Saturday, 15 May 2010

Swindon 2 - 1 Charlton

Well it could have been a lot worse. In fact it could have been a lot, lot worse.

I'm not in the habit of writing match reports, especially when I am in the second row and behind the goal.

The atmosphere seemed rather subdued. I suspect that had more to be with being on an uncovered terrace and the fact that there were lots of empty seats as most fans decided to stand at the back together. The game was nicely balanced at half time, despite Swindon having several chances that on a good day (for them) would have gone in.

I was more than happy to take a goal less draw, but was, strangely, confident of a 2-0 win. We looked second to the ball in the first half, and all of our players looked nervous on the ball, none more than Sam Sodje who looked like he was limping from about twenty minutes in. We were beaten for pace at the back so I can understand why Llera wasn't brought on, but I have to question playing an unfit player.

Anyway we managed to survive the onslaught and kept a clean sheet to half time.

After the break one of those chances that we'd been keeping out by 'hook or by crook' went it. That should have been the signal for a period of calm and 'keeping it tight'. Instead we went mad and threw everything at Swindon and conceded a second with a full half hour on the clock. Just why we would have been so reckless in attack (something I expect to see in the last ten minutes at The Valley on Monday) is beyond me, but it was suddenly 2-0.

At this point I thought it was as going to be too much. I feared another goal, and also thought that it would be more than we can overturn in the second leg. One needs to be conscious of the fact that we just don't score enough goals. I spent ages calling for a more structured line up so that we could keep the goals out and snatch wins. I'm happy with that approach, but it does mean that we are unlikely to score three goals without reply.

Anyway the worry that I had of it ending up 3-0 or even 4-0 were quashed with a brave header by Dion Burton. At that point I was convinced that there would be another goal. I had no idea which way it would go, but it was going to make a massive difference to the approach to the second leg. Anyway that goal didn't come and we find the game very evenly poised.

You would have to say that Millwall are favourites to go through having kept a clean sheet at Huddersfield, but I wouldn't like to call it at The Valley on Monday.

My fear is that we will end the 90 minutes a goal in front and then concede in extra time and fail to lift ourselves to get back into it again. It is at times like this that the sheer disappointment of the last three seasons prevents me from believing that anything good can happy to us. It is silly because with Paynter missing and with just one goal to overcome in front of a packed Valley we should really fancy ourselves, but I don't.

I would love to be proved wrong, but I'm looking forward to Monday with more trepidation than excitement, where as I was bursting with excitement before yesterday's game. Maybe it's just as well. Maybe we'll get an early goal and then take a 2-0 lead before half time and Swindon will fall apart in the face of Fortress Valley in the second half and we will win easily.

At the very least it will emotional

Up the Addicks!

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