One is Enough
Charlton did not play particularly well and it was a tense match for the Addickted. But sometimes you have to grind out results and the sign of a successful team is that one can play less well and still win. Charlton were thrown off balance by Wigan's physical tactics, indeed one wondered if it was the rugby team that was playing. Referee Walton was reluctant to stamp on this conduct in the first half, but started to issue a blizzard of cards in the second. So controversial was his penalty award that Paul Jewell stormed on to the pitch while play was in progress and then berated the referee afterwards, as did charm merchant Heskey and keeper Filan.
Coming down in the train, the windows of a flat at Maze Hill were completely obscured by Arsenal banners. No doubt a Gooner was sitting inside enjoying their 4-1 defeat at Liverpool.
Pards had warned that Wigan would be out of the traps early and they forced an early corner which Heskey tried to connect with, but it all ended in an Addicks free kick and Heskey being spoken to by the referee.
Rommedahl put in a quality cross but Darren Bent was not well placed to connect. A free kick taken by El Karkouri was not too far over the bar. Referee Walton is clearly not going to Morocco for his holidays as he gave El K a yellow card for a tackle that looked worse than it was. Jerome Thomas had a go from distance, but his shot went wide.
Wigan had been dominant in the early part of the half, but Charlton had started to come in the game more.
Half time: Addicks 0, Lactics 0
Rommedahl was taken off at half time and Marcus Bent was brought on, presumably in the hope that he could hold the ball up for his namesake. Thomas won the Addicks a corner, but Zhi's effort went over.
Taylor at last received a deserved booking for a foul. Ambrose came on in place of Holland. The match contunued in a rather scrappy vein with neither side really in charge. Charlton put a free kick in across the goal, but no one ran on to it and anticipation was not our strong suit throughout the match. Wigan won a free kick in front of the 'D', but it came off the Charlton wall. Fitz Hall received a yellow card for holding back Marcus Bent.
El Karkouri put a free kick into the Wigan penalty area, Marcus Bent made a glancing header and Hreidarsson was prevented from reaching the ball by Fitz Hall and fell to the ground. As the pundits say, 'I've seen them given and I've seen them not given', but the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Darren Bent stepped up and sent the ball confidently into the right hand corner of the net.
Ambrose was taken off and replaced by Faye to shore up the defence. The three minutes of time added on were frenetic, but then the Addickted were able to celebrate the victory.
Coming back on the train, two Wigan supporters got off at Greenwich. No doubt Greenwich is full of, say, Liverpool supporters, but Wigan? On the Bakerloo Line we ran into some of the Leamington Irons jubilant after their victory over Boro. On the Chiltern Line, a sombre Lactic consoled himself with tin after tin of Fosters.
Bring on the Massives!
Hooch the Pooch has been consulting a local Pekingnese about barking in Mandarin and it paid off when the Silver Bone was awarded to Zheng Zhi for the second match running for an all round performance of determination and skill. Scott Carson was not greatly troubled by Wigan's wayward shooting, but did unnecessarily concede a corner at one point. Talal El Karkouri needs to stop thinking he can score from every free kick. He also made a few errors. Diawara was generally solid. Hreidarsson had a competent game. Young did his job without being particularly sparkling. Song was somewhat off song and I suspect that he was not one hundred per cent fit. Holland battled away without being that prominent. Rommedahl sped down the wing but, apart from one good cross, not to much effect. Thomas managed to break away on the wing from time to time, outfoxing opposition players, but faded a little as the game went on. Darren Bent scored the penalty, but he looked less than fully fit. For much of the game he was isolated on his own up front with no one to feed the ball to him. Marcus Bent was brought on to provide such support but not to any great effect. Ambrose suffered the humiliation of being substituted and although that was for tactical reasons, his performance was far from impressive. As the Bloke Beside Me commented, 'he's lightweight.' Faye had a cameo, but still managed to give the ball away.
Hiss of the Match This has been awarded by Juneau the Soccer Cat to whoever had the idea of flashing 'Make Some Noise' on the big screen. Sometimes I think that Charlton has a naff ideas department.
Match rating: In fact the fans were able to make plenty of noise without any encouragement and got behind the team, even though a sense of frustration crept in as the match went on. 7/10