Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Raising the Bar

Charlton Athletic 2 Norwich City 0

For the first twenty-five minutes, Charlton looked like world-beaters; you remember when we used to play Arsenal in their pomp? You know, Terry Henry and all that ripping us to shreds, going two up after five minutes and then coasting the rest of the match…well, it was like that for the first quarter of the game, except we didn’t score like Arsenal did!

The passing was great; Reid, Zhi, Semedo, and Sam were knocking it around between them, making the Canaries look second-rate, moving the ball forward, but lacking in the final ball, or a decent cross, or trying just a little too hard for that killer ball. Any potential Norwich attacks were quickly snuffled out as Semedo and Zhi dominated the midfield areas. Charlton hit the bar twice in this period – the first a looping header from Iwelumo that bounced down the wrong side of the line, and was desperately cleared away for a corner (left), and then a deflected free kick from Reid was also headed onto the top of the crossbar by a defender.

Then it all changed. Without the early goal, the crowd became quiet, and the away support more vociferous. Bouyed, the away team started to come at Charlton, and it was only a great save from Weaver that kept the scores level. Half time came, and it was the home side who were probably the more happy to hear the whistle.

Alan Pardew chose to keep the same eleven on the pitch for the second half, and once more Charlton started to dominate, though not in quite the fashion of the early period. No clear strikes on goal came though; Reid curled another free kick onto the top of the bar, and Zhi headed at the keeper. Weaver was pretty much a spectator except for kicking the ball away from back passes.

The recalled Bougherra and Fortune did an excellent job in snuffing out the Norwich threat, and Darren Huckerby ended up a frustrated man after failing to get any change out of Mills. Luke Varney ran his heart out, and it was great t have a channel runner (in the Garry Nelson mould) back in the team. Iwelumo though struggled to get any good ball to him though, but some of that may have been the number of times he was being fouled. The referee (Mr Singh) actually had an excellent first 75 minutes or so, often allowing play to continue either to an advantage or then bringing the ball back for a free kick if no advantage resulted.

Sadly for the ref, the game became fractious as both sides came under increasing pressure; Charlton to score, and Norwich to hold out. Several times shouts went up for fouls in and around the box when Iwelumo, Varney, and later McLeod (who replaced Varney) challenged for the ball, but all appeals were waived away.

With just five minutes left, McLeod burst into the box, and was knocked to the ground. The whistle went but the linesmen appeared to be signalling a corner kick. After a brief discussion with Mr Singh, a penalty was awarded, and Andy Reid stroked it into the bottom corner for a one-nil lead.

A couple of minutes later, and McLeod controlled the ball on the left wing; he then broke between two covering defenders and was then again brought down from behind. Once more, a penalty was awarded and Reid chose the same side but with more power and higher.
Danny Mills regular match day fued did boil over right at the end, soon after he was thought to have elbowed Huckerby, Dion Dublin chose to hack him down in a vicious fashion from behind chasing an aimless ball out toward the corner flag; Mr Singh had no hesitation in sending Dublin off for an awful foul.

That was pretty much it, though we did have a shout for a third penalty even later!

Three points takes Charlton up to third in the table, and a win on Saturday against Leicester could improve that placing yet again.

It was a good, solid performance, and the side really is starting to settle down and take shape. My man-of-the match was Lloyd Sam, who ran at the defence at every opportunity and put over some good crosses, but honourable mentions should go to the impeccable Bougherra, solid Semedo, hard-working Zhi, and classy Reid.

Onwards and upwards!

Labels: , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Enter your email address below to subscribe to Charlton Athletic Online!

powered by Bloglet
Sports Business Directory - BTS Local
Custom Search