Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Charlton 0 - 2 Colchester

Well it is always difficult to have any kind of 100% record on the basis that pure randomness will cause something to prevent it from staying 100% for very long. Managing to stay unbeaten at home all season was always going to be virtually impossible. Sure it has been done before, but the sheer number of times this has ever happened are evidence enough that it is very unlikely, indeed.

Ironically we have played much worse at home this season and managed to avoid defeat. We have also lost at home to Preston and Brentford in the cups at home, and they are, technically, in the same division, so we are probably only splitting hairs anyway.

What is more of a worry is that we have looked positively under par in three of the last four home midweek games, which suggests that there may be more to it than a bad day at the office.

The crowds are down on midweek games, which I guess is understandable, and this might be a factor, as might be the game plan of these teams which is always going to make if difficult. I missed the MK Dons victory, but I doubt they came hoping to snatch a draw, and we were to benefit from two penalties and were never behind in the game.

Tonight we were behind from early on from a wonder strike, and then we found ourselves chasing a team that were organised and, more importantly, seemed to snuff out Yann, which left us little outlet when they defended very high up the pitch. Basically they showed the blueprint for containing the league leaders, and having got the first goal it was always going to be a tough night for us.

Having said that we did have more than enough chances to put this game beyond Colchester before Hamer made the game safe for them. BWP, who you would normally bet on scoring from close in seemed to be misfiring tonight, and the Skipper also had a couple of chances that missed the target. This is before you add in the numerous blocks and deflections that could have changed the game at 1-0.

Under normal circumstances I would be fed up and angry with the game and result but, despite having a few choice words for the 'Keeper when he clearly gave away a goal, I left The Valley feeling relaxed and mostly pleased that we had created many more chances than either the Bury or Rochdale fixture, and we have another game in a few days to put this defeat behind us and get back to winning ways.

A lot of that was, of course, based on the fact that Sheffield United lost at Walsall. I know that Sheff Wed and Huddersfield won, but I am not worried, at this stage, about either of those two teams catching us, so on the whole our goal difference is the only thing that was damaged tonight (relative to the only team I think we are in competition with now) and I can live with that.

This weekend we entertain Notts County, who are going to come to The Valley with a little (or a lot) more adventurous game plan, so I expect that we will have a better game. I also think it unlikely that many teams will be able to contain Yann quite so effectively.

Unlike us, Sheffield United have another midweek game next Tuesday (and the Tuesday after, as it happens), and I think that will start to tell on their players legs. I fully expect us to have a very good idea of how things will play out by the time the full time whistles go on the 18th March, when we play Scunthorpe. By that time Sheff Utd will have played their game in hand and if we can match them in two of those games and if they draw the other one they will be a massive twelve points behind with nine games remaining.

If Sheff Utd's poor run continues they will be in real danger of ending up in the play-off places. Huddersfield are now just two points behind them with a better goal difference having played the same number of games. If we weren't so far out front it would be getting very exciting now - but we are, so we can look down on the upcoming battle with little real interest and even less stress.

It would have been better to have beaten a team that spent most of the game time wasting and frustrating us, but it is enough for me to know that it will probably be years before we face Colchester again, and may well not happen again for decades. That'll do for me.

Up the Addicks!

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