Charlton exceeded their performance in their 1947 cup winning year by beating Rochdale 4-1 at The Valley in the 3rd round of the FA Cup on Saturday. Charlton started a little uncertainly, but their nerves were settled by a 19th minute goal from Bryan Hughes. Fortune made it 2-0 after 44 minutes, but Rochdale came back into the game with a goal from the impressive Grant Holt shortly after the break, but a second goal from Hughes and the first Charlton goal at The Valley from Murphy gave them a comfortable victory. To their credit Rochdale never gave up and often looked dangerous going forward.
The Addicks were pushed back in the opening phase of the game, but then lively Jerome Thomas had an attempt blocked. Good work by Thomas then saw the ball in the box, but keeper Matthew Gilks saved. A Rochdale free kick produced confusion in the Charlton area. Hughes played a ball into Jeffers which led to a Charlton corner but it was poorly taken by Thomas.
A cross by Hreidarsson put the Dale keeper under pressure. As the ball bounced awkwardly towards the Charlton goal, Luke Young calmly took command of the situation and cleared. After a long ball had been collected by Jeffers, he put in a low cross and Hughes was able to slot the ball into the net to make it 1-0 to Charlton on 19 minutes.
A Rochdale free kick could have led to an equaliser when Tait was given a free header, but he put it wide. Good work by Thomas won Charlton a corner. Holt looked dangerous, but it was possible to clear. Euell won the Addicks a free kick, but El Karkouri's effort came off the wall. A period of Rochdale pressure ended in a Charlton free kick. Rochdale won a corner (their tally in the game exceeded that of Charlton by eight to seven) and Luke Young had to head the ball over. As Bertos chased a long ball, Deano had to race out of his area to clear the ball. Rochdale, who were capable of launching dangerous attacks, were getting too much space.
JJ forced a corner for Charlton, but Gilks saved. JJ had a chance, but sent the ball well over. El Karkouri turned provider for Jeffers, but his effort was just wide. Then, after a succession of Charlton corners, the first of which was secured by Thomas, Matt Holland's corner was headed on by JJ and Fortune was available at the far post to volley the ball in the net to make it 2-0 just before the break. There was still time, however, for Deano to be called on to make a save.
Half time: Addicks 2, Dale 0
Euell was withdrawn in favour of Murphy who had an early chance that was wasted. (I subsequently learnt that Euell had a toe injury which may explain his lacklustre first half performance. Let's hope that he hasn't got ingrowing toenails as well. Perhaps we need a chiropodist at the training ground). Then six minutes into the half Fortune provided one of his unfortunate back headers, El Karkouri was unable to intercept and Holt was on hand to put the ball past Deano in a good finish. The Dale supporters, who had been vociferous throughout, went beserk, Deano being disliked by them because of his Bury connections.
After Jeffers was fouled when he went on a run, Murphy's free kick came off the Rochdale wall. However, Thomas provided an excellent cross for Hughes who headed the ball into the net to make it 3-1 on 57 minutes.
A move from a Rochdale throw in put Deano under pressure and he had to tip the ball over. Fortune made a good defensive header to clear from the subsequent corner. Matt Holland tried a thunderbolt from distance which was not too far over.
Daryl Burgess fouled Jerome Thomas and Murphy provided an inswinging free kick that found its way unerringly into the back of the net to make it 4-1. Rochdale, however, continued to pile on the pressure and Deano had to tip the ball over from a Dale corner.
Thomas put in a good cross but JJ was unable to take advantage. Rochdale won a corner but Fortune was down and had to be stretchered off from the touchline. Bryan Hughes had to clear from the corner. Feesh replaced Fortune. Following a Charlton corner that was saved, Konchesky replaced the largely ineffective JJ.
Bryan Hughes won Charlton a corner which was just saved. Thomas had a shot, but missed the target. Jeffers went on a great run, but should have fed Thomas rather than seeking glory himself.
Rochdale were given a free kick just outside the box after Feesh followed his usual policy of risky challenges in danger areas. Indeed, from where were sitting it looked as if it was inside the box, but there were no calls for a penalty from the Dale players. Feesh headed the ball over.
Paul Konchesky provided a good ball for Murphy, but his effort went over. Rochdale, who had now used up all their substitutes, forced a succession of corners. Deano had to make a late save from an excellent attempt by Holt.
Fortunately it was a day when the headlines about Premiership humiliation centred on the city of Manchester. Dale looked impressive going forward, but were far weaker in defence. As someone who watches some League 2 football, the two key differences between the divisions are far weaker defences that give you much more space to play at the lower level and much less good ball control, leading to a reliance on the hoofed long ball. Having made a good start, let's hope the Addicks get a favourable home draw in the fourth round and set out on something of a cup run.
The choice of the lounges for Man of the Match was Bryan Hughes
so I was able both to receive the match ball from him and give him his first ever Silver Bone
awarded by Hooch the Pooch not just for his two goals, but for his overall contribution. Let's hope he can show something against his old club Birmingham City next Saturday. Deano
had to make a number of good saves. El Karkouri
was solid at the back, but was not able to make anything of his free kicks. Fortune
looked suspect at times, but it was a shame to see him stretchered off. Hreidarsson
was less evident than in some games, but made a number of good contributions. Young
was a real threat down the wing and attended to his defensive duties well. Indeed, one young lady from Dorset voted for him for Man of the Match. Holland
performed with his usual efficiency giving neat touches when they were needed. Thomas
skinned the Rochdale defence time after time. The reportedly unsettled Euell
was given a start but failed to impress and was withdrawn at half time. JJ
ran about a lot, but failed to make use of some of the opportunities he was given. One can understand why Jeffers
was greedy with the ball when he went on his runs, but there was more than one occasion when a better opportunity could have been created if he had made a pass. Murphy
added quality to the side when he came. Feesh
had to come on for the injured Fortune, but displayed his tendency to make rash challenges in the area. Konchesky
played with vigour, determination and skill.
Hiss of the Match
We had such a nice day as ball sponsors thanks to the friendly and attentive staff that we have suspended the Hiss of the Match. Indeed, there was nothing that the officials did to complain about and the Rochdale players were vigorous but fair.
The depleted Charlton crowd was really quiet in the first half, even if they livened up in the second. No wonder they got chants of 'shall we sing a song for you?' 4/10