'It's just like watching Brazil' chanted the Addickted as Charlton dominated the Baggies in the first half at The Hawthorns this afternoon, going 2-0 ahead with goals from Danny Murphy, the first from a penalty. However, it was different story after the break. Revitalised by the introduction of Kamara, the home side quickly made it 2-1 and the Addicks were under the cosh for much of the half, digging in to defend their lead. My original prediction had been 2-2 and the Baggies might feel hard done by, but the Addicks maintained their 100% away record and made their 2nd place in the table more secure. One consequence of the balance of play in the match was that both halves were largely played at the Charlton end.
In the excellent Vine pub with its Indian buffet we heard the news that Charlton would once again progress no further than the 4th round of the FA Cup, having been drawn away to Chelsea. Someone observed that Chelsea might put their 2nd team out, but this overlooks the fact that the second team is as good as their first. Pricing will have to be realistic if any of the Addickted are to be attracted to the match.
A curious announcement before the match was a request for a Dr John Evans and the Charlton secretary to go urgently to a room in one of the stands. What was all that about?
Spotting Councillor Rick Everitt in the crowd, I thought once again how nice it was to have a touch of civic dignity at away games, but then I remembered his excited celebrations captured on Sky Television after the win at 'Boro. Also spotted in the crowd was blogster Inspector Sands who was not restrained by the requirements of civic office.
The game did not get off to a quick start and I had hardly any notes worth speaking of when Jerome Thomas advanced on goal from the wing and was clattered down in the area. There were no real protests from the Albion players when referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot to give Charlton their second penalty in a week and their first in the Premiership since the season before last. May it be the first of many. Danny Murphy stepped up and drove the ball cleanly past Kirkland into the back of the net.
The Baggies managed to put in a shot that was not far over the top of the Charlton crossbar. The Addicks suffered from a series of offside decisions by the over eager lino to our right. West Brom won a free kick but it sailed way over the bar.
Rommedahl played a good ball to Murphy but Kirkland was just able to push it round the post for a Charlton corner which was cleared. The Baggies crowd had been completely silent and a little bit of activity brought a chant of 'We forgot you were here'.
Thomas ran forward with the ball well, but tried to put in a pass to Chris Powell which had so much pace on it that the left back had no chance of reaching it. Kirkland then had to save by pushing a shot from Thomas over the bar. Powell dealt with a rare Baggies attack with a good defensive header.
Rommedahl had a great run and put in a cross of greater accuracy than usual to the unmarked Murphy who was able to put the ball past Kirkland to make it 2-0 to the Addicks.
The Baggies did get back into the game a little more in the rest of the half, but a potentially promising free kick was wasted by Clement who sent in soaring over the crossbar. However, Andersen had to make a good save at point blank range from a header. A rare error by the Herminator put the Addicks under pressure as the half came to a close.Half time: Baggies 0, Addicks 2
Andy Johnson was withdrawn at the break and replaced by Diomansy Kamara and there is no doubt that this change lifted the home side's game. An attack in the first minute was repelled, but then the Baggies won two corners in succession. Five minutes into the half, the Baggies went ahead through debutante Curtis Davies who was at odds of 28-1 to score. Deano is sometimes criticised for staying rooted to his line, but that is what Andersen should have done instead of coming out and allowing the ball to be put past him.
West Brom were given a free kick, but the Herminator (who moments before had passed to an Albion player) was able to clear. So-called Hungarian wonder man Gera found himself with a chance to score, but put the ball wide. It was desperation time with the Baggies launching attack after attack, the home crowd having suddenly found their voice. Chris Powell made one vital block, but then the Baggies put in a shot that went just past the post. If they had scored a second at that stage of the game, they could well have gone on to win.
Thomas turned provider for Smertin, but his shot was way over the bar. Luke Young made a good tackle to break up an Albion attack. Young then made another good defensive block and, with Rommedahl replaced by Bothroyd, Perry went in well on Earnshaw.
Robson decided that changes were needed and Earnshaw and the ineffective Kevin Campbell were taken off and replaced by big signing Nathan Ellington and local hero Geoff Horsfield, sending the Baggies wild as they saw victory within their grasp.
A rare Murphy error set up a Baggies attack, but Andersen was able to save. Kishishev got a yellow card for a foul, the only card of the afternoon on World Fair Play Day. An announcement of an attendance of under 24,000 brought a chant from the Addickted of 'You can't sell your tickets.'
As the 75th minute mark was passed, Bothroyd managed to give the ball away near the halfway line and then Kishishev also managed to surrender possession. Charlton won an unproductive corner. Charlton played keep ball for a while in an attempt to calm the game down.
Chris Powell's valiant efforts failed to prevent a Baggies corner. Curbs decided to hold this up by making two substitutions, although there was some confusion about whether Murphy was going off but he did, accompanied by Chris Powell, with Spector and Hughes coming on. From the corner Andersen had to save on the line.
Somehow or other the referee managed to find four minutes to add on to the end of the match and they were tense minutes, although the action was initially up the other end. However, Andersen had to scoop the ball out from almost under his crossbar at the expense of a corner. Bent was able to break from the corner and go on a great run to the other end of the pitch but his effort went over.
The Baggies were let down in the second half by poor delivery, while Charlton once again showed an ability to ride their luck which is one of the characteristics of successful teams. It was therefore irritating to hear on Radio 5 on the way home the usual suggestion that Curbs should go elsewhere to develop his career, along with a comment that Charlton could be ignored in the table as the real table was the gap between Chelsea, United and Arsenal.
Congratulations to the Burton Latimer Addick on his 50-1 bet on Charlton winning 2-1 and Murphy scoring the first goal.Match analysis
Match analyst Homer the Cherry Hound
had no hesitation in awarding the Silver Bone
to the scorer of the two goals, Danny Murphy. Andersen
was also at fault for the Albion goal, but also made some excellent saves. Perry
was once again Mr Reliability and showed why he is keeping El Karkouri on the bench. Hreidarsson
had a couple of wobbles, but was generally a tower of strength. Powell
had an excellent game, defensively strong and positioning himself well on the wing to help attacks. Young
had a first rate game, intervening effectively in defence and helping to build up attacks. Kishishev
had fewer errors than usual and provided some neat passing play in midfield. Who was the lady in the crowd he came over to give his shirt to at the end of the game? Smertin
weaved his silky skills (e.g., an excellent long pass to Chris Powell early in the game), although he could have made more of a chance to score. Thomas
has been criticised by some of the Addickted recently, but there was less showboating than usual and he contributed a great deal to the game, presenting a real threat to the Baggies defence. Rommedahl
also used his pace well and provided the cross for the decisive second goal. Once again Bent
looked a little isolated and was not able to get into the action as much as he would have wanted. Hughes
came on for his usual holding role, but was not that much involved. Spector
was more involved, but is often a source of concern as he is far from the finished article. After his sparking debut on Tuesday, Boothroyd
was much less impressive in this setting.Tigger Candelent
awarded the Hiss of the Match
to the Baggie supporters who yelled '****ing cheats' as they drove past in their car. The debut analyst was quite shocked by the remarks by some Baggie supporters. However, credit must be given to the hospitable Baggies who invited us home for refreshments after the game.Crowd rating
The 1,000+ Addickted in attendance were in good voice, although there is still room for work on the range of chants used. I still haven't heard anything as innovative as the 'Two nil, or not two nil?' chanted by Leamington supporters when they went 2-0 up against Stratford Town. 8/10