Sunday, November 09, 2008

Back to the Drawing, Board

Plymouth Argyle 2 Charlton Athletic 2

So near, yet so far. Another away draw that so nearly could have been three points yet wasn’t. Charlton took the lead deep into injury time at the end of the game, yet failed to hang on to the advantage as Mpenza volleyed home for Plymouth with the last kick of the match.

I’ll try to concentrate on positives from this game, though one or two of the negatives are still very apparent, and still need dealing with (not least, the manager!).

The game was a bit of a first for me; no Radio Kent commentary (despite what the official website said…) due to lack of funds meant I had to follow the game via the in-game text available from the Plymouth website (which was so much more detailed and better than the Charlton version by the way). I had tried to get on to the online audio commentary, but as with many others, could not log in. In addition to the text updates, I had the pleasure of reading the comments of those on Charlton Life who could listen to commentary, then post what was happening, and a fantastic job they did too!

Charlton made five changes as tinkerman Pardew reverted to old heads in this match. Matt Holland, Linvoy Primus and Hameur Bouazza all started, as did Kelly Youga and Jose Semedo. Out went Wright, Basey, Sam, Ambrose, and Crainie. Luke Varney played wide right, in a 4-5-1 formation, with both wide-men and the bolstered midfield supporting Andy Gray when they could.

Holland went close a couple of times in the first half, and brought decent saves out of the Plymouth ‘keeper. But then, as seems to always happen, Plymouth scored with their first effort on target – a header from a corner where the marking was terrible. Pardew has helped Varney’s deteriorating confidence by blaming him for slipping, though why he would be marking the tallest opposition player I’m not sure?

At half time, it seemed to be same old same old; lots of possession, and intent, but ultimately no return.

The second half was similar, with Charlton battling away, yet getting not very far. Varney was hauled off for Sam, and Todorov came on for Holland in an effort to implant more attacking options. Then Semedo was carried off with Dickson coming on, so Gray had to move back into midfield.

Hudson brought another good save out of their ‘keeper, and Weaver was busy too.

Finally, Charlton found some return, when Youga headed home a Bailey corner with just four minutes to go.

Reading this on Charlton Life was quite thrilling, as more and more comments came in exulting the scorer (many after slagging him off repeatedly earlier it should be noted as he seemed to be the main culprit for the lack of marking at the first goal, contrary to what Pardew subsequently said…). Then, as the game moved into injury time, and all Addicks fans hoped for a final whistle, the mention of a penalty came, but who too? Turning to Sky Sports News at this point, it was to see that we had taken the lead through Andy Gray (left). Skipper Hudson (who by all accounts had a very solid game) had been tugged back at a free kick, and the referee had made a bold decision to award the away team what looked like a match winning penalty.

As I returned to my computer, it was to see a score flash of 2-2; great I thought, two minutes into injury time and we still cannot hang on for a win!

The final goal was once more was the result of a set piece, with a free kick headed up and volleyed in (very well it should be added) from the edge of the area.

I suppose if I had been happy with 1-1 then I should have been happy with the same point from 2-2, but there is that underlying sense of frustration that being a Charlton fan gives way too often!

Anyway, reports suggest that the team did much better this week, and that there was at least (and at last) some cohesion with the way they played. The problems with playing some members of the team that were either not contributing (Ambrose) or not strong enough (Wright), or not good enough in certain positions (Basey and Crainie) seems to have been dealt with, and hopefully the team can now settle down and not be tinkered with (except in a positive way) over coming weeks. That may be compromised by Semedo’s injury, but if the club is to bring in players on loan then that is one position that can be dealt with.

Then the next thing is to deal with Pardew – he’s not good enough to lead Charlton, but this away point, and the fact that he may be allowed to bring in one or two loan players suggest that he will be given (even) more time to sort out the mess he has created. Whether we get anything at Birmingham next week may now not be the (next) defining moment in his Charlton stewardship, but with not many winnable games in the near future (at least on paper), with Pardew in charge at any rate, how long must we give him until the Board do make the necessary change? We haven't won since early October, and it could now be after Xmas before we gain three points from one match... Bring on the Redvolution!

Well done to the players and to those supporters who made the trip and those who kept the commentary coming for those of us not fortunate enough to be able to listen in live.

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Don't you think that this Redvolution stuff is becoming a bit tired? I too have lost confidence in the manager but it now seems as if the Board are going to continue to back him in which case continuing to "Champion" the case for his departure is entirely counterproductive. It won't achieve your objective but the constant carping might, on the margin, undermine the spirit of players and supporters alike. Why don't we just move on and get behind the manager and the team?
Well said
Sorry, two Anons, I do not think it is tired. In fact, I think it gathered such a head of steam at and after the Barnsley game that it almost, almost worked.

In my opinion, and others, we need Pardew out; that should not defer anyone from getting behind the team (or club), but I cannot support the manager who has created this mess we are currently in.

If the team wins the next dozen games (or even a few) and climbs the league, nobody will be happier than I will, but that will not make Pardew the man to lead the club, or get the best out of the players we have now or in the future - there is simply no evidence that he can take us on, and a point at Plymouth is simply clutching at straws.

Viva la Redvolution!
hi pedro
perhaps anon and anon (related?) would rather just accept the poor (to be polite) leadership and performances which currently threaen our 2nd div (overall?) future?
i on the other hand would rather something was done as I love the club and can't stand by and watch what is being done to it
viva la redvolution indeed comrade!
I think that anon and anon are not really understanding the issue and have fallen for the slight improvement in performance. This is common of fans who are pessimistic and get fooled by one result.

How many times in the last two years have we been duped by one result.

Remember Charlton Athletic 4 West Ham United 0 two seasons ago (and Tevez played some part that day). We still went down because we were not good enough.

Remember last season, we won 2-0 at Sheffield United and the play offs were a good bet. Two weeks later and one point from 12 and we were in mid table obscurity.

The simple fact remains that Pardew cannot maintain consistency. We cannot blame the team forever as this has to stem from selection and faith in players. The constant chopping and changing is all too common and only adds to the problems.

By all means get behind the team in every game as all fans do but until we install a manager that can resolve the issues including a lack of consistency and improve confidence in players then the potential at the club cannot be realised.

Remember that Mr Pardew chose to start the season with just 2 centre backs. Signing a crocked player on loan as cover only compounded this ludicrous decision.

The Redvolution will bring relief for everyone.

With respect, I have not missed your point. Not only do I understand the case against Pardew, I agree with it as I made clear in my original post. Nor am I happy to settle for failure and it is very clear that is where we are heading if something doesn’t change; we have now collected 43 points from the last 41 league games and a continuation of that form will take us down. Is Alan Pardew capable of initiating and managing that change? I’m not convinced and if I had to make a decision on the issue, based on the information I have, I’m sure I would replace the manager. However, it is not my decision and the Board, who to be fair to them have a lot more information than at least I do, have decided on a different course. Given that this is now where we are, my point is a very simple one; I don’t see how continuing to campaign for the sacking of Pards helps. For one thing, assuming he is aware of an ongoing undercurrent against him then it won’t help his confidence and that will undermine his chances of success. More generally, a “sour” atmosphere simply isn’t good for morale at the Club and, in turn, for the chances of success on the pitch; confidence and momentum are everything. In my view, like it or not, given the decision the Board now seems to have taken, the best chance we have of spending next year in the Championship rather than in Division One is to get behind everyone at the Club, including the manager. As far as the long-term is concerned, I wouldn’t take it as a given that if Pards manages to turn things around he will then be secure. Anyway, as someone famous once said “In the long run we are all dead” and right now the focus needs to be on the short term or there won’t be much of a long term to worry about.

Anyway, I had understood your point. I was simply expressing a personal opinion about what might best help the Club at this point, that’s all. You must do what you feel is right.
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