Sunday, April 30, 2006

As bad as it gets

Yesterday's home display against Blackburn was as bad a one as I have seen in a season which has seen so many dismal performances after promising so much. No doubt the team were unsettled by being told 15 minutes before the start of the game that Curbs was leaving. But Charlton's difficulty in retaining possession and the fact that they conceded two soft goals illustrated some of the challenges to be faced by the new manager.

To celebrate the fact that 3,800 fans were coming to the match by Rickshaw, a small group of Addickted travelled down the Thames from Westminster on the M.V.Pride of Welling which was designated the first water Rickshaw. On arrival at The Valley, we bought a Charlton sleeping garment for our first grandson born on Friday.

Blackburn looked up for it and Sorondo was soon called into action to put in a good tackle. However with Andersen out of his goal, Blackburn somehow managed to put the ball across the front of goal rather than into it. A free kick taken by Pedersen was saved by Andersen. Sankofa provided some good defensive work.

Charlton managed a spell of pressure and Matt Holland won the ball well in defence. Ambrose put in a good shot which Friedel fumbled before he saved it. Blackburn won a free kick on the edge of the area which went through the Charlton wall and Andersen had to react quickly to make a good save at the expense of a corner. Styles went over to rebuke the Blackburn manager who was going beserk on the touchline. Andersen soon had to make another good save and Chris Perry had to make a good tackle on Bellamy. Matt Holland drew a save from Friedel.

Card happy referee Styles gave the first of a number of yellow cards to Powell for holding back a Blackburn player. Pedersen was then given a yellow card for an amateurish dive. Bryan Hughes put in a good ball to Darren Bent who was deemed to be offside in a very marginal decision. Blackburn were awarded a free kick for obstruction by Kishishev but Andersen made the save.

Ambrose won Charlton a corner, but Blackburn put in a shot that was just over the bar. After Neill got a yellow for Blackburn, Styles booked Kishishev and Savage, the latter presumably for dissent as the charm merchant protested vociferously about something.

From the Blackburn free kick, the visitors were able to find space on the left and the ball was slotted in from the cross by Reid with the Charlton defence failing to mark properly. It was a clumsy goal to concede and coming just before half time it was deflating for Charlton.

Half time: Addicks 1, Rovers 0

A short way into the second half Bentley was brought on for Nelsen in an attacking substitution for the visitors. Sorondo was given a yellow card. Chris Perry had to provide good defensive cover.

Curbs decided to change things round and the anonymous Bartlett was replaced by Lisbie, while Lloyd Sam took over from Kish. Then from a Charlton corner Blackburn burst up the pitch and with Bellamy applying pressure, Chris Powell put the ball into his own net to make it 0-2. After that, Blackburn increasingly dominated the game with Charlton finding it difficult to get hold of the ball or certainly to keep it.

Fortune was brought on in place of Sorondo. Charm merchant Bellamy finally received a deserved yellow card. As the match drew to a close, a crescendo of sound rose around The Valley in tribute to Alan Curbishley.

Match analysis

Match analyst Hooch the Pooch presented a special commemorative Silver Bone to Alan Curbishley after the match. The match Silver Bone went to Chris Perry for a stalwart performance in defence. With Myhre off form there was a case for using Andersen in goal, but he was not that impressive. When Chris Powell went round the pitch after the match, I realised that this was the last time we would see him as a player at The Valley, although I hope that some kind of coaching role can be found for him. It wasn't the best of games for him as he was at fault to some extent for the first goal as well as the second one. Sorondo had a good tussle with Bellamy and it will be interesting to see if the new manager thinks he has a future at The Valley. Sankofa clearly has potential and gave us some width that otherwise was sadly lacking, but his lack of experience sometimes shows. Kishishev battled away, although was less prominent than he sometimes is. Holland had a decent game and made a couple of attempts on goal. Ambrose was reasonable, but often seems to be out of position. Hughes made a few good contributions, but was not very prominent. Bartlett made very little contribution and is well past his best. Bent was roving alone up front much of the time and simply didn't get the service. How many goals could he score with a creative midfield? Lloyd Sam was given a difficult task and did his best, but I remain to be convinced that he should be a first term regular. Lisbie ran around a lot, but to no great effect. Fortune was solid and competent, but his future may be in the Championship.

Juneau the Soccer Cat gave the Hiss of the Match to mouthy Craig Bellamy who should have been given a yellow card earlier and possibly a second one.

Crowd rating: 9/10 for the send off for Curbs.


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