Friday, March 12, 2010

Hemisphere's Apart

Charlton Athletic 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 2
Southend United 1 Charlton Athletic 2
Charlton Athletic 2 Stockport County 0

I went on holiday the day after the Brighton defeat - not because of it I might add - and that gave me time to contemplate Charlton's season so far. I pretty much figured that despite another abject performance, enlightened only by Akpo Sodje's injury time consolation goal (top pic), we should be grateful that we are at least still in the mix. The big games are yet to come, and that single defeat, while obviously not helping, is unlikely to matter too much when the season finally unravels come May (possibly...).

I tried not to think about the Addicks much, being so far away, and with the Southend away game kicking off at about midnight where I was, and still being jet-lagged, I had no stomach to stay up waiting for text or web updates. It was lovely therefore to rise the next morning to find that we had won, which even surprised my wife! Another Akpo Sodje goal (left) brought the scores level, and substitute Kyel Reid had scored a last minute screamer (below pic) to gain all three points. How my heart lifted! Of course, most of the controversy in this match revolved around Nicky Bailey, and his part in the sending off of Christophe in the first half. It was always going to be a tough return to Roots Hall for the former Southend player of the year, and with the red-head being subject to several robust tackles and off the ball shenanigans previously this season, it was no surprise to see him hit the deck after being in contact with the home player. This is the one area of his game where Bailey is most disliked, and if only he could dismiss this part of his nature, he would gain what a lot of footballers would like, and that is respect; he has all the other credentials, but to be a great, you need this one too. C'est la vie as the locals would have said where I was...

I then had had a week without having to worry about anything to do with SE7, just with not getting sunburnt, or bitten by ants, or run over by the speed-crazy local bus drivers! My Charlton hat and shorts had brought plenty of knowing nods but could not compete with the mass of local United or Liverpool fans; at least one waiter I befriended felt sympathy when I told him we had dropped two divisions, rather than just the one he knew about (they don't pay much attention to what happens outside the Premiership...).

On to the home game with Stockport and suffice to say that any game where we, or any team for that matter, go into a 2-0 lead in the first ten minutes and then fail to capitalise further can seem disappointing; seen from afar, as I had to, it was simply the win that was necessary, and it was great to hear that Akpo had scored in his third consecutive match (left). The bad news was the in-game injury to left back Johnnie Johnson (which has effectively ended his Charlton career unless we re-sign him at some point) and the pre-game knocks suffered by Jose Semedo and Jonjo Shelvey.

All teams will suffer injures at some stage of the season, and I have to say that I do think that Charlton have been lucky so far in 2009/10, but the full backs do seem to be the ones to have all the injury problems this season. Not only have Kelly Youga and Grant Basey had severe injuries playing at left back, but Frazer Richardson missed a good chunk either side of Xmas due to hamstring troubles at right back, and Chris Solly started the season with a bad injury too. Johnson will be missed, as he had brought something new to the team (confidence?), but hopefully the news that Youga is back in training and wanting to play this weekend will offset matters. If not, Solly may be asked to step up to the plate and prove himself once more (or we'll get another loanee?).

And that brings us up-to-date with matters going in to the tough game at the New Den tomorrow. Will we roll over like some predict, allowing the Lions to feast on our fat bellies, or will we hold the upper hand and finally find some form? I don't know, but to finish this post, let me corrupt some lyrics (a little) that belong to Jarvis Cocker -

The standards have fallen,
Our value has dropped,
But don't shed a tear.

Some walk like they own the place,
while others creep in fear.

So try if you can
To walk like a man;
But if you don't come near -
You've got to fly like an eagle,
Prowl like a lion in Africa,
Leap like a salmon home from the sea;
To keep up with me
You've got to walk like a panther tonight!

Come on you reds!


Come on let us into the secret!
Where you been then?
Oh! and it's Jackson not Johnson :)
Daggs, if I told you where I'd been I would have to shoot you - a) to stop too many others going there and b) in case the Social find out! How quickly I forget JJ; just like McEverley and Butterfield too?!? Too much sun, sea, sand, and Green Island rum (hint?) possibly...

Sounds like you enjoyed the holiday mate ... did you see much of the island?

Charlton to win today ... just waiting for my son then we will be on the way.
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