Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hudson Eclipses Long Shadow

Reading 2 Charlton Athletic 2

Well at least my doomy prediction was thankfully very wrong, and Charlton did very well to get another away point it seems.
I was not able to attend, or listen to, the match, so can only reflect on in-game texts, and other reports.
Nicky Bailey slid in the first goal after 16 minutes, and the Addicks hung on until half-time, with Reading hitting the woodwork three times in that opening half.
Very early in the second period, the home team were awarded a dodgy penaty after a seemingly fair tackle by Darren Ward, and this was converted by Shane Long. Long then scored again from a corner, but Charlton fought back, and equalised through Mark Hudson six minutes from full time.
Phi Parkinson, so long a Reading player, will have been happy to have taken something from the match, although in terms of this season, the single point is a little irrelevant bearing in mind how far behind the rest of the teams in the division Charlton are. Parky picked a midfield heavy side, with Tom Soares and Zheng Zhi starting, and also brought back Chris Dickson and Darren Ambrose to the bench.
There was no sign of any of the promised youngsters, which considering who we were playing (the top scorers in this league) was probably wise.
At least the players seem to have been competitive in this match, and did battle back after falling behind, but what rankles is how frequent half-time leads or even parity are being gifted away to the opposition in the few minutes after the players return to the pitch. The referee obviously had something to do with the Reading equaliser last night (apparently 12 seconds after the restart...), but you have to have some sympathy for a fifteen minutes team talk being made worthless by conceding just after the break. On other occasions, you might question why teams seem to be able to up their game after the interval, when Charlton palpably cannot - one for Parky to ponder there...
I'm happy that Charlton players seem to have played with their hearts last night, and hopefully, another difficult game at the weekend can produce a similar sort of result. The season is lost, and any brief glimmers of hope should be taken in context, but it would be nice to try to finish on some sort of high note, even if we do what is likely and finish bottom of the division.

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