Sunday, 18 March 2012

Scunthorpe 1 - 1 Charlton

Having got back from Scunthorpe late I'm only going to write something brief, but hopefully worth reading.

I have read a few things elsewhere that came across as a little more negative that I'm feeling after this draw.

Sure, we have been incredible on the road this season, but we can't win them all. Sure Scunthorpe have been short of wins at home this season, but we are entering that time of the season when league position, and to some extent recent form, go out of the window.

We have seen our lead at the top of the table rise and fall over the last three months. Each time it seems to get as big as it's been it is cut again. I might produce a spreadsheet that will show that lead rising and falling and, more importantly, the trend that shows it rising since we took over at the top of the division back in, I think, October.

It rose to 13 points above 2nd place (all be it the team in second had a game in hand) and a massive 17 points to third. The truth is that this massive lead was after we'd have a fantastic run and those around us had had a terrible run (by the standards set this season). That meant that the lead was going to be cut if the two Sheffield teams and Huddersfield had another good run and we had a little wobble.

In fact Huddersfield are still having a wobble, and Sheffield United are also failing to capitalise of our recent run of two defeats and a draw (including today).

Clearly we need to return to winning ways soon if we are to make this season finish as comfortably as it has looked for most of the last three months.

However, we are still nine points above second, and we are also nine points above third. It looks about as good as any of us would have dared to wish for back in August when most of us would have taken 6th and a play-off win, and would have ripped of the arm of anyone offering a second place finish.

What we needed today was to avoid defeat. A draw away from home is normally good enough, if backed up with wins at home, to win the division, and a draw is what we came away with.

What makes it all the more significant is that three of the other four teams in the top five also drew. Sheffield Wednesday's win at Notts County looks impressive, and I can now see them taking second place, all be it that there could well be several more twists and turns before May.

Scunthorpe are a very strong, physical, side and getting anything from them now, when they are fighting for their lives, was going to be an achievement. There is a school of thought that says that getting the firs goal should have been enough for us to go on and take all three points.

Wagstaff created the chance and provided a great cross, and BWP put it away - just what we've come to expect of him but a great contribution, all the same.

At the back we looked nervous. In fact I would go as far as to say that I could feel the anxiousness when we were defending in that first half. A shocking clearance from Morrison straight to an Iron player in a dangerous position lead to a tangle of legs that led to a, correctly, awarded penalty.

The rest of the game was, to be honest, very scrappy. As I've already said Scunthorpe are a big side, and they clearly sensed blood.

After the Interval both sides seemed to be struggling to carve out any real chances, and soon the game drifted into a stalemate with the visitors the more keen to push forward, but struggling against a big defence.

What we needed to do was avoid a defeat. We have just dropped eight points in three games and we still find ourselves nine points above second place. if this is the end of our bad run then we have a lot to be pleased about. If we are going to struggle for another couple of games then it might get exciting, but with the other teams dropping points it might not make the much difference.

The only criticism I have is that we have seemed to play less and less passing football in recent weeks, and against teams like today's opposition the long ball up to Yann is going to be a lot less effective and we are going to need an alternative approach.

Yeovil on Tuesday is now a much more significant game that we all thought it was going to be a month ago. However, we have been at our best this season when the games have had a lot riding on them so, I wouldn't put it past us to beat Yeovil and follow it up with a win next Saturday at Huddersfield, who have fallen away a bit from the top three.

With a nine point lead with nine games to play we are still very much favourites to win the league, and we are now on another unbeaten run. We have had unbeaten runs of more than ten games twice this season. We may well have seen the last third division defeat in the club's history, there must be a good chance that we've seen the last one of this season.

Up the Addicks!


ChicagoAddick said...

"If we are going to struggle for another couple of games then it might get exciting."

I don't do exciting.....

Thanks for the report KH. Did you coach it?

Kings Hill Addick said...

I did CA. It's a long day but with the iPad and a pair of earphones it's more than bearable.

aitchy said...

If that's brief, I don't wanna see a long report! Good report KHA, always enjoy your comments.