Sunday, December 06, 2009

South End, Deon – See!

Charlton Athletic 1 Southend United 0

Another professional performance from Charlton that gathered three more points, but in all honesty, it wasn’t a very good showing. One goal, from Deon Burton at the South Stand end of the ground, was enough for victory, but one or two questions are still being asked over the Addicks promotion credentials.

The goal (above), after 25 minutes, was well worked: A corner was cleared out to Lloyd Sam on the right wing; Therry Racon made a great run around him to draw the two covering defenders which allowed Sam the time and space for a left foot cross. The cross itself was beautifully judged and just cleared the front defender before allowing Burton a glancing header into the corner of the net. It was my one-to-watch Burton’s third goal in consecutive games.

Charlton certainly didn’t have it all their own way as the drizzle came down, and but for a great save from Rob Elliot when the scores were still level, it could all have been so different. With Grant Basey beaten on the wing, the defence was outnumbered and dragged to the near post, allowing the ball to float all the way across to Southend top scorer Lambert all alone. One indifferent touch allowed Elliot to get close but Lambert still looked very likely to score before an outstretched leg from the ‘keeper turned the shot away (left). It was a lucky break...

Southend actually looked confident throughout the game, and passed the ball well when in possession, without actually creating all that much. Most threat came from dead balls delivered into the six-yard box with pace, but Christian Dailly and Sam Sodje dealt with these fairly well all afternoon. Many of the kicks were for fouls given away by Therry Racon, who was eventually booked in the first half after being penalised about six times in ten minutes after the goal. Nicky Bailey, playing against his former club, was also getting stuck in and he too was eventually booked for a foul and lucky to stay on the pitch after one verbal assault too many against the decent referee. I thought all the officials had decent games, especially when compared to some we have had this season, and the fourth official was comatose when compared to the hyper idiot we had in the last game.

With Jose Semedo serving out his one-game suspension, the midfield looked much weaker, and this affected the delivery to the front men and wide players. Both Sam and Scott Wagstaff out wide, and Burton and Dave Mooney up front made what they could of passes, but too often balls were over-hit and just had to be chased.

Frazer Richardson was a surprise inclusion to the starting eleven, but he failed to appear after half-time hopefully due to the bleeding cut he was constantly receiving treatment for rather than a reoccurrence of his hamstring problem.

The points were won as the drizzle turned to rain, and thankfully none of the other players on four yellow cards for the season transgressed further; it will be key for the team that Charlton lose no more than one player at a time over coming weeks due to suspension, as to lose more with the injuries we have would severely test certain areas of the squad.

The gap to the leaders closed due to their failure to win and the gap back to the final play off place increased as successful teams start to play each other on a regular basis, so even though it was a very average performance, the result has to be seen in the light of the whole season.

17 years ago, Charlton returned to the Valley and won the game 1-0 with a strike from the veteran Colin Walsh; a generation later, it was another veteran - Deon Burton - who sealed the points for the Addicks, though I doubt we will remember this goal in much the same iconic way over coming years, despite the Usain Bolt impression in celebration (left).

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Geez, one game below par and our promotion credentials being questioned? Yes, we rode our luck but do people honestly believe Leeds have stormed through every game this season?

And I have to disagree about the referee. He was the second worse I've seen at the Valley this season. His positioning was exceptionally poor (witness the number of decisions he made when the linesman who was closer made no indication of a foul), his decisions inconsistent (witness the about of questioning he got from players of both sides) and frequently late.
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