Sunday, September 30, 2007

Feeling a Little Sky Blue

Coventry City 1 Charlton Athletic 1

There isn't much I can add to other reports from those who attended the Ricoh (or Rioch as NYA calls it!) Arena; suffice to say that a draw, after leading for over an hour, was less then us Addickted hoped for.

Lloyd Sam (left) scored his first league goal for Charlton after just fifteen minutes of the match, latching on to a good pass from Danny Mills, and cooly scoring into the far corner of the net.

Thereafter, a blatant penalty went by, possibly due to the referee not wanting to upset the home locals; there can be no other explanation for the obvious taking out of Luke Varney, as he bore down on goal, going unpunished. It had all looked rosy for the visiting team, but eventually, some of the defensive errors that kept being handed to Coventry came back to haunt Charlton. In the first half, the first of several slips by Bougherra allowed Mifsud to hit the post, and later, when the pressure really started to tell just five minutes from time, another Boogie slip allowed the ball to ricochet off Chris Powell, and this time Mifsud buried the offering.

In injury time, Chris Iwelumo missed a great chance to win the game; Andy Reid hung up a cross from the left, and big Chris dived to meet it perfectly. Sadly, it went just wide, with the keeper a mere spectator. The big man had a good game, so it was a shame that he didn't produce the winner we hoped for.

Overall, playing with the league eleven that has started the last three games, the defence looked OK, apart from Boogie's mistakes, but it does tend to put pressure on itself through poor distribution. This may seem OK when Charlton are dangerous on the break, but there is a difference to being put under constant pressure by a Premiership team (for instance) and allowing yourself to be pinned back unnecessarily as Charlton seem to have done a few times this season. The midfield controlled the game for all the first half and some of the second, but struggles to join defence and attack when the game is stretched. Up front, Iwelumo won much ball in the air, and Varney got on the end of many flicks. McLeod, who replaced a tiring Varney twenty minutes from the end, also contributed but over-ran his one chance when almost through on goal.

In a long season, this could become a game where we dropped two points, or won one - it's too early to say yet. With West Brom winning today (and scoring at will it seems), Charlton's draw sees them slip to third when five minutes more solid defending would have seem them as league leaders - and that's what hurts the most.

There is plenty of time to hit the heights this season though, and when we see where we are in the table when we know, as does Pards, that we are not yet playing all that well, I don't believe that we have too much to worry about.

On Tuesday, we travel to Hull; whereas Coventry had a great midweek cup win, Hull got thumped in the same competition by Chelsea. Hull did bounce back this weekend with a 3-1 victory over poor travellers Ipswich, and this now sets up another tough fixture for the Addicks. A win prolongs the unbeaten league stretch, but a draw or defeat would bring a run of three games without a win.

Hopefully, no injuries came out of the Ricoh stalemate, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of changes by Mr Tinkerman Alan Pardew as he tries to find the right formula for winning maximum points on the road - it could well be a switch back to 4-5-1 on Tuesday evening...

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It has been suggested that the referee was unsighted. Coventry also had a penalty appeal rejected.
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