Saturday, September 16, 2006

Soft goal means no points for Addicks

Charlton were starting to control today's match against Portsmouth, after a poor first half, when a soft goal which went in off the post gave Pompey a 1-0 lead and three points.

Opinions among the Addickted were divided about today's match. Some thought we played quite well and were unlucky, others thought we were awful. What was clear was that the burden of injuries showed. I thought that we particularly missed Reid in midfield.

It's worrying that we have only scored four goals in four games and only two of those came from open play. I don't blame the strikers, rather what concerns me is the quality of the service they are getting.

The brother of Steve from Sidcup was at the ground and I was pleased to hear that, after three weeks in hospital, Steve is at home and making a steady recovery, although it will be some time before he can visit The Valley again.

Congratulations to those responsible for not repeating the introduction for Floyd and Harvey. Now all we need is the programme back in its former size.

The match started with the teams changing ends which always makes me uneasy. Marcus Bent threatened in the opening minutes with a header that came off the bar. Hasselbaink won Charlton a corner taken by Darren Ambrose and El Karkouri's header was not far off target.

Too many holes were appearing in the Charlton defence and we seemed particularly vulnerable on our left. The Bloke Beside Me commented that we were being out thought and out fought. We seemed to have no clear shape, particularly in midfield, while Pompey always seem to have Kanu well positioned to take advantage of a ball.

Charlton won another corner but it was caught by Calamity James. If we had had Myhre in goal, we would have had an art collector in one goal and a broadcaster on art appreciation in the other.

Carson made a good save at the post. The subsequent Portsmouth corner flew across the Charlton goal at an angle. Kanu had an excellent chance, but managed to put his header wide. Good work by Ambrose on the wing won Charlton a corner.

After Kishishev gave the ball way, Young conceded a corner from distance. After Marcus Bent had been held numerous times, referee Dowd at last gave a free kick for the offence. Hasselbaink won Charlton a corner, this time taken by Rommedahl (remember the days when Kinsella almost always took the corner kicks and effectively?) El Karkouri was well positioned for the header but his effort went over.

Gary O'Neil was given a yellow card for bringing down Darren Bent as he forged through the middle of the field. As the game went into one minute of time added on, Carson made a good save on the ground. I felt relieved that we had got through the half without conceding a goal.

Half time: Addicks 0, Pompey 0

Fortune came on after the break in place of Marcus Bent, allowing Faye to revert to his midfield role. Rommedahl played a good ball to Ambrose but he volleyed his shot over. Charlton were producing some neat passing play but the slow build ups never led to an effective finish that tested James, although Hasselbaink drew a save.

Holland came on in place of Pouso. Hasselbaink was furious about something, probably the service he was getting. Charlton were more in command of the game and a free kick led to a corner.

Pompey withdrew the Zimbabwean Mwaruwari and brought on Lua Lua who I think is a tricky and much underrated player. I remember him giving us a torrid time at St.James's Park.

A good combination between Bent and Ambrose led to a Charlton corner. Rommedahl put in a fierce shot along the ground and at first I thought it had gone in, but it ended up in the side netting. A punch out by James led to another Charlton corner.

It looked as if Charlton might get a share of the points, but with fifteen minutes of normal time left, and against the run of play, LuaLua put in a shot that I thought Carson had saved, but it went in the net off the post.

One then felt that Charlton wouldn't get the equaliser. In a last throw of the dice, Dowie brought on Lisbie in place of Kishishev. Lisbie turned provider for Ambrose, but although he had time to control the ball, his effort went way over the bar.

Portsmouth still showed a capacity to threaten, and although Charlton got another corner, and Bent put in a poor cross, the equaliser did not come. Kanu got himself a yellow card for kicking the ball away.

Pompey went top, but it will be interesting to see how they fare against Chelsea and Manchester United and whether their poor ground stages European matches.

Match analysis

Senior match analyst Hooch the Pooch awarded the Silver Bone to a somewhat puzzled Amady Faye. Although he looked better in his natural role in the second half, he was a stalwart defender in the first half and provided precision passes and showed good positioning throughout the game which is more than could be said of many of the Charlton players. Scott Carson made some good saves, but he really should have dealt with the Pompey goal. El Karkouri was generally reliable in defence and played the ball forward well, although not all of his free kicks were a success.
Luke Young slotted into the left back position well and made some good runs forward, some of which failed for lack of support. Kishishev had something of a mare. His passing was often poor, he gave the ball away more than once and he was inclined to drift from the right back position into his normal central midfield position. Ambrose is the new target of the Bloke Behind Me. He did make some good runs, but also was inclined to drift inside too much rather than staying out on the wing. He also messed up shots on goal even when he had time to position the ball. Pouso looked promising, being particularly adept at using headers to knock down the ball to others. Rommedahl made some good runs and had one great shot, but looked better at Chelsea. Marcus Bent was actually one of the better players in the first half, positioning himself well, controlling the ball and giving the Portsmouth defence some trouble. Hasselbaink showed real skill in controlling the ball and outwitting defenders, but never really got in a shooting position. Darren Bent had a poor game by his standards, exemplified by a supposed cross at the end which went out of play. Fortune steadied the defence when he came on at half time and was very solid. Holland Captain Cleanpants was competent enough without making a decisive impression. Lisbie didn't achieve much during his short appearance, but looked interested most of the time and didn't disgrace himself.

Hiss of the Match This was given by Juneau the Soccer Cat to the group of Pompey fans taunting Charlton supporters on the Woolwich Road.

Crowd rating: It's always difficult against the noisiest supporters in the Premiership, but the crowd was flat a lot of the time, rather like the game. 5/10.

Homer the Cherry Hound

Now that Didcot Town are in the Southern League, they decided that they needed a canine reporter and Homer has been appointed to the role. He will only occasionally be available to cover Charlton matches. Hooch the Pooch commented, 'We are actively seeking a new canine match analyst who will, of course, need training and are actively pursuing a number of options.'


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