Sunday, May 13, 2007

Battling Addicks share the points at 'Pool

Having led twice at Anfield, Charlton had to settle for a share of the points, a last minute penalty denying them the victory. However, it was an inspiring performance by the Addicks which bodes well for the Championship.

It was an early goal for Charlton with Holland getting the ball just over the line on two minutes with Ambrose also threatening writes Erith Addick Paul May. After good work by Darren Bent and Lloyd Sam, Zheng Zhi put in a good ball. There was confusion in the Liverpool box and the home side's novice keeper was beaten.

Thatcher did well in defence. The Addickted launched into Valley Floyd Road. Liverpool had a chance to equalise after Bougherra lost his footing but Arbeloa put it wide. Liverpool won their first corner on 11 minutes. 'Pool kept up the pressure and Song had to clear from six yards.

Young had to put the ball behind for another home corner. It was headed away by Thatcher. The ball was played back in, leading Randolph to deal with it in open play for the first time.

Darren Bent forged forward, creating a great chance, but Ambrose failed to take advantage with a poor shot. The Addicks broke away again and Lloyd Sam put in a cross that went past the advancing Charlton players. Arbeloa had a chance, but put the ball into Row Z.

Fowler surged forward, but he put it over the top. Thatcher made a mistake and let Kuyt in, but the ball went out for a goal kick amid home claims for a penalty despite the lack of contact. At the other end Bent went down out on a challenge from Carragher, but vintage referee Gallagher gave nothing.

Fowler went down on the edge of the box in response to minimal contact and the home side was given a free kick on the edge of the area as a mutual retirement gift from Gallagher. Despite home chants of 'here we go', Gerrad's curler went over the bar.

Darren Bent forged forward again, but it ended in a goal kick. Charlton kept up the pressure, Bent went through, the keeper advanced, Bent slotted it across the box, Song got the shot away and Finnan put it behind off the line for Charlton's first corner on the half hour mark. Liverpool took the ball up the other end and won their third corner of the game. Luke Young headed it away.

Song brought Gerrard down on the edge of the penalty area. Lloyd Sam made the clearance, Gerrard had another effort, but Hreidarsson headed it away. Bougherra and Kuyt were involved in a great tussle, leading to a Charlton goal kick.

Gerrard forged forward and laid it off to Kuyt from whom Randolph had to make a great save by diving to his right to turn the ball round the post. Fowler's header was wide from the corner.

Charlton played well in the last five minutes with the home crowd subdued with the game failing to go according to the script. Fowler had a chance in the minute added on, but he put it into the side netting from the edge of the box.

Half time: 'Pool 0, Addicks 1

Charlton came forward again, Carragher missed the ball but Ambrose was unable to take advantage. Liverpool's defence was spliced open by Darren Bent and Zheng Zhi, but the Chinese international put it wide, missing a great chance to make it 2-0 for the Addicks.

'Pool continued to be penned back in their own half by Charlton. Sam put in a good cross, the keeper made a mess of it, but Zheng Zhi was unable to take advantage. Darren Ambrose was pulled off for Bryan Hughes.

Gerrard won Liverpool a corner off Thatcher. Zheng Zhi won Charlton's second corner of the game, but the low effort by Hughes was cleared for a Charlton throw in. Kewell was brought on in place of Zenden.

Sam put in a great cross, after he had combined with Hughes, but the header from the unmarked Zheng Zhi was wide. Nevertheless, a new chorus of Valley Floyd Road broke out. Gerrard went down on the edge of the box, but referee Gallagher was not fooled.
Abeloya came off and was replaced by Alonso. The Addicks succumbed to the substitute's first touch from 14 yards (possibly after a deflection off Hreidarsson)to make it 1-1 in the 17th minute of the half.

Risse advanced down the left, Hreidarsson played the ball out to the edge of the box and Kewell rattled the crossbar with a fierce shot. Song put in a shot with his left foot from long range, but it hit the inside of the post. Fowler advanced on goal, but Luke Young whipped the ball away from him.

Ben Thatcher put in a shot which was saved, it came back out to Bent and the striker instinctively slammed it in with a side foot volley to make it 2-1, anticipating the performances he will make for another club in the Premiership next season. Kewell put in a strike, but Randolph was equal to it and palmed it over the bar with a great save.

Lloyd Sam was taken off in favour of Hasselbaink. Liverpool won their eighth corner of the game. Bougherra flicked the ball away. Fowler received the ball six yards out and put it well wide. Hughes turned the ball into the path of Song, but he couldn't connect from six yards out. Bent drilled in a low ball, perhaps intended as a cross, but it went just past the post.

'Pool brought on Crouch in place of Fowler. Alonso shot from long range, but Randolph got two hands behind it and put it round the post in a fabulous shot. Gallagher gave a penalty for handball against Bougherra. Randolph nearly made the save off Kewell, but pushed it on to the post and it went in.

Thatcher turned it in looking for Darren Bent, but the keeper managed to save. Holland blocked an Alosno drive. Crouch posed a threat, but Thatcher cleared. Marcus Bent came on in place of Zheng Zhi.

Encouraging signs for next season were the great debut for Randolph and an excellent performance by Sam. Although the equaliser was disappointing, it was a pleasing end to the season. Bring on Scunthorpe!


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