Sunday, December 04, 2005

Club in crisis after latest collapse

Alan Curbishley has admitted that Charlton are in crisis after their 2-5 home defeat by Manchester City, their sixth loss in a row. Except for a very brief period when they were 1-1, Charlton were continually chasing the game, although there was real hope when they were 2-3 and they seem to have lifted their game. However, they were repeatedly exposed at the back by defensive lapses and while the excellent strikes by Bent and Bothroyd might normally be enough to win the match, or at least get a point, they could not compensate for the side's lack of organisation. Indeed, the midfield was at much as fault as the defence, losing its shape for much of the game and failing to make an adequate contribution.

I feared that the match was lost when I heard the line up in the pub and realised that Kiely, Spector, Holland and JJ were playing. Kiely has now conceded eight goals in two matches and, whilst paying tribute to all he has done for the club over the years, he is not the keeper he was. One might also suggest that this game shows how much the battling but much derided Kishishev has contributed to protecting a shaky Addicks defence.

The Addicks were under constant pressure in the opening phase of the game. Kiely had to save after the hapless Spector was beaten and then had to get down on the ground to save bravely, getting hurt in the process. The Herminator provided a good defensive header at the expense of a City corner and Bent cleared with a header from the corner. Another Massives corner led to an effort that went over. The sight of Spector trying to contain Sinclair was not for the weak hearted. Ambrose went down, but referee Dowd was determined not to stop play.

On 25 minutes the inevitable happened. Vassell won control of a clearance and maoeuvred inside Perry and outside Hreidarsson to turn provider for Cole who put the ball past Kiely to make it 0-1. Ambrose raced through and had an excellent chance to beat James, but blasted his shot over the bar. Charlton won a couple of corners (through JJ and Bent) that were unproductive, but then a defensive failure by Dunne allowed Bent to volley past James (whose distribution throughout the match was excellent).

Charlton are never more vulnerable when they have scored. Sinclair surged forward, outpacing Spector, although some thought that he had been fouled. Cole provided him with the ball and Sinclair scored from a narrow angle which Kiely could have done more to cover.

Half-time: Addicks 1, City 2

Holland was replaced by Thomas immediately after the break and, after a decent interval had elapsed, JJ was replaced by Bothroyd. Meanwhile, a City free kick in a dangerous position had gone over the bar, but another Massives shot had whistled just past the post. Charlton were given a free kick, but the off colour Murphy's shot was way over. Chris Perry was given a yellow card for an off the ball incident. Luke Young forged forward and won Charlton a corner, but this was unproductive. A correspondent has pointed out that Charlton rarely convert from corners these days, but I have been unable to find any public domain statistics on this issue.

On 69 minutes City were awarded a penalty in front of their fans, after a foul by the Herminator. Kiely saved from Barton's shot, but was unable to hold on to the ball and Barton scored from the rebound. Shortly afterwards, Ambrose missed another chance to score, putting his effort just wide.

Bothroyd was brought down just outside the box and Luke Young was given a yellow card for telling Dowd what he thought of his decision not to award a penalty. Murphy side kicked the ball to Bothroyd who blasted it into the back of the net to make it 2-3. Charlton were on fire and good work by Smertin earned the Addicks a corner.

Instead of equalising, Murphy gave the ball away and Cole released Vassell. Kiely failed to react quickly enough and Vassell was able to slide the ball past him to make it 2-4. There was a chance to make it 3-4 when the inspired Thomas made a great run down the wing but Bent's shot was pushed over the bar by the alert James.

Hughes released Bothroyd but his shot was at the keeper. Perry made a weak attempt to head back to Kiely, but Cole intercepted the ball and rounded the keeper to make it 3-5. Charlton did win a couple of late as corners as the Massives chanted for six, but it was to no avail and City were able to bring on three late substitutes.

One might ask, where was Rommedahl? His pace could have unsettled the far from solid City defence, but normally reliable sources suggest a bust up with Curbs. Mind you, Kiely was rumoured to have had such a bust up and found himself back between the posts.

Match analysis

The Silver Bone has been locked in the cupboard and will remain there until Charlton's performance was improved. Kiely was let down by his defence, but has to take some responsibility for conceding five goals to which his own errors contributed. Perry was not up to his usual standard and led to one of the City goals with a poor back pass. Even Hreidarsson was below par and was at fault for one of the goals. Perhaps he should be restored to left back. Spector remains far short of what is required at this level. Young was one of the best players on the pitch and made some inspired runs forward. Holland was anonymous and thankfully withdrawn at half time. Smertin was one of the few players to show real skill and commitment. Ambrose had two chances to score, the first of which could have changed the course of the match. Otherwise it was far from clear where he was meant to be playing. Murphy was far from his best, illustrated by an incident towards the end of the match when he dwelt on the ball far too long and had it taken away from him. Apart from winning one corner, JJ made little impact on the game. Bent foraged forward effectively, but lacked support. His goal was well taken. Thomas helped to lift Charlton's play when he came on at half time. The goal scored by Bothroyd was inspired and he was a real presence on the pitch. Hughes had his usual ineffective cameo.

Hiss of the Match The East Stand linesman took a long time to work out how to raise his flag and seemed to blue through and through given some of his decisions.

Crowd rating The Addickted did their best to get behind the players, but understandably became disheartened. 6/10.

Thanks to Matt Wright in the programme for mentioning this blog.


Blogger Ian Block EE said...

Wyn - as a long time Curbs watcher, I wondered what you made of Fortune and Sorrondo being on the pitch during the warm up - they were in full kit, and made to run up and down. I have to say they looked a bit uncomfortable about it. It was a bit odd, as nither were in the team or on the bench. If it was meant to gee up those in the team - "Play well or these guys will be in your place next week" - it failed quite spectaculalrly. I would like to see Fortune back in the team - He is usually reliable, and he scores 2 or 3 per season as well. He can't do any worse - can he?

Agree with you about Kish - he was really missed yesterday. And as for Spector - it is such a disappointment, as during pre-season he looked very promising.

Once again, 6 or 7 corners - no result. The players look like they don't beleive they can score from a corner.

Thomas looked bright, as did
Ambrose and Bent, and Bothroyd clearly has a speciality shot.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Wyn Grant said...

I saw this and it puzzled me as I have never seen anything like it before. Cynics have suggested that it was to remind them what the pitch and stadium were like. Fortune makes the odd mistake, especially under pressure, but he is not evidently worse than what we have been using.

6:12 PM  

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