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.
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.