Saturday, January 07, 2006

Roller coaster ride at Sheffield

Sheffield is a city of many hills and Charlton gave the Addickted a roller coaster ride before delivering a convincing 4-2 victory against Sheffield Wednesday. Ahead after 12 minutes through Rommedahl, the aptly named Heckingbottom quickly equalised for Wednesday, but Holland and Rommedahl again put the Addicks 3-1 ahead before the break.

With Rommedahl substituted by Ambrose immediately after half time, the Addicks looked lacklustre and uncertain in the opening ten minutes of the half before the inevitable happened and that man Heckingbottom scored again to make it 2-3. There were some anxious moments before Darren Bent put the match beyond doubt with a well taken goal.

Wednesday were much easier to penetrate than a Premiership side, hence the four goals, but Charlton's makeshift defence were a constant cause for concern. But, not to worry, we're through to the 4th Round of the Cup. Bring on Colchester (who took out the other Sheffield club).

The omens before the match were good, as I saw a 53 bus going along the road, even though it wasn't going to Plumstead Common. Reading Addick Mike Robinson won the 'I saw Roy Arnold' t-shirt after the Sheffield Eagle approached him with a list of names, one of the others being Cllr. Rick Everitt who was present but not in full civic regalia. The build up in the historic stadium before the match was atmospheric with the sounding of the hooter recalling the steel city's past. Myhre urged the Addickted on. Murphy was not in the side, renewing speculation about his future, although he may well just have a hamstring problem.

The Addicks started brightly, winning an early corner through a good move by Hughes. Heckingbottom had to block a close range shot from Bartlett. Released by Rommedahl, Bent's shot was not far over and Hughes was not able to make use of an opportunity from a few yards out. However, then Rommedahl burst through, cut inside Heckingbottom who looked as if he was waiting for a mine shaft to swallow him up and put the ball past Lucas in the Wednesday goal.

However, the Charlton lead only lasted for four minutes. A corner taken by Brunt was headed across a very crowded box by Coughland and Heckingbottom was able to head the ball into the net from six yards. Myhre got a hand to it, but was only able to assist it into the back of the net.

Chris Powell displayed his skill by seeing the ball out for a goal kick. An error by Fortune put the Addicks in danger and the ball flashed across the front of the goalmouth and went out for a Wednesday corner. However, Powell was on hand to head the ball out at the expense of a throw in.

With Hughes finding space on the left, he was able to make a mockery of the Owls defence and the well placed Holland forged through to slot the ball over Lucas on 27 minutes and make it 2-1 to the visitors.

Fortune put in some good defensive work. Then, as half time approached, O'Brien failed to clear his lines. Holland passed to Bent who turned provider for Rommedahl who put the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-1. Charlton won a corner in the two minutes added on (for what was far from clear).

Half time: Owls 1, Addicks 3

The Addickted were able to greet cup tied keeper and Valley favourite Nicky Weaver when he came on to do the half time raffle. Rommedahl was replaced by Ambrose immediately after the break and this seemed to deprive Charlton of some of their cutting edge. Myhre had to make a great one handed save to put a shot from Whelan around the post. The keeper caught the corner. Bartlett was fighting well for the ball.

A Wednesday free kick led to a corner for the home side. Holland was not able to fully clear Corr's header and with Myhre not well placed Heckingbottom was able to score from a volley to make it 2-3 after 61 minutes.

A determined Bent chased the ball well. Good work by Ambrose contributed to a Charlton attack and a ball from Hughes flashed across the front of the Owls goal. Bent burst through and was one on one with Lucas, but the keeper make an excellent save with his legs to deny the striker. Charlton were now applying some pressure, although Corr came close to an equaliser for the home side.

On 77 minutes Hughes was withdrawn in favour of super sub Kevin Lisbie. Fortune was given a yellow card for a foul and Wednesday earned a free kick in a promising position, but Charlton anticipated the way they would play it well. Powell was pulled off in favour of Perry on 81 minutes, to the annoyance of some of the Addickted, but I thought it was a sensible precaution.

Ambrose put an excellent ball into Bent and the striker shrugged off an Owls defender and rounded Lucas to confidently score his 13th goal of the season on 87 minutes to make it 4-2 to the Addicks. Most of the 14,851 crowd started heading for the exits, although Wednesday won two corners in the three minutes of time added on.

The win ended four consecutive away defeats for the Addicks. As we drove past the turning to Huddersfield, who apparently gave a good account of themselves at Chelsea, I reflected that perhaps Charlton were not such a naff team after all. There was also a certain irony in passing a Colchester car on the motorway, recalling the 9-1 defeat of Leamington by them that I had watched in the first round.

Cup match analyst Monty Martin from Blewbury, Oxon, awarded the Silver Bone to Dennis Rommedahl who was on for only 45 minutes but delivered two excellent goals and generally scared the living daylights out of the Owls defence. Myhre might have coped better with the first goal and his kicking out leaves something to be desired. Sometimes he put up some weak balls which created renewed pressure. Fortune did well enough, but he always makes me nervous and certainly put Myhre under pressure more than once. Hreidarsson was competent if less evident than usual. Spector stood in for Luke Young who was on the bench and he is no Luke Young. He is certainly not comfortable in the right back position. Powell had an excellent game, defending well and forging forward. Kishishev made one or two errors, immediately leapt on by the Blokes Behind Me, but was generally solid. Holland
had a good game as captain, scoring one good goal and generally contributing well.
Hughes looked quite a danger down the wing, but perhaps that says something about the quality of the Wednesday defence. Bartlett was somewhat surprisingly often beaten in the air, but did his best in attack and defence. Bent had a number of attempts at goal, took his goal well and might have scored more with better service. Ambrose didn't make a strong impression apart from good work in one attack. Lisbie was largely anonymous after he came on. Perry added a calm authority to the defence in the last ten minutes of the game and I would have started him rather than Fortune.

Juneau the Soccer Cat was pleased she had brought her own litter tray with her. The Hiss of the Match goes to the ladies. The chains were too high for shorter women to reach and by the end of the match were blocked. (Referee Dowd had a good game)

Crowd rating The Addickted got behind the team well and it is always good to hear a chorus of 'Goodbye Horse'. 7/10


Blogger Ken J said...

Wyn: Wouldn't Perry have made a better starting right back, with Spector in a central position, perhaps allowing HH to play left back?

12:52 AM  
Blogger Wyn Grant said...

Possibly, although Powell had a good game at left back, the weakest link was Fortune, although Spector also failed to impress. There is also poor coordination in the defence with two players going for the same ball or markin the same man.

9:11 AM  

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