Thursday, February 09, 2006

European champions come to nought

Charlton beat Liverpool 2-0 at The Valley last night in a game which they generally commanded with Thomas Myhre only having to deal with one testing shot all night. As the Covered End sang towards the end of the match, 'You can stick your Danny Murphy up your ****.' Charlton went into the lead with the first Premiership penalty since 2003 won and scored by Darren Bent. Then captain Luke Young made it 2-0 with a superb strike just before half time. In the second half, both Bents hit the woodwork. As Steve from Sidcup said afterwards,'This is what being a Charlton fan is all about.' A despondent Scouser was heard to say at the station afterwards, 'I was so looking forward to tonight.' The 'Pool team and fans had looked at the table and thought it was going to be an easy three points, but it wasn't.

Charlton got caught offside a lot early in the match and this was one time when the lino got it right. At one point this led to an exchange of views between Marcus Bent and Kishishev, but at least it shows that they care.

Liverpool won a couple of corners and then got a free kick in a potentially dangerous position, but the ball went hopelessly wide. A second free kick in a similar position minutes later was equally unproductive. I was quite surprised how poor Liverpool's forward line was. Morientes was largely invisible. Crouch must be the biggest joke to be touted as a major striker at a top club for some years. Cisse looked the most impressive, but was closely attended to by Spector. Does the whole operation depend on the presence of Gerrard? Although we played well, Liverpool were nowhere as good as I expected.

Crouch took a dive in the area, but the referee waved play on. Then Bent went down under pressure from Dudek and the referee gave a penalty. It was a marginal decision, reflected by the fact that the keeper only got a yellow card, but I have seen us denied penalties for blatant handballs, so I am not complaining. Dudek started to do his Turkish dance, dancing up and down and waving his arms about, but his pirouette made no impression on the calm Bent who slotted the ball into the left hand corner of the goal.

Carragher did not like the referee's decision and was given a yellow card for dissent, but he went on shouting at the referee using unparliamentary language and I was surprised that Mr Mariner did not give him a second yellow.

Charlton kept up the pressure and a cross from Smertin gave Young a loose ball to make use of it. He put in angled drive along the ground, an excellent goal that put the Addicks 2-0 ahead just before the break.

Half time: Addicks 2, 'Pool 0

Charlton won an early free kick when Jerome Thomas was fouled, but Liverpool managed to break dangerously and Chris Perry had to act decisively to deny them an early goal, earning a yellow card for his efforts. Marcus Bent went down and required treatment. Charlton mounted an attack, but Smertin's effort was well wide. Liverpool were given a free kick for an alleged foul on Cisse, although I thought Charlton had played for the ball. In any event the 'Pool effort went soaring over the Covered End goal.

Spector was playing with a new confidence and authority and put in a good defensive header to Myhre. Liverpool won a free kick on the touchline, but once again their effort was way off target. Crouch was pulled off, the disappearance of the cheating man mountain drawing a chorus of boos from the Addickted. Fowler came on, sending the Scousers into delerium, but to me Fowler looked past his best and seemed to have put on a few pounds in weight.

Bent burst through with the 'Pool defence in hot pursuit and his effort came off the croosbar. Marcus Bent then put in an effort which went off the post and rebounded across the front of goal. Hypia, who has the turning circle of an oil tanker, went off and was replaced by Risse. Myhre was tested for the first time in the game when he made a good save off Morientes and had to concede a corner.

Liverpool used their last shot in their locker by pulling off Cisse and replacing him with new wonder man Jan Kromkamp. Jerome Thomas was replaced by Darren Ambrose. Although Myhre was tested by one shot from distance and Liverpool won a late corner in the three minutes added on, many of the Liverpool fans had already left to return to their homes throughout London.

If one had said a few weeks ago that Charlton would get a win, a draw and a defeat from the last three matches, I think that most people would have predicted a win against the Baggies and a draw at Spurs. I think that a win over Liverpool is more enjoyable than one over the Baggies and it certainly restored the faith of some supporters in the team. Now for the Massives!

Match analyst Hooch the Pooch awarded the Silver Bone to Luke Young for a superb goal and a generally excellent performance. You could see how much his goal meant to him. Myhre didn't have a lot to do, but what he did he did well. He shows confidence in commanding his area and communicates well with defenders and gets really excited when Charlton score. Hreidarsson had a first rate game. Perry replaced Fortune and displayed real professionalism and effectiveness. Spector had an excellent game, his best yet, and was awarded a special Silver Biscuit by Hooch as most improved player. Kishishev had a good game, making very few errors His critics should also note the passion and joy he showed when congratuating Luke Young and remember that this is a player who always give 100% even if he is no Makelele. His position is one in which a series of players have been criticised from Cyril Hammond through to Luke Young. He has been replaced as the favourite scapegoat by Hughes. He did make a number of errors in the first half, but played more effectively in the second. It was good to see Thomas back in the side and he showed real skill, getting resounding cheers when he was subbed. Smertin showed real skill in controlling the ball, but is unlikely to score. Marcus Bent shows the advantages of having a strong player up front to accompany his namesake. Darren Bent had another great game.Ambrose showed real strength and determination when he appeared to replace Thomas and kept 'Pool well in check. El Karkouri seemed a little confused about where he was and what he was doing. Finally, it was good to see Euell on the bench even if he didn't play.

Juneau the Soccer Cat gave the Hiss of the Match to the Bloke Behind Me who kept up a stream of invective about the ineptitide of the Charlton players and Curbishley in the first half, but was somewhat silenced in the second. It was not a good night for moaners who will have a hard time constructing an anti-Curbs narrative out of the match.

Crowd rating: In good voice and with an innovative chant, 8/10.


Blogger Steve0 said...

It was nice to leave the Valley with a warm feeling for once. Good to see you gave a special silver biscuit to the excellent Spector! One of the the hi-lites of the first half for me was the duel bewteen Spector and Cisse. All the lads played well and worked hard; it was great to see Jerome chasing back in addtition to turning on the style. Hope we can sustain this form for the televised match against the Blue Mooners!

C A F C !

9:43 AM  

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