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.
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.