Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Next... Bury at home

Despite being determined to make this blog more consistent I failed to find time to write a preview or a report of the Exeter game. I wasn't at Exeter, and after being at the two games against Sheffield, which were more significant and probably exciting, I guess I just found Exeter a little uninspiring.

Thankfully the team didn't and we dug in and secured a third 1-0 win on the bounce. Interestingly Exeter hadn't lost for four, and there are no easy games at any level. The goal, that I saw on the television, did look a little fortunate, but they all count, and I'd take that and move on. It is another three points towards our total, and we extended our lead over Huddersfield by two points, and we traded our game in hand on Sheffield and MK for a three point extension. All great news.

Tonight we play our game in hand against a Bury side that have won three and lost three of the last six games. That makes them sound a little inconsistent, and should be unable to match the league leaders. It follows, as Bury are sitting eleventh in the table and should, one would expect, beat the relegation strugglers and lose to the promotion candidates, which is pretty much what they have done this season.

It is imperative that the managers and the players (and I am confident of them) and the fans need to recognise that teams like Bury will not just roll over and wait for us to score a hat full of goals. We will probably face a team that will get ten men behind the ball and defend, defend, defend.

It is in games like this that we need that little extra bit of quality to break down a stubborn team that will time waste and generally frustrate us to try to come away with a point, or to snatch a winner. Our defence has been amazing in recent weeks. Since the end of October we have six clean sheets, two one all draws, a one nil defeat with ten men for 85 minutes, a 5-2, where we went to sleep at 5-0 and a 3-2 win at Yeovil which is probably the exception.

Thus I am confident that if we score a goal we will not lose and will probably win. Two goals and I'd be amazed if we lost.

We are playing (at least the results demonstrate) like the Curbishley sides that we now look back on with such fond memories. Powell has even mentioned in a press article (might have been on the web, I'm not sure) that he has based his approach on Curbs, and it looks like it is working. The team that won the First Division Championship had a very similar approach. We managed six 1-0 wins that season, and we have four this season already. What this does (having a very tight defence) is make each goal much more likely to be a game changer.

If you regularly win by the odd goal in five (or even seven) then each goal is just part of a match. If you normally win (or lose) by the only goal of the game, it becomes a bigger thing to score (or concede). People talk about big scoring games as though they are special, and as they are unusual they are special. However, if you do see four goals plus every week they soon become less exciting. The 3-2 win at Yeovil was special because it was unusual for us to concede two goals, and we have only scored three or more on seven occasions, and only won by the odd goal in five twice this season - Rochdale away being the other.

Ultimately I'd be more than happy with 1-0 wins all the way to the end of the season - except for tonight. Back in September 2008 I took my son to his first football game. We lost 2-1 to, of all sides Sheffield Wednesday, and apart from the first half of the following game against Ipswich he hasn't been back since. He didn't, exactly, take to it, and found that it was a bit loud. In his defence we have, since then, discovered, via some medical tests, that he has unusually sensitive hearing, and this has been a problem that has come up a few times since.

Anyway we are discussing his birthday party (which is in May) and I floated that he might like to take some friends from his school to a football match (there are many football fans at his school) and he thought that was a good idea. He has become a 'Charlton fan' in the intervening period (since he came three and a half years ago) but has not looked interested in coming to a game again - until now.

With my Dad away and with Mrs KHA working in the City again, it did pose an interesting dilemma. Obviously with my Dad and his wife away it depleted our baby sitting options, and I had a spare ticket. To be fair my wife did offer to come home from work early to look after him, but he says he wants to go, so come he will.

It could have done with being a less cold night as he is only seven, but he rarely complains about being cold, and I have been given a whole pile of clothes that I should wrap him up in. I suspect that he is a little less excited about going to football than I am (both for him and me) but I will come prepared with sweets, drinks and an iPad2 (with headphones that will also be able to tackle the loud noise - should that be an issue) which should ensure that even if he fails to enjoy the football I will be able to stay until the end.

With this in mind I would like to see a number of goals tonight - preferably more of them being scored by us, and with any luck I just might be able to tempt him to come again on Saturday, but I'm not holding my breath.

Up the Addicks!

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