Disappointment again at The Valley
Prior to the game Alan Curbishley, in both the notes in the programme and in his pre match interview, had expressed the need for the fans to get behind the team and his disappointment at the reaction of the fans to the Crystal Palarse defeat showed a certain amount of naivety regarding the relationship between the former tenants and landlords.
This year's Red, White and Black day was to be a celebration of Charlton's efforts in the community and the pre match entertainment consisted of a gospel choir in front of the West Stand, followed by some chants eight minutes into the match for a certain Mr Brian Cole from the North Stand.
That aside, the ceowd started very quietly, subdued in the anticipation of a hard game. JJ and Kish both returned to the team along with Bartlett, Thomas and El K, at the expense of Jeffers/Lisbie, the latter being on the bench, Murphy, the injured Rom and Fortune.
Both sides exchanged early corners, with Thomas shwoing some good touches and being able to take corners, in the absence of anyone else to assume responsibility. Deano made a competent save after fourteen minutes from a free kick. This was followed by El K taking a free kick from around forty yards out and the pile driver being tipped round the post for a corner, to be taken again by the impressive Thomas. Soon after a poor clearance from Kiely was returned with interest into the Charlton box. Amidst wide swings to clear the threat, the ball pinged around Perry and Hasselbank and came off El K, who was having an eventful game, and into the Charlton net: 1-0 to Boro. Boro are an improved side from the dour team we have played in recent years, strong up front, and a well marshalled midfield, led by ex Palarse and England centre half Southgate.
The next few minutes were fast and furious with both sides having chances. Thomas notably had a shot blocked just inside the area and Hasselbank put over the bar. Again Euell was guilty of losing control of the ball in the middle of the park, resulting in a shot. Euell has an excellent second touch, the problem is his first: he rarely has the chance to show the second. El K was booked for trying to give Boateng a close up view of the Upper West. In the 32nd minute JJ was bundled over in the penalty box, but claims for a penalty were muted. By this time Boro players seemed to be plagued by some degree of physical sensitivity as each time a player got near to them they collapsed in a heap on the floor requiring extensive treatment, although this was not reflected in the two minutes added on at the end of the half. Kish was fouled on the edge of the area and HH hit the resulting free kick just over the bar.
HT: Addicks 0, Boro 1
Charlton started brightly after the re start and were soon on level terms, a ball directly through the centre from Euell, his only decent touch of the afternoon, reached JJ, who rounded the keeper, seemingly pushing the ball too far, but getting to it first and steering it past two defenders into the net, his first goal for some months. Charlton then looked more up for the fight. However, Hasselbank broke free and with only Kiely to beat, saw his shot well saved, but in the 59th minute a fast interchange of passes saw Zenden relased in the area and curl his shot round Kiely into the net.
Perry was booked for a trip on Viduka, Lisbie came on for Bartlett, who had a reasonable not outstanding game, and Murphy replaced Kishishev. In the 70th minute Thomas put in a fine cross, but Lisbie failed to make decent contact and the ball went wide. Five minutes later, Euell had a 35 yard shot but failed to put on any power and the ball tamely went to Schwarzer. JJ put in a cross that turned into a shot that went just over the bar, then Euell turned and shot inside the area, but this was easily saved. Thomas was replaced by Konchesky, the forgotten man of The Valley, but to no avail and at the final whistle The Valley echoed to boos and most of the players and Curbishely quickly removed themselves from the scene of the crime. Fair does to Keily and Holland who trudged off slowly and, despite the boos, acknowledged the crowd.
This was a disappointing game. Although an improvement on Wednesday's affair, the players at least tried and their shortcomings were not about effort, but maybe more worryingly about skill. Again passes went short. Boro were able to pick the ball up midfield almost at will and return it to the danger area. If the initial attempt to reach the front line failed, then all hope was lost because Plan A, Plan B and Plan C were all the same.
The next few weeks are looking worrying. Spuds away next week, Norwich at home no longer looks like a guaranteed three points, then Man Ure away, and finally Chel$ski at home. One point from twelve will not be good enough.
Analysis - Kish 'a Jack Russell' says Bracken
Kiely a reasonable game, a couple of good saves, but his poor clearance let to the first goal. Young played well in patches, made some good forays up field and showing his increased confidence as an attacking defender. HH still not up to the form of last season, was caught out of position and was turned a few times by the speed of the Boro attacks. Perry cited as our worst buy by one of the papers, just goes to show that you cannot believe everything you read in the press. However, he was at fault with a poor clearance for the first goal and made another soft clearance during the match, otherwise steady. El Karkouri, his first start at centre half, the role he was bought for, looked solid and dependable, more assured than Fortune and was unfortunate with the goal, although the booking was more than warranted. Kish, you know what you are going to get with Kish. Providing you accept that he is a Jack Russell type of player, running around and yapping, he won't disappoint, made a reasonable return to the team. Holland was tight in midfield and plays the holding role well, but needs creativity next to him which is why Euell played today, but his first touch is real hindrance to him, his only real contribution going forward was the pass to JJ. He will always win the hearts of some Charlton fans for his endless running, but he has to be more than that. We have lots of runners, it is creativity we need. Thomas has been a revelation in the two games he has played this week, tricky on the ball, he is not easily knocked off as Romm appears to be and knows his defensive duties, was the best Addick on the pitch today. Bartlett well marshalled by Southgate, did ok, but did not have the dominance in the game he had against Newcastle. JJ had a good game and took his goal well when it looked like he had allowed it to run away from him. Lisbie, apart from one half chance, was fairly anonymoys. Murphy I thought made some good passes but also gave the ball away. He has got too used to players making runs and his colleagues showing movement, welcome to the real world of football, pass to where the player is, not where you expect him to run to. Konch, poor old Konch, too little time to make any sort of mark.
Guest match analyst, Bracken from Forest Hill
For the second time in a week, guest match analyst Bracken from Forest Hill has awarded the Silver Bone to Jerome Thomas.
Hiss of the Match referee Halsey allowing Boro to get away with awful play acting.
Crowd rating tried to get going but were undermined by the team every time, considering Wednesday's result did not do badly. 6/10
Footnote from Wyn Grant
When someone left the meeting I was chairing in Leeds early to watch the Super Hoops, I knew that he was in for more of a treat than what would be available at The Valley (they won 3-0). While I thought Charlton might scrape a draw against a much improved Boro, as I struggled with my radio to get reception on a Virgin train, I was not surprised to learn that they had lost 1-2. On Match of the Day Curbs referred to letting too many goals in and failing to score enough which I guess about sums it up. What we really need in the transfer window is a reliable striker which Jeffers has unfortunately turned out not to be. But where can such a person be found? Going to the Championship is not really the answer as Earnshaw has not so far impressed at West Brom.