Sunday, November 25, 2007

Digging Deep Into Stormy Waters

Preston North End 0 Charlton Athletic 2

It all came right in the end, for both Charlton and me as the 53-year wait for a win at Deepdale was laid to rest by goals late in each half.

At half time, with Charlton having just taken the lead through Zheng Zhi's magnificent left foot strike from the edge of the area, remarks were passed in the gents loo about how the Addicks don't do much until that additional time board goes up.

The second half was much the same, with Luke Varney making sure of the points deep into the stoppage time at the end of the match.

My trip up to Lancashire had been unremarkable, except my connecting train from Preston to Blackpool was cancelled; no problem, another turned up fifteen minutes later. The hotel was fine, but the room cold and you could hear the wind howling all night.

Saturday morning was cloudy, wet, and very windy.

Waves were crashing over the sea wall, and giving the piers a terrible pounding.

The Tower was closed due to the high winds, and the Pleasure Beach couldn't run the huge big dipper for the same reason; Blackpool was pretty much closed! I was genuinely worried that the evening game in Preston may be cancelled too!

I caught the train across and jumped a cab to the ground, arriving around 4.45. I picked up my ticket refund voucher (well done again Ben!) which went quite smoothly, and inside, found about 500 other Addicks had made the trip.

Pards picked an unchanged side unsurprisingly.

The game itself has been covered in other blogs and most Addicks were either there or saw it on TV.

I thought Jerome Thomas had a great game, and caused huge problems for Preston all night. Even in the second half, when Preston doubled up on him, he created space for others. Nicky Weaver made one fantastic save (I'd love to see that on it on YouTube anyone?), and a couple of other good ones. Mills and Basey did OK, especially with a lot of long crosses going to the back post. Fortune and Sodje also looked solid.

In midfield, Reid had good moments and bad; Semedo was good in what he does best, and Lloyd Sam held the ball brilliantly when necessary and was unlucky with his shooting opportunities.

I thought ZiZi had a quiet (or even poor) game prior to the goal, but his class shone through in the second half when he played slightly deeper. It was a class goal too...

Big Chris tried hard all game, and the subs also had varying cameos; it was good to see Holland back (even if he was a little off the pace initially) and Varney's confidence should be boosted by the goal.

A fine win in the end, and well worth the long walk back to the station, and even longer train ride home today. I'll just have to leave the trip up the Tower and flying round on the Big Dipper until we play at Bloomfield Road in February.

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What did you think of the ground Pedro
Not a bad ground CA.

Three complete sides with stands that reminded me of Blackburn (but without the two-tier effect). The steel work for the fourth stand is lying on the ground so I guess the plans are for the work to be handled when they can afford it; hopefully they bought it when the price was low...

The concourses seemed small, but plenty of TV's showing PNE.TV and all the 3pm kick off latest scores scrolling through was a good idea.

All told - not bad and the atmosphere was OK too.
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