Sunday, April 15, 2007

Charlton hopes dashed by stoppage time goal

The Addickted were devastated by a last minute defeat at Everton which leaves the Addicks in the relegation places and Charlton under real pressure for next Saturday's home fixture against the Blades writes Erith Addick Paul May. This was a fixture we could probably not hope to win, but a draw would have given a boost to morale.

As the news came through that Wigan were 3-2 ahead against Spurs at the JJB, it was revealed that Pards had adopted for a 4-5-1 formation but with Zheng Zhi likely to help out Darren Bent. Obviously the manager had not been listening to some of the experts on the list who had been calling for all out attack. Bryan Hughes returned after a long absence while Amdy Faye was also playing with Matt Holland on the bench. Ben Thatcher came in for the injured Hermann Hreidarsson, many would argue that Thatcher's distribution is better. As the kick off approached, the news filtered through that Spurs had equalised again at the JJB.

The retro sound of Z-cars rang out, the Addicks came out in their red kit and we prepared for a minute's silence to honour Adam Smith, a 19-year old Everton fan killed in Iraq, a reminder that there are some things more important than football. The silence also remembered those killed at Hillsborough eighteen years ago.

The match opened with an offside decision against Darren Bent. Zheng Zhi did well driving forward, but the move ended in a goal kick. Bryan Hughes forged forward, but was caught by the offside flag. Johnson capitalised on a bad mistake by the gloved Diawara (Liverpool being just south of the North Pole), El Karkouri covered very well and all Charlton suffered was a corner to the disappointment of the Toffeemen.

Charlton won a corner taken by Ambrose, but it was headed out by Carsley and Everton counter attacked. Ben Thatcher made a great tackle on the edge of the penalty area on the former Palace player.

Faye won the ball well and allowed the Addicks to move forward, but Everton fought back. Carson gathered the ball well as Beattie lurked hopefully. The game quietened down in the warm sunshine as the quarter hour mark approached.

Everton had a chance, but it was deflected for a corner for the home side. Andy Johnson's header went wide, coming off a Charlton player. The second corner was played short, Hughes got the ball away at the expense of a third corner. Darren Bent had to clear into the Everton half.

Ben Thatcher tackled Carsley and a free kick was awarded to Everton level with the Addicks penalty area. Carsley's volley from 20 yards went just over the crossbar.
Johnson went forward on a run, but was cut out by Faye.

Charlton won their second corner of the game. Ambrose's corner was unproductive and ended with an Everton throw in the Charlton half, Bent's effort at a shot was well below his usual standard.

El Karkouri hoofed the ball forward for an Everton goal kick. Diawara had to concede a throw in under pressure. Osman whipped in a cross, Carson punched out and the ball went to the ever popular Phil Neville. Carson had a word with El Karkouri about clearing the ball.

Beattie put in a header which was straight at Carson. Ambrose was tackled by Stubbs. Hughes put in a cross that was grabbed by Howard in the Everton goal. Darren Bent was caught offside as the half hour mark approached. Bent was caught offside again with the striker suggesting that the lino must want a job on the railways.

Beattie put a cross over the bar after Everton had advanced down Charlton's right. The tussle between Beattie and Thatcher led to a free kick for the Addicks. Everton won a couple of free kicks. El Karkouri put in a tackle on Johnson, referee Halsey awarding a free kick in favour of the former Glazier in a dangerous position. Charlton lined up a five man wall. With Luke Young out of position, Osman put it in from six yards, but it went wide.

A shot from Osman was blocked by the busy El K. Bent got a touch after a good run, but Yobo put it behind for Charlton's third corner. Hughes tried to put the ball in but Howard was able to gather. El Karkouri hoofed a ball very high in the air which came back with a touch of the ice that was worrying Diawara.

Young went forward well, but Zheng Zhi gave the ball away. Diawara put in a vigorous tackle on Johnson as the game approached the last five minutes of the half.
Charlton combined well through Ambrose, Bent and Zheng Zhi but Everton just managed to clear. The game was now more open with a faster pace and Osman went for goal, but it was just wide.

Song was fouled by universal hero Phil Neville. Charlton applied some pressure, but Howard was able to get the ball without much difficulty. Young advanced down the right, but Howard was able to gather. Everton gave away possession, but Bent's shot off his left foot posed no threat to the Toffeemen.

Two minutes of time were added on. Zheng Zhi advanced down the right, but instead of passing to Ambrose or Bent, he advanced on goal and was closed down by the Everton defence. The home crowd seemed to be getting increasingly frustrated.

Half time: Toffeemen 0, Addicks 0

A shot by Arteta from 15 yards was blocked by Thatcher who positioned himself well.
Under pressure Stubbs had to head back accurately to Howard. A shot by Johnson was blocked and cleared by Diawara. Charlton were under some pressure. A Neville cross was blocked by Faye with only Bent up the pitch. Everton were given a free kick in a dangerous position because of a challenge by Zheng Zhi. Carson was eventually able to claim the ball.

Luke Young was able to clear after another Everton attack as the news came through that Chelsea had gone ahead through Lampard. Everton won their first corner of the half after eight minutes. The header by Stubbs, under pressure from Faye, went wide. Ambrose came forward, but gave the ball away to Lescott. Another failed Everton attack led to renewed groans and moans from the home fans. Amdy Faye was taken off in favour of Matt Holland. Faye had been playing quite well, so he must have taken a knock.

An effort by Darren Bent went just wide in Charlton's best chance of the game created by Ambrose and Zheng Zhi. It seemed as if Howard had got a touch on the ball, but referee Halsey declined to award a corner. Charlton kept possession, but Everton eventually cleared. Local favourite Beattie headed well over the crossbar.

James Beattie was taken off to the delight of the home fans with McFadden coming on to scattered jeers. A handball by Arteta was ignored by the officials who gave offside against Charlton. Bent advanced on the penalty area, but was forced wide with Howard spilling the ball but no one able to take advantage.

Stubbs was taken off and Naysmith was brought on to play at left back with Lescott moving into the centre to deal with the Charlton threat. A shot by Osman was blocked by Diawara's head. McFadden dived for a penalty but referee Halsey was not taken in as the Everton fans made the claim. Everton won a corner which led to a throw in which was taken quickly.

Darren Bent bore down on a goal, but Hibbert put in the tackle at the expense of an Addicks corner. Zheng Zhi had the chance to score from three yards from a good corner by Ambrose, but he failed to make proper contact with the ball and Howard gathered. An Osman cross was headed away by Luke Young. Ambrose forged forward, but the Everton defence coped. The Addicks were looking more of a threat with Ambrose and Song more involved.

Arteta's ball was put out for a throw by the corner flag by Diawara, but Charlton were eventually able to clear. A Johnson cross was dealt with by Thatcher. Then it was the turn of Charlton to attack with the halfway point passed. Would Pards bring on Hasselbaink?

The game slowed down again. Hasselbaink went for a run to loosen up his joints. After good work by Song, a left footed effort by Zheng Zhi went just over the crossbar. Bent shot from long range and it was just wide with Howard diving to make the save if needed.

Halsey booked Thatcher for a tackle on Arteta. The free kick had to be taken a second time and Johnson put the ball wide in what was probably Everton's best chance of the half. Diawara cleared after McFadden tried to advance. Charlton advanced through the middle but Hughes was unable to put in a shot.

Thatcher rather unnecessarily conceded a corner, Thatcher partially cleared, Johnson put it in, Charlton had their chances to clear, Carson put in a great save but Lescott was able to score from two yards to put Everton 1-0 ahead with ten minutes to go. The goal was against the run of play, but it was the worst time for Everton to score. The home crowd who had been liberally slagging off their team went wild. Charlton had had more chances in the second half, but had failed to take them.

Hasselbaink was readied to come on along with Magic Bougherra. Ben Thatcher came off along with Bryan Hughes. Charlton had a free kick. Howard punched it away, El Karkouri directed it straight towards the keeper.

Arteta was fouled and Magic was booked, although it could have been Song who committed the offence. Arteta had to be subsequently taken off.

In the last minute of the ninety, Darren Bent scored for Charlton to make it 1-1 from about twelve yards out, having made use of an assist from Matt Holland.

Four minutes of time added on were announced. In the second minute of time added on, McFadden volleyed past Carson who had no chance to make it 2-1. The performance by Charlton had been good but the result was a real blow to the survival hopes of the Addicks.


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