaluating the players, placing his bulk alongside equine magante John Window in the reserved area. In the Charlton goal, Café Latte (aka Portuguese keeper Sergio Leite) kept a clean sheet, although he has a rather continental style of keeping, reliant on punching the ball out. Osei Sankofa justified his position as a first team bench player. Adam Gross did little to justify possible puns, but was a rather effective player. Neil McCafferty showed some real touches of skill in the first half, but the faded. Richard Rufus was competent enough, displaying his traditional skills of putting the ball in the stands or hoofing it up the park, but looked less sharp than I remembered him. But perhaps he had been told not to take any risks. Michael Turner would benefit from a diet of burgers or some other 'weight on' formula. Stephen Hughes contributed relatively little given his experience, although he did take the corners. Lisbie looked no more like scoring at this level than in the Premiership. JJ did not seem very interested. Pam from Sidcup threatened after the game to put a voodoo on JJ, but Tracy commented, 'I thought you already had.' Lloyd Sam looked effective enough, but was substituted. As a substiute, Barry Fuller was memorable for his lack of impact on the match. No cat was present to give a hiss of the match, but the officials were competent enough in an uninspiring way. Junior members of the crowd attempted chants of 'Red Army' with little success.

A DAY OF DISAPPOINTMENT

It was a hot late summer's day in South-East London, but the effects of global warming failed to heat up Charlton's performance as the Addicks went down 0-2 at home to Manchester United. United remain the only top club they have not beaten in the Premiership. The Addicks have also failed to score a single goal against a Manchester club this season and have conceded five. United were not as good a side as I have seen in the past and many fans thought that this might be the occasion when the Addicks would take all three points off them. Indeed, at half-time, a 0-0 draw seemed a likely outcome. However, even a United side that is playing below its best outdistances the Addicks when it comes to lethal finishing. Indeed, throughout the match it was difficult to see how the Addicks were going to score. Whether Paolo di Canio is the answer remains to be seen.

This was the first time I had seen the Addicks this season. Travel has taken me to countries as far apart as the States and Russia. On Saturday I had to travel from Cologne to get to the match. British Airways got me to London on time and forty minutes later I was on the M25. But as I approached Junction 4 there were long queues ahead and the radio said that they stretched back from the A2. I therefore decided to come through Orpington where I hit Saturday shopping traffic. Hence, I had to park up some way from the ground. I have often wondered how far away one can hear the roar from, but I was coming down Charlton Lane before I heard anything. There was a great roar, followed by loud boos. This was when Euell broke free with a pass from Di Canio and the collided with Howard in the United goal to be yellow card by referee Riley. Having seen it on television, I would say it was a fifty-fifty call for the referee, but Riley was not disposed to give Charlton any favours. Admittedly it is unusual to book someone in the first minute, but I saw a keeper sent off in the third minute at Rushden the other week. Listening to 606 on the way home the airwaves were full of complaints about refs, no doubt many of them justified. However, it would be too easy to blame the result on Riley's propensity to overlook offences by United and spot them when Charlton were involved and thus to prove that not all Yorkshire residents hate United. With their makeshift defence, Charlton were simply outclassed.

I took my seat ten minutes late to a shout of 'Sit Down, You Pratt' from the Bloke Behind Me who was once again in residence and showered me in spittle throughout the game as he made his views known about Riley. I thought that Charlton held their own in the first half, but lacked confidence in going forward so that Euell and di Canio were left without any support. Compared with United, they often seemed to lack width. Graham Stuart was one player presumably supposed to provide that on the right, but often seemed to be playing in the centre. Nevertheless, there were some nice flowing moves forward with Parker and Powell prominent. The ire of Charlton fans was centred on Ronaldo and his tendency to fall over at every opportunity, although when viewed on television, he was subject to some scything tackles, not least one from Stuart.

At least his duel with Kishishev added spice to what was otherwise a rather quiet first half. In the portion of the match I saw, Howard was not really tested in the United goal. Just before the break, Deano had to deal with an effort from Ronaldo and then with a fierce free kick from the same player.

Charlton started the second half well and Di Canio showed sparkle when he twice took the ball away from Neville. The replacement of Keane by Solksjaer reminded us that United still have strength in depth. He is probably the United player I would most like to see play for Charlton. On 61 minutes the visitors won a free kick in a dangerous position. Their effort came off the wall, the follow up fortuitously bounced off Butt and Van Nistelroy was able to put in a fierce shot high into the net that left Deano without a chance. No yellow card was given to a United player for their exuberant goal celebrations in front of their legally depleted away support.

Once United go ahead, it's not easy to get back in the match. But things took a turn for the worse four minutes later when Euell was given a second yellow and sent off for a petulant late and unnecessary tackle on Gary Neville. The first card he was given was harsh, but this one wasn't and he should have been more careful when he was already on a yellow. Charlton are becoming like Arsenal with three players sent off in five matches and this situation cannot just be blamed on refereeing decisions.

The Addicks didn't give up and point their heart into getting something out of the game. Bartlett was brought on to try and add something extra, but the arrival of JJ and Lisbie reminded us of the gulf between the two benches. United's second goal eight minutes from time was the result of poor defending. A Giggs free kick went to Van Nistelrooy who for some reason was totally unmarked at the far post. At this point a considerable number of Charlton followers left to chants of 'Loyal supporters' from the gleeful Guildford male voice choir. For all the complaints about Riley and Ronaldo, it is as well to remember that Howard didn't have to make a real save throughout the game.

Match analysts Hooch the Pooch and Homer the Cherrry Hound had both been in residence during the week while their owners were on holiday and fierce bouts of dog wrestling took place to determine who should be the canine analyst. However, after bad behaviour by Harwell based Homer, it was Hooch the Pooch who awarded the first Silver Bone of the season to Scott Parker . Parker came as near to scoring as any Charlton player with an effort towards the end of the game that was not far wide. He gave his all, eventually having to be substituted because of cramp, and blended passion with skill. Deano made some good stops and really had no chance of dealing with the two goals. I thought that loan debutant Chris Perry looked solid and useful to start with, but his ball watching contributed to the second goal. Fortune played well above his usual standard and showed some real moments of skill. In the first half he stopped a Griggs effort that would have gone in if he had not blocked it. The Bloke Behind Me demanded to know why he does not start every game. Why? Because he is prone to make occasional disastrous errors. But, with experience, his game is improving. Kishishev was really fired up and displayed some outstanding ball winning skill in front of the East Stand. This was definitely one of his better performances and he stayed on the pitch to applaud the fans and receive applause in return. I had not expected to see Chris Powell play ninety minutes, but he showed some real skill and fluency in front of the East Stand in the first half. Opinions about Stuart differed with one person even regarding him as a Silver Bone candidate. He gave his all and was very much involved, but his positioning was poor and he was sometimes outpaced by the younger United players. This was the first time I had seen Holland and those who have seen him in other games speak highly of him. In this game I do not feel that he contributed a great deal. Jensen tried to be too clever and sent hopeless balls over from distance. The lack of corners (for both sides) meant that he had little to do in that department, but Charlton still seem to be addicted to short corners which in my view rarely work (not that our long corners work very often either). Some fans felt that Di Canio was insufficiently involved. I don't expect him to be racing all over the pitch in the manner of a latter day Bradley Allen, but rather to display those moments of real skill that can turn a game. I saw some moments of skill, but unfortunately they did not change the course of the game. It was amusing to hear his name chanted by the Covered End Choir and to recall that the last time this had happened he had been playing for West Ham. Accused of being an Onanist, he then went and scored for the Ironworks. Euell no doubt feels that he was hard done by, but should have been more careful when he was on a yellow. The substitutes were not really on long enough to make a difference, in true Charlton fashion, but Bartlett inspires me with more hope than either JJ or Lisbie , albeit that he scored a relatively easy goal for Jamaica.

Hooch asserts his right to be match analyst.

Visiting chat Tigger from Harwell demanded the right to give the Hiss of the Match, but after she had an exchange of views with Juneau's henchcat Amber , the task fell again to Juneau the Soccer Cat who had no hesitation in giving the award to Ronaldo. No doubt he was harried by Kishishev, but he is going to have to deal with that in English football.

Crowd rating: I thought that the crowd was relatively quite, except when it came to expressing their ire against Riley and Ronaldo. Chants of 'Red Army' etc. were relatively few and far between. 6/10

2003-4 Reports

I have had a few E mail enquiries about 2003/4 reports. After celebrating my silver wedding at the anniversary at The Valley in July, my wife and I went on a cruise and we missed the two opening games (unfortunately better dates for the cruise were not available!) I will miss the Everton game because of a work related visit to the States. However, although I will have to fly back from Germany, I have every intention of being at the United game and filing a report. Reports will continue this year, although they may be more sporadic because of work commitments and I may investigate a diary format on a 'blogger'. Wyn.

Fulham Game

Unfortunately, I won't be at the last game of the season as work is taking me to Canberra in Australia. There will therefore be no report of this game.

Work commitments have meant that I have been to fewer games, particularly away, this season. Thanks to Paul May, he Westcombe Park Addick with the permanent hangover, for covering many of these games. Thanks also to everyone who has E mailed me during the course of the season which, like so many for Charlton, has been a very mixed one.

When these reports were first started Charlton was an unfashionable Division 1 club and detailed coverage of matches was limited. Now that we are in the Premiership press reports are available from a large number of sources, generally accessible on the internet. Over the summer I will be considering three options for the future of this page:

Any views you have will be welcome.

FOREGONE CONCLUSION

It really was a foregone conclusion, writes Westcombe Park Addick Paul May of Charlton's 4-1 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford. With United chasing the Premiership title, van Nistelroy on song and injuries forcing the Addicks to mount a patchwork central defence, there was never much doubt about the outcome. The optimists had pointed out that the sequence of our results at Old Trafford had been 4-1, 2-1, 0-0 suggesting a continuous trend of improvement. Unfortunately, they forgot this was Charlton we were talking about. Which raises the question of why I got out of bed in my basement flat in the early hours, nursing a hangover that didn't clear until the coach reached the outskirts of Manchester. Match reporter Wyn Grant had more sensibly gone to watch the 3rd division championship decider at Nene Park where Charlton had a nice write up in the programme. Not only did he see Rushden and Diamonds receive the championship trophy, he also saw a spectacular charge on to the pitch by all four horses of the Northamptonshire constabulary. And he would have been able to watch dancing in the streets of Irthlingborough if all the pubs hadn't been closed.

Charlton actually started well at Old Trafford. The central midfield seemed to know what it was doing and covered for any defensive lapses. Van Nistelroy found himself surrounded by black shirts when he tried anything, although referee Halsey was keen to give him a free kick whenever he fell over which was often. Beckham fancied his luck from 35 yards, but the ball was headed away by the Addicks defence and Euell continued the clearance. Then Beckham put a dangerous ball into the box but it was claimed well by Deano who came out and took it high.

Parker was working hard in the midfield and looked bright. But when Scholes caught him high on his arm, Halsey awarded a free kick against the Addicks. Scholes had a go from twenty yards but it went well over Deano's crossbar. Then an error by Chris Powell let in Beckham. His shot took a wicked deflection off Powell which deceived Deano and the Addicks were 1-0 down.

But within less than two minutes they were level. With Barthez on the bench, Carroll in the United goal made a poor clearance which was intercepted by Jensen 25 yards out. It is easy to dismiss the Charlton goal as down to an error by the keeper, but it was well struck by the Dane. His right footed shot went in the one place where no one could get it.

Griggs turned provider for Solksjaer, but he was well intercepted by Luke Young. Beckham was ruled offside when he thought he was through. United seemed uncertain how to break Charlton down and the game entered a quite phase around the twenty minute mark. Then a Giggs turn allowed United to come forward, but van Nistelroy's effort was punched away by Kiely. He then dribbled the ball outside his area and cleared upfield, good work by the keeper. Van Nistelroy turned provider for Solksjaer, but Deano claimed the ball by the near post. Euell made a break, but Konchesky's cross was poor. Solksjaer put in a ball that was cleared by Luke Young. Fortune made a poor clearance and the ball went in off him, but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Deano.

Charlton's movement off the ball was still looking good. Beckham was challenged by Powell with an excellent header. Unfortunately, it gave United a corner. It seems they haven't scored off a corner in the Premiership all season, but they did this time, van Nistelroy putting in the net. It was all downhill from then on. One problem was that Scholes seemed to get more room while the makeshift central defence was gettting caight out more. Van Nistelroy made it 3-1, thanks in part to an error by Fortune. Things might have been worse but for a good challenge by Parker on Giggs. At the other end Euell did provide Bartlett with a good ball, but the Springbok's effort went over the goal. 3-1 was the scoreline at half time and many feared that it might be another 6-1 defeat for the Addicks.

United made it 4-1 when van Nistelroy claimed his hat trick after Beckham had turned provider. Poor defending was again in part to blame with van Nistelroy being left unattended by Young. The Addicks did win a couple of corners. Powell turned provider for Lisbie but his header was saved by Carroll. Parker cleared a dangerous ball that went across the front of the goal. Deano nearly spilled an effort from Solksjaer. Lisbie won Charlton a corner. But the difference between the two teams was demonstrated when Veron came on as a substitute, When Kishishev was pulled off, he was replaced by an Academy player, Osei Sankofa. It will be a debut for him to remember, but it does remind us of the gulf in resources in the Premiership. By this time I had lost interest in the match and I was just glad we didn't go further behind.

CHARLTON GO MARCHING IN

Saints have never won at The Valley in the Premiership and Charlton at last managed to secure three points for the first time since February with a 2-1 victory. The Addicks had a makeshift central defence with Rufus and Feesh both out, but the Saints had Jones in goal in place of Niemi and seemed to have their minds on the upcoming FA Cup tie against Arsenal. So far as I can make out this is the first time this season that Curbs has decided that no substitutions were necessary, while an increasingly frantic Strachan made two in between doing a war dance on the touchline.

For once, everything seemed set fair for a victory. I found my lucky football socks again and I knew that lucky match analyst Homer the Cherry Hound was travelling with the party of Addicks and Saints coming from Didcot. I therefore felt confident in predicting a 2-1 win to Joe the Saint before the game and also entering that score in the pub jackpot. Not surprisingly, I was one of five people who had the same idea.

The teams started by changing ends. Both of them went into a huddle, perhaps reflecting the fact that the two clubs are in many ways similarly placed: medium-sized clubs among the big boys. An early Fortune error put Charlton under pressure, but the play returned to the Saints end. Wayne Bridge was able to zoom away down the left, with Kishishev nowhere in evidence, but fortunately Saints failed to connect with the excellent cross put in by the England player. Parker was able to put in a shot, but Jones saved at the expense of an Addicks throw in. Southampton continued to be given too much space on the wing, this time the ageing Marsden taking advantage. Good work by Charlton involving Konchesky and Powell earned the Addicks a corner. Jones fumbled it, but it was eventually cleared. Powell fed Lisbie to win a Charlton corner (one of an aggregate of seventeen in the game), but the ball was cleared, although there was a hopeful shout for hand ball. A break by the Saints on the West Stand side required a save from Deano. Parker blasted an attempt over after the ball had been won following a slip by a Saint on the West Stand side.

Oakley powered in, but Deano was able to pick up the ball. Fortune conceded a corner which was taken short and ended in a goal kick. Then Deano made a complete mess of a goal kick and delivered the ball straight to Beattie. The star of the Saints side put in a powerful shot from distance which Deano had to tip over the bar. The corner produced a worrying head tennis scramble in front of goal, but eventually the Addicks were given a free kick. A tackle by Bartlett was judged by referee Wiley to merit a yellow card, but the Saints free kick came off the Charlton wall. Deano seemed to have a wobble now and then and conceded an avoidable corner. The East Stand crowd abused the lino for an offside decision, but both I and Steve from Sidcup thought that it was correct. The Saints are a team built around a few star players and Bridge powered into the area and delivered a fierce shot, but Deano was able to save on the ground.

I thought that the Saints had the edge at this stage of the match. Bridge made yet another run down the left unchallenged with Kishishev clearly unhappy with the role of right back. But then on 32 minutes Scott Parker received the ball from Jensen some thirty yards out. He began a powerful run through the Southampton defence, the kind of dribble one would have seen in the 1950s from the likes of Tom Finney. As the Saints defence stood back in admiration, Parker put the ball across Jones and into the net at the far post to make it 1-0 on 32 minutes.

The Addicks are always vulnerable when they have scored and Fortune gave the ball away, but then tackled well and won Charlton a free kick. Scott Parker made a great defensive tackle. With five minutes to go, Euell went down in the area under a challenge from Wayne Bridge. As referee Wiley firmly shook his head in response to penalty appeals (and, I think, probably correctly), Jones had to deal with a good attempt by Lisbie. At the other end, Deano fumbled the ball, but Jensen was able to rescue him by clearing it. Fortune made yet another error, but Deano was able to save. Saints had a half chance, but blasted over again. Euell put in a shot from distance, but it lacked power.

Weight watching pitch announcer Brian Cole appeared at the break, only for the Saints to be told by Big Dave Lockwood that he lived in Portsmouth. Undaunted, he told the crowd that he was going back to Pompey after the game. Steve from Sidcup pointed out as the game resumed that for the first time in three home matches an emergency double substitution had not been necessary.

Charlton made a good start to the second half with Jensen turning provider for Konchesky who won the Addicks a corner. The ball was played back in, but Konchesky's effort went straight at Jones. Jensen was tripped and his free kick was well delivered and allowed Kevin Lisbie to head into the back of the net to make it 2-0 on 50 minutes. Saints weren't giving up and a goalmouth scramble after a corner led to a second. It was Shaun Bartlett who eventually cleared the ball. Twelve minutes into the half, Kishishev produced one of the long angled balls of which he is occasionally capable. It found its target in Euell whose attemot was parried by Jones to Konchesky, but his shot went narrowly wide. A chance to make it 3-0 and put the game beyond doubt had been lost. Konchesky put in a good cross, but it was cleared. Gordon Strachan must have been longing for the peace and calm of his old home near me at Stoneleigh Abbey (although other residents got fed up with him shouting at the flower beds on his morning run). He decided to pull off Anders Svensson and brought on Fabrice Fernandes in the hope of upping the tempo of the game. This was followed by taking off Gary Monk and bringing on Jo Tessem, a more familiar name

As the second half approached the half hour mark, the game seemed to go a bit flat. Charlton seemed to have given up looking for the third goal while Saints seemed uncertain how they should get back into the game. Euell did win the ball off the full back in an excellent piece of skill, but had no support available and seemed to be obstructed. Without nothing much happening on the pitch, there was time to watch Strachan's increasingly frantic antics. Perhaps he should read Mervyn's Day programme article on coping with stress in football.

Good work by Bartlett released Konchesky who fed Jensen but the Dane blasted over. With Fortune going down, Saints won a corner. Some excellent work on the touchline involving Lisbie, Parker and Euell won the Addicks a corner. Growing Saints frustration was reflected in a kicking the ball away incident which led to a yellow card for Bridge. With both sides continuing to win corners, one Saints effort from a corner was only just wide. Charlton seemed to be fading, as they did at Liverpool. They lack the ability to shut a game down when they are ahead. On 90 minutes a poor ball ball by Kishishev was trapped by Beattie. From distance he controlled the ball on his chest and put in a powerful volley which left Deano with no chance. It was as fine a strike as I have seen this season.

What was then left were some frantic closing minutes as the Addicks tried to ensure that they kept all three points. It was a strange feeling having won a match at home and seeing Chris Powell racing out of the tunnel. There was still time to give the Saints a round of applause and wish them well in the FA Cup final.

Homer the Cherry Hound brought good luck from Didcot, but was disappointed by Bournemouth's defeat at home by Lincoln.

Match analyst Homer the Cherry Hound awarded the coveted Silver Bone to Scott Parker. He regained the form and determination that had seemingly deserted him in recent weeks and scored a superb goal. He probably managed to garner some late votes for player of the season. Deano announced his retirement from international football this week. He had a bit of an off day, showing some hesitancy on occasions and making kicking out errors. No one could have stopped Beattie's volley, though. Fortune did his best at the heart of the makeshift central defence, but was caught out more than once. Young actually looked better as a central defender than at right back and there was even a call down the pub for him to be given the Silver Bone. Although his powers are fading, Powell was more than capable at left back, although perhaps he benefits from having Konchesky in front of him. Kishishev made some worrying errors as usual, one leading to the Saints goal. Jensen looked fluent once again, but perhaps the whole side needs to play well for him to display his best. He is of much less use in backs-against-the-wall situation. The decision to start Konchesky drew applause from the crowd and he justified the selection, putting in some good crosses. Euell was also back to near his top form, displaying some excellent moments of skill. Lisbie is an easy target for the moaners and it was good to see him get a goal and also contribute to the game with his pace. Bartlett seems to have been given a boost by his goal at Liverpool and was active in the defence and midfield as well as in attack.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to referee Wiley who was both over fussy and inclined to give every 50-50 decision to the Saints. Olafur Johanssen E mailed me last week to remind that Iceland has the only duty free spectacles shop in the world and suggesting that a special plane be chartered for referees. Given that Wiley failed to see a hand ball two metres in front of him, he should be first on the plane and have the most searching examination.

Crowd rating: Very subdued to start with which is not surprising given the events of recent weeks. However, they warmed up after Charlton's first goal. Best chant of the afternoon was 'You're just a small club in Portsmouth'.

UNFORTUNATE ADDICKS SHOW REAL SPIRIT

Many of the Addickted have asked me why I am so keen to return to the site of my nemesis, writes the No.1 Addick in Iceland, Olafur Johansson. Long-standing readers of this site will remember that I was sent by my fishing firm in Iceland to be their representative in London, but my indulgence of my Addicktion came to an end when I lost both a consignment of fish and my van to young entrepreneurs in Aigburth. Well, the Easter holiday gave me a chance to escape from a still cold Iceland and watch the Addicks in action at Anfield. Needless to say, I am a great fan of Mr Hreidarsson who was once working in a fish factory like myself (I was sent to Grindavik after the Aigburth incident). I am just hoping that he did not have to endure the ribaldry of the fish wives of the packing shed.

I have been hearing some dismal tales from The Valley recently and they certainly seem justified by the poor performance of the team in the last two home games. Even Mr Curbishley have been at his wits' end to explain what was happening. Well, I saw something very different at Anfield. Although the Addicks eventually lost 2-1, they were very unfortunate not to take at least a point from the match. They more than held their own against a Liverpool side eager to secure Champions' League status and were cruelly denied all three points by two goals in the last five minutes.

With a much improved Rufus back in the team, Parker on song again and Bartlett up front, the Addicks more than held their own in the first half. Mr Owen made a number of sallies forward, but was denied by interventions by the Addicks, once to great effect by Scottish Parker. An increasing sense of frustration was evident from the home fans. The mighty roar of the Kop was not in evidence. Indeed, at times it was as quiet as the library of Mr Arsene Wenger.

Charlton's goal came just after the break through an incredible error by Djimi Traore. Mr Bartlett approached the goal at speed and Mr Traore failed to make a clearance and indeed fell over the ball. Mr Dudek in the goal managed to make some contact with the ball, but it nevertheless went off the post and into the net. Mr Bartlett rounded the back of the net, cupping his ear for his plaudits.

With only five minutes of the game left, it seemed as if the Addicks must have surely secured a win at last. Then on 86 minutes Hyppia was able to score a goal at the far post off a corner from John Arne Riise. It seemed as if might become 2-1 at the other end when Jason Euell connected well, but his effort was tipped over by Dudek. Then on 90 minutes, with Gerrard advancing, he was initially closed down by John Robinson who had replaced Parker on 83 minutes. But Gerrard was able to evade a less than impressive Luke Young and put the ball through the legs of Fortune. It was possibly a shot that Deano should have saved but it went under him and into the far corner of the net. After such hopes had been raised, it was indeed a disappointing end to the day.

He's Addickted, he's a Hermann Hreidarsson fan and he's over here

'WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH'

That was the chant that went up from the Addickted towards the end of the 0-2 defeat by Birmingham City. And who could blame them. This page normally defends the players against some of the whingers and moaners at The Valley, but this is one of the worst performances I have seen by a Charlton side since I returned to support the club regularly in 1994. The performance against Leeds could be excused as a bad day at the office, but this showing suggests that the end of season rot has set in once again. I have rarely felt so dejected after a home game.

What left an even sourer taste in the mouth was that the defeat was by the Millwall of the Midlands. It is a shocking thought that I have lived almost all my adult life in the so-called Heart of England, but my emotional Addicktion has become stronger if anything. It was quite a shock when I was talking to a younger friend recently about accents and I remarked that I had once had a London accent. 'Don't talk rubbish, Wyn, you've never had a London accent in your life' was her reply. At least I don't suffer from a Birmingham accent. Brian Cole once asked me what it was like living next to two million people with a speech defect. As we drove down the M40, we looked out for Blues coach, but they must have been ahead of us. As we walked to the Rose of Denmark, a young lad cycling past shouted 'Charlton are crap'. A shocking thing to hear in SE7, but unfortunately true at the moment.

Not so long ago, Charlton were top of the form table, now they are second from bottom. We haven't scored a goal at home in open play since the victory against Villa in February. That seems to me to be the nub of the problem. It's true that we lacked our two key central defenders yesterday and that certainly didn't help. But you are not going to win matches if you don't score goals, however good your defence is. Birmingham's defence was far from secure, but we were not able to penetrate it. According to the stats, we had five shots on target, but I have difficulty in remembering them. We need a twenty goal a season striker, although how we are going to find one and afford one is another matter. Of course, strikers need service and it has to be said that the midfield were another problem, making very little contribution to the game.

It was once again clear from the kick off that we were up against a team that were really up for it which is not suprising when one considers that they were still in relegation danger. Visiting teams hardly feel restrained from adopting an attacking posture at The Valley and the Blues won their first corner within two minutes. A Blues fan told me later that it was the best he had seen his team play all season. Well, maybe, but Charlton allowed them to play like that. The Addicks had evidently decided to play like a third division team. They had apparently been advised to hoof the ball up the field, either because the plan was to make contact with Svensson's head or because they had been told that the Blues defence was weak in the air. In either case, it didn't work.

The danger signs soon appeared and only City's slowness in front of goal prevented them from converting an early opportunity. A better side would have punished Charlton more. Diving skills were soon in evidence with Savage going down and then Horsfield having a shout after he was brought down by El Khalej. Meanwhile, Dugarry had put a pass across the front of Deano's goal with Horsfield's effort going past the post. On twenty minutes, the inevitable happened. Horsfield managed to evade Fortune without too much difficulty. Dugarry powered forward and had little difficulty in evading Luke Young and putting the ball in the net.

Charlton did manage to win a succession of corners. One of them involved a rare flash of quality play involved Scott Parker and Chris Powell. Referees are clearly on the look out for Parker and he received a yellow for a foul which may have affected his play thereafter. Svensson was then rightly booked for a reckless tackle on Clemence. After some abysmal play by Luke Young, Fortune actually made a good block. However, there was little sign of the Addicks getting back into the match and the half ended with a free kick for the Blues followed by two corners in succession.

Curbs decided to try and sort it out by taking off Kishishev and Svensson and bringing on Lisbie and Robbo. Charlton came out of the blocks looking as if they were up for it at last, just as they did in the Leeds match. The frail nature of the visitors' defence was illustrated when two defenders manage to collide with each other in front of goal, giving Lisbie the chance to win a corner. A second Charlton corner produced a frantic scramble in the City goalmouth, but eventually the keeper managed to get hold of the ball. Lisbie showed his pace by powering away down the middle of the park, but was well tackled. As Powell attempted to tackle Savage, and did make contact, the popular visitor produced a spectacular rolling dive. Referee Barry had no hesitation in pointing to the spot despite strong Charlton protests. Savage sent Deano the wrong way and the Blues were 2-0 up after 55 minutes. The game was effectively over.

Lisbie won the Addicks a corner, but it was cleared. Powell put in a decent cross to JJ, but his effort was well over. Clemence received a yellow for a push on Parker. Birmingham felt confident enough to take off Dugarry and bring on Stern John. Deano had to make a save with his legs. On 74 minutes Charlton had a chance to get back into the game with a free kick in a promising position. Jensen's effort evaded the wall but Bennett had no difficulty in saving it. A Charlton corner produced a goalmouth scramble. Horsfield threatened to make it 3-0, but managed to put his shot well over. A fierce shot from thirty yards hit the bar and then Deano had to make another save at the expense of a Birmingham corner. The hapless El Khalej was taken off and replaced by Konchesky. A final Charlton corner in the dying minutes of the game failed to produce a consolation goal.

Someone commented in the pub afterwards, 'how do you motivate someone who is earning a million pounds in the year'. The news that my second team, Rushden and Diamonds, had been promoted was scant consolation for the performance I had seen at The Valley. (Since writing this, I have heard from a Charlton season ticket holder who actually lives in Burton Latimer, a few miles from Nene Park, Irthlingborough, the home of the Diamonds). Later on I read a somewhat complacent piece in the programme by Peter Varney about season ticket renewals. A cynic might comment that it is now clear why the club wanted us to renew so early. Perhaps we could wait until after the end of the season next year and be offered a discount for each home defeat in the last ten games of the season?

For the second home match running it was not possible to award the coveted Silver Bone to a Charlton player. When we played Villa away in a poor performance, the trophy went to Shaun Newton for turning up and sharing the pain. Match analyst Hooch the Pooch had the inspired area of awarding the former Addick the prize for the two goals he scored against Millwall in their 3-0 defeat by Wolves. A Silver Bone is on its way in the post with the attached message 'always committed'.

I don't blame Deano for the two goals and he did make some saves. El Khalej was known at Southampton for being an inconsistent player according to Joe the Saint, but we certainly haven't seen the better side of him. Fortune's day was just about summed up when he dipped to let a shot go over him, exposing Deano to danger. Young was just hopeless. Captain Chris Powell did not show much leadership in that role, Robbo did more when he came on. Powell conceded the penalty which was a turning point in the game. Kishishev had a few good moments, but these were offset by a tendency to give the ball away straight to a Blue. I started to wonder if he was colour blind. Jensen simply isn't combative enough for this sort of match where the opposition is giving its all. Parker is one of our few genuinely Premiership players, nominated by the PFA for consideration of Player of the Year. But he simply wasn't at the races against Birmingham. Euell was also well below his usual best, neither the commitment nor the skill were there. I wanted Svensson to be given his chance, but he has simply failed to convince me. If he had stayed on, he could well have been sent off. It was difficult to remember at times that JJ was on the pitch. Lisbie brought pace but very little else when he came on. Robbo really fought for the game, as one would expect, but at Premiership level one needs more than commitment. Many around me would have started Konchesky but he didn't impress when he came on.

A very angry Juneau the Soccer Cat has taken the unusual step of giving a very loud hiss to the whole of the Charlton team.

Crowd rating: Pretty silent to start with and increasingly frustrated. Very difficult to give a rating when the performance on the pitch is so poor.

Final Curtain for Draper

I am a vice-president of Leamington Football Club who were started up again after a thirteen year gap when their ground was sold for housing. Having been promoted up from the second to the first division and then the premiership of the Midland Combination, it looks as if they are on track to win the premiership title. Crowds have been as high as four figures which is good for that level of football, no doubt responding to the marketing slogan 'try your brakes' which refers to Leamington's one time claim to be the brake and clutch capital of Britain. Unfortunately, promotion to the West Midlands Alliance looks as if it is going to mean a ground share with the Bardsmen at Stratford Town.

The Brakes' supremo, Dave Draper, has made a surprise return to the side at the age of 36 (or is it 37), actually scoring a goal. Our photo shows the Director of Football largeing it in front of the Chicken Farm End at Harbury Lane.

NOT MUCH TO CHEER ABOUT

After Charlton went down 1-6 at home last week and Blackburn won 4-0 at Fulham, a 1-0 defeat for the Addicks at Ewood Park at least avoids further humilation, writes Westcombe Park Addick Paul May . But Charlton weren't very good, despite a rejigged side, and those fans who went were quiet, although the players made a point of showing their appreciation at the end. This was Charlton's fifth successive game without a victory. Why do we always have this end of season slide? I reckon it is because we can only afford average or slightly above average players and they have to be really motivated to give above average performances. That motivation slips away once Charlton have become safe. I know that each Premiership place makes not short of half a million pound difference in terms of revenue, but that does not, I think, affect the players' pay packets.

Meanwhile, your usual reporter, Wyn Grant, was at his youngest granddaughter's 2nd birthday party in Didcot. A bouncy teapot was on offer and apparently he catapulted out backwards and turned head over heels in front of a group of astonished toddlers. Some people never grow up, but I don't blame him for not making the long trek up to Blackburn.

Reporter Wyn Grant spent the day at his granddaughter's birthday party.

The forced withdrawal of Jason Euell just before the match, apparently because of his wife falling ill, obliged Curbs to make further changes in his line up. Feesh was not available because of a knee injury although Rufus passed a fitness test, but Fortune had returned from injury. Chris Powell was also recalled for the start. Robbo made a rare start, perhaps his last for the club? He was replaced on 63 minutes by JJ. This was in response to Yorke coming on for Sukur with Lisbie moved out on the right. Kishishev was also taken off after 77 minutes to be replaced by Blomqvist. There had been rumours that he might start. I know that there have been injury problems, but what was the point in hiring him if we were mainly going to play him in the reserves or as a sub? The Mustoe saga has been even odder. Finally, we saw a cameo appearance on 86 minutes by Jamal Campbell-Ryce who look promising in the short time he was allowed to showcase his talents. Svensson also started.

Blackburn threatened from early on and the fear of another humiliation was not far away. On three minutes Duff sparkled after an exchange of passes with Andy Cole, but Deano saved well. Duff appeared to have plenty of freedom to operate with the Addicks struggling to find their rhythm. On twelve minutes Dunn put in a good cross. Fortunately, Rufus seemed to have regained his composure and he denied Suker by booting clear in front of goal. Then Cole managed to put a header wide after a cross from Gresko and then put another header over from a corner. Charlton won eleven corners to nine for Blackburn but, as usual, they were pretty unproductive. On 34 minutes Blackburn keeper Friedel sent the long ball down. With Luke Young at sixes and sevens, Sukur turned provider for Duff who put his shot past Deano from about fifteen yards out. Charlton tried for an equaliser, but all they could offer was a long range drive from Svensson that was well over.

The Addicks came out early for the second half and did their best to get an equaliser. Rather surprisingly, the home side settled for dogged defence in the typical northern way. Lisbie looked quite threatening, but Duff got free and a second goal was only prevented by good work from Luke Young. Ten minutes into the half Robbo put in a decent cross, but neither Konchesky nor Svensson was able to connect in front of goal. On the whole, however, it has to be said that Robbo did not contribute all that much to the game. Konchesky put in a decent shot on 72 minutes which Friedel had to punch out. Deano had to make a good fingertip save after Flitcroft had put in a header from a corner. Then Yorke tried a backheel which Deano saved with his legs. With six minutes on the clock, Deano saved again from Cole, although it was straight at the keeper. I don't take a dog reporter with me, but if I had a silver bone, it would have gone to Deano. Parker had not had a good game and he missed a sitter on 91 minutes.

That about summed up the day, really. A long way for not very much, but at least no embarrassing headlines. There are those who reckon that Ewood is an unlucky ground for us, but I always remember the great celebration we had there when we won the First Division championship with a draw. Anyone remember those guys who turned up as the Blue Brothers in a stretch limnos? They were largeing it all the way down the M6. Nothing like that yesterday. Just tired and dispirited Addicks facing a long journey home.

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE

This was the song that Big Dave Lockwood played as the Addickted filed out of the ground after their 1-6 home defeat to Leeds. I haven't consulted the record books, but I can't remember being at such a heavy home defeat. Indeed, the first match I remember is Charlton beating Liverpool 6-1. What a match for three year old Joe, at the Valley for the first time, to remember!

Right from the opening seconds of the game, Leeds put Charlton under pressure. As Paul from Bexleyheath said, 'It's men against boys.' With Ridsdale having decided to escape any curse at The Valley by departing during the week, Leeds were up for it and one could understand why. Relegation would probably bankrupt the club. They were simply faster and more accurate than Charlton. Even with all the departures, their team still contains a number of highly talented individual players and it is a puzzle that they have not done better. Perhaps a clue comes in the chant of the Leeds fans, 'Are you watching, Venables?'

Although referee Eddie Wolstenholme gave every marginal decision to Leeds, there are no excuses for Charlton. They were simply woeful. Our defence is usually solid, but Rufus had a mare of a game and Feesh looked as if he would have been better off writing poetry. To the credit of the crowd, they reserved their booing at the end for the officials. Instead, the Covered End burst into a series of songs including 'Valley Floyd Road' and 'Charlton, we love you', as well as the rarely heard but apposite chant of 'Alan C's barmy army'. The singing was topped off by a conga in the aisles. The mood after the game was summed up by one wit who said, 'This won't look as bad when we've beaten Blackburn 6-1 next week.'

I couldn't find my lucky football socks to wear in the morning, not a good omen, and then the start of the match was delayed for fifteen minutes, but I only found out when I got to the ground. The placing of a yellow ribbon on the centre circle before the game reminded us that they are more important things going on in the world than football. Charlton kicked off, but Leeds soon had the ball off them and Rufus conceded a corner within the first minute. The ball was played out, but it was soon back in and Deano made a stop. But Paul from Bexleyheath noticed that he was a bit slow in reacting. Leeds kept up the pressure with a series of throw ins and Deano had to come out and clear the ball with a powerful kick. It was a ragged start by Charlton. Leeds kept up the pressure and won five corners in total in the opening minutes. Eventually the Addicks won a corner and Luke Young had a go. With twelve minutes on the clock, good work by Kewell, who left Parker stranded, and poor defending converted the Leeds pressure into an inevitable goal. Smith was able to cross the ball to Kewell at the far post and there was nothing that Deano could do to stop him finding the net.

Charlton did win a couple of corners, but the hapless Fish was unable to control the ball when it was played out and conceded a throw in. Good work by Lisbie won Charlton a corner and, given the final result, it is interesting that Charlton won seven to eight gained by Leeds. But they were, of course, unproductive.

Luke Young put in a poor cross. However, a foul right on the edge of the area gave the Addicks a chance to draw level, but Jensen's free kick was easily blocked by Leeds. Feesh conceded a corner unnecessarily and then Luke Young gave the ball away. Deano was forced to make a stop with both hands. JJ won a free kick in a promising position between the corner flag and the goal, but Konchesky's effort was hopelessly overhit and another chance to get level was wasted. Why not just hit it into the crowd of players in front of the goal in the hope that confusion might produce something?

Rufus brought down Smith in the area and I think that Wolstenholme was right to award a penalty. The fault was with Rufus not with the referee. After some argument among the Leeds players about who should take it, Harte had no difficulty in beating Deano on 34 minutes. Lisbie managed to send the ball well over as someone in the row behind me shouted 'We pay for the whole season.' Deano made another good save, something that needs to remembered when we look at the scoreline. The pressure was clearly getting to Curbs as he came down from the directors' box to the touchline. Matteo picked up a yellow card. Smith was able to outwit Rufus with a header, and with Feesh out of position, Viduka put in a quality finish to make it 3-0, although I thought that this was one goal that Deano could have stopped. In the last minute of the half, Radebe brought down Parker and Euell had no hesitation in scoring from the spot. At least this gave a glimmer of hope and half time was probably the best part of the match as there was no agony to watch on the pitch and we could just enjoy the spring sunshine and the dulcet tones of 'the voice of South London', Brian Cole, shortly to feature on a Channel 5 commercial.

Curbs had clearly decided that things needed to be sorted out and Matt Svensson appeared to warm up to cheers. He replaced Kishishev, while Chris Powell came on for Kevin Lisbie. Whether it was a good idea to replace someone with pace with someone who is showing an increasing lack of it is open to question. It is a shame that there wasn't scope for a cameo by Robbo. At least he would have given one hundred per cent.

Charlton looked as if they might pull a goal back in the opening minutes of the second half. Svensson was certainly up for it, although Rufus made another error. Parker put in a cannonball of a shot which Robinson had to tip over. It was a very good save and many other goalkeepers would have not been able to stop it. It is arguable that Smith used his hand in his advance, but as the Charlton defence retreated as rapidly as the Republican Guard, Smith turned provider for Viduka and it was 4-1. Within three minutes, he got worse. A much more dubious penalty decision was awarded against Luke Young for bringing down Smith. This time it was Viduka who beat Kiely to make it 5-1.

Svensson went in too vigorously and received a yellow card. The below par Konchesky was pulled off in favour of El Khalej, but this did not strengthen the defence. He lost possession, allowing Kewell to advance easily to make it 6-1. The Leeds started to chant 'We want seven!' JJ was brought down, but Wolstenholme did not even think about a penalty. Harte put in a shot that was only just wide. JJ was brought down again and there was a penalty call, but again Wolstenholme was not interested. A Jensen free kick was totally unproductive and Viduka still found to hit the crossbar, but fortunately the humiliation of 7-1 was avoided.

It was a rollover week in our sweepstake at the Rose of Denmark as no one had thought of such a score. Indeed, most people followed the bookies and the pundits in forecasting an Addicks victory. But that's football. It was just a very bad day at the office.

Match analyst Hooch the Pooch had already left the press box to bound across to the Covered End to join in the conga and he awarded the Silver Bone to the Covered End choir. It must be the first time that Deano has ever let in six goals and he should have saved at least one of them, but he was let down by his defence. Rufus is usually one of the most reliable members of the side, but he made mistake after mistake. I've no doubt that Feesh stays away from his fine collection of red wines before a game, but he might as well not have done. He was a disaster. Young generally had a mare, although he did put in one or two good tackles. I thought that Kishishev put more into the game in the first half than most, but that didn't stop him being substituted at the break. I don't know what playing for the Under 21s did for Konchesky but his ball control was simply atrocious. Scott Parker put himself about and at least won the penalty for Charlton, and also cleared one ball off the goal line early in the first half, but he was outmanoeuvred by the confident Leeds players. This was not the sort of match in which Jensen could display his silky skills. He completely messed up one free kick and his corners were uninspiring. Euell scored the only goal, but even he seemed to be below his usual best. I thought that Lisbie did trouble the Leeds defence once or twice in the first half, but in general he was out of his depth. JJ remained on the pitch for the whole game, but he might as well not have been there. Svensson did his best when he came on. At least he looked as if he was up for it. Powell was brought on, but he was largely absent from the action. The main contribution by El-Khalej was to give away the ball for the sixth goal.

Juneau the Soccer Cat thinks that Alan Smith is a talented player but also a nasty cheat. He was lucky to get away with no more than a telling off from referee Wolstenholme, but he has received a loud hiss from Juneau.

Crowd rating: 8/10. I thought that the reaction of the crowd to the scale of the defeat, particularly the Covered End, was magnificent.

Are you a Charlton supporter who lives in Bergen, Norway and are you also interested in the Common Agricultural Policy? If you are, you could be the person who E mailed recently. Unfortunately, my home computer expired just after I had read your message and I can't retrieve it. Please contact me again.

DUNN AGAIN!

The last time Steve Dunn refereed at The Valley our headline was 'We Got Dunn'. Unfortunately, Dunn & Co. proved to be better suited to Newcastle who won their first Premiership victory at The Valley 2-0 before a record crowd of 26,728. The ref gave Newcastle a penalty with alacrity, but was not prepared to listen to equally valid calls at the other end. Nevertheless, although Charlton's approach work was often good, and their passing fluent, they lacked that final touch of creativity in front of goal. We badly need a striker who can score goals consistently, a Clive Mendoca style goal poacher.

Just after we had arrived at the R*se of D*nma*k, a coach decanted a load of Geordies and the pub was soon heaving. One Geordie who had been consuming some substance or other joined us and tried to buy my scarf. He was last seen trying to stop the traffic in the Woolwich Road. Another Geordie walked past wearing only a barcode set of pants, with the name and number of his favourite player marked on his back. Not a pretty sight. Although it was sunny, there was a freezing wind. Pam from Sidcup nevertheless suggested that we should go to Chelsea and have a sunbathing contest and 'I would win because I'm the darkest'.

Andy Hunt still hasn't received any insurance money and he is back from Belize to try and sort things out. He received a warm reception from the Addickted. Meanwhile, pitch announcer Brian Cole had someone who had won a contest to help him with his announcements. And he didn't do a bad job.

He used to play up front

JJ looked promising in the opening phase of the match. Good work by him won Charlton a throw in right by the corner flag. Fortune denied Bellamy and JJ forged forward agan, but lacked support. Fortune was called into action again to clear the ball off the line. I have seen linesman Yerby and his bald patch once too often and he made a very dubious offside decision. Parker twisted and turned, but Given was able to collect. JJ won another throw in down by the corner flag. Luke Young received a yellow card for bringing down Bernard. After Shearer fell over spetacularly following a challenge from Fortune, he made the most of it and bemoaned his fate to the referee.

Bellamy shot wide, but then two minutes late he forged into the area and went down after Feesh and Euell had tackled him simultaneously. Dunn had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Shearer had no difficulty in converting to put the Barcodes 1-0 ahead on 33 minutes. Then Newcastle were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area which yielded them a corner, but Deano was able to catch the ball. At the other end, Parker went down under a sliding challenge from Bramble, leading to a possible penalty appeal, but all Charlton got was a corner which was cleared. There was a much stronger case when JJ was brought down shortly afterwards by Bramble, but the linesman claimed to have seen nothing and all Charlton got was a throw in. With Fortune going awol, Deano had to make a good save from Bellamy. Luke Young looked as if he might be going off for a late challenge on Bellamy, but it was Hugo Viana who received a card. Players from both teams were arguing with the officials as they went off.

Shortly after the break Jensen maneouvred his way through the Newcastle defence, but his shot went just wide of the post. This was a turning point in the match. If it had gone to 1-1 then, it would have been game on. Instead, four minutes after re-start, Shearer turned provider for Bellamy and he was able to give the ball to the unmarked Solano who scored to make it 0-2.

Shaun Bartlett put in a good cross and JJ was only inches away from connecting. Parker had a go with Given out of his goal, but his effort was over. The Barcodes broke free on the West Stand side, with Chris Powell seriously outpaced, leading to a Newcastle corner. Curbs decided to ring the changes on 59 minutes with Feesh and Bartlett going off and Rufus and Lisbie coming on.

Charlton were actually awarded a free kick against Shearer, but it came off the Newcastle wall. A Scott Parker run allowed JJ to win Charlton a corner. On 66 minutes Speed was replaced by Dyer, reminding us that there is no lack of strength in depth in the Newcastle squad. Deano made a good save from Bellamy. Hughes received a yellow card for bringing down Powell. On 74 minutes Konchesky replaced Luke Young. Newcastle took off Viana and brought on Griffin. Konchesky immediately showed his worth with good defensive work. Euell drew a diving save from Given with an attempt from a narrow angle, winning Charlton a corner (they had six to four for Newcastle). On 85 minutes Solano was replaced by Amoebi. My confidence that Charlton would get a consolation was fading fast. Nevertheless, JJ put in a good header that Given had to tip over the bar.

Charlton have lost at home to all three championship contenders and there is no disgrace in that, although it puts our European dreams in perspective. It is unfortunate, however, that we have to suffer from a lack of even handedness in refereeing decisions.

Match analyst Hooch the Pooch has awarded the Silver Bone to Jason Euell. Once again there was no lack of commitment or skill on his part as he twisted and turned to advance Charlton's cause. Not a great day for Deano although he hardly deserved the shouts of 'dodgy keeper' when he managed to kick the ball out. Although Powell had one of his better games, there were still times when he was dangerously outpaced. Feesh , fresh from a three page spread in the Sun on his poetry provided a series of stalwart defensive headers. With Richard Rufus not judged to be ready enough to start, Fortune did his best at the heart of the defence, although the penalty award seemed to make him unduly cautious. Young did his best, although he could have been sent off. Kishishev had a good game, always doing his best to contribute. Jensen started very brightly, even getting some tackles in, but faded somewhat as the game went on. Parker showed some real bursts of speed and supplied as much creativity as Charlton had. Hooch the Pooch thought that Bartlett had something of an off day and it was no surprise when he was withdrawn. JJ was certainly up for it and he came as close as anyone to troubling Newcastle. Rufus played in a relatively attacking role when he came on and certainly contributed. Lisbie didn't really make a difference. His pace was not sufficient to deal with Newcastle and when he did have a half chance he was too hesitant. Konchesky made a difference when he came on, upping the tempo of Charlton's game.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has a special effigy of Steve Dunn which she is clawing. She delivered a very loud hiss in his direction.

Crowd rating: The Addickted started in good voice, but understandably became more subdued as the game went on. 6/10.

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Links for the Addickted

Official club web site: Continual improvements are being made, we are told
Wyn Grant's home page: Memories of supporting Charlton in the 1950s
The Political Economy of Football: As the cash crunch in football continues, read all the latest news about football as a business
Newcastle United - the club's finances: Many of the Toon Army don't like the way their club is run
Addicks Diary:

Wyn Grant

w.p.grant@warwick.ac.uk
East Stand, Block E, Row Q
Next to Paul and Steve from Sidcup
and at the, R*se of D*nm*rk before
home games