Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Longest Game

Hull City 1 Charlton Athletic 2

No quiet Tuesday night game this one! With a player from each side dismissed just before half-time, the referee close to losing control and not wanting to end the game, plus the crowd going mad, Charlton did well to win by two goals to one.

Alan Pardew picked the same League eleven that he has for the previous three games, obviously hoping that defensive mistakes would be a thing of the past, and the team would revert to winning ways. The only change from Saturday’s squad came on the bench, where Jerome Thomas was given a seat in place of Matt Holland; JT has, it seems, been forgiven for his poor attitude that saw him dropped for several games.

Hull started with the ancient front line pairing of Pedersen and Windass, but two games in a week was too much for Jay-Jay Okocha, and he was conspicuously absent. In his place came ex-Addick Bryan Hughes.

It was fairly quiet start to the game, with few chances, and Charlton’s front line being caught offside all too often. Weaver had to make a couple of decent saves and later, Bougherra was booked for a foul.

Charlton’s first goal came in the 40th minute when Reid whipped in across and Boaz Myhil, the Hull keeper, punched the ball into one of three onrushing Charlton forwards. The ball fell for Luke Varney (top) to stroke home his second goal for the Addicks.

This set up the next highlight, if it can be called that, with the crowd vexed, and Hull deciding to dish out some Northern hospitality and kick anything that moved. Ashbee clattered into Lloyd Sam, who fell on the City player. Thereafter all hell broke loose with Sam and Ashbee trading blows, and almost all the rest of both teams, plus some of the management getting involved in breaking up the melee. The referee didn’t gain control very quickly, but once he had, he sent off both the players involved in the original incident.

The second half was mostly Hull pressure, then a great Danny Mills drive hit the bar after an hour or so, but bounced to safety. It was one of the few chances during this part of the game. Hull used all their subs in an effort to claw them selves back into the game, or possibly so that the veterans had something left for Saturday? Hull’s Marney and Windass were booked for whingeing, and Andy Reid had a shot saved.

Chris Powell then got a whack on the head from a Hughes free kick and needed treatment for possible concussion; he stayed on the pitch though but with a left back shortage, let’s hope he is fit enough to start again on Saturday.

The team did well in trying to run the clock down, seemingly settling for a 1-0 win. Then in the last minute, with Hull pushing forward, Zheng Zhi was found by Reid, drew the defence, and slipped the ball to Chris Iwelumo who finished easily to make it two-nil to the Addicks. The referee indicated five extra minutes of play, and Hull continued to press, but Weaver was a match for anything they threw at him initially. Sodje and Thomas came on to waste some of the added on time, with Varney and Zhi being removed. Then, with still two minutes of additional time to play, Hull scored when a Hughes corner was headed home by substitute McPhee.

This should have set up an uncomfortable last 90 seconds but the referee played well over six minutes more than planned; Charlton hung on (just), and even had time to send on Izale McLeod for Semedo. The referee played over 14 minutes additional time in total (including five in the first half), so the players may feel that they have undertaken extra time as the reserve did last week!

This result leaves Charlton in second place in the table, at least until West Brom play tomorrow night.

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