Tuesday 31 January 2012

Dale Stephens saves us from being Buryed

Leon Clarke replaced a rested Bradley Wright-Phillips in tonight’s match against Bury at The Valley reports Paul May from a freezing Valley, standing in for Wyn Grant who could not get away from work in time to get to the match.   Bradley Pritchard dropped to the bench to make way for a returning Dale Stephens.   The referee was the banker from Billericay, Andy d’Urso.

An early effort by Danny Green from 35 yards out went over the top of the bar.   The gloved Wiggins defended well as Bury tried to advance.   A number of players combined well, but Jackson’s effort was disappointing.  A strong challenge went in on Kermorgant and the referee had a word with the Bury player.

The Addicks were looking dangerous every time they went forward.  A free kick from Green created an opportunity, but Hollands and Taylor went for the same ball and the keeper was able to gather. Jackson put in a good ball to Clarke and the keeper had to dive to his left to make a good save.

Kermorgant tried to play in Jackson, but the Shakers defended well.   Green put in a cross, but it was cleared at the expense of a Charlton throw in and the move ended in a Bury free kick.   Charlton won a free kick after Hughes fouled Clarke, but Bury were able to clear the danger.  Bury made a rare attack but Hamer gathered comfortably.

Kermorgant put in a good header from 12 yards out but the keeper was able to make a very good save.  Green put the keeper under pressure, but his follow up went into the Bury fans in the Jimmy Seed stand. 

A handball was ignored by the referee and Bury won a corner.   Bury won a free kick 15 yards inside the Charlton half.   The header went in just wide of the target.

An effort from the edge of the 18 yard box by Lewis four minutes from half time caught out Hamer and the visitors went ahead.   It was a soft goal to give away, the first one in the league of 2012.

Danny Green was shown a yellow card for an unnecessary tackle.  The free kick went straight into the hands of Hamer.

After the first five minutes, the quality of Charlton’s play dropped away while Bury stuck to their plan with a lone striker.

Half time: Addicks 0, Shakers 1

Hopefully fired up by Chris Powell’s half time team talk Charlton came out first for the second half.  Bury won an early corner after being allowed in too easily.  Stephens charged the ball down at the expense of a Bury throw.

Kermorgant put in a shot when he could have laid the ball off to Green.   Jackson put in a good cross but the ball went over the bar.   Green put in an effort but the keeper saved well.  Charlton won a corner after another handball was ignored.  Morrison headed the ball back in and Taylor had a free header but put it over the top.

Green got the ball into the box, but Kermorgant was unable to seize the opportunity.    He was not at his best.   Bury won their third corner.   The Addickted were getting restive.   A header from Clarke went just wide. 

Solly did well to keep the ball alive.   Wiggins defended well.    Charlton won a free kick in a promising position after Sodje fouled Kermorgant.    Green’s delivery had too much height on it and not enough pace and the keeper gathered  comfortably.

A shot from Wiggins deflected off Sodje to produce a corner for Charlton.   Jackson’s corner was put wide by Kermorgant when he should have headed it across goal.  Haynes came on for Clarke.   There was a handball on the line at the Covered End by a Bury player to deal with a volley by Solly, definitely hand to ball, but nothing was given by d’Urso.

Wiggins put in a good delivery and Kermorgant headed back across goal but no one could get on the end of it.  Green put in a poor delivery to the box.   Stephens gave the ball away but won it back.  A ball into the box by Wiggins led to a Charlton corner.   The keeper got on the end of Green’s delivery who then indulged in a bit of time wasting.

Morrison gave the ball away.   This was happening on Charlton’s part too often during the game in front of the crowd of 13,264.   Wiggins floated the ball in to win a corner.    The keeper conceded another corner.    Jackson’s delivery was good, but it was cleared.

Pritchard replaced Hollands.   Jackson got the ball on his left foot and put it over the top.   A shot from Dale Stephens took a deflection for a corner.   Green put the corner in and an excellent effort from Stephens went just wide of the post.

Wiggins was caught to win a free kick 25 yards out.   Five minutes were added on.   Kermorgant’s free kick went over the top.   Taylor got a yellow card for a challenge on Lewis.    Stephens produced a pile driver from 35 yards out to make it 1-1 as the bench went wild.    It could be an important point. 

Wiggins to Barca

For £83m.  It's a spoof, of course, but quite amusing: http://www.skybet.com/cms/breaking-transfer-news.shtm?name=Rhoys+Wiggins

I am sure that over time there will be increasing interest in him, but hopefully he will find playing for us in the Championship sufficient challenge.

Monday 30 January 2012

Northern lights

We've met quite a few teams from oop north recently.   First we were away to the massive Sheffield Wednesday and then the not quite so massive but still rather large Sheffield United visited us.  After an away trip to cider country we entertain two of the smaller northern sides in League 1, Bury tomorrow and Rochdale on Saturday (by which time I shall be in MontrĂ©al).

The Shakers and 'Dale are deadly rivals and it was quite a blow when Rochdale beat them 3-0 on Saturday to complete the double over them this season.   Bury, however, remain just in the top half of the table and this is quite a feat for a team that was expected to be in a relegation struggle at the beginning of the season.  As the Bury fan reviewing the match in The Football League Paper put it, 'The main objective remains to avoid relegation.'

Will Bury be one of those sides that park the team bus in front of the goal?  I remember seeing them play at The Valley when we were both in the second tier and being disappointed with a 0-0, but then they did have Dean Kiely in goal.

This season they have only drawn once away from home but they have won six matches against losing seven.   They have conceded 24 goals away, which is more than any team down to fifteenth, while they have scored 18.   All this does not suggest a particularly defensive stance.

The bookies don't give them much chance, giving them 7-1 against to win and 3-1 for a draw.  It could be an occasion for putting money on them to win as insurance.

Chris Powell has some selection dilemmas as it looks as if Dale Stephens will be fit again after a cameo at Exeter.   He is a very creative midfielder and might be able to feed Bradley Wright-Phillips the quality balls he needs.  

However, it would be difficult to drop the hard working and often skilled Bradley Pritchard or Hollands for that matter.   I wouldn't play a 4-5-1 and drop either Kermorgant or Wright-Phillips.

I am entertaining a Rochdale fan to lunch tomorrow and he has already been e-mailing me about how they will win on Saturday under their new manager.   Indeed John Coleman has already confidently predicted, 'We're at Charlton next weekend so we'll just go there and expect to win again.'   Of his team's performance, he said 'it was just like watching Real Madrid.  If we'd seen anything like that in the Premier League, we'd never hear the last of it.'

We were told that the Blades are the Barca of League 1, but it is quite a surprise to learn that Rochdale are the Real Madrid.  Quite where that puts Charlton for a Spanish comparator I don't know. 

We haven't had a goal scored against us in the league this year so I am going for a repeat tomorrow and a 2-0 win for the Addicks.

Sunday 29 January 2012

Chris Powell: I am doing it the Curbs way

Chris Powell says that he has gone back to Alan Curbishley's tried and tested methods in a major interview forming a centre spread in today's The Football League Paper. 

He said, 'We've got to keep the same mindset that we want to win games, we want to score, we want to play with style and we want to use the ball well.   When we come up against tough teams, a moment of quality and a moment of brilliance can win it for you.'

'I learnt that under Alan Curbishley, who was a great manager for this football club, and it was a great loss when he left because we were the club that had stability.   A club needs stability.  It needs a group of players the club identifies with, and when I came back last year I quickly realised that wasn't happening.'

'I felt the only way was to start anew, start with a fresh group who wanted to impress not only myself, not only my staff but also a new group of supporters.'

'It is huge for this club to have someone who knows what it means because ever since I walked through the gates at the Valley in 1998 I've known what makes the club tick.  The fans want you to be proud of playing for their club, they want that real work ethic and if you can play with a little bit of style even better - and we've done that this year.'

'I needed that feeling of community, involving ourselves with the fans.  We needed to get back to that, in a big way.  You can sense the atmosphere is changing again.'

After months when they have been obsessed with any League 1 club playing in Yorkshire, it's good to see The Football League Paper giving Charlton some recognition at last.

Saturday 28 January 2012

One is enough times three

Charlton went nine points clear at the top of League 1 thanks to a second half Danny Green goal against Exeter while Huddersfield drew at Tranmere.

Grecians goalkeeper and local lad Artur Krysiak flapped at Green's miscued cross, which found its way into the net to the delight of the 878 Addicks who made the trip to the west country.   There were hints of an own goal.

After 11 minutes Matt Taylor marked his return to St. James's Park by performing an acrobatic overhead kick that was cleared off the line by Richard Duffy.   Later in the first half Wiggins put in a low drive which Krysiak saved by diving to his right while Morrison provided great defensive work with a header just before the break.

The Addicks could have killed the game off but Yann Kermorgant headed Bradley Wright-Phillips's cross wide.

Substitute Guillem Bauza almost rescued a point for the Grecians but his shot was saved by Ben Hamer as Charlton recorded another clean sheet.

Exeter manager Paul Tisdale complained that Charlton won from a 'fluke' goal at a time when he was trying to make substitutions.

Michael Smith made a great start to his loan spell at Accrington scoring a hat trick in the first half in their 4-3 win over the Gills.

Friday 27 January 2012

Grecians hope to put one over Taylor

Matt Taylor has been a key player for Charlton this season and one of our stand out signings, but he spent four years with the Grecians and they are hoping to use their knowledge of him to give him a torrid time tomorrow: http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/Richard-Logan-inside-line-Addicks-star-Matt/story-15051838-detail/story.html

Apparently they also have a secret weapon in the form of a magical flat cap worn by manager Paul Tisdale.  It looks as if it came from a shop supplying farmers and has drawn some heckling from Grecian fans.

The Grecians reckon that they do better against top clubs.   They certainly have a miserly defence, but they also have problems in scoring.   I am going for a 2-0 win for the Addicks tomorrow.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Now we're the big club

After the privilege of being allowed to play the Massives and our win over Sheffield United, suddenly we're 'the big club from up country' and the 'runaway' league leaders: http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/Tisdale-calls-forwards-help-City-s-defenders/story-15041115-detail/story.html

The Grecians have kept three clean sheets in their recent games, but I think we can unlock their defence.  The contract extension for Bradley Wright-Phillips has (to my surprise) been criticised by some of the Addickted, but I think that he may well end his goal drought in Devon.   Despite charges of 'laziness', he has been working hard enough off the ball for me.

The word from Huddersfield is that the Invincibles should 'easily' be able to overtake us at the top of the table, so after the stimulus of the battles with the steel city sides, we now need to undertake the mundane task of beating Exeter and Bury.   Chris Powell is not one to encourage complacency or over confidence but I think that we can secure all six points.

Monday 23 January 2012

Clive Mendoca collection

Sir Clive Mendonca is selling off his collection connected with the Wembley play-off victory and also other Charlton items:

The sale is being organised by Steve Jones whom I recall had to conduct a similar auction himself.

It's all very sad.  I hope the sale goes well.   Possibly the club may wish to purchase items of special interest or significance.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Jackson makes Sheffield steel brittle

Once again Johnnie Jackson secured victory for the Addicks over a Sheffield side with his well struck free kick making the difference between Charlton and Sheffield United at The Valley.   Last week he scored against the Massives just after 20 minutes into the game and his timing was virtually the same against the Blades today.

United are a good passing side and they had had the best of the first twenty minutes, but they seem somewhat deflated after conceding a goal.  In the second half their confidence returned and they put us under some pressure but we held out to secure all three points and stay firmly in command at the top of the league.

Travelling down on the train it was interesting to hear a young supporter explaining to his brother who Sam Bartram was.   He was well informed.   The numbers of us who saw Bartram play are dwindling.

Conditions at the ground were very windy which did not encourage quality football.   Taylor conceded an early corner when he could have let the ball go out or put it out for a throw in.   Fortunately the Blades missed from the corner.   

On the whole we conceded a few too many corners in the game.   The view around me was that a defence looked nervy in the early exchanges which is why I didn't make either of the central defenders man of the match as some have done.

Fortunately our nerves were settled by Jackson's superb free kick which was not taken from the easiest of positions but he put the ball in the one place where the keeper could not reach it.

Taylor redeemed his earlier error by avoiding conceding a corner.   Wiggins got a yellow card, I am not sure what for now, but as became apparent later, the referee likes flourishing the cards and one has to admit that he has an emphatic hand movement which no doubt he has practised in front of the bathroom mirror.

The Blades were awarded a free kick in a potentially dangerous position but Hamer was able to make the save at the expense of a corner.

A great cross came in but Wright-Phillips was unable to connect, perhaps if Kermorgant had been there he would have done so.   Great work by Johnnie Jackson secured Charlton a corner but the ball ended up on the roof of the net.

Solly made a potentially serious error by heading the ball to a Blade near goal.   Hamer fumbled a United corner and the ball went over the line but the referee blew up for a foul.   A Blades free kick led to a corner for them but the ball ended up on the roof of the net.

Half time: Addicks 1, Blades 0

Taylor conceded a free kick but Hamer was able to catch it.   United were continuing with their tactic of playing the ball across the pitch to Jean-Francois which seemed to catch us out unawares.

Green was gifted the chance of a shot but it went straight at the keeper.   A fierce drive from Green led to a Charlton corner.   There was a shout of handball in the subsequent play, but there didn't seem to be anything in the claim.

Hamer made a good save (this was not from a cross).   Bradley Pritchard got a yellow card, I'm not sure for what, possibly for putting himself about.   Hamer then got a yellow card for time wasting.

Green won Charlton another corner with a snot.   The Blades won two corners in succession and Hamer fumbled the ball again but managed to get it clear.   The Blades made a double substitution, introducing Beattie, and we brought on Russell in place of Green.    Doyle and then MacDonald got yellow cards.

Russell got sent off for a two footed tackle, although there has been quite a lot of dispute subsequently about whether it was.   I did not have a clear view although I was surprised by the decision at the time.   In the subsequent fracas Beattie put his arm round Kermorgant's throat and was sent off.   Kermorgant got a yellow card, again I am not quite clear what for.    Wright-Phillips came off and was replaced by Haynes for his debut.

Five minutes of time were added on but despite a corner the Blades were unable to take advantage.

Charlton now have the highest points total of any club in all four leagues.    Following their dubious victory over Brentford, Huddersfield move into second place.    Always in search of a favourable Yorkshire angle, the Football League Paper has proclaimed that they are 'gnashing at our heels'.   I can take the gnashing with a seven point advantage.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Johnnie Jackson for his decisive free kick, albeit he made a mess of one at the end of the game.  Hamer was fumbling the ball a bit today, but he also made some good saves.   Taylor made a mistake early on but redeemed himself with some good defensive work subsequently.   Morrison was a model of solidity.  Solly was once again impressive and made some important interceptions.  Wiggins defended well and was a real threat going forward. Hollands was not that involved, although he did win the free kick that led to the goal.  Pritchard was a bundle of energy and showed some real flair at times.   He is not greedy when he has the ball but lays it off well.   Green put in a couple of good shots, but got a bit unreliable as the game went on and it was sensible to substitute him.
Kermorgant was less involved than he often is.   Wright-Phillips put in a shift but his goal drought continues.   Russell had little chance to make an impact before he was sent off.   Haynes had a cameo on his debut.

Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to referee Mr Deadman who started quite well but eventually lost control of the game.

Friday 20 January 2012

All set for top of the table clash

Blades manager Danny Wilson thinks that they will have to deliver creativity and good defending to win at The Valley today.   He dismisses Charlton's victory at Bramall Lane as down to lucky goals:

Wilson makes it clear that the Blades are going for all three points, arguing that if they play for a draw they will lose:

First versus second clashes are getting familiar for Charlton.   Not long ago we defeated the Invincibles at The Valley 2-0 to end their historic record.   Last week we faced a massive club, possibly the biggest outside the Premier League, on their home ground and won.    Now we face the Barcelona of League 1, at least if one believes what one reads in the Sheffield Star.

It's going to be a tough test and could be a nervy match but I will go for 2-1 to the Addicks.  COYR!

'Boring' Charlton

The Sheffield Star has finally hit on a narrative in the build up to tomorrow's match between Charlton and Sheffield United at The Valley.  The Blades, it is argued, play with flair and are easy to watch.   The Addicks are, it is implied, a boring side who grind out results with hard graft and organisation.   Not sure that Wright-Phillips, Kermorgant, Jackson or Wiggins fit that description for starters.

Read more here: http://www.thestar.co.uk/sport/football/sheffield-united/top_stuff_at_the_valley_1_4162440

Good news, by the way, that an approach from Celtic for Kermorgant has been rebuffed.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Searching for a narrative

The Sheffield Star seems to have more difficulty in writing coherent stories about Sheffield United than Sheffield Wednesday.   Admittedly their Sheffield Wednesday narrative is now creaking through repetition about how massive a club the Owls are.

As far as the Blades are concerned, they have had to resort to printing non-stories as a number of fans point out at the end of this story:

The assertion that the Blades are 'oozing class and self-belief' reads all right at a superficial first reading, although I wouldn't describe their team as 'classy'.  Competitive and combative perhaps.

Quite possibly the Sheffield paper recruits people who haven't made the grade at the Sub-Standard.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Still licking their wounds in Sheffield

They're still licking their wounds at Hillsborough over Saturday's defeat and now owner Milan Mandaric has contributed his four ha'peth:

His view is that Wednesday are better than they showed against Charlton.   This, of course, had nothing to do with how the Addicks played.   Instead Mandaric goes on about the 'massive numbers' of supporters as if this guaranteed victory.  

Nevertheless, the notion of Wednesday as a massive club does seem to be gaining traction.   I received an online questionnaire today which included a 'which club do you support?' question.  Of course, only League 1 club was listed: the mighty Owls.

I actually think the Blades are more of a threat to us on the pitch which is why I am looking forward to Saturday.   They seem to be quite big themselves as away seats having been selling at well above average numbers.

Smith out on loan

Michael Smith has joined Accrington Stanley on loan.   His only appearance for Charlton so far was as a substitute in the FA Cup match on Halifax.

The loan will give him valuable experience.   Keepers Rob Elliot and Darren Randolph were loaned out to the Lancashire club in the past.

Former Addick Carl Jenkinson looks likely to go out on loan at Norwich until the end of the season 'to improve his quality and confidence':

Tuesday 17 January 2012

'Lucky' Charlton to hit skids against Blades

'Lucky' Charlton Athletic will receive their come uppance against Sheffield United this weekend, according to Owl and former Addick Miguel Llera.  He claims that Charlton's luck is exemplified by Johnnie Jackson scoring from a free kick, but it was clearly a superb strike rather than a lucky one.

Llera evidently still has the hump about the manner of his departure from Charlton: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/sport/football/sheffield-wednesday/llera_sure_owls_can_hunt_down_leaders_charlton_1_4148895

Saturday 14 January 2012

Charlton show their steel

Charlton showed their steel with a 1-0 defeat of Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough this afternoon, the first home defeat for the Owls this season.

It was essentially the same side for Charlton at Hillsborough reports Paul May with Hamer returning from suspension and Stephens back from injury on the bench.    Meanwhile news reached us that those Addicks travelling on the 10.25 from St. Pancras were stuck just outside Leicester by a signal failure with Rick Everitt among their number.

The first Charlton attempt of the game came from Wright-Phillips after good link up play with Kermorgant, but his shot was from a difficult angle and Weaver was able to make the save. Green put in a good cross but no one from Charlton was able to connect.

Wiggins put in a good cross but Kermorgant was unable to connect.    Green put in good defensive work.   Green threatened to break, but Lines defended well.    Hamer had to punch out a floating ball. 

Wednesday threatened with a cross from Marshall on the left, but Hamer made a brilliant save to keep it off the line with Wiggins in support.   Wright-Phillips advanced, but he was crowded out.   Jones cynically fouled Hollands, but no yellow card was given.

A ball from Marshall took a deflection off Solly for a corner, but Hamer did just enough to get it away.   Wright-Phillips was hacked to the ground by Jones giving Charlton a free kick in a good position just outside the box.  Jackson’s superb left footed strike went into the top corner of the goal to put the Addicks 1-0 ahead on 28 minutes as Weaver punched at thin air.

O’Grady got a yellow card for an elbow.    Charlton won a corner, but Weaver punched Green’s ball out and Wednesday won a free kick.   An effort from Morrison was not far wide.   Wiggins was brought down as he advanced and Jones was given a yellow card.   Green slipped as he took the free kick.  A shot from O’Grady went wide.

Lines put in a shot and Hamer took hold of it at the second attempt while Wiggins was down.   The home crowd were getting frustrated.   Great play by Charlton led to a corner for the Addicks, but Wednesday were awarded a free kick for a foul.

A header from Johnson six yards out went straight at Hamer.   Charlton broke after a great kick from Hamer with Green and won a corner.   The corner was over hit by Jackson. 

Kermorgant threatened after good work by Green but the flag went up.   Pritchard battled forward well. 

Four minutes were added on which was rather surprising.   The ball went in the net for Wednesday from Madine but the offside flag went up.   It had been a highly competitive first half in which the Charlton players had given their all.

Half time: Owls 0, Addicks 1

Green put in a good cross but it just evaded Kermorgant.     Wright-Phillips beat Jones with his pace but Weaver came off his line to make a good save.   The move started with excellent work from Wiggins.

Wiggins fed Hollands who turned provider for Wright-Phillips but the flag went up.   Charlton had started the half well, but then they conceded a corner.   It was almost bundled in at the far post, but Charlton got the goal kick.

Wednesday won another corner.    The header from Jones went over the bar.    Wright-Phillips advanced down the right and Charlton won a corner.   Green’s corner was headed away by Jones.

A Wednesday cross from Marshall had to be put behind by Taylor.   The corner was caught by Hamer.   Madine went off to be replaced by Lowe, while Llera came on at the back in place of Jones.   A shot from Wright-Phillips was put behind by Weaver for a corner.   Wiggins tried to keep the pressure on.

Green was replaced by Russell.   Clinton Morrison came on in place of Marshall who had been one of Wednesday’s best players, but Megson’s substitutions came in for some criticism at Bolton.   Wright-Phillips was replaced by Clarke.

Wednesday won a corner and Charlton broke but Pritchard was fouled.     Wednesday applied some pressure.   Wiggins was fouled and Rob Jones received the latest yellow card for the Owls.    Charlton won a corner, but Pritchard’s shot was blocked.   Lowe broke but gave away a free kick.

Cort came on for Charlton.   Wednesday sent everyone forward, Hamer punched the ball out.  The ball was cleared off the line by Wiggins when the home fans thought that the ball was going to be in the back of the net.  

Wednesday won a corner and Weaver came up, but Hamer was eventually able to claim the ball.   Cort headed the ball away.    Charlton broke down the right, Clarke found Russell but the ball went over the bar, but the final whistle went.

Friday 13 January 2012

Owls recall Gritt own goal

As Sheffield Wednesday fans prepare for today's clash at Hillsborough, they are being reminded of a spectacular Steve Gritt own goal in a 1980s match which they won 5-4:

It's a big match this afternoon and what is more its against a massive club as Owls fans keep reminding us.  Indeed, Wednesday must rival Manchester City as one of the two massive clubs in the country.

The odds on a Charlton win are 2-1 against and I don't see us getting a victory this afternoon.  Indeed, I am going for a 3-1 win for the home side in the hope that I am proved wrong.

Paul May will be there to bring you a full match report.

Thursday 12 January 2012

Haynes bid succeeds

Charlton have succeeded in signing striker Danny Haynes from Barnsley where he has been out of favour.  Millwall were also in the frame but wanted a loan deal whereas Charlton were prepared to offer cash on the table:

The reported fee is less than £200k and personal terms still have to be negotiated but it is hoped that this can be completed over the weekend.

One implication of the deal is that Paul Hayes, one of Chris Powell's least successful signings, will move further down the pecking order.

Peckham born Haynes was in the Charlton academy but was released at the age of 16, joining Ipswich Town where he enjoyed early success and then Bristol City:

Cort caught

Leon Cort has signed a 18-month contract at Charlton on a free transfer two years after Burnley paid £1.5m to acquire him from Stoke.   The Guyana international thinks that there is a promotion mentality at Charlton and is confident that he can contribute to the club achieving Championship status:

Chris Powell gives his assessment of Jose Semedo, but insists that the home game against Bournemouth was more important than Saturday's clash at Hillsborough:

Physical encounter expected at Hillsborough

Matt Taylor is expecting a physical encounter in Saturday's clash with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough: http://www.thestar.co.uk/sport/football/sheffield-wednesday/it_s_tough_at_the_top_as_leaders_gear_up_for_owls_1_4126888

Sheffield sources are expecting a crowd of 25,000 for the game.   It could be cold 'oop north given the current weather picture.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Euell out on loan

Jason Euell is going out on loan with AFC Wimbledon until mid-February in the first instance.   The Dons have been slipping down the League 2 table and Euell's experience will be valuable, particularly as he is a fans' favourite there, have been with Wimbledon between 1995 and 2001.

His chances to appear from the bench have probably diminished since the arrival of Leon Clarke.

Cort let go by Burnley

Leon Cort has had his contract with Burnley terminated by mutual consent.  This means that he is now a free agent and can talk to Charlton about a permanent deal which looks likely to happen.   He would be recruited as cover in central defence.

Sunday 8 January 2012

Chris Powell on racism storm

Chris Powell talks about the recent 'racism storm' in English football, pointing out that Charlton has been a leading club in this respect but even we can't stand still:

Saturday 7 January 2012

Free to concentrate on the league

There were just two changes in the Charlton side facing Fulham reports Paul May from Craven Cottage.  Sullivan replaced the suspended Hamer in goal while Taylor came back in for Cort.  Fulham put out a strong side with just one chance.   Danny Murphy ‘s appearance was appropriately greeted by the 7,000 Addickted.

The first corner of the game went to Charlton.   It was cleared off the goal line.  Murphy was eventually able to clear, Fulham advanced and Solly had to clear.   Sullivan had to make an excellent save after he was almost caught unawares.   Murphy’s over hit corner led to a goal kick.

A free kick from Green was headed away.   After seven minutes Fulham took the lead through Dempsey with the ball going over Sullivan. 

Jackson burst forward but he needed support.  Wiggins drove the ball into the near post, but it was cleared.   Solly conceded a corner.   Kermorgant  got the ball away, but Fulham continued to press until the flag went up.

Fulham continued to have most of the possession.   They won their third corner after an effort by Riise was deflected.   The corner was taken short and was unproductive. 

The Cottagers won their fourth corner, but Fulham were unable to make anything of the subsequent play.

Kermorgant almost caught Stockdale in the Fulham goal out, Jackson reacted quickly but the ball went into the side netting.

Fry was proving a handful for Solly.    Wiggins advanced nearly 40 yards down the left touchline but run out of space.

Wright-Phillips put in an attempt but it was blocked by Stockdale.   Solly defended well.   Good play by Green created a chance for Wright-Phillips but it was scraped away.    Wright-Phillips and Kermorgant combined well, but Kelly was able to deal with it for Fulham.

Green received a harsh yellow card for fouling Fry from referee Dowd.   Charlton continued to work hard to stay in the game, not least Bradley Pritchard.  A long-range attempt by Riise went wide. 

Charlton won a corner but Jackson’s effort was not a good one and Zamora cleared. 

Half time: Cottagers 1, Addicks 0

Charlton made a positive start and won a corner after four minutes.  Jackson’s corner was headed away by Kelly.   The Addicks won another corner after good work by Green.   Jackson’s corner was headed away by Senderos after Stockdale had pushed it away.

A shot by Murphy led to Sullivan conceding a corner.   Dempsey’s header went wide, but Charlton got a free kick anyway.    Jackson turned provider for Wright-Phillips but it was saved by Stockdale.  Green put in a long-range effort that was saved by Stockdale.   The corner led to a Charlton throw in.

Fry was replaced by Duff who made an immediate impact with a shot saved by Sullivan.   Despite Charlton being in the ascendancy, Fulham broke down the other end and made it 2-0 through Dempsey.

Fulham won another corner after an effort by Zamora was put over the bar by Taylor.   Senderos headed wide.    Zamora’s shot was intercepted by Taylor and put over the bar at the expense of a corner.   Kermorgant headed it away.

Green who had drifted out of the game somewhat was replaced by Wagstaff while Wiggins was replaced by Evina. 

Following a free kick, Wright-Phillips had a chance but it was bundled away for a corner.   In the subsequent play Kermorgant could not get it on target.   Eventually Fulham won a goal kick.

A penalty was awarded against Sullivan by Phil Dowd and the keeper received a yellow card.   Dempsey put it in the back of the net to secure his hat trick.

Murphy was taken off and replaced by Steve Sidwell who was once the target of interest from Alan Curbishley.  Evina was forced to concede a corner kick.   With Charlton showing signs of tiredness, Fulham made it 4-0 as the ball took a deflection with Duff claiming the goal.

Charlton’s effort could not be faulted, but we did not take our opportunities to draw level.   The scoreline was harsh but we can now concentrate on the real prize of the league.

Friday 6 January 2012

Euell sees Fulham tie as a chance to assess progress

Jason Euell sees tomorrow's tie with Fulham as a chance to assess how far Charlton have come as they challenge for the League 1 title.   He also reflects on his changing relationship with Chris Powell:

Senderos: we will not take Charlton lightly

Fulham defender Philippe Senderos has insisted that Fulham will not take Charlton lightly in Saturday's FA Cup clash.   He says that Charlton are a club on the rise who belong in the Premiership or Championship:

Lawro has selected us as the shock of the round so that has probably finished any chance we did have.

Odds are Charlton 6/1; Fulham 9/4; and a draw 10/3 (which is probably the best we can hope for).  I think that we can avoid being trounced, but I am predicting 3-1 to the Cottagers.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Rusell to stay

Darel Russell's loan deal has been extended until the end of the season.   The view taken by Chris Powell is that his experience will be valuable as Charlton bid for promotion and it is clear that he is much happier at The Valley than he was at Deepdale:

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Hamer suspension upheld

Ben Hamer's one match suspension for denying a goal scoring opportunity will stand which is no great surprise.   However, the suspension has not been increased as some Addicks feared and will be served in our FA Cup match against Fulham which is arguably less important than a league match.

Handling outside the area is of itself not a red card offence.   I remember Deano being given a yellow for that in an away game.

Financial pressures hit Blades

With debts of £32m, a £13.6m loss last season and a £15m wage bill the pressure is on to save money at Sheffield United.   A number of Championship clubs are interested in some of their players.   It is interesting to note that the manager doesn't say that he won't sell them but does say he won't let them go cheaply:

Even if new players are brought in, the balance of the side could be disturbed.  I would regard Sheffield United as our main rivals for the title but Sheffield Wednesday may have a better transfer window.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Addicks linked with Osborne

Charlton are being linked with 23-year old Brentford central defender Karleigh Osborne.   He is a product of the Brentford youth system and has played over 150 games for the Bees, but he has not accepted an improved contract offer made last month.

We did make two attempts to secure his services in the summer and there were also reports in November that we were chasing him again, but I would not have thought that the central defence was an area that required strengthening.   A Championship club are also rumoured to be interested.

Lino was guilty man

I thought I recognised the East Stand lino on Saturday.   But then then are plenty of short linos in need of hair restorer who either can't see what is happening in front of them or are frightened to tell the referee despite their grand 'assistant' title.

Now Rick Everitt has reminded me of 'that famous occasion when he gave Fulham a free-kick when a Fulham player handled the ball, enabling them to score a last-minute equaliser in Pardew's first match in charge.'

One Addick responded, 'And I still believe we would have stayed up if the linesman and [methane breathing referee] Poll had not got that so wrong. Poll lists it as one of his big mistakes, but goes on to say that it was the linesman that really made the mistake and that he had only awarded a free kick on the touchline not a penalty and that Charlton didn't defend it properly.'

So, farewell then, Hogan Ephraim

Hogan Ephraim has returned to QPR at the end of his loan spell.  The Addicks would like to have hold on to him longer, but the Super Hoops wanted him back at Loftus Road although for what purpose is unclear.

He scored for us and put in some decent performances but whether he is better than what we have in midfield (when all the players, especially Dale Stephens, are fit) is a moot point.

The future of Darel Russell appears to still be under discussion.

Monday 2 January 2012

Good start to 2012

Charlton made a good start to 2012 with a 2-0 win over Brentford at The Valley today giving them a five point lead at the top of the table after Sheffield United lost at Carlisle.  This means that the Addicks have forded the Brent twice, completing the double over the Bees.   Even the Bloke Behind Me was relatively pleased, declaring that we were now relatively safe from relegation.

The Bees are not without a sting and put the Addicks under some pressure but we were able to capitalise on two of our four opportunities and they were not able to utilise theirs, largely provided courtesy of the referee.  

The start of the match was delayed by fifteen minutes ('until 15.15') by 'unforseen circumstances' which turned out to be a power failure in the North Stand which necessitated moving supporters later.  Apparently, there was a risk that the match could have been called off altogether.

Taylor was relegated to the bench which was a bit of a surprise but perhaps he needed to be rested, also he could be goalkeeping cover if the Hamer appeal fails (which seems the most likely outcome).

Cort conceded an early corner.   Green broke from the corner but the move was unproductive.   Wright-Phillips was felled and needed treatment.   The Bees won a corner.   Wright-Phillips put in a good cross, but unfortunately no one was able to connect.   Kermorgant made a good run.

Charlton had been slow out of the traps, possibly because of the fifteen minute delay to the start of the game which must be disruptive, although it didn't seem to affect Brentford.   However, after about fifteen minutes the Addicks started to liven up.

The Bees won two corners in succession.   A blatant handball by the Bees was ignored by the East Stand lino.   Brentford keeper Robert Lee is supposed to be their star player but he got involved in what seemed to be a mix up with his defence.   He failed to come for the ball and Morrison was able to head over him to make it 1-0 to the Addicks.

The game went a bit flat after that, although Wright-Phillips put the ball wide from a Green throw in.  One of the best attacks of the half was mounted down the left in time added on.

Half time: Addicks 1, Bees 0

An early Charlton corner was caught by the keeper.  The advancing Wright-Phillips beat the keeper but then put in a poor ball that went out for a throw in.   Solly received a yellow card for handball.  The resultant free kick was well defended.   Following a Charlton corner, it looked as if the ball was going in but it hit the upright.  

A Charlton free kick led to an effort by Kermorgant that was not far wide.  A good attack involving Jackson and Wright-Phillips led to a Charlton corner.  Brentford made a double substitution and followed up with a third one not long afterwards.   A good run by Wiggins won a free kick.  A free kick was awarded against Cort in a dangerous position, with former Millwall charm merchant Alexander once again trying to intimidate Hamer, but it came off the wall, although some further pressure had to be dealt with.

Charlton took off Jackson and brought on Wagstaff while Clarke replaced Wright-Phillips.   A Brentford free kick in a promising position sailed over the crossbar.   Brentford advanced dangerously but pull the ball over and were offside anyway.   Cort got a yellow card for handball.   Green then made it 2-0 for the Addicks and we could all relax and celebrate.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has taken the unusual step of awarding a joint Silver Bone to our two full backs.  Rhoys Wiggins forged forward well and showed some touches of real class that may qualify him for the Welsh national side.   The day was only spoilt by a ridiculous yellow card for time wasting by the referee.   Brentford tried to launch a lot of their attacks down their left but Chris Solly was up to the task, snapping at the heels of the attacking players with a terrier like tenancity and clearing well.

Hamer was not really tested and the Brentford fans eventually got tired of booing him.  Morrison took his goal well and was stalwart in defence.  Cort made a couple of errors but generally did his job well.  Bradley Pritchard showed some real skill and didn't try to do too much, always being ready to lay the ball off.  Jackson had an excellent game and received a warm ovation when he was substituted.   Green scored the second goal but his contribution to the game as a whole was a bit up and down and his defensive contribution leaves something to be desired.  Hollands was relatively anonymous, but didn't make any blunders.  I think that he was playing too deep and this is less likely to happen when Hughes is in the side.  Kermorgant competed well as usual.   Wright-Phillips played with a patch on his head after his early injury.  He did try to get forward but messed up his best opportunity.  Wagstaff did not make a great difference when he came on.  Clarke was a bit of a disappointment on his debut, coming across as a bit of a lump and playing us into defensive trouble once, but it's early days.  Hughes had a cameo in time added on.

Rescue cat Reg continues to be appalled by the standard of officiating in League 1.  Referee G Scott was unwilling to give anything to Charlton other than three yellow cards.  However, the Hiss of the Match goes to the balding and vertically challenged lino on the East Stand side who can't see a handball in front of him but adopts a pompous stance when standing still.

Sunday 1 January 2012

Hamer available today

Ben Hamer is available today after Charlton appealed his sending off which was apparently for denying a goal scoring opportunity:

I doubt whether the appeal will succeed, but it could be withdrawn after the game and Hamer's suspension could then apply for the cup game against Fulham.

I was amused that the Sunday Times finally managed to mention us yesterday in their roundup feature, noting that our lead had been cut to 'only' four points.

Busy Bee Justin Fisher has forecast a 1-0 win for his side today.

Fording the Brent

It's pretty clear that the referee was justified in sending Hamer off at Orient and such an early dismissal affected the final outcome.   Pessimists have argued that the O's would have edged it anyway but that perhaps overlooks the extent to which they are a confidence side.

Anyway it's water under the bridge now and less than 48 hours after the derby at Orient Charlton face another one against Brentford.   It's difficult to know what to make of the Bees.   At the beginning of the season The Times forecast them finishing 9th while Four Four Two had them 11th.

Nevertheless, the fan quoted in Four Four Two saw them on the verge of something big, although I find it difficult to see them surviving in the Championship if they did get promoted given their ground and fan base.   They were in the top flight a long time ago, of course, but that was in very different circumstances.

Currently the Bees are just outside the play off places at 7th.  They have actually won more matches away than at home (five against four) and have only lost once away this season, a record only matched by Huddersfield (and we know where they lost).   At home they have shipped 18 goals compared with just eight away.

On Saturday they fought back from 0-3 down at home against MK Dons to draw 3-3.   This certainly says something about the spirit of the team.   It also interesting that manager Uwe Rosler said that his strategy was to 'stop [MK Dons] playing' which may give a hint of what we can expect at The Valley tomorrow.

Charlton will have Sullivan in goal and although Hamer is far from perfect he is the better of the two keepers.   Johnnie Jackson was probably brought back on Saturday before he was fully match fit.  Bradley Wright-Phillips is going through a lean spell but I can't see him being dropped.

This is another tricky match for Charlton and I can't see us winning but hopefully we can squeeze out a point in a 1-1 draw.     Sheffield United are being bigged up by the media with The Football League Paper carrying a front page box declaring 'Buoyant Blades keep on winning', an accolade we did not receive during our winning streak.   However, Blades are away at Carlisle which is not an easy fixture.

Over at Hillsborough Gary Megson has told owner Milan Mandaric players have to be brought in during the transfer window.   He argues that a lot of what has been achieved up to now is 'down to hard work and guts' rather than quality.  'If we are a big club then in January, we need to act like it,' he said.   Wednesday are at home to Tranmere tomorrow which should be a home win. If Charlton draw, that would put the Owls three points behind the Addicks if the Blades lose at Carlisle.

Odds are (Coral):  Charlton 4/6, Draw 11/4, Brentford 4/1 (information from Richard Sheppard)