Saturday 24 September 2011

We are top of the league!

That was the chant of the Addickted after today's 3-1 victory over Chesterfield.   Sheffield United lost 1-0 at Wycombe, putting Charlton three points clear while MK Dons and Huddersfield both drew, the latter dropping two points at home to Orient.

Charlton dominated the first half and went ahead through goals from Paul Hayes and Johnnie Jackson, although Hayes missed two chances to put the Addicks even further ahead.   After the break, the Spireites came into the game more while Charlton seemed a little lacklustre.

However, although the visitors have a strong midfield while the Charlton midfield faded in the second half, their shooting was either wayward or straight at the keeper.  It was a soft penalty that got them back in the game but then Bradley Wright-Phillips sealed Charlton's victory with a late header.

'Everything seems right at Charlton' said the 606 presenter in response to the Addick who called in.  Well, perhaps not everything, and the moaners found their voice in the second half, but it was a clear victory.

Before the match soprano Victoria Stanyon gave an impressive and evocative rendition of Jerusalem and Valley Floyd Road.   She certainly has a very good voice.

I spotted this week's deliberate mistake in the programme which had us 3-2 winners over Preston.

Chesterfield started quite vigorously but then Charlton won a free kick on the edge of the box which led to a corner that was unproductive.  Generally, however, I thought that our corners were better today.

Good work on the left led to a Charlton throw in.   Johnnie Jackson played the ball in and it had to be cleared off the line leading to a Charlton corner.   The ball was played in again, but the Spireites defence was able to clear.

Charlton advanced again.   Hoots mon!   No.2 Spireites goalkeeper Greg Fleming had to make a fingertip save at the expense of a Charlton corner, one of a number of good saves he made in the first half.   Charlton kept up the pressure and Wright-Phillips turned provider for Hayes, but he was unable to take advantage.  The resultant Charlton corner led to a goal kick.

The pressure was bound to tell eventually.   Charton kept up the pressure in the box and Hayes was able to get through the crowd to score a messy goal and make it 1-0.

Good defensive work from Wagstaff won Charlton a free kick.   Wright-Phillips advanced well and turned provider for Hayes but he was unable to take advantage of the scoring opportunity.    Morrison provided some good defensive work.

A Charlton free kick for handball was well taken by Dale Stephens and skipper Johnnie Jackson was able to put the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-0.    Hayes put in a disappointing pass.

While this was going on a Spireite was marched out and the small number of Charlton supporters in the Jimmy Seed subsequently disappeared.

A Charlton corner was tipped over the bar by the keeper.    The alert Wiggins provided good defensive cover as the Spireites attacked.   A Chesterfield corner was taken very quickly, a routine they clearly had well worked out.   Leon Clarke had an excellent scoring opportunity, but put the ball wide, leading to chants of 'Paolo di Canio'.

Wright-Phillips shot straight at the keeper.   A Charlton corner was unproductive.

Half time: Addicks 2, Spireites 0

Chesterfield are a neat passing side and they changed their tactics effectively in the second half, using two central midfielders to close down Hollands and Stephens, leading Charlton to lose their control of the midfield.

A Chesterfield free kick was caught by Hamer.   Johnnie Jackson received a yellow card for a foul.  Spireites manager John Sheridan was sent to the stands after he insisted that they were entitled to a penalty.

A Chesterfield free kick led to a corner for them.   They won another corner, but Hamer remained in control.   Wagstaff was fouled and went down, but the lino remained oblivious.   Chesterfield persisted with their attack and won a penalty.   Some argument followed among themselves about who should take it, but eventually folically challenged Danny Whitaker stepped up and put the ball decisively past Hamer.

A Chesterfield free kick led to a corner, but once again Hamer was on hand to deal with the situation.   A Charlton shot came off the bar.   Hayes was taken off to allow Kermorgant to make his debut.    Chesterfield took off Gary Johnson's son and brought on Morgan.  Talbot received a yellow card.

Taylor was brought down in the area and I thought the referee was going to give a penalty, but instead he awarded a yellow card for simulation.   My view remains that it was a penalty.

Charlton won a couple more corners and then with four minutes added on Kermorgant put in a neat ball to Wagstaff who provided a cross for Bradley Wright-Phillips who headed the ball in the back of the net to make it 3-1.

In the dying minutes Wagstaff was replaced by Andy Hughes.   At the end of the game Taylor politely remonstrated with the referee about his card.

The attendance was 22,105 and those involved in the 'football for a fiver' campaign were a little disappointed.   A club source commented, 'Interestingly matchday sales today were the same as Exeter, in the rain. So perhaps the weather wasn't the factor we assumed back in February.'

'For the last two weeks sales have tracked that Exeter game pretty closely. The missing sales were at the beginning. I'd have liked a five week run at it, but the way the games fell didn't allow it, plus we had to see how the team started before committing.'

'I am not generally disappointed with our crowds because I think we have to be realistic about the appeal of League One football and the opposition. If you look at past promotion campaigns there is little uplift this early.'

'Finally, bear in mind that for the last home game we had 1500 community and schools comps and for Scunthorpe more than 2000. There were none today, so we probably had 8,000 plus extra paying home fans. And I think they will have enjoyed themselves.'

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Ben Hamer.   He wasn't able to save the penalty, but otherwise it was a near flawless performance.   It's good to see a keeper catch the ball rather than punch it out.   Taylor and Morrison once again demonstrated their solidity, showing that we have our best central defensive pairing since relegation.   Wiggins had an excellent match, getting forward well and also providing good defensive cover.  His passing was accurate and his throw ins were good and he received a special round of applause from the East Stand.   Solly had a very good game and is improving all the time.  Although they were checked in the second half, I would take Hollands and Stephens over Racon and Semedo any day.  Wagstaff contributed a great deal, although occasionally he found himself out of position.  Jackson had a good game, contributing well and showing once again that he can take scoring opportunities.   I wish the same could be said of Hayes whose passing also left something to be desired.   Wright-Phillips can seem casual or uninterested, but he does what is required of him when scoring opportunities arise. Kermorgant looked very promising in his cameo, a stylish player.  Hughes was just on for a couple of minutes.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to the referee who had an excellent first half but then deteriorated in the second half.

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