Saturday, December 30, 2006

There's only one Richard Murray!

This was the chant of a small group of the Addickted who gathered in front of the West Stand, interspersed with chants of 'super Alan Pardew', after Charlton had beaten Aston Villa 2-1 at The Valley this afternoon. It was a game full of drama with a penalty, a sending off for Villa charm merchant Gareth Barry and a last minute winner scored by Bryan Hughes.

Villa had edged the first quarter of the game, but Charlton were getting back into things when the visitors were awarded a penalty allowing them to go in 1-0 up at half time. Darren Bent equalised when he took advantage of a long pinpoint pass from El Karkouri and the Addicks should have gone ahead when an effort by Hreidarsson crossed the line but was noticed by the officials. It was left to Bryan Hughes to send The Valley into ectascy in the 90th minute.

The opening phase of the game was uneventful with an unproductive Charlton corner. Then El Karkouri went down somewhat theatrically in the area while play was halted and referee Styles gave a yellow card both to him and his assailant Mellberg. Ambrose put in a great shot from distance that was heading for the top corner of the net, but somehow Palace reject Karaly managed to save it.

A Rommedahl run set up Ambrose, but a Villa defender kicked the ball out. A deflected attempt by Sankofa gave Charlton a corner, but although Hreidarsson did well to retain the ball, the move ended in a free kick for the visitors. Aston Villa won a corner after a mix up between Carson and El Karkouri.

Barry was brought down on the edge of the area, Styles waved for a penalty with relatively little protest from the Charlton players. Barry stepped up to take the kick and put a shot into the centre of the goal which Carson little chance. Villa were 1-0 ahead in the 40th minute. Sankofa was given a yellow card for a subsequent foul. A Charlton corner in time added on was cleared.

Half time: Addicks 0, Villa 1

Kishishev was pulled off for Hughes at the beginning of the half. Ambrose broke forward in what looked like a promising move, but he gave the ball away.

On 57 minutes El Karkouri provided an excellent lofted pass from defence which found the head of Darren Bent in front of the Villa goal and he put it in the back of the net to make it 1-1. Villa provided a period of frantic pressure, but El Karkouri was defiant in defence.

Rommedahl broke away and charged down the centre of the pitch. As he advanced on goal, Barry lunged at him and brought him down and referee Styles had no hesitation in showing a red card to one of Villa's key players. Rommedhal should do this more often, run at the opposition in the centre of the pitch.

Following a Charlton corner there was a mighty scramble in front of the Villa goal and footage played on the big screen at the end of the match showed that an effort from Hreidarsson had just crossed the line. Clearly alarmed, Villa brought off so-called striker Angell and replaced him by Bouma.

Marcus Bent won Charlton a corner, but it was caught by the fat Hungarian. Petrov came off, to be replaced by Isaih Osbourne. A Villa corner led to a header that was not far wide of Carson's post. A Villa free kick came off the Charlton wall, Charlton broke and won a throw in by the corner flag. Bryan Hughes put in a shot that was just over. Marcus Bent was replaced by Hasselbaink and shortly afterwards Rommedahl was replaced by Thomas.

Matt Holland put in a dipping shot from distance that was not far over. As Charlton applied pressure, Hughes was set up by Hreidarsson and had no hesitation in putting the ball in the back of the net. Some early leavers had already departed and hence missed the winning goal.

In the three minutes of time added on, Hasselbaink won a corner for Charlton. Three points were in the bag and it was a happy Valley.

Match analysis

With new match analyst Ivy undergoing further training with Hooch the Pooch at his Long Itchington home it fell to lucky spaniel Monty Martin from Blewbury, Oxon to act as match analyst and forward individual player scores to The Observer for tomorrow's edition. The Silver Bone was awarded to Talal El Karkouri, 8 for the superb pass which set up the equaliser and for some stalwart work in defence. Carson, 6 was competent, but not too troubled by Villa who tended to put in some wayward attempts on goal. Hreidarsson, 6 might feel aggrieved that he is not on the score sheet and certainly made his presence felt at set pieces. Traore, 6 avoided making major errors. Sankofa, 7 is improving as he gains more experience and confidence. Kishishev, 5 has plenty of advocates as he embodies a commitment which is often valued in the English game above skill, but apart from one excellent pass early on many of his passes were wayward and he was withdrawn at half time. Holland, 6 continues to show plenty of enthusiasm and is certainly reliable and competent, but his attempts on goal were disappointing. Quite a few Addicks had him as their man of the match, but I didn't really see that. Rommedahl, 7 had one of his best matches for some time, actually looking as if he cared. Ambrose, 6 had one excellent attempt on goal, but provided little else. Marcus Bent, 6 did his best to act as a target man. Darren Bent, 7 looks as if he is coming into form again. Hughes, 7 was attracting the usual criticism after he came on, but did contribute a vital goal. Hasselbaink, 5 attracted a shout of 'Jimmy Floyd Has Been' when he came on from somewhere behind me and he seems to look more horizontally challenged ever time he appears. Thomas, 6 had a cameo, but made a good run.

Hiss of the Match: Awarded by Juneau the Soccer Cat to charm merchant Gareth Barry.

Crowd rating: Did their best to spur the Addicks on in the second half. 7/10


Blogger Ken J said...

"Rommedhal should do this more often, run at the opposition in the centre of the pitch."

Amen to that! And if he could only get into the 18 yard box (with the ball) while he's at it.

2:44 AM  

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