Sunday, March 18, 2007

Parker, Parker, what's the score?

This was the roar of the Addickted as Charlton beat Newcastle United 2-0 at The Valley to claim seven points from their last three matches. A superb second half performance by the Addicks delivered the three points. The first half was more even, but Charlton held on and took advantage as the Barcodes tired in the second half.

Matt Holland started as he went on with a good tackle. A shot by Parker sailed over the goal to the derision of the Addickted. Diawara put in a great tackle in front of the goal. Thomas provided a good run forward. Charlton were awarded a free kick on the edge of the 'D' for a foul on Zheng Zhi and El Karkouri's effort was not that far wide. Newcastle won a corner, but it was headed clear.

Charlton were awarded a free kick in a promising position not far from the edge of the area, but the ball which went across the Newcastle goal was not used by any Charlton player. Thomas and Hreidarsson combined to win a corner. Newcastle fluffed a chance to score.

Song had been in conversation with the bench earlier and was replaced by Faye. Charlton won a couple of corners towards the end of the half, but in general I found little worth taking a note about. The Bloke Beside Me was in a state of nervous apprehension.

Half time: Addicks 0, Barcodes 0

It seems as if Pards gave an effective half time team talk and he also decided to pep things up by removing Marcus Bent and bringing on Rommedahl. Faye received a yellow card for a foul on Parker who was greeted with chants of 'One greedy bastard.'

Charlton got a free kick for a foul on Faye, Darren Bent's shot richochted off the bar and Zheng Zhi was on hand to head the ball into the back of the net.

A ball from Jerome Thomas caught Given off balance and led to a Charlton corner. There was a penalty call for a trip on Rommedahl. A period of frenetic play ensued.

Zheng Zhi had a half chance, but put the ball over. Darren Bent put the ball in the net, but it was offside. Solano was at last booked for his repeated fouls on Thomas. Bent forged forward, but all it led to was a Charlton throw in. Newcastle withdrew Dyer and brought on N'Zogbia. Zheng Zhi won Charlton a corner.

Darren Bent won the ball well from a rather casual clearance by Given, but his effort went wide when, if he had been on his top form, he might have found the back of the net. Bent was withdrawn and Kevin Lisbie came on. Rommedahl put in an effort from distance that was at least on target. Charm merchant Scott Parker was booked.

Zheng Zhi was brought down by Solano in the area and Jerome Thomas stepped up to take the penalty kick to make it 2-0, sending Given the wrong way. The Valley broke into a chant of 'We are staying up', followed by the invitation to Parker to give the score.

In three minutes of time added on, Scott Carson had to make a great save by tipping the ball over the bar. The Newcastle corner was cleared and the whistle blew with the Addickted celebrating another important win which improves the chances of Premiership survival.

With Hooch the Pooch out for the day and Ivy the Terrible still in training it fell to lucky spaniel Monty Martin from Blewbury, Oxon. He had no hesitation in awarding the Silver Bone to Zheng Zhi. The Chinese captain was delighted to receive the coveted trophy for the first time but did enquire whether we had a Pekingnese among our dog reporters. Scott Carson had relatively little to do, but made a superb save towards the end of the match to deny Newcastle a consolation goal. It was no surprise to hear football fans who do not support Charlton to say on 606 as I was driving back up the M40 that Luke Young should be England's right back. He had another excellent game. At left back Hreidarsson looked as if he was suffering from lack of match practice and his one of the less strong performances, although he improved as the game went on. Diawara had his name chanted by the Covered End and offered an impressive performance. El Karkouri made one or two mistakes, but was generally solid. Holland battled away with his usual determination and made a good contribution to Charlton's play. Song was also playing well and it was a blow when he went off, although some thought that he was below his usual high standards. Thomas was one of the most impressive players in the first half, but faded a little in the second. Some fans were concerned when he stepped up for the penalty, but it was very well taken. Marcus Bent had a few decent headers, but was generally unimpressive. Darren Bent was below his usual very high standards and there must be doubts about his fitness. But it was a good to see him start. The arrival of Faye was not welcomed by many of the Addickted, but his performance was competent enough. Rommedahl added pace to the Charlton attack. Lisbie came on for a cameo marked by effort rather than skill. As someone remarked, he was waiting for his season ticket application to arrive as that was he best chance of seeing his name on a Charlton shirt next season.

Hiss of the Match This was awarded by Juneau the Soccer Cat to the Banbury fruitcake, Dermot Gallagher. Repeated fouls on Thomas by Solano were ignored until late in the game. Also, why did he have long conversations with Newcastle players before each half?

Crowd rating: Got better in the second half. 7/10.


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