Thursday, February 01, 2007

One 'El of a Free Kick!

Bolton Wanderers 1
Charlton Athletic 1

Sometimes our heroes just make you proud...

The rubbish served up early on this season is fast becoming a poor memory, or a part of a nightmare. Last night, in a game few expected Charlton to get anything from, we saw the spirit that Addicks teams used to possess.

It didn't look too good early on - Pederson being given space to glance a header past Carson and in at the far post after just five minutes. But Talal El Karkouri soon blasted Charlton level with a bombshell of a free kick. So fierce was the strike, from 25 yards, that Jasskalainen could only glance it into the net off his shoulder.

The usual Bolton seige ensued for most of the rest of the game, but Charlton stood firm. A couple of penalty appeals were turned away, first after Faye tripped Nolan, then when Karkouri's arm hit a rolling ball as he fell, but the ref, in only his second Premiership game, did Charlton a favour on both occasions.

Charlton did have chances; Jerome Thomas missed his shot, then broke free twice. First his shot was well saved then he was caught dallying; with luck, all three points could have been won by left-wing Charlie.

The heroes though were the midfield, for once, and defence. Holland and Faye harried and blocked everything, and Hreidersson, Karkouri, and Thatcher did well too. Sankofa also deserves special praise, as I thought he might have been a weak link in a small-ish back line. He kept his side of the pitch well marshalled though, and is settling into the right back slot well (in much the same way Darren Pitcher did all those years ago...).

So four points from two tough away games brings Charlton level on points with West Ham, and just a couple behind fourth from bottom Wigan. We shouldn't expect anything from our next two matches (against the top two in the land), but if those other teams are still close come the end of February, a great turnaround could really be on the cards when all seemed lost just weeks ago.

After playing the two giants, our season will be determined by the three of the following four games, any thing less than six points will be disaster (West Ham, Watford and Wigan - not to mention Newcastle - 3 of which are at home), suddenly our destiny is in our own hands
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