Monday, 28 January 2013

Charlton 1 - 2 Sheffield Wednesday

Until last season I just didn't really like Wednesday. while at University (in Sheffield) in the early 1990s I decided to be a united fan so I didn't like Wednesday. They were both in the Premier League at the time and one year they contested the FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley. Anyway I did go to Wednesday a couple of times - to watch the opposition. Tickets were not c. £60 in those days.

Anyway until last season I didn't like them but was not really all that bothered about them. Last season there seemed to develop something of a rivalry between us and I do like a bit of rivalry. I thought Megson's comments about us and them last season were a little insulting He continually suggested that they were better than us - even though we led the table for most of the season.

In the end Megson was sacked but by then I'd been to Hillsborough and seen us win by the one goal we defended like crazy.

So into this season and with them in a bit of a relegation battle, and with us desperate to stay out of one I really wanted us to win up there. As we all know we lost that game but I was hopeful that we would be able to beat them at home. Having already lost at home to Barnsley and Ipswich and being a little fortunate to beat Peterborough this was a chance to get it right against a relegation threatened team to give me (and presumably others) confidence that we would stay away from that dreaded third from bottom place.

Sadly we lost, but what was worse was that it was a rubbish game.

I thought for most of the game that we would be lucky to see either side score. In fact by half time I was totally convinced that it was going to finish 0-0.

Our goal came from the first real attack we had of any quality and then I was convinced it would finish 1-0. I couldn't see either side getting on the score sheet again.

Wednesday, obviously, threw caution to the wind and looked dangerous for ten minutes or so, but we stood firm. Then it became a little more end to end, but I still thought it would finish 1-0. I thought we would tire, but if I'm honest we looked very tight at the back. Clearly we were defending more and more deeply, but that is what I'd expect us to do, and that is what worked at Hillsborough twelve months ago.

That is something that I don't understand about some fans. They always come out after these type of games and say that if we'd been more aggressive and attacked more we might have got the second goal and then gone on to win. This is, of course, completely true, but there are, literally, hundreds of 1-0 victories in football. Each and every one of them must have had a team one goal in front for the last ten minutes, and chances are that the losing team was throwing everything at them to get an equaliser.

Scott Wagstaff, who had been running all over the place all afternoon had still not slowed down, and even though Kermorgant had been in the wars he was still chasing and harrying and this is the same side that saw out many one goal leads last season.

On reflection a substitution might have made all the difference, but often changing an eleven that have been defending deeply and hanging on causes goals to be conceded.

There was no way to know that we were going to be overrun at the death. Clearly it was easy to predict that we were going to be defending for our lives in the last ten minutes, but it was, by no means, certain that we would not hold out.

Maybe, just maybe, we should have seen it out for a draw at 1-1. I would have been disappointed but it would have added another point to our tally, and would have ensured that Wednesday stayed ten points behind us. Naturally we attached looking for the winner that I think all home fans thought we deserved.

Inevitably teams that concede a late equaliser then open up and attack for a winner leave gaps at the back.

It was a fantastic end to the game for Wednesday and even though I don't like them they had a game plan and they stuck to it. I don't like the way they play and I don't want us to resort to the negative kicking and pushing that they seem to be happy with.

We are still seven points in front of them and I suspect we will finish above them. Their dogged style of play will probably keep them up, but they will struggle to ever do much more than survive playing that way so if that's the pinnacle of their aspirations then good luck to them.

We now have a run of six tough fixtures against teams that are currently 5th (Palace), 17th (Birmingham - the only team below us), 3rd (Hull), 2nd (Leicester), 10th (Forest) and 8th (Burnley). By the end of that run we will know what we are playing for in the last eleven games of the season.

I would be more than happy if we are still ten points above the team in third place - we are currently 13 points clear. If we manage to beat Palace we will be just six points behind them. and no more than two wins from the top six. It is still all to play for but with two of the top three to play away from home in the next four weeks we might be as close to the playoffs today as we are going to get.

I'll take mid table right now.

Up the Addicks!

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