Saturday, 10 March 2012

Second half fightback is not enough

One Addick who had travelled a considerable distance to the game left in disgust five minutes before half time after Charlton had gone down 0-4 at home to Notts County.   He missed a second half fightback when Charlton started to play football as they can.  But it was too late to compensate for the appalling defensive errors in the first half and the Addicks finished the game 2-4 down.

It might have been a different story if we had been awarded a penalty in the second half after Bradley Wright-Phillips was brought down and it was presumably this that Chris Powell was politely remonstrating with the referee about after the game.  It was certainly as justified as the two free kicks that followed.

I was feeling relatively optimistic before the game.   Last Sunday Coventry Blaze won an against the odds victory at home to Nottingham Panthers and I might have known that the city of Nottingham would fight back.   Charlton have never won promotion in March and it's pretty certain that they won't again.  Earlier in the day some of the Addickted were calculating at which match we would win promotion and I did think it was a hostage to fortune.  

But today and Tuesday is a wake up call and a warning against complacency.   We need to revive our spirit, find our defensive strength and our skill again and all will still be well.

We started brightly enough with Solly efficiently shepherding out the ball from a Magpies attack.  But then there was a warning of what was to come with Hamer conceding a corner, rather unnecessarily, and then forced to concede a second one.

Haynes, having not touched the ball, had to be taken off with a hamstring problem.   After that we began to lose our shape.

Judge then put a strike in from distance to put the visitors 0-1 ahead.   Post match commentary has been remarkably kind to Hamer, who has held his hands up on Twitter.   This strike probably could not have been stopped, but he might have tried.   As it was he was motionless.

Wiggins changed his boots to cope with the conditions, but County powered down their left with Solly out of position and two minutes after the first goal Forte had scored the first of his three.

Morrison drew a save on the line.   Kermorgant went down the first of a number of times.   He was putting himself about and getting some rough treatment in return.   Wiggins won Charlton a free kick, but we were not able to do anything with it.

A mix up between Hamer and Taylor led Forte to score his third goal on 35 minutes and he got his fourth with a header on 40.   Even the Bloke Behind Me was stunned into shocked silence.

Charlton won their first corner on 44 minutes but it led to a free kick for County and Kermorgant picked up a yellow card.

Half time: Addicks 0, Magpies 4

Chris Powell's half time team talk clearly had an effect and Charlton looked much livelier after the break, winning an early corner through good work by Wright-Phillips (worth noting because some have argued that all he did was score the goal).   I thought County were going to make it five but the ball seemed to come off the post.

Wright-Phillips raised the spirits of the Addickted with his goal on 50 minutes and he turned provider for Wagstaff to score five minutes later.   Another shot came in which was just wide.   Wright-Phillips was shoved in front of goal, but the referee, who has only just started his weight watchers course, wasn't having any.   He did then give two rather generous free kicks in promising positions as compensation for his poor decision-making, but we were unable to gain any advantage from them.

County made their first substitution on 60 minutes and perhaps we should have thought of bringing Clarke on as the intensity of our efforts start to subside as the physical tool involved started to be felt.

Charlton were awarded a free kick, but the below par Jackson put it wide.   A corner was conceded to County through naivety on the part of Taylor, but fortunately it was not productive for them.

The convention of ice hockey referees in the Jimmy Seed were revitalised by County coming back into the game and started chanting 'Give us five!'

Charlton won a corner and then County were given a dubious one courtesy of the lino.  Another Charlton corner was punched out by the keeper.   Charlton were not able to take advantage of the four minutes added on with Kermorgant felled again.

Notts County boss Keith Curle, who has secured 16 points out of 18 with his 'quiet revolution' said afterwards, 'We [knew] we could cause them problems if we were prepared to keep the ball down and pass and play.'   Charlton might note that.   There was too much use of the long ball as the game went on in a desperate attempt to narrow the gap.

A lounge lizard reports, 'Had a chat with Kermogant after the game and he said the team are under too much pressure at home, whereas away the pressure is reduced and they can play without the fans on their backs.'

Scunthorpe will be a test of that.   We then face super, soaraway Yeovil who are now second in the form table.

Match analysis

No one really deserved the award of the Silver Bone so there is no recipient this week.   Although all the blame for the goals cannot be laid at the door of Hamer he had a mare of a match.  Moreover, knowing that he is going through a bad patch the central defence should have done more to protect him.   Both Taylor and Morrison were at fault, although Morrison did have our one decent shot on goal in the first half.  Solly competed well, but was at fault in relation to the second goal.   He also needs to speed up his throw ins.  Wiggins was the player who came nearest to getting the Silver Bone, he did get forward well and his passing was accurate.  Jackson had a very poor game by his standards and was involved relatively little, but much the same could be said of Stephens (apart from one nice move) and Hollands.   The early loss of Haynes to a hamstring problem disrupted our game plan. Wagstaff certainly made a contribution when he came on, including scoring a goal.   Kermorgant certainly got involved and got forward well, although he appeals too much for decisions.   Wright-Phillps gave his all and provided the assist for one goal and scored another.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to referee B Malone.  When I saw the stocky referee high fiving his linos before the game I knew we were dealing with a pratt who was well up himself.

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