Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Parky and Parking Not Good Enough!

Colchester United 3 Charlton Athletic 0

Well that wasn’t very nice, was it? A bit of a bad evening all round, with the Addicks taking a rare thumping, and myself missing the first 16 minutes of the match. At least I wasn’t the only person who had trouble getting into the ground on time, with many others walking along the roadside to the stadium well after the match kicked off; it’s all very well having a brand spanking new stadium, but if you don’t have sufficient infrastructure to support it, then it is useless. Traffic congestion approaching the stadium was awful, and nowhere near enough suitable parking is available. I don’t know if this was the biggest crowd they have seen in this part of Essex for some time, but having to park on a roundabout – as we and many others ended up doing - cannot be the way forward.

I cannot therefore comment too much on the opening period, but at least I didn’t miss any of the goals. The first goal summed up my evening completely: although Charlton had looked bright once I’d taken my seat - slick passing had allowed several good crossing opportunities but there was little in the way of finishing – it was obvious that Aidy Boothroyd’s game plan owed much more to his old Watford up and over them style than to any more refined footballing theory. As soon as a Colchester player got the ball, it was hit high up and over the defence, for two muscular forwards to chase. Some passes from high up the pitch were quite deft, but there was also the usual fair amount of hoofing it forward from the back to see. With two big lumps up against an unsure Miguel Llera and an out-muscled Christian Dailly, it did seem just a matter of time before a chance came. Sadly, when it did, it was the Spaniard Llera, once more turning with the speed of a juggernaut, who headed past the advancing Rob Elliot and into the net. I did put this own goal down to just bad luck, but my friend said that it was probably due to the extra power and bounce that Llera got from wearing his headguard!

Sadly, Charlton conceded another goal almost immediately to leave themselves a mountain to climb. Fraser Richardson was beaten by a long pass down the wing, and when the ball came into the middle, the on-loan Odejayi beat Llera and slotted past a helpless Elliot again.

The two thousand Charlton fans in attendance were rightly stunned to silence, and I wasn’t helped by the fact that the kiosk ran out of sausage rolls either!

The second half was fifteen minutes old by the time Izale McLeod made his entrance, in place of Matt Spring, with Jonjo Shelvey dropping back into midfield. Spring had failed to offer much protection to his defence, and the hope must be that Jose Semedo is fit very soon. Shelvey was also having a nightmare game, and did little of use from what I saw until the very end.

By then though, Odejayi had pounced on another mistake, this time by Rob Elliot who came for a ball that Llera could have dealt with and was beaten to it by the big forward. At three nil, there was no way Charlton would come back, and Phil Parkinson had to put up with plenty of jibes reminding him of the score.

In a continuing carnival of errors from Llera, he tried to kick a ball he should have headed, and headed a ball that he should have kicked! It was no surprise then that Parky removed him when he thought that the Colchester crowd had got their monies worth, and brought on Sam Sodje in his place.

A fractious end saw a frustrated Deon Burton and Shelvey (left) both booked for being petulant.

Shelvey had Charlton’s only real effort on goal just before normal time elapsed, cutting in from the left wing, and curling a right-foot shot toward the far top corner, with the ‘keeper making a good save.

It was left to ex-Addick Kevin Lisbie to add one final memory of the match, just before full time, as he cut in from the right and with an open goal at his mercy scooped the ball over the bar from six yards. Some things never change, eh Kev?

It was a bad night for Charlton, and one that they need to bounce back from: Llera must get his confidence back (as Sodje is away with Nigeria soon, if the injury he picked up last night allows); Shelvey must learn to get more involved and play to his strengths; Racon must not be physically overpowered so easily; and Elliot should not let his heart rule his head. Only Lloyd Sam and Nicky Bailey came out of the game with any credit to my mind. And Parky needs to know what to do when the opposition can cope with Charlton's style!

As for Colchester, most of their problems seem to be outside the ground with stroppy police, insufficient parking, and stupid formalities.

To finish a bad evening, the A12 was closed for about ten miles necessitating a detour through sleepy Essex backwaters. I finally made it home OK, and I hope everyone else did too.

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You were battered and totally outclassed. You were bossed off the pitch and had nothing up front.
Indeed we were Mr Essex Anon; perhaps we can have your manager and learn to play the long ball game?

What was that nonsense after the game all about? The Police blocking the short way out & directing everybody round three sides of the ground was ridiculous.

Equally stupid was their apparent ignorance that most were just going between the coaches & using the short route via the road rather than the path they were blocking.

Sometimes the Police are their own worst enemies.
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