Monday, 9 April 2012

One Is Enough

To get automatic promotion Charlton need to grind out results.   And that's what the Addicks did today with a 1-0 victory over Walsall at The Valley.   It was a nervous second half, after Charlton's performance dropped away, but the Addicks stood firm to claim the three points.

Central midfield was a problem throughout the match.   The back four looked more exposed without Hollands which suggests that he does more than we often realise.   Stephens had a 'mare of a match and Bradley Pritchard was no more than adequate.

Rather than defending for a draw, Walsall showed some creative attacking play but ultimately their lack of accuracy in front of goal let them down.

In many season 91 points would be enough to guarantee promotion, but with the two Sheffield sites in a race to the wire it's no longer enough. As it is, Charlton could well do the ton.

We changed ends at the beginning of the match which always makes me uneasy as I prefer to play towards the Covered End in the second half.   However, we startly brightly and N'Guessan put in a good effort.   Wiggins won Charlton a corner which was followed by two more but unfortunately we were unable to make them count.

A mix up in defence led to a break by the Saddlers and a corner for them.   The corner was well taken and led to a second.

Chris Solly put in some good defensive work in front of goal.  Kermorgant turned provider for Wright-Phillips but his shot went well over.   Kermorgant went down.   Walsall won a corner and Bradley Pritchard received a yellow card for a foul.

A Charlton corner led to an effort by Jackson which tested the keeper.  Kermorgant was brought down again.

Charlton were awarded a free kick for obstruction on N'Guessan, an offence that is often overlooked.  Jackson delivered an excellent free kick from near the byline on the East Stand side and N'Guessan's bullet header gave the keeper no chance and put the Addicks 1-0 ahead on 33 minutes.

Walsall were given a dubious free kick which I think should have been awarded to us and this led to a Walsall corner.  Hamer had to make a save on the ground in the three minutes of time added on.

Half time: Addicks 1, Saddlers 0

The Addicks looked lacklustre after the break given plenty of opportunities to moaners in the East Stand to find their voices.   An effort from Wright-Phillips was well wide.    Pritchard turned provider for Wright-Phillips and this time he drew a save.

Solly was given a yellow card and the referee could well have been justified in giving a red for the challenge.   A Walsall free kick led to a Walsall corner but it was unproductive.

The Saddlers withdrew Hurst and brought on Paterson.   Walsall won a free kick in a dangerous position but blasted it over the goal which says a lot about why they are in a relegation dogfight.

Stephens gave away a free kick.  The Argentinian Ledesma was given a yellow card for a foul.

Walsall won a corner when Morrison should have blasted the ball clear.   This led to a second and they had another shortly afterwards.  But then the battling Kermorgant won Charlton a corner.

The relatively uninvolved Wright-Phillips was replaced by Haynes.   Good play by Solly won Charlton a free kick.  N'Guessan was replaced by Cook.  Walsall won a free kick for what looked like a dive to me.

In the four minutes added on, Charlton won two corners.   It's a mistake to try and keep these by the flag because we are not good enough to do that.   We might have created a goal scoring opportunity and if the ball had gone out for a goal kick it would have eaten up some time.

Some were disappointed with the attendance of 15,253 but there are many other attractions on a bank holiday and the match was hardly a big draw even if it turned out to be compelling to watch.

One well-known grumbler has said that we are 'struggling', but I think I will take our points total which exceeds those of the teams leading other divisions.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Dany N'Guessan not just for his well-taken goal but for his contribution throughout the match.   This is our third clean sheet in a row and Hamer deserves credit for some good saves, although once or twice he would have saved his defence trouble if he had come for the ball.    Solly was very solid and had some moments of sublime skill.   Wiggins was always a potential threat down the left.   Cort was generally very solid, providing good defensive headers.   Morrison was below his usual standard, creating danger once when he should have booted the ball out.   It was good to see Jackson return and his free kick led to the goal while he drew a save from the keeper.   Pritchard did his best but unfortunately his best is sometimes not good enough.  Stephens was poor, giving away unnecessary free kicks and losing possession.   Kermorgant was battered as usual and at one time I thought he might have to come off as he was limping but he continued to be involved.   Wright-Phillips had a rather tepid game and his efforts were either straight at the keeper or well off target.   Haynes livened things up when he came on and showed real skill.
Cook and Taylor had cameos.

Hiss of the Match: Referee D Phillips made a number of odd decisions and he and the other officials were booed off at the end of the game.

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