Sunday, February 21, 2010

Loan Strikers!

Charlton Athletic 2 Yeovil Town 0

A deserved win for the Addicks, as goals from Kyel Reid and Dave Mooney in each half made a welcome change. It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, and but for three excellent saves from Rob Elliot in the fist half, and two more good ones in the second half, Yeovil could have been a different proposition.

Both sides had early chances, with Elliot denying the visitors after a slick passing move allowed a forward to burst through. Elliot stood firm and blocked the shot away. Minutes later, a great dummy by Mooney saw Nicky Bailey waltz through the defence only for his shot to be blocked and then cleared too.

With the home crowd starting to turn, or go very quiet, depending where you were sitting, a tackle from Bailey won the ball and it broke to Reid well inside his own half of the pitch. With players left and right of him, he chose to go alone and smashed a great swerving shot that the ‘keeper could only parry into the top corner and at last Charlton had the first goal of a game.

Tactically, the side took time to settle, with Mooney dropping significantly deeper into a link role between the midfield and lone striker that was Deon Burton. When Burton held the ball, he brought Mooney into play, and when the ball was played shorter to Mooney, he was able to feed the wingers, or midfield of Therry Racon and Bailey, or turn and move forward to link with Burton. This was a revelation when compared to the number of times Mooney has been caught offside when running the channels. It also took some discipline from the defence, who had to pass the ball to feet (or chest if it went up to Burton) and the recalled Miguel Llera was excellent in retaining control and possession through accurate passing. The only person who seemed to give the ball away regularly was Bailey, who often looked for a harder pass than was needed. The defence was generally firm, though the left back issue still had some problems as debutant Johnnie Jackson was caught too far forward on a few first half occasions. Jackson looked good going forward, and was confident to take corners and free kicks, and his display did settle as he concentrated on doing the right things rather than trying too hard to impress.

Lloyd Sam went close when he fired just over the bar after cutting inside and Elliot saved another one-on-one when Bowditch beat the offside trap. Yeovil then almost equalised on half-time when Alcock was unchallenged at a corner, but again Elliot beat the ball away.

Early in the second half, Mooney scored after a quick throw-in deep into Yeovil territory saw Racon unmarked near the bye-line, and his pull back was swept in by the lively striker who had pulled away from goal and his marker (left).

Charlton controlled most of the second half, retaining possession well, and Racon came more into the game as it went on. Burton also had a couple of close efforts, and his all round display was a vast improvement on other recent efforts.
The pairing of Reid and Sam out wide on each flank also caused the Yeovil defence plenty of problems, not least when Reid volleyed a shot smack into Tudor-Jones nether regions (top pic).

Phil Parkinson was quite vocal in this game, and it was good to see him barking out encouragement and orders while Charlton led, and the game finished with the home side unlucky not to increase the margin of victory.

The referee was consistent, at least, though he was also very lenient, often letting obvious fouls pass in order to keep some continuity in the game, much to the annoyance of the Yeovil bench. He did book Christian Dailly for a blatant foul that stopped a Yeovil break-away, and one visiting player for the second of two quick fouls on substitute Scott Wagstaff, both late on.

In all, a satisfying result and a much better performance, though not one that yet has the pulse racing. The 4-4-2 formation took time to settle, and there were gaps in defence that need addressing; but for Elliot’s fine saves, it could have been different.

I’m pretty sure that the side for Tuesday’s home game against Brighton will be similar if not the same, but with a further game on Friday, others in the squad - like Jose Semedo, Chris Solly, Sam Sodje, Jonjo Shelvey, Akpo Sodje, and Leon McKenzie – will all get their chance soon.

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