Friday, February 08, 2008

Meat and Two Reg!

Charlton Athletic 2 Losers 0

Oh, that was sweet. A very one-sided game, with Nicky Weaver a spectator for almost the whole match, and the points going where they belonged thanks to two second-half Luke Varney goals.

Varney (left) had a fantastic game and really is bang in form at present. He was unlucky to hit the post in the first half, where his trade mark cut in from the left wing left yet more defenders in his wake, but sadly he couldn't beat the keeper at the near post and the ball thudded back into play.

His first goal came on the hour mark after a half way line free kick from Matt Holland was flicked on by Andy Gray and Varney steered it home from ten yards.

Five minutes from time, Varney repeated his trick of cutting in from wide left, and this time blasted a right footed shot at the far post; the fact that it deflected in off a defender takes nothing away - it was Varney's goal!

Nor was Varney the only Addicks player to go close to scoring.

In the first half a Varney cross was met by a powerful Zheng Zhi shot from eight yards that unluckily hit the keeper. Earlier, Greg Halford showed superb skill to turn his marker on the edge of the box, but shot across goal and narrowly wide.

Halford (left) had a very good game at right back in place of the dropped Moutaouakil, and looked absolutely at home. His support play was excellent in the first half, and he was always trying to set Lloyd Sam, ZiZi, or Varney free through the channels. He also has an enormous long throw which Charlton failed to harness in this match, but will in forthcoming games I expect. The throw also relieved a lot of pressure when used from defensive positions.

The defence did an admirable job; Paddy McCarthy and Madjid Bougherra didn't win much first phase ball, but with the help of the midfield and full backs always cleaned up anything that needed to be afterwards. A mention too for Kelly Youga who had another fantastic game; always looking to get forward, his defensive play was at it's peak in this match, and he made one very important shot saving tackle early in the second half when the scores were still level.
Holland, as always, was inspirational, running and running all game long, and covering so much ground, and once more he was well supported by ZiZi (suffering no obvious jet lag ill-effects thankfully).
The only down side was the lack of performance from Darren Ambrose, who was anonymous in the first half and eventually withdrawn with ten minutes left. Yet again, some of his corner taking, passing and dithering left a lot to be desired!
That just leaves Sam and Andy Gray from the starting eleven, who both toiled manfully without much space. Both nearly scored, Sam shooting just over and Gary having a good effort saved near the end.
Substitutes Jose Semedo and Chris Iwelumo came on to shore things up during the last few minutes, and big Chris almost made a goal with one late towering header.
The performances of the two full backs were very good, but man of the match has to go to Luke Varney, who got up off the floor when felled by an awful over the top lunge to bury the opposition. I just hope he is fit for next Tuesdays game!

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You summed it up nicely Pedro45, but I felt that the game almost became an anti-climax as we were so much better than them. After all the excitement leading up to the fixture, despite the good atmosphere Palace just didn't deliver. They weren't agressive and they didn't time waste, but they were just second best in every department. Shame really, but I would have no fear of meeting them in the play offs.
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