Sunday, 28 November 2010

Few positives emerge

A dire brass monkeys afternoon at the Valley with lots of negatives and very few positives.
Let’s take the positives first:
Jackson: one of the few players to perform well, made intelligent runs, scored a good goal an d badly let down by the team not passing too him, and Reid ignoring him (and others) when in good goal scoring positions;
Anyinsah: Did well until he tired;
We are still in the Cup!
The overpowering negatives:
Not enough stuff to warm up the freezing dedicated
Francis: His distribution reached an all time low; he really seemed to be colour blind for much of the game. After coming out of a bad patch his last couple of games have seen him sink into the mire again;
Fortune: I am a Fortune fan and felt he should have been alongside Dailly for a number of our recent games. However, at one point he showed an appalling lack of speed that shed great light on all the stories that abounded about him having to get match fit. Until he can get up to speed, Doherty should return.
Lierra: tried really hard and generally had a fair game but still prone to serious mistakes and being given the run around on the ground. Like to think it is lack of first team outings but that may be too generous;
Racon: Did not stamp his authority on non-league opposition and drifted out of the game;
McCormack: Looked forward to seeing what he could do, but after a bright start faded badly;
Wagstaff: anonymous for most of the game, couldn’t beat his man or put in a decent cross;
Reid: Tries, and is player who can turn a game when in the right frame of mind. Not this time, after a good run to cross the ball for the first goal, infuriated mostly (especially in the second half) by either not looking up or blatantly going for the glory himself and not passing to others in goal scoring chances. The epitome of the schoolboy trying to impress with the message “pass to me and I’ll go through on my own”.
Have said it before, if he had done that too many times to "Killer" Hales he would have placed one on him!
Benson: I have been a fan until now. Everyone is allowed a stinker, let’s hope this Tricky banana skin: potential humiliation at Kenilworth Road unless we pull our socks up;
Elliot: He made several good stops but was nowhere near saving a first half shot that hit the post and did n ot make even an effort to stop their second goal.
Over the years Iit has never ceased to amaze me how goalkeepers can get caught 5 yards off their line and l.eae themselves wide open for the looping shot. The old escuse of narrowing the angles (especially when the threat is from 25 yards) has always seemed lame one.
If by a miracle, we get through, it's potentially Stevenage or Dover in the next round!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Performance fails to keep feet (etc.) warm in East Stand

A cold uninspiring night at the Valley saw a point gained rather than lost, even though their keeper made two great saves from Sodje and McCormack in the closing minutes.
The side did not get their passing game going to any effect, not helped at all by the poor distribution from the full backs and the lack of running into empty spaces by the midfield and forwards.
Samedo did his usual spoiling game effectively. Though Racon probably just about won man of the match, the overall lack or creativeness led Parks to sacrifice Samedo’s combative skills to introduce some flair.
Martin did not stop running and cannot be faulted in that respect. However, though his early efforts promised a lot as the game wore on he reverted to failed attempted flicks rather than the simple straightforward option. He increasingly tried for glory ignoring others in better positions, epitomised by his miss in the last few minutes when Benson appeared to be free in the area. We need his inventiveness but he needs to get the balance right.
Jackson saw little of the ball in the first half when it was being constantly directed to Wagstaff who was generally ineffective. Given Jackson is in such good form this seemed a great waste.
McCormack performed promisingly when he came on and was thwarted by a great save from their keeper. With potentially heavy grounds overdue and ongoing injuries and suspensions he may have an important role to play. He is obviously capable of fulfilling the midfield dynamo role, I’m not sure how much of an attacking force he can be.
Sodje was all effort with limited skill but made a positive difference in being a constant thorn to the Rover's defence. He provides a good option as a late sub’ to turn a game. There were no Rudolf Nureyev pirouettes to win the elusive penalty (pity we could have done with one in this game).
As Major Ken of  CAFCPICKS tried to resist the damp cold of the East Stand (which Canada had not prepared him for) he rightly remarked that Benson appeared a half a yard too slow on the night. We missed Anyinsah who seems able to bring the best out in Benson.
The Southampton Boxing Day game is building up, thogh there are a few hgames to win before then. Let's hope it is not the usual anti-climax for us.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Team Spirit and (Our Rudolf) Win the Day

The feeling in the Rose O Denmark was that we would return to form and sweep the West Country Worzills aside. Crowborough Addick was more guarded suspecting a banana skin might be on the horizon.
Apart from some notable exceptions, there are no easy games or free meal ticket in this division.
Even that thrilling victory at Leyton obscured the good football that Orient displayed and we have struggled against other ‘lowly’ teams like Exeter.
There are some notably poor exceptions, e.g. Dagehenham and Redbridge (a comment which will probably go and rebound on me at the next away game there) and by all accounts Swindon at the away game.
Loftier sides like Oldham and Huddersfield gave us a real run for the money.
I don'tgo along with the view that it's a poor division, I reckon things have just evened out and the general standard is not that bad.
Yeovil demonstrated that again with a slick passing game that opened up a good chances early on. We were fortunate to take and retain a lead for most of the game. Had one of their forwards just smashed the ball (like Jackson does commendably from the spot) instead of flashily and limply trying place a short range shot (like too may modern players do) that allowed Elliot to save well, we would have been in more trouble.
We triumphed largely as a result of the great team spirit and 100% commitment that now exists in the side rather than any great footballing display. Over the years, this has not been the case even during good spells.
This presumably is largely engendered by Parks and the coaching staff, but my bet is that some of the leaders on the park, such as the unfortunate Dailly, have a great deal lot to do with it. He was given no benefit of the doubt by a referee who showed numerous errors of judgement.
Picking out players that caught my eye:
Martin showed a great work rate and some good touches but (like Sam) still has to grasp the ability to more regularly deliver on the final ball.
Benson looked good again up front but was hampered by a poor service.
Racon continued his resurgence and scored a peach of a goal
Samedo was generally effective in his negative kind of way, but wouldn't it be great if he had the confidence to exploit situations where he should go forward, overall it was not one of his better performances.
Reid did OK, but his displays over 90 minutes are a pointer to why Parks seems to favour using him as a 'super sub'. I am now beginning to see him in the same light, but would call him on earlier than Parks has done in the past to give him a fair crack.
Fry had a solid display.
Dailly, once again, had a commanding game before leaving the pitch.
Doherty; I'm not a great fan, but am pleased that he has turned in so many good solid performances of late, especially in the air. He was more uncertain yesterday though should not be castigated too strongly for the own goal (just one of those things).
Francis had a really poor run earlier on but seemed to have turned the corner with a couple of good performances, He dipped again yesterday and a fit Solly to contest the position would put us in a better position.
Elliot was generally sound but I had a feeling that maybe he could have got closer to the Yeovil shot that went in hit off the post, though others seem to think had had no chance.
Finally, Sodje's addition the front line added the required spice and 'won' the final penalty that Jackson crashed in with such aplomb. From where we were on the East Terrace (I have not seen the TV film) the defender clearly tugged at his shirt. Whether the linesman was flagging for that or the audacious pirouette that followed I am not too sure.
He followed that up moments later by such an artistic collapse in front of us in the East Stand that he would probably have a good chance of storming though a Covent Garden audition and even being hailed as the new Rudolf  Nureyev!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Posh Coshed By Parky's Addicks

An exciting game started with CAFC pegging the Posh in their half for the first quarter. After such an encouraging start those who have seen it all before feared the worst!
Posh had a few breakaways and Elliot came to the rescue with a diving save.
Wagsaff had clipped the bar before our wildest dreams materialised on 15 minutes of this 'top of the table' clash when a great ball was threaded through to Wagstaff. He was tripped with one man to beat ( a sending off offence?) and Jackson fired one straight down the middle over the hapless keeper.
Already, the die hards anticipated a typical 'backs to the wall' to keep 'em out type of game, but no; just when everyone appealed for a penalty for a trip on Martin (on for the injured Anyinsah) Racon ignored the pleas and thundered it into the roof of the net. 
It all happened so quickly that the guy next to me was awaiting a penalty as Posh lined up to kick off after succumbing to Racon’s goal.
Two more goals followed unbelievably quickly and the Moyes terrace was in delirium.
(On a slightly negative point, those at the front of the terrace were pretty pissed off when a large number of our fans careered down the terrace after Martin's second goal. A guy at the station indicated he was concerned that his youngsters were going to get crushed. Pity as standing on the terraces was a welcome change with a great atmosphere, but it’s plain how the mindless are still capable of buggering it up for everyone else).
After Posh's 3 half time changes, they inevitably pressured.
Park's has got to sort out what appears to be a solid defence that conceded its first in 5 games (a penalty). It is not as solid as it seems, and this game was no exception. The opposition had a number of good chances following chaos in our penalty area.
This may in part be due to the fact that Parks’ current tactics appear to take the game to the opposition whether it's home or away, as many of us have been pleading for a while. So, I for one am not going to complain.
Posh clawed back a goal with a well placed free kick that one felt that Elliot could have made a better effort for. He pulled off a number of good saves to counter that but again looked suspect on the crosses.
It was impressive how the players threw themselves into tackles all over the pitch and did not tire, if anything they looked fitter than Posh at the final whistle.
Before Anyinsah went off Parks seemed to have fielded what definitely seems to be our best 11, other than perhaps not picking Fortune, but Doherty again had a good game.
Parks secured the required results against Carlisle and Sheffield Wednesday, followed them up with an excellent run in games at Swindon, Barnet, Southend and now achieved a fine result at Peterborough.
The team appears fully committed to the cause and they seem to be really playing for the manager, so full marks to Parks.
Samedo got an unnecessary booking for  time-wasting in the last 5 minutes. I see CAFCPICKS speculates that this may have been planned, which seems to make sense. Martin picked up yet another for mouthing; he needs to get this aspect f his game in order, though he was certainly fired up to a frenzy at Posh in Gascoine style.
With the results going the way they did, we have an excellent chance with two home games to come to cement ourselves in the top six and, most importantly, get into a good position come Xmas.
It’s too early to rejoice but it’s great that Parks seems to have turned the corner and vindicated those who had the patience to give him a fair crack of the whip rather than call for his premature departure.
Well done Park’s and the team.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Brazil (and Others)

It's interesting, and not just an exercise of egotism, to delve into the 'audience' statistics sitting behind your blog.
It reveals interest (or at least random'hits') from unlikely places such as Iraq, Korea,Czech Republic and Russia.
Places like Slovenia and snowier nearer spots on the continent may reflect our fellow supporters trying to stay in contact whilst on the piss (I mean piste), rather than my own visit out there back in the summer.
Other postings from far flung places may reflect lonely ex pats on long contracts abroad with their companies or the Government, British Council etc.
Some sources of interest sometimes let the imagination rip. In particular, my modest Blog seems to attract a regular and reasonable level of interest from Brazil.
Is this just a love of the beautiful game and all things Brit by that great footballing nation?
Does it reflect a fanatical interest in the British game that even manages to drop down to Division 1?
This may be the case, but I like to think it may also reflect memories from some in South America that may still be alive of CAFC's trip there many years ago (involving old prop' planes, dodgy coaches and probably cheap hotels for our former underpaid heroes).
I must look up that trip in the archives and determine to what extent we did the rounds in Brazil.
Meanwhile, it would be good if any of you out there in far flung parts of the globe can let us know the origin of your interests in our great club.
Please keep up your interest, great things may yet happen this season for Charlton Athletic!!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Patience and Faith is a Virtue

Well, my last post reaffirmed my belief that Park's had deserved time to pull things together with the squad that he has, and reported that the last two games had done nothing to harm his credentials. I advocated patience with the team and Parks and (at the moment) and this seems to have been vindicated.We had some early luck (plus some great defending) but did not manage to achieve the totally commanding type of performance I would have liked.

We toughed out the early Swindon pressure and gradually took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half and, with a bit of luck, would have got a couple more had it not been for goal line clearances.
Our front two runners further cemented their new partnership and both got on the score sheet , with Jackson popping up yet again (which is encouraging as, apart from his previous couple of goals, he had that blinding shot well saved by Weaver in the last home game).

Good to see that Parks was able to keep his full side on the pitch without bringing on substitutes so he could let them absorb the "highs" of the result and the travelling fans' adulation.
Well done the team, and well done Parks for the overall performance and for holding your nerve.