The Addickted had the disappointment of a 2-0 lead against Spurs being turned into a 2-3 defeat at The Valley on Saturday October 1st. Darren Bent put the Addicks ahead in the first half and scored a second after the break. Immediately one sensed that the Charlton players thought the match was won and started to lose their concentration. Spurs then secured a very soft goal from King and followed it up with a second one that was poorly defended to equalise. Their third goal from Keane was a screamer, but Charlton still had chances to level the score in the remaining minutes, but failed to capitalise on them, just as they had not taken advantage of an open goal in the first half. The withdrawal of Darren Bent after a clash of heads also emphasised how short the Addicks are of quality strikers with Bartlett serving up a lacklustre performance.
The weekend edition of the Financial Times
carried a feature on the successful Valley Express service with quotes from Rick Everitt and Peter Varney. We make our own small contribution with the Warwickshire Rickshaw and are thinking of getting magnetics from our sponsors Kingdom Signs to designate the service. However, road works at Redbridge Island meant we were quite seriously delayed and were not able to park in the Rose of Denmark. We did not take up the suggestion of using a valet service being offered by a Dickensian pub up the road: the car would certainly be taken away, but whether it would return is another matter.
The game started with the sides changing ends which always makes me uneasy. Our subsequent 2-0 lead perhaps led people to forget that Spurs dominated for the first twenty minutes or so. Equally, reports on Murphy have accentuated the many positive aspects of his play and overlooked the more negative aspects. Murphy was dispossessed early in the game at the price of a Spurs corner. Bent cleared with a header and the ball was played back to Robinson in the Spurs goal.
El Karkouri put in an excellent long ball to Thomas, but the inspired move didn't quite come off as the ball was hit just a little bit too strongly for Thomas to connect. Thomas fell down when being pursued in the area, but referee Dowd rightly judged that it was not a penalty.
After Powell gave the ball away, Stalteri was brought down and Spurs were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position. Kishishev managed to get the ball away, but it was played in again and Spurs won a corner which showed Andersen at his most indecisive.
Given the amount of criticism that Kishishev gets, it is worth noting that he successfully broke up a Spurs attack. Good work by Charlton on the wing involving Rommedahl and Smertin presented Kishishev with an opportunity as he ran in, but he put the shot wide. El Karkouri broke up a Spurs attack with a good tackle. Kishishev showed his more negative side when he gave the ball away. Bent received a good through ball but Robinson saved. A corner was nearly given away when the ball bounced off Powell, but all Spurs got was a throw in by the corner flag.
Thomas put in a superb lofted cross from near the touchline which put the Spurs defence under pressure and led to a Charlton corner that was unproductive. Given later developments, what I noted at this stage of the game was significant: 'some confusion in defence'.
Charlton were, however, getting into the game more, although Spurs were awarded another free kick in a dangerous position. Then on 25 minutes Murphy provided an excellent through ball. The Spurs defence, as is typical with so-called big clubs, looked for the offside flag, but Stalteri played Bent onside. As the Spurs defence parted as if for Moses, Bent charged through and slotted the ball past Robinson to make it 1-0.
A Spurs free kick led to a Spurs corner. In a quite extraordinary piece of play, Murphy dallied around with it in front of goal in a way that could have easily presented an opportunity to the Haringey side. Although it was cleared, Spurs then won another two corners, suggesting that they were still very much in the game.
Davids fouled Smertin by kicking him in the goolies, but as Inspector Sands has already noted, Dowd treated Davids like an ancient monument and had a few consoling words with him about his vision problems. However, when Luke Young fouled Davids, his name immediately went in the book. In general, Rommedahl was getting the better of Davids, but referee Dowd lost no opportunity to give the visitors a helping hand. When Chris Powell was fouled, the free kick went to the visitors. The Addicks then had an excellent chance to make it 2-0. Brilliant work by Smertin led to an excellent ball played to the unmarked Bent, but somehow he managed to put his shot wide from six yards out.
When El Karkouri was fouled, Defoe got a yellow card leading to chants of 'one greedy bastard'. Charlton had a free kick in a promising position after charm merchant Davids fouled Murphy, but it was cleared. Andersen had to make a save at the near post after Mido managed to break through. With Charlton needing to preserve their lead, Luke Young made a great stop.Half time: Addicks 1, Spurs 0
Our mascots are hardly inspiring or exciting figures, but it was noticed that the dog (Floyd?) was absent, but apparently he was down the vets. Monty Martin would be more exciting, but he was told to stay in the press box. The computerised system which is supposed to reveal the Valley Gold results in an 'exciting' format malfunctioned leading to shouts of 'Computer say no'. It almost made one wish for the return of the camels that were featured in the centenary DVD shown on the 'big' screen before the match.
Within three minutes of the start Bent had put Charlton 2-0 ahead. Advancing on goal with one of his typical runs, and evading King, he put a really superb curling shot into the top corner of the net.
In their wins at Birmingham and West Brom, the Addicks have put themselves under pressure in the second half and this time their lack of steel led to a defeat. Three minutes after Bent's goal, Smertin was judged to have fouled Davids after he lost his boot, the referee making sure that he would get his signed shirt after the game. A free kick by Mendes was headed on and King stuck a leg out to put the ball past Andersen. It was a fluke goal, although the keeper could have been more alert.
Mendes was given a yellow card for a foul on Rommedahl. The morale of the Addickted was boosted when Young denied Judas Defoe. Mendes was taken off and replaced by Tainio. Good work gave Smertin a chance, but he shot at the keeper. We had heard before the game that it was raining in Kent (Bexleyheath, Kent that is) and with a dark cloud looming over The Valley, the heavens opened and even a couple of rumbles of thunder were heard. Was an old testament deity coming to the aid of the visitors?
The match was starting to get a bit scrappy and Kishishev obligingly passed to a Spurs player. With the Charlton defence seemingly motionless (and Luke Young particularly at fault) Tainio found Mido unmarked. He put in a good angled shot which went through Andersen's legs, although again I felt that the keeper could have reacted more quickly. 2-2: the score my wife had forecast in the jackpot.
Spurs were now going for victory and Carrick was replaced by Robbie Keane. Murphy sent Luke Young through with an excellent pass but the captain missed but was offside anyway. This move produced a clash of heads between Bent and Stalteri. As Bent lay on the ground, Spurs fans, who had been clearly wound up by the striker's success, showed their by biblical knowledge by accusing him of being an Onanist. Stalteri returned with a big bandage on his head and wearing a 49 shirt. Bent, with a swollen eye, had to be taken into the dressing room. Bartlett came on, his body language suggesting someone who had just been told by his wife that he was going to spend the rest of the afternoon shopping for a new sofa.
Judas fell over and Spurs were awarded a free kick by the obliging Mr Dowd who then booked Kishishev for a foul. The resultant free kick was sent high and wide into the Covered End by Davids who is nowhere near as good as he thinks he is. Rommedahl won the ball well and got Charlton a throw in by the flag.
On 79 minutes Thomas was replaced by Hughes. As Steve from Sidcup remarked, Hughes is a journeyman, the sort of player who used to figure in the first eleven ten years ago. If there had to be a change, I would rather have had Holland on the bench (Ambrose is apparently not fit).
On 81 minutes Powell was on the attack but was dispossessed by Lennon. Mido was down at this point which may have been a distraction and it would have been better with hindsight if the ball had been played out (Mido was taken off and replaced by Dawson). With Defore and Keane playing a one-two, Keane then hammered an excellent strike past Andersen. Keane then came and celebrated with his fellow Spudz in front of the East Stand.
Kishishev was taken off and replaced by Spector who seemed almost to be playing as a striker. Bartlett had a great chance, but managed to put the ball past the post, vainly claiming a deflection. Murphy received a yellow card after giving Davids a well deserved couple of kicks. Hughes put in a shot from the left which had to be palmed out in a great save by Robinson. Then, as the final minutes of the four minutes added on, Luke Young had a great chance to secure revenge against his old club, but put his shot over.
Post match comment from the Addickted has understandably focused on the lack of a decent back up striker. I would rather have seen JJ on the bench today than Bartlett and I never thought I would find myself saying that. Jeffers and Lisbie are fortunately elsewhere and the discontented Euell is still injured. Bothroyd did not do well against the Baggies. It would have been good to have had Sam on the bench who would have added more than Bartlett. Olafur Johansson has suggested that the day for young Icelandic striker Gislason may come sooner than later and he could well be right. But it shouldn't be forgotten that the real problem in this match was poor defending.
Anyway, no one who saw that match could say the Premiership was boring. It's just a shame that the joke was on us, although I feel that the score draw I originally predicted would have been a fair result. And we will beat them at White Hart Lane.Match analysisHooch the Pooch
was dropped as match analyst after he was found to have broken open and eaten a bag of chocolates and toffees on Saturday morning and with his deputy, Homer the Cherry Hound, settling into his new home it was perhaps a bad omen when third string analyst Monty Martin
was summoned at short notice from Blewbury, Oxon. The spaniel reacted in a typically excitable way to the goals scored by Darren Bent
, perhaps overlooking his misses and awarded him the Silver Bone,
although whether it did much for Bent's headache is another matter. Andersen
lent support to those who favour a return for Kiely by letting in three and was arguably partially to blame for the first and second goals. Young
missed two chances to score, perhaps overawed by the presence of the England manager. Powell
was confident and involved, but sometimes perhaps lacked the extra yard of pace to deal with Spurs. El Karkouri
is a favourite with the Addickted and made a strong return. Perry
seemed to play well enough, but one would want to look at his positioning for the goals. Kishishev
is a favourite scapegoat at the moment, but he battled away and gave the ball away less often than usual. Curbs expressed worries that England expectations would get to Murphy
and he was certainly sometimes below his usual standard, his frustration showing by the end of the game, although he won plenty of plaudits from the media. Smertin
contributed through his skill and had a very good match, but will he ever score a goal? Thomas
was not too prominent, but did put in one excellent lofted cross. Rommedahl
used his pace to good effect. Bartlett
was poor when he came on, I would not say disappointing because I don't expect too much. Hughes
is the eternal substitute, but he drew one good save from Robinson. Spector
showed plenty of energy and enthusiasm, but made little impact.Juneau the Soccer Cat
considered giving the Hiss of the Match
to referee Dowd, who is one of those refs who thinks he can enjoy a joke with the players, but instead gave it to Edgar Davids
who thinks he is the greatest, but he is past his best and was continually protesting to the referee about every decision.Crowd rating
I know that the Jimmy Seed Stand has excellent acoustics and the most fanatical away fans come away, but it is worrying the extent to which the Addickted are out shouted and out sung by the visitors, although 'Judas' Defoe was given a roasting. 6/10.