Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Premiership? You're Having a Laugh!

Charlton Athletic 1 Plymouth Argyle 2

This chant wasn't being sung about either of the teams, though neither would look very good in the top tier at the moment, but it was aimed at the referee - Rob Styles.

Mr Styles completely ruined this match as a spectacle, starting with his stupid booking of Svetislav Todorov, and ending with his winding up of Danny Mills that earned him a yellow card too. In between, eight other players (four from each side) saw the dreaded yellow card lifted from Styles breast pocket and waived high above their heads.

The problem with Styles is consistency; he books one player for kicking the ball away, but lets others do the same and go unpunished. One player back-chats him and gets booked immediately (McLeod), while others (Andy Reid waving his arms around several times for instance) were allowed to show obvious and consistent dissent until eventually they end up in the book too. His style (sic) is to loudly blow the whistle and attract as much attention toward him as he can at every stage of the game. He is just very annoying and not fit to referee in the Championship let alone the Premiership!

Is this all bleating as Charlton lost - I think not. Ask any Plymouth fan, and they will also say that Styles was awful - and they won!

In fairness, he wasn't helped by some of the things that Charlton players and staff did; if Alan Pardew had been a player, he would have been in the book too after kicking the ball away from a Plymouth player who tried to retrieve it for a throw. Pardew's obvious assertion that he was kicking it toward another Argyle player was twaddle! Mills was very wound up and he could have been in trouble for telling the linesman loudly that "the referreeing is a joke", well before he was booked (for running the ball up behind a slow retreating visiting player!).

He really did spoil the game...

And Charlton's play didn't really make the fans happy either! A weak opening goal conceded after a tame cross took a deflection just five minutes in, and what turned out to be the winner after an atrocious midfield pass from Izale McLeod and some more kamikaze defending. Iwelumo missed two chances and took some stick - a first half scuffed shot after being beautifully set up my Reid, and a flicked header just wide in the early stages of the second half. Varney was embarassingly inept out wide right, and McLeod totally lacking in confidence. Add to that the fact that the Charlton central defence was so pourous in the first half that the pitch was in danger of becoming waterlogged! Even the Charlton equalising goal after ten minutes was lucky; Mills left foot shot from outside the area went through a crowd of players, was pushed onto the post and then rebounded in off the back of the goalkeepers head!

Plus points could go to Reid who kept urging the team forward; Thomas who was at least direct when on as sub for the last twenty five minutes; and the full backs coped well with both attacking and defensive duties. Sadly Todorov went off injured after 30 minutes, and he looks like he could be out for a few weeks.

This was pretty depressing from the Addicks, and even the crowd became dissillusioned for the first time this year, with Sodje, Varney, Iwelumo, and McLeod all getting venomous stick from sections of the fans.

Saturday now brings a must win situation; Charlton are now down to sixth place in the table after around a quarter of the season. The form reversal needs to be stopped quickly and QPR on TV on Saturday afternoon is a good chance to do so. Whether the team that has consistenly started recent games is on show again is unlikely, as it is now time for Pardew to whip the players into shape and bring a few Champioship home truths into play.

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