Super Alan Pardew!
I was surprised by how awful West Ham were. For example, for the first goal by Jerome Thomas, the Irons defence simply backed off without putting in a tackle or a challenge as he ran from the halfway line. That is not to take anything away from Charlton. Llanera are promoting a virtual Imagination Zone at Maidstone where you can image yourself in your Spanish apartment. Charlton were certainly in that zone yesterday, displaying verve, determination and skill.
From the East Stand it seemed as if Alan Curbishley slipped on to the pitch almost unnoticed just as the game was about to start. Charlton looked lively in the early encounters with Marcus Bent threatening.
Paul Konchesky was being booed every time he touched the ball (perhaps I shall get an E mail of complaint from his sister again). The Irons had marked out Darren Ambrose as a danger man and Konchesky received a yellow card for fouling him. Charlton had an opportunity from a free kick but El Karkouri's effort went wide.
Song won the ball fairly but referee Styles gave West Ham a free kick. Jerome Thomas fed Darren Ambrose well, and perhaps he should have scored, but the result was an unproductive Charlton corner (making our corners count is one area where more work is needed).
West Ham were determined to close down Ambrose and Quashie received a yellow card for fouling him. Thatcher put in a good tackle. Song won Charlton a corner. Konchesky created a moment of danger with a ball across the front of Carson's goal.
Marcus Bent put in a good cross for Ambrose who found the back of the net, although there were claims that it was offside. There was tension between Etherington and Luke Young with the former shoving the Charlton right back.
A West Ham break was countered and Jerome Thomas turned provider for Darren Bent, but the ball went across the front of goal. Thomas picked up the ball in his own half and set off the Irons goal, receiving no challenge and putting the ball into the far corner of the net to make it 2-0.
Marcus Bent had picked up a leg injury and had to be withdrawn in favour of Hasselbaink. Quashie put in a fierce shot from distance and Carson made an excellent two handed save. El Karkouri received a yellow card for a foul.
In a move started by Song, West Ham kept losing possession in the middle of the field, Hasselbaink kept possession and put in a long low ball along the ground to Darren Bent who had no trouble in beating the keeper to make it 3-0. Some of the West Ham supporters tried to leave, only to receive abuse from their fellow Irons.
Matt Holland received a yellow card. The free kick by Tevez sailed over Carson's bar. I can't remember when the Addicks were last 3-0 up at half time at home in the Premiership.
Half time: Addicks 3, Irons 0
Hasselbaink put in a pile driver from distance which hit the post. He subsequently received a yellow card. This time the free kick by Tevez was more dangerous and Carson had to tip it over. West Ham had two corners in succession and when the ball was played in again from the second one Carson had to make a good save. Diawara went down and needed treatment.
Carthorse Cole lumbered off and was replaced by Blanco, not that he made any difference. Thomas and then Bent were just wide with shots from distance. West Ham had a slight flurry and Carson had to save at the expense of a West Ham corner and then had to dive for another save. An effort by Matt Holland was just wide. Hayden Mullins was withdrawn and Newts came on to loud applause.
A free kick by Ben Thatcher led to a Charlton corner. Young fed Hasselbaink who won a Charlton corner. This was followed by two more in quick succession, but once again they were unproductive. Carson had to save from a West Ham corner. Charlton broke and with acres of space to work in, Ambrose passed to Thomas who scored with a superb strike.
Darren Bent was taken off and replaced by Zheng Zhi with Luke Young taking the captain's armband. West Ham won a couple of corners as the game entered time added on, but Luke Young cleared. A final Charlton corner gave Zheng Zhi a chance to hit the bar. It could have easily been 6-0.
On the train back to London Bridge spirits were high after this excellent win. There is still a lot to do, but we are on the right track.
Senior match analyst Hooch the Pooch had to use the 'phone a friend' option to decide who should get the Silver Bone as there were so many deserving candidates. In the end Valley debutante Alexandre Song received his first ever award for an inspiring midfield performance. However, special commemorative silver biscuits were issued to Scott Carson,Darren Ambrose and Jerome Thomas.
Carson made a number of excellent saves and was in authoritative command of his area. It was good to see Luke Young back, having lost none of his ability to speed down the wing. Ben Thatcher turned in a very capable performance at left back. El Karkouri did not have as much to do as in some matches, but he did what needed to be done, although his free kick was a disappointment. Diawara received the accolade of a song from the Covered End. Matt Holland was always available to back up other players, making himself available for the simple ball.
Darren Ambrose had one of his best performances in a Charlton shirt.Jerome Thomas was lively throughout and scored two excellent goals.Marcus Bent had a good game until he had to be withdrawn through injury. Darren Bent showed that he has lost none of his sparkle during his enforced lay off. Hasselbaink showed that he still possesses enough skill to make a difference in a game. Zheng Zhi looked impressive in the ten minutes or so he was on. Faye had a cameo.
Hiss of the Match This has been awarded by Juneau the Soccer Cat to Carthorse Cole for being a thick, useless lump of a player.
Crowd rating A superb performance throughout, one of the best ever, 10/10.