Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pointing the way ahead...

Charlton Athletic 0
Watford 0

One point is better than none, especially when you have lost the last five matches, but ultimately, the Addickted will be disappointed not to have won this match.

Dowie did what many fans had asked, and dropped both of the players who had not been performing in recent matches - Hughes and Hasselbaink - and switched to a 4-5-1 formation. Initially, this seemed to work, and early chances for Rommedahl, Thomas, and Darren Bent went begging.

Midway through the half, Watford applied some pressure through their long ball/long throw in tactics, but Charlton survived without too many worries. The half ended with Charlton back on top and again missing goalscoring opportunities as Foster saved well twice from Reid.

The second half was similar to the first, with Charlton mainly in control, but with Watford having a good period of pressure midway through. We all saw the "Misses Robinson" headline last week after the England game; this week, the present served up by the excellent Ashley Young should have led to Darius Henderson scoring from ten yards, but all I can say is "Misses Henderson presents"!

Charlton had two good penalty claims - one for an awarded handball that was clearly inside the area, but was given on the edge, and a better shout in the second half when Faye was bundled over when poised to shoot. When you are at the bottom, you get no luck - I think Lennie Lawrence said that...and it is still true!

New refereee Mason did OK when awarding fouls, but was let down by a worryingly inaccurate east stand linesman, and his inability to let the game carry on quickly after the award of a foul. Several times he stopped Charlton taking free kicks immediately, when they tried, as two yards was too far away from the exact place of infringement...

Ultimately Charlton played fairly well, but with no luck. Carson wasn't extended, though he was under pressure from crosses, especially in the second half. Young and Hreidersson did OK at full back, but their final ball is lacking. Diawara was very good again, and reminds me a little of Richard Rufus - pace, timing, unflurried. El Karkouri did OK, but I wish he wasn't given free kick duties, as these usually end up as goal kicks! The revamped five man midfield showed great improvement from a few weeks back. Faye handled most things coming through the middle, and even ventured forwards more often than we have seen in the past. Holland ran all game and even picked up a booking for a "professional" foul when Watford broke - it was his best game of the season by far. Reid was very good too, filling the gap behind Darren Bent, and feeding the wingers well; I did wish he would play an earlier ball to Bent though, who made many runs that were wasted as Reid dallied with his delivery. Rommedahl continued his good form, and maybe could have scored very early on if he had shot first time instead of cutting inside. Thomas also did well before running out of steam soon after half time (why did Dowie waste another twenty minutes before subbing him?). Hasselbaink tried hard after coming on for Thomas, but had no luck.

A better home effort, but no win; Bolton on Wednesday now becomes another big game for the club, as defeat there, and at St James Park on Saturday, would leave Dowie in a tenuous position in my opinion. The options of a replacement should not yet be considered, but you have to question how long the board will go before making the decision to either sink or swim with Dowie, or get a new coach who might make a difference.

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