Monday, September 07, 2009

Sixth Step Toward the Honey-Pot

Charlton Athletic 2 Brentford 0

Did Charlton cruise past the Brentford Bees on Saturday or was I dreaming? Another fine performance, though not without it’s moments of concern, but another three points that keeps Charlton top of the table, and a step nearer to ultimate aim for the season.

Two first half goals were enough to beat a good Brentford side; the first, just 11 minutes into the match, after a long cross-field pass from Miguel Llera behind the full-back was woefully headed short back toward the ‘keeper and Lloyd Sam nipped in to pull the ball back for Deon Burton to score from ten yards (above). Twenty minutes later Sam then finished a sublime passing move, which had lasted quite some time and maybe over twenty passes, taking the ball from Burton’s flick in the penalty arc, and beating the two centre backs before slotting home into the far corner. Lloyd has certainly been practising his after-goal celebrations (getting ready to rumble, pic below), and his effort at The Valley was far superior to his two efforts at Prenton Park last week!

Other chances came and went, most notably when Burton, Jonjo Shelvey, Nicky Bailey, and substitute Izale McLeod all spurned opportunities to hit the target. Brentford themselves had good efforts; Rob Elliot was forced to make an excellent save from Carl Cort’s second half header, and the Bees also hit the bar with a free-kick, though that never looked like going in. Other half-chances for the visitors went either high or wide, with ex-Addick Myles Weston often involved. Brentford were by far, in my opinion, the best team Charlton have faced this season so far, and I suspect that they had by far more possession than the home side, and probably more shots and corners overall. However, the Addicks looked a class above their opponents, and ultimately simply cruised the second half, taking the opportunity to give game time to Scott Wagstaff (on for Sam), and McLeod (for Shelvey). Therry Racon picked up what looked like a back injury (though other reports suggest it was a hamstring strain) and had treatment on the sideline while the first half goal celebrations went on, but hopefully he will be fit for next week after completing this match.

The League One table is starting to become clearer after half a dozen games and show how other teams are likely to fare this season; Leeds maintained their own 100% record to keep pace with the Addicks at the top of the table, and Huddersfield’s fine away win at MK Dons moves them into third place, but five points back on the leaders. Bristol Rovers moved up to fourth after beating Millwall, while Swindon creep into the last play-off spot after winning at Yeovil. Next week’s opponents, Southampton, remain bottom of the table, without a win, and already 24 points behind the Addicks.

It is a long season, and no chickens are being counted just six games into the 46-game marathon, but the Charlton start is superb and even when results do drop off (as they have to invariably when you are running at 100%!), the Addicks look like they have plenty of what is required to maintain a promotion push.

The confidence is oozing out of the club at the moment, and with injuries being kept to a minimum, back up players being given game time whenever possible, and the squad looking strong, it’s a pretty good time to be a Charlton fan.

In other news, Jonjo Shelvey has signed a one-year extension to his current contract, which ties him to the club until 2012; it is unlikely that Jonjo will see out this contract in my opinion, but at least this move probably gives him a deserved pay-rise, and also increases his future transfer value given that it could be based on his current terms if any fee is necessarily settled by a tribunal.

In Charlton’s first ever Johnstone Paint Trophy cup tie, the Addicks have been drawn against Barnet, with the game likely to be played at The Valley on 6th October. This was by far the easiest tie that Charlton could have been given, and the only chance to meet a tier four team at this stage. However, with Charlton’s recent cup record, we should not take this game lightly!

Up the Addicks!

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