Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bow-n Goal helps Charlton

Charlton Athletic 3
Newcastle United 1

Charlton cruised to three more Premiership points, after completely outplaying Newcastle on Sunday afternoon. The win takes them up above the Geordies to eleventh place in the table.

Surprisingly, Alan Curbishley made only one change to the team that drew with Middlesboro on Thursday night - bringing in the fit-again Marcus Bent in place of head-injury victim Shaun Bartlett. The side actually showed little sign of fatigue, whereas Newcastle, who had been beaten by Chelsea the night previous to Charlton's game, looked jaded throughout.

This was Scott Parker's first game back at The Valley since January 2004, prior to his acrimonious transfer to Chelasea. His every touch was boo-ed by the home crowd, and the chant of "There's only one greedy Bastard" rang out at regular intervals. By the end of the game, he was being asked to remember the score, as Charlton led comfortably.

A tight opening 25 minutes began the match, when Jerome Thomas picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Newcastle penalty area, jinked inside a tackle, and was then brought down. Referee Mike Halsey (and not Rob Styles as the blokes beind me presumed through their drunken haze...) had no hesitation in giving Charlton only their second Premiership penalty in two seasons. Darren Bent took his tally of goals to twenty for the season by stroking home the spot kick (top and left). Bent had earlier had a great chance to score after being fed by a great Kishishev through-ball, but Given had saved the left foot shot. Newcastle's only early chance fell to Solano, who shot wide when well placed.

Newcastle levelled ten minutes later when Parker picked up the loose ball thirty yards out and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of Thomas Myrhe's net. Parker then ran the length of the pitch to the celebrating Geordie fans, holding his club badge proudly, followed by half his team-mates. This was a mistake...

Within a minute, Charlton had a free kick on the half way line. Perry knocked it forward and Hreidersson got in a free header clear of the puffed out Newcastle players. Ramage then tried to clear but proceeded in merely crashing the ball into a still retreating Lee Bowyer, and the ball cannoned into the corner of the net. Hughes, the nearest Charlton player, celebrated but had absolutely no involvement in the goal!

Jerome Thomas then miss-kicked when well placed, and Charlton finished the half the better team with a deserved lead.

Keiron Dyer came on for Solano at half time, and Newcastle looked to be playing a more adventurous formation, but soon Ameobi had been dragged back into left midfield and any potential 4-3-3 formation threat disappeared.

Carr was booked, as was Perry, for fouls, but Halsey had a reasonable game altogether compared to some he has reffed at The Valley recently.

Marcus Bent missed a great chance when played in, but he took too long to settle - possibly looking across to see if he was offside? - before he dragged his shot wide.

Rommedahl came on for the tiring Thomas, and Bothroyd replaced an exhausted Marcus Bent during the last ten minutes. The pair of subs combined in the last minute to score another goal, when Rommedahl ran almost unchallenged from the half-way line before crossing left footed for Bothroyd to head home at the near post. It was Bothroyd's fifth goal of the season, and the first that wasn't the result of a free kick played to him. He has still only scored at one end of the Valley though!

Overall, Charlton looked the fitter team, and wanted the result more. Newcastle had no pace at all, and even Keiron Dyer found it hard to break free of Charlton's organised defence.

My man of the match award was a tough choice - Myrhe was solid all day; the defence played very well, as did the whole midfield. Up front, both Bent's worked hard and tried their best. My MOTM though has to go to Hermann Hreidersson, who had a terrific game, challenging for every tackle and header, and even getting into a confrontation with Given when up for a corner which Halsey had to have words about.

This result takes Charlton up two places in the table, and if we can have a reasonable run in over the next six weeks, especially away from home, a top half finish is well within the Addicks grasp.

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