To the Londoners 1-0
Because of a late start because of work commitments, delays on the Chiltern Line and just missing two buses at the Dome, I arrived a couple of minutes late to see Charlton win a corner. This was followed by a second, but despite a scramble and muddle in front of the Blackburn goal, it was unproductive. Although Blackburn looked like a team from the lower end of the table, they were capable of mounting threatening attacks and an early one saw the ball come off Deano's post.
Blackburn's approach was highly physical, scything down Charlton players at every opportunity and Jeffers seems to have suffered from a tackle that resulted in a free kick. In any event he was withdrawn on 13 minutes and replaced by JJ (rather than Euell). Let's hope that Jeffers is fit for Saturday.
Deano made a good save from an attack that I thought had been mounted from an offside position. Every time a player took a throw in they seemed to be in danger from a Sky camera placed perilously behind them. As the Bloke Behind Me screamed 'that's a bad ball', Charlton won a corner. From the resulting play goal machine Luke Young was able to put in a long range shot that was Charlton's best effort of the half and went just over the top of Friedel's bar.
Charlton persist in playing the ball back to Deano when he never looks too comfortable with it and it would probably be better to play it forward. However, a positive aspect of Charlton's play was the number of effective tackles they were making. Luke Young and Kevin Lisbie combined well to win the Addicks a corner, but it was unproductive. As the half drew to a close, Fortune conceded a corner but it ended in a free kick given to Charlton for an infringement.
Half time: Charlton 0, Blackburn 0
Pitch announcer Brian Cole got into a muddle with the name of the Jimmy Seed Stand at half time, but quickly bounced back, although he never got the wave he requested from the Junior Reds supposedly in Stand Seed.
Charlton started brightly and El Karkouri forged forward and provided a good ball to Kevin Lisbie. One on one with Friedel, he managed to put his shot wide. On 49 minutes a corner from Murphy was met by the head of El Karkouri and his downward effort gave Friedel no chance to make a save.
Going behind seemed to revitalise the visitors and Deano had to leap to push a shot from Flitcroft over the bar with his fingertips. The resultant corner ended in a Charlton throw in. Another Blackburn corner was only partially cleared and a Blackburn free kick resulted in a huge scramble in front of goal in which at least six players were involved. Somehow or other the Herminator managed to clear the ball off the line.
Blackburn kept up the pressure. A Blackburn corner was headed away but only partially cleared and the visitors won a second. Deano should have come out for a second Blackburn corner and they won a third. This led to a Blackburn throw in, a free kick and then another corner. As Blackburn attacked again, Fortune made a good interception and got the ball out of play.
Blackburn won a free kick in a dangerous position but Deano made the save. Graham Stuart put in a cross that JJ failed to connect with and opinion around me was divided about whether it was a poor cross or JJ failed to anticipate the opportunity and did not position himself well. Blackburn manager Mark Hughes, who had received ironic cheers from the crowd for his eagerness to return the ball for throw ins, decided to take off the ineffective Stead and replace him by Jas Bothroyd, a household name in his own family. Flitcroft was replaced by Tugay who was greeted with a chorus of boos. Blackburn had a penalty shout when the Herminator appeared to handle the ball, but this time referee Dunn's poor night vision worked in Charlton's favour.
On 75 minutes Curbs pulled off Hughes in favour of Kishishev while the sub was subbed with Euell replacing JJ. After another dubious free kick award by Dunn, Graham Stuart was booked, presumably for dissent. Lisbie made a run forward, but hesitated fatally in front of goal and the chance was lost. Charlton were comfortably in control in the three minutes of time added on, condeding no corners that would have allowed Friedel to repeat his goal scoring feat of last year. There was some confusion at the end of the match when Tugay was booked by Dunn and the ball boys and girls thought that his whistle meant that it was over and started to come on to the pitch.
Match analyst Hooch the Pooch awarded his first ever Silver Bone to Talal el Karkouri. for his winning goal but also his efforts in forging forward. It was another clean sheet for Deano who made some good saves and only kicked the ball off the pitch once. Perry was solid in defence, although he did come close to giving away free kicks in dangerous positions once or twice. Fortune did his job well. Young was involved and effective, winning the ball. It was another excellent performance by Hreidarsson his defensive skills being in demand. Graham Stuart was a contender for the Silver Bone, but all the energy and effort he expended, usually to good effect, meant that he faded as the game went on. Steve from Sidcup thinks that Hughes is lightweight and, although he played his part, I didn't see a great deal to impress me in this performance. Murphy seems to be slotting into the team better, combining well with other players and showing his class. Lisbie played his part in the game, but it is frustrating to have a striker who seems to be incapable of seizing golden goal scoring opportunities. Jeffers was on for too short a period to make an assessment. JJ achieved very little after he came on. Kishishev made no errors and combined well with Murphy on one occasion. Euell had one possible goal scoring opportunity but in general added little in an admittedly short spell on the pitch.
Juneau the Soccer Cat had no hesitation in giving the Hiss of the Match to referee Steve Dunn. He was booed off the pitch after being the recipient of various chants about his incompetence, his onanistic practices and his rear end. He gave the Addicks plenty of free kicks in the first half but received ironic cheers when he gave them one in the second, missing no opportunity to blow up on behalf of the visitors.
Crowd rating Southampton was our worst attendance for three years. The larger crowd did manage to get going more effectively. 7/10.