Sunday, November 16, 2008


Birmingham City 3 Charlton Athletic 2

Another Valiant battle lost, with all fingers pointing (literally) at Nicky Weaver’s slip ups – leading 2-1 into the second half, a weak cross looked oh-so-easy for Weaves to catch, but then his footing gave way, and all he could do was punch the ball weakly skywards, allowing Kevin Phillips an easy headed goal. Five minutes later, another shot was fumbled by our keeper, and Quedrue was on hand to knock in the rebound for a lead that Charlton never really threatened.

It is easy to call for fans (and bloggers) to support the team, which I do on every occasion, but exasperation with the managerial situation is being prolonged.

Of course we cannot blame Pardew (above) for Weaver’s two costly errors, or for Lloyd Sam hitting the post when he had much more of the goal to aim at (and which, if he had scored, would have given Charlton a 3-1 lead…), but part of the reason that the confidence is so low and mistakes are being made is the errors that the manager compounded earlier in the season by tinkering with the team and tactics.

Sacking Pardew following the Barnsley debacle may not have changed the points return from last two games, but results like those we have seen all this season cannot be allowed to continue, or we will all be watching Charlton play in one division lower next year! The only answer is a change at the helm, the Redvolution’s primary objective, and the sooner the better.

I logged into the new Charlton TV audio service for yesterdays game, and found it quite easy to use. I was unsure as to whether it was working originally, as I was simply hearing a Radio London broadcast going around the grounds; then it went quiet but for St Andrews background noise (including the pitch announcer giving it loads!), before finally a commentary started a minute or so before kick off. I understand others had trouble maintaining reception, but that was not my experience. Half time was a quiet affair, and my wife thought she had lost the service, but that was simply the commentator going off for a cup for tea or similar and leaving the mike open. As long as you didn’t mind him repeating the score line every time he had to give updates to other radio stations then you got a pretty good service I thought.

The match itself saw Pardew start with Sam instead of Varney, the only change from the previous week, but it didn’t take long for Birmingham to score, danger-man McFadden picking up a cleared corner on the edge of the penalty area and just as he had done so for Everton a couple of years back, firing home a great shot, this time past Weaver (left).

Charlton battled hard though, and a break out of defence eventually saw Bouazza control the ball on the edge of the area and volley home into the roof of the net. Five minutes later, Gray chased down a long ball over the top and shot across Taylor to give the Addicks the lead.

Both teams had further chances but Charlton hung on to go into half-time in front.

Sadly, the two Weaver mistakes put the Addicks straight onto the back foot soon after half time, and though Quarshie was sent off for a second booking with half an hour left, the extra man Charlton had was not allowed to pay off and the blue-noses hung on for all the spoils.

It is fair to say that Charlton have played much better in parts of the last two games than they had been for a month previously, but doing so for 20 or 30 minutes here and there (like we have against Bristol City, Plymouth, Birmingham, Burnley, Barnsley, Wolves, etc) are not enough to win matches in this division. The balance of the team is better, at last, now that Pardew has finally brought in Semedo to play the holding role in midfield, and other players who are either out of form (Varney, Ambrose) or too lightweight (Wright, Crainie) have been shifted out of the starting eleven, and that has helped too. But it is too little too late to make a significant impact on this league; hopefully, the one major change that still needs to be made (and soon) will have the right impact and the Addicks can start to move up the league once results improve.

Sadly, with two further tough games to look forward to, the required improvement may be some time yet in coming. By the time we get to the Southampton and Blackpool games, we may well be into double figures of matches since a win, and that run will just have to stop if we are not to remain in the relegation zone for much of the rest of the season.

I’m proud to be a Charlton fan, and I will always carry on supporting my club; I just wish we had a different manager, because the one we have currently isn’t good enough! The kids who support this club deserve better.

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