Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh ‘Mere

Charlton Athletic 1 Tranmere Rovers 1

I’m not sure where to start after this game – Charlton failed to win again, and could easily have lost. The players are obviously lacking confidence, and the crowd certainly didn’t help by exuding first malaise, then frustration, then unbelievably turning on the manager when he made substitutions. Such is the life of a Charlton fan; we all pay our money and we all have an opinion which it is our right to broadcast from the stands, but answer me this – is your support helping the players?

Sam Sodje (left) returned to the starting eleven in place of Miguel Llera as expected, and the problem left side position was filled by new loan signing Kyel Reid. Reid’s first touch was a pacy run down the left wing, but when he got to the byeline, he miserably failed to get anything like a cross in. Thankfully, that was a rare blip on Reid’s performance, and he went on to have quite a decent debut. Reid’s involvement did provide balance, and it was noticeable that either Tranmere didn’t think Lloyd Sam was any good, or the change of tactics worked, as they could not or did not double mark Sam during this game. This gave both wingers space to work, and both made good headway without any end product in the first half. Charlton had the bulk of possession, but many passages of play simply broke down when the ball got anywhere near the forward line, and even when the Addicks did retain the ball, it often ended up going all the way back to the goalkeeper in order to be moved forwards once more.

It may not have seemed so at the time, but one of the most important aspects of the first 45 minutes was when Rob Elliot injured himself in punching clear a cross into the penalty area. Although he survived for a few more minutes, it soon became obvious that he was unable to continue with his injured leg, and Darren Randolph came on as a substitute. This injury would later reduce the options from the bench available for manager Phil Parkinson, and severely hamper any hopes Charlton may have had of claiming all three points.

The first half was pretty anonymous on the whole; Tranmere huffed and puffed, but didn’t really threaten – with Shuker being the player most likely to conjure anything – and Charlton posed and pansied about with the odd off-target shot to wonder about. The lack of confidence throughout the team was all so evident, with players wanting two or three touches when early passes would have been so much better. Nobody took charge of the game, and the lack of movement was once more very evident.

In the second half, we have seen Charlton concede goals in the opening minutes in the last three games (and in four out of the last five!), and this game was no different. A dead ball was played in from the left, flicked on at the near post and then hit Sodje solidly on the head before bouncing into the net with Randolph wrong-footed. It was unlucky on Sodje, but summed up Charlton’s recent plight. The annoying thing was that the Addicks had started the half much quicker, and had already threatened to open the scoring. Now it was a case of trying to maintain that momentum and get back on terms. Sodje burst forwards, beating several players but getting stuck as he got into the penalty area, then a corner was headed down and turned home by Nicky Bailey form close range to bring Charlton level again. It hadn’t taken long to equalise, and with Reid showing quite a few tricks, and Sam also getting the better of his marker on most occasions, we just needed to have some control over the finishing, and the game would be won. Sadly, the front two were having poor games again; Deon Burton seems a little dis-interested at present, and his partnership with Dave Mooney is floundering. Mooney is trying hard, and running his heart out, but his composure in front of goal now seems to be lacking. Without this cutting edge, the onus is left to others to shoot, but without much confidence, good opportunities are going begging. When that second goal did not come quickly, Parky made his two bench changes, and brought on two new widemen – Leon McKenzie and Scott Wagstaff – for Sam and the tiring Reid. This brought much derision and boo-ing from the crowd for some reason. We all have short memories – it was Wagstaff for Sam that brought the winner against Hartlepool just two games back, and with Reid not having played a full league game all season then it was no surprise to me to see him given a chance to be fit for Tuesday’s game too. Whoever started the “You don’t know what you are doing” chant in the North stand seriously has no knowledge about football, as both substitutions were understandable (and made sense to me), even if you did not agree with them. It may have looked like a better move to replace Burton and Mooney but when that switch was made last Monday, it also failed. Parky has to see the greater picture, and though Reid was still doing well, the last twenty minutes could have seen him pick up an injury, and then we would have a different perspective on his loan signings, calling them a waste of money.

The whole mood change in the crowd simply acted as a lift for the away team and sucked any confidence there may have been from the red shirts. All of a sudden, the visitors were breaking forwards at pace and cutting deep into the Addicks defence. With Parky opting to leave more players forwards, the defence struggled under pressure, and a few last ditch tackles came in. Tranmere really should have sewn the game up in the last few minutes, with two very good chances wasted, then in injury time they hit the bar with Randolph well-beaten following a corner. It was do-or-die for Charlton and though they pushed nearly everyone forwards in the last few minutes, nobody could apply that final touch even though a Bailey shot did clip the outside of the post. The crowd drifted away, many leaving before Bakayoko was sent off for his second cumbersome challenge on Wagstaff deep into injury time and one last Charlton surge came to nothing.

It was a cold day, without much flowing football, and the result didn’t help, and it left me in an absolutely foul mood. Such is the expectation, frustration, and delusion of some of the home crowd that the forthcoming three away games may offer Charlton more return. They certainly need to get some confidence and get back to winning ways, otherwise the chasing pack will get ever closer and the season will develop into a chase for a play-off place rather than one for automatic promotion.

Blip or slump? It’s looking like a slump now….

Labels: ,

Well put, it seemed an eternity until the in second half our players realised they had a left winger they could pass to. Once they did we began to open them up. Sam was once again tightly makred whenever he got the ball and we can't just keep pumping balls to him in the hope he can create some magic and an opening. If the team start with Reid against Walsall hopefully they'll know from the from the start they have another option. Sadly in the centre of midlfield we had no creativity nearly all Bailey's passes going astray. Not sure what's happened to Mooney, he is still getting himself in the right place but produced little. Their no. 5 was excellent and needed a more musclular presence from our strikers. Still there is still a bit of time left to sort this out before we've totally cocked it up.
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