Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bore draw at The Valley

I missed the home match against the Baggies, but Charlton seemed to stage a replica this afternoon at The Valley with a 0-0 draw against another Midlands side, Aston Villa. Neither side could really complain about the result and although each had their chances, no one came near scoring. Charlton can take some slight consolation from another clean sheet and four unbeaten matches in a row. But it was a lacklustre game and the approach of the Addicks was too often cautious and nervous. The midfield often seemed to disappear. One suspects that the Cup is now the main game in SE7.

Hreidarsson made a good early block to stop an early Villa attack. Luke Young somewhat worryingly gave the ball away. A Villa free kick went off the wall. The first moment of hope for the Addickted came on 14 minutes when a good Kishishev cross was headed down by Darren Bent and saved on the line by Sorensen in the Villa goal.

Villa won their first corner on 20 minutes. It was unproductive, but shortly afterwards there was danger in front of the Addicks goal. Chris Perry dealt well with renewed Villa attacks. Matt Holland put in a decent cross but there was no one there to connect. Darren Bent broke away on a run, but his effort was saved. Kishishev put in a shot. Gareth Barry was given a yellow card, the only one of the match, for a foul on Luke Young.

Marcus Bent turned provider for his namesake who won a Charlton corner, but the corner kick was poor. In an inspired move Marcus Bent tried to pick out Ambrose with a long diagonal ball across in the pitch and he was unlucky that the move did not come off. Kishishev found himself unmarked in front of goal and his rising effort was just over. Marcus Bent seemed to have won Charlton another corner, but it was denied by referee Foy. As the half came to a close, Myhre went for safety first and tipped a shot from distance round the post, even though it was probably going wide.

Half time: Addicks 0, Villa 0

Immediately after the break, O'Leary took off Aaron Hughes and brought on Luke Moore who turned out to be very troublesome with his pace on the right wing, easily evading Spector. A Villa corner, which shoyld have been a throw in, led to an effort that went over the bar. A Villa free kick led to a corner and Tommy had to make a good save on the line. Ambrose put in a sizzling shot that drew a good save from Sorensen.

Marcus Bent limped off and down the tunnel with a hamstring problem and Bothroyd came on in his place. The Addickted livened up when Euell came on in place of Hughes and Jase received some heartfelt personal chants of support from the Covered End. The away fans had been chanting for Kevin Phillips and they got their wish when the mercurial Juan Pablo Angel departed. However, apart from one shot which Myhre saved the ex Baldock Town ace was hardly a super sub.

Charlton nearly conceded an own goal through Kishishev, but fortunately the resultant Villa corner was kicked straight out of play. Holland was taken off for El Karkouri who almost immediately put in a good ball which flashed across the front of the Villa goal. Villa won another two corners.

As the game came to an end, the nervousness around The Valley was palpable, but Charlton managed to secure the point. As we said in our preview, it wasn't going to be easy and it wasn't.

Match analysis

There was no clear candidate, but Hooch the Pooch awarded the accolade to Chris Perry for his contribution to an effective defensive performance. Myhre did have not that much to do, but he was an effective guardian of his goal. Young was not so prominent as he has been in some recent games. Hreidarsson was generally effective. But he would be better at left back where Spector was often out paced and out played? Kishishev had a good bustling game that included an attempt on goal. Holland was competent and authoritative. Hughes had a composed game and it was far from clear that the standard of the midfield play improved after he went off. Ambrose looked threatening when he went on his runs, but he was unable to turn them into anything, perhaps for lack of support. Marcus Bent showed some real skill and it was a loss when he went off with a hamstring injury. Darren Bent looked threatening on occasions but was unable to convert, although he could have done with better service and support.
Bothroyd is not in the same class as Marcus Bent. He held the ball up quite well, but denied the opportunity of a free kick in front of goal, looked unlikely to do anything with it. The appearance of Euell relatively early on was interesting, but even the Bloke Beside Me who is a fan had to concede that he is not the player he was. Some nice flicks and control of the ball, but apart from when he first came on hardly a danger and not very effective at tackling. The appearance of El Karkouri was something of a mystery and he did not contribute very much apart from one cross/shot.

Hiss of the Match A rather unusual choice by Juneau the Soccer Cat who has chosen whom I believe to be the assistant manager of Villa, one Roy Aitken who was gesticulating angrily for some time at the West Stand crowd after Charlton had been fairly given a free kick.

Crowd rating RElatively subdued which got the Villa into the 'sell I sing a song for you' routine when they had exhausted their insults directed at the Blews. 6/10.


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