Wednesday 29 February 2012

Massive departure

Despte winning the Steel City derby, Gary Megson has been sacked as manager of Sheffield Wednesday by Milan Mandaric:

Former Cardiff and Wolves boss Dave Jones is being linked with the job.

I am not a great admirer of Megson, but it's still a bit of a surprise.

Sheffield United beat Scunthorpe last night to narrow Charlton's lead at the top of League One.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Difficult night for moaners

It was a difficult night for moaners as Charlton won 4-0 at Chesterfield to go 13 points clear at the top of League 1 with Bradley Wright-Phillips scoring a hattrick.   As I left the 0-1 home defeat of Leamington by West Bromwich Albion, I heard on Radio 5 that Charlton has dominated the game just as they dominated the division.

Charlton went ahead as Danny Green's shot hit the bar and Wright-Phillips prodded the ball over the line.   The striker swivelled to hook home his second, before Johnnie Jackson met Chris Solly's cross.

Wright-Phillips completed his first career treble with a deflected shot inside the six-yard box.  The Addicks, who equalled a club record 12th away win of the season, are now 15 points ahead of the third-placed Massives.

An Addick who was there reported, 'This was an excellent performance against a lively Chesterfield who failed to finish their attacks with goal attempts largely due to the quality of our defence. Solly had an excellent game and Hamer did ok too. The mid field started to create the attacking options now Stephens is back in the side and Jackson is also back to his best. Kermongant won everything in the air as always and BWP confidence grew as the game went on.'

One worrying sign was the presence of a number of scouts.

Pressure on 'big club'

The general tone of the narrative coming out of Chesterfield does seem too confident about tonight's fixture, the main line being that as Charlton are a big club that need promotion the pressure will be on them (presumably as distinct from the Spireites as a smaller club needing to avoid relegation):

According to one tweet some of the discussion on CL is treating Chesterfield as if they were Real Madrid, but this does not seem very apt to me, to put it mildly.

Monday 27 February 2012

And now for seventh versus third

Charlton are now third in the form table with Notts County in the second slot who are enjoying a so-called 'quiet revolution' under Keith Curle.  If you look at the real table they have crept up so that they are now just two points behind the heroes of Hertfordshire.

Boosted by an influx of new players, Chesterfield are now up to seventh.    They have won three of their last six games and lost three.  In those games they have scored an average of one goal per match but have also conceded less than one goal.

In the real table they are, of course, rooted at the bottom.   Their home record is better than their away form, but even at the b2net stadium they have lost six games, drawn five and won only four.

At the beginning of the season, Four Four Two forecast a finish in 8th place for the Spireites noting, 'You have to go all the way back to 1951 for the last time the Spireites played in the second tier, but it doesn't take much firing of the imagination to envisage that next step now.   The only way is up, it would seem.'   Mind you, the same magazine had us in 18th place.

Keeper Tommy Lee is reported as making two 'brilliant' saves on Saturday, but Chesterfield are playing a very young back four.

It's going to be another hard match, but I think we will manage a 2-1 win.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Top Powell interview

A great interview with Chris Powell in the Mail on Sunday today in which he talks about the need to rebuild the relationship with the fans.  Asked what would happen if a big club came in for him, he said that they already have.

Read more here:

'We're better than Spurs'

On a sunny day The Valley was looking at its best for the bumper crowd

That was the ironic chant of the Covered End as Charlton defeated Stevenage 2-0 at The Valley today.  Both goals came from open play with Bradley Wright-Phillips finding his scoring boots again.  Indeed, he could have made more if it had not been for a couple of excellent saves by Stevenage's veteran keeper who had changed into a special magic boot halfway through the second half.

At London Bridge the driver of a Sevenoaks bound train leant out of his cab and said that he had a bad feeling about today, having been to the away defeat.  He was only echoing what Charlton's many pessimists had been saying all week, arguing that a faltering Charlton would be no match for a team the calibre of Stevenage.

I had suspected all along that Stevenage were not really that special and it proved to be the case.  With Solly back on the right and skipper Johnnie Jackson playing again, Charlton took charge of the game for most of the 98 minutes.

The day started with me being greeted by my CEO in the Marks & Spencers checkout queue in his jeans.  I decided that on balance this was a good omen.

We started the game much more vigorously than we had against Rochdale which of itself was a good sign.   The Stevenage supporters advised the crowd of 26,546 that 'you've only come to watch the Borough' which seems unlikely even given all the media interest surrounding the heroes of Hertfordshire.

Bradley Wright-Phillips won a corner for Charlton on five minutes which was followed by two more.  The visitors then broke but Solly showed real skill in dealing with the situation and was able to clear.   Green made a good run.  Stevenage demonstrad their physical approach with a player standing on BWP's foot and he required some treatment.

Stevenage were then given a dubious free kick, but Hamer dealt with the situation well.  A corner for the visitors was cleared without too much difficulty.   Two players collided, but the referee ruled that where this happened a free kick should be awarded to the visitors.

Borough had to take off Chris Beardsley and bringing on Darius Charles who subsequently demonstrated an ability for arguing with the officials if nothing else. 

The incompetent East Stand linesman contrived to give a throw in the wrong way, but the referee overruled him.  Danny Green set up BWP well but with an open goal in front of him he put the ball over.    A goalmouth scramble led to nothing.   Chris Solly won Charlton a corner.

There was a penalty shout for a blatant push in the box which would have been seen by any normally sighted linesman, but instead we got a Charlton corner was caught by the keeper.

Green put in a good cross to BWP, but he headed over.   Bostwick was given a yellow card for a foul on Solly.   Four minutes were added on and Hamer was called on to make a save.

Half time: Addicks 0, Borough 0

BWP put in a speculative shot.  Morrison saw his chance from some way out and put in a shot that caught the keeper unawares and put the Addicks 1-0 ahead.   A shot from Green was not far wide.   Bradley Wright-Phillips and put the ball in the net, although it has subsequently been claimed that it received assistance from two Stevenage players, but it was going in anyway.

Johnnie Jackson won Charlton a corner.  Stevenage took off former Addick Stacy Long and brought on Jennison Myrie-Williams who has one of the most distinguished names in League 1.    There was some trouble in the Jimmy Seed and a charm merchant was escorted out by security in front of the stand.

A good shot by Wiggins was beaten down by keeper Chris Day who in my view is one of their best players.  Those looking for negatives have blamed BWP for not scoring more, but Day made some good saves.  However, he was getting increasingly frustrated with this boots which he banged against the goalpost.  Signals to the bench allowed a special magic boot to be fitted.

BWP had a chance, but a reinvigorated Day saved with his leg.   Danny Green received a yellow card.  Jackson was taken off and replaced by Haynes.  An effort by Haynes was saved by the keeper at the expense of a corner.   The keeper saved with his legs again from BWP.   Charlton won two corners in succession.   Hollands was given a yellow card for nothing in particular.

Wright-Phillips was taken off and replaced by Pritchard.   In the time added on we kept the ball well and victory was deservedly ours.

Meanwhile, over at High Wycombe, they were chanting 'It's just like watching Charlton Athletic' after three of their five goals against Hartlepool came from our two loan players, two from Hayes and one from Doherty.

We can be fairly relaxed about the Sheffield derby today, but here are the permutations:

1. If it's a draw, the Blades will be 9 points behind us and the Massives will stay in 5th place on goal difference, 14 points behind us.
2. If the less massive team in Sheffield win, they will be 7 points behind us, still a tough challenge to overtake us.
3. If the Massives win, they will be 3rd and 12 points behind us.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Bradley Wright-Phillips who was back to his old form.  Hamer was not troubled that much by Stevenage's characteristically inaccurate shooting, but he did have some saves to make and, one fumble aside, exuded calm confidence.   Taylor played his part and Morrison had an excellent game, not least his well taken goal.   Wiggins was back to his old self in his usual position and Solly had some sublime moments of skill.   Jackson was not at his very best, possibly not 100 per cent match fit after his injury, but he made a contribution.   Hollands was more evident than he has been in some recent matches and Stephens made a contribution that was not always obvious but significant nevertheless.   Green was greatly improved on Tuesday's performance.   Kermorgant once again demonstrated his commitment and skills.   Haynes was energetic and saw something of the ball.  Pritchard had a cameo.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has brought back to Hiss of the Match duty after new recruit Reg had been associated with some less successful Charlton performances.   She gave the hiss to referee C Pawson who was whistle happy and always inclined to look favourably on Stevenage, plus giving Hollands a card for a very trivial offence.   Reg was allowed to hiss at the East Stand linesman who showed a remarkable dim incompetence.   Finally, a hiss was given to rowdy Borough fans at London Bridge and King's Cross.

Friday 24 February 2012

Double deal for Chairboys,,10430~2622240,00.html Gary Doherty and Paul Hayes have joined the Chairboys on loan until the end of the season.

Neither side was likely to see any action with Charlton.

A rallying cry

                                                              Rick from Ramsgate

A rallying cry from Rick from Ramsgate:

And won't the doomsayers be delighted if it is [a poor result tomorrow] - a whole evening of head-shaking told-you-so self-gratification.   Some people need to get their heads out of their backsides.

Not only are Stevenage sixth on merit, but we are top on the same basis. By a wide margin.

Yes, the sky may fall in tomorrow, Powell may choose the wrong players and the ball might hit a beachball in front of Ben Hamer and be diverted in for a Stevenage winner. They might win by three, four or five goals.

We may go on a bad run and miss out on the automatic promotion places. Equally we may not.

Understandably people are nervous and want shot of this bloody awful division, but there is a big risk it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy and the nervousness transmits itself to the players.

Come to The Valley tomorrow and enjoy the atmosphere of a near-capacity crowd. So much better than half-empty midweek games. Enjoy the challenge of playing a team that have recently shown they can frustrate one of the best sides in the country (not a statement I like making about Spurs) - and then lost to Notts County next time out.

If we lose, don't boo and don't blame the manager, the crowd, the referee or the opposition for cheating, accept that these things happen and move on. We will still have an outstanding chance of promotion next week and next month, whatever happens against Stevenage, Chesterfield, Bournemouth, etc.

[And don't forget that Victoria Stanyon will be opening the proceedings].

On  the hand, if you prefer a good moan go here:

Are Stevenage the new invincibles?

Earlier in the season Huddersfield were hailed as the invincibles, but it all went sour for the draw specialists and manager Lee Clarke exited under a cloud.  Now Stevenage have been the subject of a certain amount of media hype.

We have to remember that their 0-0 draw against Spurs was achieved against a team playing below their best on a bobbly pitch.   If Parker hadn't made an otherwise good goal offside, Spurs would have won.  But it does seem that the replay is serving as something of a distraction for the players.   During the week they lost 1-0 at mighty Notts County.

They will result to physical tactics and unfortunately these are likely to result in a blithe smile or a mild rebuke from the referee.   Their long ball tactics I think that our centre halves can handle.

Our midfield has disappointed recently and I would bring back Hughes in place of Stephens who has disappointed since his return from injury.   Hughes formed a great partnership with Hollands in a winning run.

Bradley Wright-Phillips needs to find his scoring boots.  Someone remarked that he was putting in the effort, but he seemed to do better when he gave the impression of being lazy.

The nervy Valley crowd may be a factor.   Victory at home is expected as an automatic right and after twenty minutes if we haven't scored and aren't winning every ball the discontent will make itself felt.

I find this a difficult match to call, but I fear a 2-2 draw.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Valley of Disappointment

The boos rang out round The Valley last night after Charlton's disappointing 1-1 draw with Rochdale. It was a salutary warning about the dangers of reading results off the table.   As Chris Powell noted in the programme, relegated sides have their own reason for battling for points.

And battle Rochdale did.   Their Hungarian keeper, on loan from West Ham, made two excellent saves that denied the Addicks goals (they could have used him at Upton Park where Green was sent off) and centre backs Amankwaah and Barry-Murphy intercepted ball after ball.

Nevertheless, it was a lacklustre performance by Charlton.   The side was weakened by the continued absence of Johnnie Jackson and, even more important, unbalanced by the absence of Chris Solly.

Solly is a key player, but even so we should have taken the game to Rochdale more.    Particularly in the first half, we let them impose themselves on the game.   Perhaps reflecting the number of matches we have played recently, we needed to up the tempo, but many of our players seemed to lack the required energy.   Rochdale should have been pressured more, as then they started to make mistakes, as was evident in the second half.

Just as one can't read results off the table, one cannot generalise from this result to that against Stevenage.  This performance should serve as a wake up call and we may well play better against a better side, or at least show more motivation and interest.

Transport difficulties on the way to the game are also a bad omen.  First our normally reliable local bus service failed to turn up and I had to hoof it to the station.   Then when I got to Marylebone the tube station was closed.   When I arrived at the ground Steve from Petts Wood informed me that Solly was ill and unable to play.  Possibly we should have simply slotted Hughes in at right back.

The quiet start to the match was not a good sign and there was relatively little to note down in the first half.   There was a half chance on eight minutes and then Bradley Wright-Phillips put the ball wide on twelve.  In a subsequent attack he should have passed the ball to Green who was free on the left rather than forging forward.   Charlton were getting caught quite often by the offside flag, although possibly the West Side lino was a little zealous.

A black cat was seen running in front of the control box, but it was not a good omen.  Bradley Wright-Phillips won the first Charlton corner on 35 minutes.  I was relieved to get to half time with the scores even.

Half time: Addicks 0, Dale 0

The inebitable hapened on 52 minutes when Adams went on a run and scored for the visitors.   Given our difficulty in scoring from open play, or indeed making much a corners, we needed a free kick in a promising position.  Kevin Long duly obliged in an incident with Kermorgant and was shown the only yellow card of the game.

A Charlton corner was caught by the keeper.   Stephens put in a shot from distance that was just wide. Green was withdrawn in favour of Wagstaff and then Clarke came on in place of Wright-Phillips.

We started to win more corners, but were unable to do anything more with them.  Evina off and was replaced by Cort.   An effort from Pritchard nissed the target.

We had two more corners in the three minutes added on, but they were unproductive.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible awarded the Silver Bone to Bradley Wright-Phillips who was lively and trying to make things happen.  Hamer did not have a lot to do and I doubt whether he could have stopped the goal. Morrison was very much involved, particularly in the closing phase.  Taylor conceded an unnecessary free kick in the first half, but otherwise was solid.   Evina did well, showing some pace and an ability to get forward.   Wiggins did not adapt to his enforced role well, but even when he switched back he made a mistake that gave the game to Rochdale for five minutes.  Pritchard was energetic as always, but does he have the guile needed at this level?   It was not a great night for the midfield, Stephens sending the ball way over when he could have put in a decent cross and Hollands was not that involved.  Green can put in a good cross but he tends to wait for the ball rather than chasing for it.  Kermorgant provided an excellent free kick to score.   I had hoped that Wagstaff might unsettle Dale when he came on, but he was a disappointment.  Clarke chased well, but did not make a real difference.   Cort had a cameo.

No complaints about the officials and none of the Rochdale players were obnoxious.   Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the Bloke Behind Me for his non-stop monologue of complaint.  We could see that Charlton were not playing well without his commentary.

Monday 20 February 2012

Curbs pulls out of Wolves job

As anticipated, Alan Curbishley has pulled out of the race for the manager's job at Wolves.  Apparently he does not share the owner's vision for the club:

It now appears that there will be a second round of talks, at least according to a tweet from Curbs.

But attention has now switched to Reading manager Brian McDermott:

Keep calm

There seems to be a slight air of panic in some quarters.   Our performance against the Dons did stutter, although I agree with Chris Powell that a draw was a good result at Prenton Park.   As The Times points out this morning, it is the automatic promotion places that matter and we are eleven points ahead of the Massives with two games in hand.

The Blades are clearly motoring, but although going up as champions would be great, at the end of the day it is a bonus.  What we must avoid are the play off places.   Remember also that the massive side of Sheffield have to play the less massive side next Sunday.

Wednesday seem to be imploding at the moment.    Drinking During The Game noted that they would be taking a private jet to Chesterfield, but did not reveal the itinerary:

Kit coach leaves Hillsborough and heads south on M1
Team coach with onboard sauna and leopard skin accessories departs for Leeds/Bradford airport
Private jet from  Leeds/Bradford to East Midlands airport
Kit coach collects players and takes them to Chesterfield

Just two games behind Wednesday and with two games in hand over them are Huddersfield.   It is difficult to see how the sacking of Lee Clark will play out, although many Huddersfield fans seem to think it was the right decision.

It has been pointed out that Huddersfield would be in a far worse position without the goals scored by Jordan Rhodes.   I don't think all the media hype about their invincibility did them any good.  It was really all about being draw specialists combined with an ability to bottle it in the play offs.

Stevenage put up a good showing against Spurs, who were below their best.   The bobbly pitch helped the home side.  They have a combination of physical play and being able to pass the ball, although we should be able to cope with their aerial threat.   What struck me was how wildly inaccurate a lot of their shooting was.

They are not prolific goal scorers, having scored 15 fewer than MK Dons one place above them.  However, they have conceded fewer goals away from home (11) than any League 1 team.   Their experienced goalkeeper clearly plays a part there.

As for Rochdale, one must never read results off the table.   They won on Saturday with a penalty in the 92nd minute, although the Cherries had been rocked by one of their defenders being carried off with a broken leg.   Rather than claiming that his team are massive, Dale manager John Coleman said, 'Every game we play now will be massive.'

That applies to Charlton as well, but we should keep the faith.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Is Curbs out of the running for Wolves job?

There has been speculation that Alan Curbishley is out of the running for the vacant managerial post at Wolves despite appearing to be the favourite at one stage:

Earlier in the week it was suggested that the interview had not gone too well and there were rumours yesterday that Curbs had been offered the job but turned it down.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Another 1-1 draw with Tranmere

With Jackson out with a leg injury, Bradley Pritchard starts at Prenton Park reports Erith Addick Paul May.   Wright-Phillips retreats to the bench and Haynes starts up front.

It was a tepid start in bright sunshine but cold conditions on The Wirral.   Tranmere put in a shot from distance after Stephens hesitated on the ball and was dispossessed.   Quite a lot of possession was being given away on the bobbly surface and the play was quite scrappy.

Charlton won the first corner.   Eventually the ball was put well wide by Stephens from outside the penalty area.   Weir was unmarked on the penalty spot but put the ball over.   Haynes won Charlton a free kick on the left a few yards outside the penalty area.   Green’s effort was blocked by the one man wall but the Addicks won a corner.   This led to a second corner, but the pressure produced nothing.

Taylor made a mistake with his header and conceded a corner to Tranmere.   Hamer had to make two good saves to deny Brunt, although the flag went up at some point.

Tranmere won their second corner from a teasing cross by Devaney.   However, the corner was a waste of time for the home side.   Haynes accelerated well, but the move ended in a goal kick. 

Charlton were not winning all the midfield battles on the hard and bouncy surface while Haynes and  Kermorgant were hardly forming a partnership.   A shot from Kermorgant was a good one, but it was deflected and fon Williams was able to save.

A shot from Hollands was blocked, but Tranmere launched a counter attack through a good run, Stephens looked like he was running in treacle, the ball was looped over the two centre halves and the home side scored through Brunt.

Tranmere attacked again, but Stephens was able to clear.   Charlton looked a little shell shocked.  Green threatened and stretched the Tranmere defence, but Goodison was able to clear.   Charlton were looking brighter in the last five minutes, but an attack was broken up by the referee getting in the way.

Morrison gave the ball away, but Hamer gathered the volley from Devaney.   A Charlton free kick was unproductive.

Half time: Tranmere 1, Addicks 0

Haynes put the ball across goal, Kermorgant was not able to connect, but Green won a corner.   Hollands headed the ball down, but Williams put it over for another corner.    Haynes nearly got through the defence and could have gone down for a penalty, but won a corner, leading to a second.   Tranmere won a free kick.

Haynes looked as if he had pulled his hamstring and went off.    Bradley Wright-Phillips waited to replace him.  A cross by Wiggins was turned behind for another Charlton corner.   The header from Morrison bounced off the underside of the bar and over the line, the referee pausing before making the decision.

The shorts of Wright-Phillips dropped to his ankles revealing his red underpants.  A Tranmere free kick from McGurk was initially misjudged by Hamer with the wind making it difficult but then he back pedalled and dealt with it well by pushing it on to his own bar.

Once again the Charlton attack was broken up by the referee, setting up a Tranmere attack.   Hamer had to respond promptly when he was the last player defending against Wallace.   Tranmere got their third corner of the game as a result, but the effort from the home side went well wide.

Tranmere threatened, but the shot didn’t go anywhere.   A Green cross was put in as a volley by Hollands but Taylor managed to put it over for a corner which was unproductive.   Hamer had to deal with a shot from long range.    Kermorgant was booked for a foul on Goodison.

Wright-Phillips threatened with a great run, but Taylor dealt with it.   Wiggins made a great run, a decent cross came in, but Kermorgant put it well wide.  The flag went up against Wright-Phillips, saving him from the disgrace of a miss from three yards out.

Fon Williams was shown a yellow card for time wasting.    Four minutes were added on.   A header from Kermorgant went over the bar.

For the fifth time in a row a match between Tranmere and Charlton ended 1-1.

The Massives lost at Chesterfield, but the Blades beat Preston to narrow Charlton's lead at the top of the table.

Friday 17 February 2012

Rovers go all out for win

After going without a victory for nearly two months, Tranmere Rovers are going all out for the three points against Charlton tomorrow:

The last four games between the two sides have ended in 1-1 draws, but according to one Tranmere fan site I read Rovers are playing better than some of the best teams in the division.

Drinking During the Game thinks this a potential banana skin and he could well be right.   Every match, wherever the opposition is in the league, represents a challenge.   However, I think that we might be able to win and am going for a 2-1 victory for the Addicks.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Jackson is injury doubt

It is uncertain whether Johnnie Jackson will be fit to travel to the match at Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.  Some of us were concerned when he was pulled off relatively early on Tuesday.

The physios have been hard at work and he has received treatment yesterday and today, but no final decision has been taken on whether he will travel which does not sound too promising.

We have a strong squad, but the skipper is a key player.

Gloom and mean spirits on The Wirral

After a good start to the season was followed by a slump in performances, Tranmere Rovers have been beset by 'gloom and mean spirits' on The Wirral:

However, ahead of Saturday's clash with Charlton, they have drawn heart from their 1-1 draw at The Valley when they reckon they had the better of the game.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Three Points, But Below Par Performance

After what I and many others thought was a below par performance, Charlton took three points against MK Dons last night with a 2-1 win.   The match turned on two incidents just before the break which gave the Addicks penalties neatly slotted home by skipper Johnnie Jackson.

With the visitors down to ten men, Charlton did not really press for the third goal after the break but seemed content to hang on to their lead.   Their play was often casual, careless and complacent.   Inevitably, MK Dons got one back, but we managed to hang on, in part because of a couple of great saves by Hamer.

Elsewhere, the Massives went down 0-1 at home to Stevenage.   As I anticipated, Sheffield United won at Huddersfield, meaning that they move into the second slot eight points behind us.

The teams changed ends at the beginning of the game.   Dons won an early corner, but it was cleared.  Hamer made a good save.   Solly but in some good work, but the team as a whole seemed rusty after their enforced break and the tempo was rather slow.   Charm merchant Gary MacKenzie received a yellow card which should have served as a warning to him.

Wright-Phillips won a corner for Charlton but it was caught by the keeper.  An effort by Wright-Phillips was caught on the line by the keeper.   The Covered End seemed to think it might have gone over the line, but I am sure that it didn't.

Hollands put in a good run, but he was cynically fouled.  No yellow card was awarded.  Jackson was not far wide with the free kick.

The visitors had a real scoring opportunity, but Hamer dealt with the situation well.   Good work by Green and Wright-Phillips won Charlton a corner.

I was watching play going forward when it became apparent that Scottish charm merchant Mackenzie had Kermorgant in a headlock.   The referee was alerted by the noise from the Covered End and the East Stand lino spotted what had happened.   Mackenzie was shown the red card for the second time this season, although he was none too happy about and appeared to be ready to strike the referee.   Jackson stepped up calmly and slotted the ball home to make it 1-0.

Then Smith brought a Charlton player down in the box (I am not sure who it was and others give different accounts) and a second penalty was awarded, Jackson putting it into the opposite corner of the goal from his previous effort to make it 2-0.

Half time: Addicks 2, Dons 0

Immediately after the break the Dons took off Charlie MacDonald, who was thus unable to score his birthday goal and replaced him by lomg-standing player Kouo Doumbe.

Solly won Charlton a corner.   Stephens received a yellow card for a foul.   The free kick led to a Dons corner which was eventually cleared.

An effort by Wright-Phillips was wide.   A rather dubious free kick for the visitors led to an equally dubious corner.   Jackson was taken off and replaced by Haynes.   An effort by Wright-Phillips was wide.   The visiting fans started a conga in the Jimmy Seed stand, not a very impressive one given their small numbers.

Some of the Addickted were becoming frustrated by the way in which Charlton were trying to play possession football which invariably involves playing the ball backwards rom time to time.   Hamer saved a Dons corner, but then Bowditch broke through and put in a good strike which provided Dons with what turned out to be their consolation goal.

The closing minutes of the game were understandably nervous ones for the Addickted, but we held on, surviving a Dons corner in the three minutes added on.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible did not find it easy to award the Silver Bone as no one player had an outstanding game.  However, despite the fact that he conceded a goal that a top class goalkeeper might have saved, Ben Hamer receives the award.   He made one outstanding fingertip save and at least one other excellent one.  Our two centre backs had a less good game than usual.  Taylor made some agricultural clearances and Morrison wanted too much of the ball at times.   Wiggins was also below his best, conceding one foul throw and, with a few exceptions, not getting forward as effectively as he usually does.   Solly gave his all as always, although sometimes he was caught out of position.   Jackson took the two penalties well, but had to go off quite early, possibly because of a niggle.  Hollands was very active, but he didn't see that much of the ball.   Despite a shot that set up the second penalty, Green had a bit of a 'mare.  Stephens had an effective game.   Wright-Phillips certainly made an effort and contributed a good deal in that respect, but he has still not found his scoring boots, although two opportunistic efforts were not that far wide.  Kermorgant had a few sparkling moments, but did not make his presence felt as much as I would have liked.    Haynes apparently made a big impact at the Bury game with his energy, but he didn't see much of the ball this time.   Pritchard was limited to a cameo: his energy might have been useful earlier in a team that seem to be lacking it.

Rescue cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to charm merchant Alan Smith.

Chris Powell interview

Long interview by Mihir Bose (how have the mighty fallen) in the Sub-Standard with Chris Powell who talks about being racially abused as a player and his baptism of fire as a Charlton manager:

Monday 13 February 2012

Dons to go for win

MK Dons are going all out for a win at The Valley tomorrow night, according to assistant manager John Gorman.  At least that means we won't see the team bus parked in front of the goal, making for an open game and scoring opportunities.

Dons have a full squad to choose from while ex Addick Charlie MacDonald is hoping to celebrate his birthday with a goal.

Read the full preview in the Milton Keynes Citizen here:

Cartoonist Gorman has had a varied managerial career, the early part of which was closely linked with Glenn Hoddle.  Indeed, despite being Scottish, he was for a time assistant manager of England.  I seem to remember some kind of run in with him when he was at Swindon, but have forgotten the details.

Curbs throw his hat in the ring

Alan Curbishley has thrown his hat in the ring after the dismissal of Mick McCarthy from Wolves:

It's some way beyond the M25, but given that Curbs has been out of management since 2008 he is clearly keen to get back in the dugout.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Valentine card

After the postponement of two matches where we might have hoped to gain six points, live football hopefully becomes available to the Addickted again when we face MK Dons on Valentine's Day at The Valley.

It's an interesting evening as Sheffield United go to Huddersfield.   While this Yorkshire derby may appear to have a draw written all over it, my hunch is that the less massive of the two Sheffield teams will sneak a win.   Meanwhile the Massives themselves entertain Stevenage, currently top of the form table.   Despite their setback against the Grecians, Wednesday must be favourites to win, making it more important that we secure all three points against MK Dons.

Perhaps the outcome is not so clear at Hillsborough as Gary Megson thinks that the Owls 'got away with it' against Yeovil at home.   He feels that a lot of his players at the moment are not playing in the right manner, are lacking energy and some think that they are a lot better than they are.   However, the defeat at Exeter was apparently down to the referee.

The Dons are currently 12th in the form table, having drawn four of their last six games.   They have actually won more games away from home and have only been defeated four times on the road.

Despite a playing budget that falls every year they fail to win promotion, the expectations are that the Dons will secure a play off place at the end of the season.   Much of the credit must go to ambitious 30-year old manager Karl Robinson.   The so-called 'Scouse Guardiola' has a good young passing side.

I don't think this is going to be an easy game and I am going for a 1-1 draw.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Charlton retain 7 point lead

Charlton retained a 7 point lead at the top of League 1 despite their match at Chesterfield being postponed.   Sheffield Wednesday lost 2-1 at Exeter, the Grecians scoring the winning goal against the Massives in the 83rd minute.   Sheffield United beat Wycombe 3-0.

Game off

As expected today's game at Chesterfield has been called off because of a frozen pitch.   Those on the coaches had already set off and have had to turn back.   The club will have to meet the bill for an overnight stay for players and staff at a hotel near Nottingham.

Leamington's game against Swindon Supermarine has also been called off so I may be reduced to watching egg chasing this afternoon.   At least I know that tomorrow evening's clash with the Sheffield Steelers at the Skydome will be on, a frozen rink being an advantage.

Friday 10 February 2012

Danny Green interview

Danny Green is featured in this BBC London and South-East interview:

Not much news from Chesterfield, let's hope that the weather doesn't scupper this fixture.  A local fan site is forecasting a 'handsome win' for Charlton.   Reading results off the table is always risky, but hopefully we can defeat the Spireites.

The pitch has passed its inital lunchtime inspection but there will be a further inspection by the match referee tomorrow afternoon:,,10435~2606217,00.html

Chris Powell has been named npower League 1 manager of the month while Johnnie Jackson gets the player of the month accolade.

The pitch will be covered, but freezing temperatures are forecast for the Midlands overnight.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Enar Jaager to sign

Recently on trial with Rangers, full back Enar Jaager is poised to sign for Charlton, unconfirmed reports are claiming.  He is currently a free agent.

If he did I think that he would be our first Estonian player.   However, we are well supplied with full backs.

The 27-year old has been capped 85 times for Estonia.  He has played in Russia, Norway and Italy as well as in his home country, although his spell in Italy was not successful.   He turned down an offer to play for the New York Red Bulls in the MSL.

Saturday 4 February 2012

Game off

The temperature overnight in The Valley was not dissimilar to that here in Montréal at -6 degrees C.  The Stanford le Hope based referee was asked to make an early pitch inspection and the game was called off, saving long distance fans from starting out.

The warm heating system no longer works and the company involved went bust.  A well informed source stated, 'We should have installed underosoil heating when we were in the Premier League.   The cost was peanuts to us, but the board chose what turned out to be a temporary fix and we have paid the price since.  Running costs would still be high, but in terms of gate receipts we will have lost tens of thousands if the game goes to midweek.'

Incredibly, one moaner has argued that Bradley Wright-Phillips should not have been dropped on Tuesday as Chris Powell should have foreseen that the game would be called off.   Clearly weather forecasting should now be added to his skill set.

From a narrowly selfish point of view it means I will now be able to go to the rescheduled game.  I wouldn't have even been able to listen here as I would have been working.

Friday 3 February 2012

Go away snow

Seems that it's pretty cold round The Valley tonight, at least -4 deg C. which is about the same as here in Montréal.   Snow and freezing conditions can be costly for clubs and the later a match is called off the more costs that cannot be recouped while many fans may have already set off.   I know that some Addickted are coming from the north-west for the Rochdale game.

Once we used to play on packed snow as the picture from The Valley accompanying this article shows:

Game on

It looks as if any snow will not arrive in SE7 until Saturday night so it should be game on against Rochdale tomorrow.  It's going to be cold, but not as cold as Montréal where I will be where the weekend forecast is for -8 to -9 degrees centigrade.

It was something of a stuttering performance against Bury on Tuesday with Leon Clarke disappointing, but hopefully Bradley Wright-Phillips will return tomorrow and end his goal drought.   Our record at home against Rochdale has been a good one and I am going for a 3-1 win.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

A Rochdale fan writes

On paper Saturday's fixture against Rochdale should be easier than last night's contest with Bury, but then playing the Shakers should not have been such a test as we made it through a below par performance.

A Rochdale fan previews Saturday's game:

It has been an awful season. We had got used to success. Under Keith Hill we made the play-offs twice, went to Wembley, won automatic promotion, then equalled our best ever league place in our first season back in league one. Hill departed at the end of last season, taking Matty Done and Scott Wiseman with him , Craig Dawson, as expected, moved to West Brom and Chris O’Grady signed for Sheffield Wednesday.

The decision to appoint Man City youth coach Steve Eyre was a mistake, he had no knowledge of football at this level and his 21 games in charge produced just four wins, an inability to hold the ball in attack and an appalling goals against record. We were heading for relegation and a very low points total. Despite some promising signs, caretaker manager Chris Beech failed to halt the slide, picking up just three draws from his six games in charge.

Then, we appointed John Coleman, a seasoned campaigner who had been in charge at Accrington Stanley for twelve years. He has a difficult job on his plate but got off to a great start with a 3-0 derby day win over Bury last week, a more attacking approach, some tactical nous and already has made some good signings, with Michael Symes and Kevin Long plugging some definite gaps in the squad.

With 18 games to go and with a new found belief as a result of Coleman’s appointment, we are hoping there is enough time to make a fist of staying in the division. The game at Charlton is going to be very difficult. Anything at all will be a bonus. Bury took a point off you on Tuesday so who knows?  From what I have seen though, I am very impressed by Powell’s managership and Charlton are nailed on certainties for the title.