Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another Point made

Charlton Athletic 1 Everton 1

It's a start, anyway. A point gained from a tough, on paper, game versus Everton. But it could have been so much more.

Les Reed's first home team selection saw Djimi Traore return to defence after injury; Hermann Hreidersson move inside to centre back; Amady Faye return to midfield after suspension; and Darren Ambrose play wide left instead of the injured Jerome Thomas.

Charlton started poorly, with no confidence, and against a seemingly rampant Everton team looking dangerous with every attack. But chances were missed, and Charlton hung on. Andy Reid played in Dennis Rommedahl and it took a good save from Howard to prevent the hosts going in front. Ambrose then shot over from 25 yards, and Darren Bent came close to latching onto the ball close to goal in a good position. The defence got better, but much passing was negative, poor, or sometimes desperate.

Half time came, and it seems that the new Head Coach did his bit, as Charlton were much better after the interval. It was against the play that Everton therefore took the lead, when Hreidersson deflected in an Arteta free kick that had been flicked on to his thigh. Would this prove to be another tough break for Charlton or had the new regime brought in some backbone?

All of a sudden, Reid started to pull the strings in midfield (he is great when he starts doing that - if only he could for 90 minutes rather than 20 or so...) and Rommedahl was flying down the wing, but with little end product.

Another attack was foiled, but Valente dwelt on the ball allowing sub Marcus Bent (on for Ambrose) to challenge, and Andy Reid fired the loose ball into the bottom corner. This, for a split second, seemed to stun the whole Valley - Charlton had scored! Mayhem ensued...

Back on terms, Charlton swept forward in waves. Everton just couldn't hold the ball and became increasingly inept and there looked to be just one winner as the game entered the last few minutes.

Unfortunately, though, when the chance presented intself, it was Faye who missed the free header from six yards that would have won the three points.

Charlton's general play was quite good after half time; the plan seemed to be to get the ball to Rommedahl (left) at every opportunity, as he is so quick and potentially dangerous. He does frustrate though. Certainly in the first half, sections of the crowd became increasingly frustrated and words were exchanged between fans over his merits. One guy, who has been in the same seat at The Valley for years got fed up after our Danish winger was once again tackled by Valente but failed to track back in an effort to win the ball. He made his feelings known, but was asked by others to be quiet (or similar). There followed a nice exchange where the guys at the front were asked if the were Rommedahl's relatives which I thought was quite funny, as if nobody else would like him! Dennis did have chances in the game, cutting inside in the first half before dragging his left foot shot wide, then flashing a volley across goal (for a throw in!) late in the game, then replicating his early chance before screwing wide again. If only he could get his first Valley goal we might see him plunder plenty more...

I do feel that he is one of Charlton's most potent weapons, and if Reid gives him the ball earlier (as per the second half), then he can cause major problems for the opposition. But he is so obviously down on confidence, and the barbed comments from the crowd don't always help, that our coaches really do need to get to work and get him firing his shots on target. His goal return is, well, poor. One effort was appreciated, and if he did that on an increasing basis he would be more respected - Again he was tackled by Valente, but he chased the ball between passers before eventually blocking the clearance for a throw in. If he noticed the appreciation of that, maybe he would do this sort of thing more often!

So we got a point; we are level with Sheffield United now, but still bottom on goal difference, and we meet them next weekend. A real six-pointer then, and I quite fancy us to break the year old away game without a win streak, hopefully.

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