Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Charlton Sting Barnet

Charlton Athletic 4 Barnet 1

An excellent performance from Charlton saw them safely through to the Southern section quarter finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last night. Goals from Izale McLeod, Tamer Tuna, Nicky Bailey, and Scott Wagstaff replied to Barnet’s early opener, and the result could have been even more convincing but for some better finishing.

With competition rules quite strict about who from the first team had to play, Phil Parkinson did well and was able to give a whole group of youngsters a run out in the first team, and also impart some confidence into other squad players. The most important aspect though, was his option to show fans just what Plan B is, should the current league 4-5-1 formation need to be abandoned.

Chris Solly started at right back, with Christian Dailly and Grant Basey in the middle of
defence; Kelly Youga was in his usual left back position. The midfield had Wagstaff on
the right, complimenting Saturday’s midfield triumvirate Matt Spring, Therry Racon and
Bailey. In attack, Deon Burton got his rest, and Tuna and McLeod led the line. With Rob
Elliot in goal, this did seem to me to only start five of the required six players with the most appearances this year, but maybe with Jose Semedo and Lloyd Sam out injured, some leeway is given? The five-man bench consisted of youngsters Jonjo Shelvey, Yado Mambo, Alex Stavrinou, Luke Holden, and goalie Darren Randolph.

Barnet settled better and after plenty of early possession, they took the lead after 12 minutes, when O’Flynn stabbed home after a corner wasn’t cleared. Charlton were struggling to hold the ball for any period at all, and it did take Tuna 20 minutes or so to get into the pace of the game. Once Bailey had set up McLeod for a deflected equalizer three minutes later though, it was pretty much all Charlton.

Wagstaff then set off on a fabulous run, taking the ball past four defenders as he strode through the middle, before stumbling as he got close to firing in a shot. Spring shot over when well set up, and McLeod almost got on a couple of through balls.

Racon then did well and set up space for a shot, though this seemed to be flying well wide when it came to Tuna, and he finished with aplomb, sidefooting past the Barnet ‘keeper (top pic). With a half-time lead, it was Charlton’s game to lose, but they really didn’t seem to be in that mood thankfully.

The atmosphere amongst the 4522 crowd was strange, simply because about 90% of that figure were grouped together in the lower West stand; Barnet did bring a few hundred fans with them, and they sang well all night, and the only other smattering of fans was in the East stand which was opened just before the game started. I was hoping for a new-ish view, but as luck would have it, the tickets bought had me sitting literally within touching distance of my old seat where I sat for 12 years!

Barnet pushed hard in the early parts of the second half, and Elliot made one excellent save to deny Bolasie (who was by far the most dangerous Bees player all night), but with Bailey and Spring controlling midfield, the Addicks were always happy. Stavrinou was a substitute for Racon early in the second half, and soon afterwards Mambo came on for Solly, and his Charlton first team debut, which meant a re-shuffle of the defence, with Basey moving to left back, and Youga over to the right.

With fifteen minute left, Bailey ended the tie as a contest when he rifled in a bullet free kick from 25 yards, the ball thumping into the top corner netting. Just prior to this, the final substitute Shelvey (on for a tiring Tuna) had tried something similar, but his shot had ended up in the empty North stand seats.

The gloss was finally put on the tie by Wagstaff, who finished a very good game for him by scoring a typical breakaway goal. Bailey won the ball in his own half and fed McLeod on the half way line, who turned and had the winger as the only person on the right side of the pitch. The pass was perfect and Wagstaff had time to control and decide what he wanted to do, much as he had when he scored against Walsall a month or so back. This time though, instead of sidefooting into the corner, he blasted the ball high and into the net off the crossbar; even he looked a bit surprised when it bounced down and into the goal. By then, Shelvey had jinked and turned one way, then the other, only to have his shot blocked near the line by a Barnet body.

McLeod then took a knock, or it may have been cramp, and he came off to generous applause, and ten-man Charlton saw out the clock. An excellent all round performance, with good displays from Solly, Mambo, Tuna, Wagstaff, Spring, Youga, Basey, Dailly, McLeod, and man-of-the-match Bailey. The only player not to look comfortable was Alex Stavrinou sadly, who failed to get into the game much, and did seem to be the least welcomed option when team-mates chose who to pass to. He also did not put in many tackles, as the covering midfield player, but did chase well. This may be harsh after such a good all round performance, but he did stand out as the one not getting much positive from it.

Parky’s Plan B, with McLeod and Tuna leading the line, took time to settle, but once Tuna was up to speed, they played well together, and on another day could both have had more goals. McLeod is always going to be selfish when given a shooting opportunity, and that’s OK if he scores, while Tuna does look like he could fill that gap when Shelvey is tired or injured and play just behind the front man (be it Burton or McLeod). Mambo looked solid, provided he had Dailly alongside him, and Solly showed what a competitor he is, and was heavily involved. If Bailey hadn’t had such a good game though, the star for me was Wagstaff, who showed pace, skill, and great crossing and shooting ability; if Lloyd Sam’s groin strain is not better this weekend, Waggy should be an able deputy.

The draw for the area Quarter Final, which could see Charlton drawn against recent opponents Southampton, Hereford, or Norwich, is on Saturday morning.

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Enter your email address below to subscribe to Charlton Athletic Online!

powered by Bloglet
Sports Business Directory - BTS Local
Custom Search