Monday, August 31, 2009

Top Dogs!

Tranmere Rovers 0 Charlton Athletic 4

My wife spoke to me early this morning, and said that I must be chuffed with Charlton’s five-game winning streak to the new season. I replied that of course I was, and then she added that the four nil score-line must do wonders for our goal difference. Yes, I replied. Finally, she asked "Does this mean you have a positive goal difference for a change?" I politely reminded her that when you have won every game then it is impossible not to have a positive goal difference!

And then it hit home: Charlton - top of the league; a club record five game winning streak at the start of the season; a goal difference of plus ten; and a massive positive feeling taking us into next Saturday’s televised match against Brentford. Happy days!

The game against Tranmere was another dominated by Charlton’s midfield, with Lloyd Sam scoring his first and second goals of the season, and Jose Semedo chipping in with his first for the club. The scoring was completed by Nicky Bailey’s third of the campaign midway through the second half. Sam, under a bit of pressure after replacement Scott Wagstaff scored last week, nodded in a goal in each half; they were his first goals for the Addicks since his headed winner against Stoke two years ago.

Shortly after Sam’s opener from a Jonjo Shelvey cross midway through the opening half, Semedo burst through onto Deon Burton’s flick, and shot across goal to score. After Sam’s second, from a good Kelly Youga cross, Bailey was fortunate when his 35-yard free kick drifted in with everybody who tried failing to get a touch on the ball. It made little difference though, as the win was very easily accomplished and the 4-0 score-line comfortably achieved.

Manager Phil Parkinson (left), once derided, is now rightly being lauded after leading the club to their best ever start, and the hope is that no damage is done to the team, or team spirit, in any last minute transfer activity (with the transfer window closing at 5pm on Tuesday).

The confidence and team spirit seems to have returned to the Addicks squad after several years of lacking; it is imperative that the Board back the manager as best they can, even if this simply means no outward player movement. While some players have had the odd lack-lustre game here and there this season, hopefully the passing of this transfer deadline may allow them to settle, and get back to playing their best football for the club. Any inbound acquisitions, either purchased or loaned, will need to be balanced against the fact that the team is doing very well, and any incomers may well end up simply as bench warmers in the short term while everyone is fit. It would be completely unfair, in my opinion, for any centre-half cover being brought to the club to displace either Miguel Llera or Christian Dailly, while they have kept three clean sheets recently. With such fine resources, any cover would definitely be utilised at some stage, with Llera picking up bookings rather too easily and Dailly still playing through his painful rib injury. Similarly, while we would all love a proven goal-scorer to be brought in, would it be fair for a new-boy to start after Burton's hard work and unselfish play this year?

While we have the chance though, let’s celebrate the end of the month as league leaders and with real hope that the corner in our club’s fortunes may have been turned.


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