Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Charlton 0 - 0 Blackpool

Following on from a great game on Tuesday night where I thought we played the best football I've seen from us this season we followed it up with our first clean sheet in the league this season.

Sadly that is probably the only real positive to take from the game. We looked strong at the back but Blackpool didn't look very good going forward so I'm not sure that we can use this as confirmation that the defense is 'rock solid' just yet.

In fact I would suggest that it was a game of two strong defenses, and with the way the two teams played it was going to take a mistake at the back and as neither side looked like making one we could have still been playing now and it would still be 0-0.

However, you can only beat (or not concede against) what you have in front of you, and Blackpool are still 6th in the division, and despite having the 12th best scoring record, they have the 3rd tightest defense, so a 0-0 was, by no means, a poor result.

I do have some reservations as to whether Blackpool will finish in the top 6, but I suspect that will depend, a lot, on Tom Ince who is clearly talented, but failed to achieve much on Saturday. I thought Rhoys Wiggins had him well covered and he also seems to have a swagger about him that was not justified based on that performance. If he moves away from his Dad (and his white jacket and white trainers) in January I can see this side struggling to be anywhere near the playoffs come May. Having said that I can't see us being anywhere near them either so I guess I should keep my thoughts on that subject to myself.

Overall I thought it was a credible performance. Neither of the strikers showed much that was encouraging, but in their defense they didn't have many Chances. I thought the midfield was set up to provide more protection to the back four - as I thought it was on Tuesday. That clearly worked as we only conceded one goal in the two games but it relies heavily on Harriott, who I thought struggled a little on Tuesday but looked completely out of sorts on Saturday.

I suspect that we don't have a natural candidate for the tip of the diamond and it made sense to give Harriott a go at it, but I'm inclined to suggest that it hasn't worked. he is still young but he looks like he is struggling to have the same impact from the start of the season as he had coming into a side towards the end of one. I have a lot of faith in his ability and don't doubt that he will make a significant contribution this season, and hopefully for a few to follow, but I think he is finding a little harder with the attention that he is getting from the opposition just now.

Jordan Cousins, on the other hand seems to look the real deal. Clearly this is his first season so we will need to wait until he's played 20 or 30 games before we make firm decisions, but from what I've seen of him there is plenty of justification for the plaudits that he has received on his way through the youth and reserve set up towards the first team.

I said before kickoff that I would have been more than happy with a draw on Tuesday and would have taken two points from the two fixtures in the week. I wouldn't have taken a draw before kick off on Saturday, but in the end I was happy with a point and a clean sheet.

We now have a couple of weeks to get Kermorgant back fit and with the rest of the side starting to gel again I am confident that we will be able to put a little space between us and the stragglers at the bottom.

Up the Addicks!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Charlton 1 - 1 Forest

There are some games that are rubbish irrespective of the result. There are some games that are great because of the result. Tonight was neither, yet both.

I know I've not written much recently, and this is not because the football has been uninspiring - I have moved house, my wife had chosen to move away and leave my son (her son also) behind and I have become a 'single parent'. None of this has been anything short of an adventure for my son and I - we are very close and I have constantly reiterated that his Mum loves him and is just living elsewhere as she is not as keen on me.

Anyway all this has taken up a lot of my time, and I've not felt as enthusiastic about this blog since my wife informed me that she 'Didn't fancy me any more' in June last year. I have not, exactly, been depressed, but I have found myself reevaluating my priorities and this blog has suffered. I've been through the 'Maybe I've put a few too many pounds on' and lost close to four stone - that didn't help. I've worked much harder and made much more money - that didn't help. I've done the 'agree with everything she say says' and help around the house more - that didn't register, either.

I came to the conclusion that it wasn't going to matter what I said or did, my wife was going to leave me and my son and we (the boys) were going to be starting a new life together. I only mention this as it it, kind of, explains why my blog has been, let's be honest, shockingly unreliable for over a year now.

I can't promise that this is going to change from now on - I have a lot to learn about being a single parent, but I spent years wanting to write a blog and be part of the 'Charlton Bloggers' and since I started I've made some great friends, some of whom have been very supportive during my 'troubles' and I don't want to walk away from this - or my new-ish friends.

Anyway, now that I've bored you all about my personal history I'll share my thoughts about tonight's game.

I'm normally quite optimistic about games, and I'm certainly a glass half full kind of chap. However when, just before kick off, my Dad asked me if I'd take a draw (a usual question we share) I said that, under the circumstances - no Kermorgant, Jackson or Solly, I would take a two goal defeat.

I wasn't being negative, but I fear for the manager and the teams confidence. I thought that Blackpool would be the easier game this week, and I thought that a credible defeat tonight would give us a great chance on Saturday.

In the end I needn't have worried!

A fluke of a goal in the second minute shared the life out of me. I could see a massive defeat coming. I just thought that if it get's to five or, worse, six Powell would struggle to keep his job. Then something changed.

We started to do several things. We played neat football (clearly we are not Barcelona, but we did pass the ball - a lot); we put Forest on the back foot and created chances, many of them; we had players that had looked bereft of ideas against Millwall pulling off great passes, dribbles and tackles.

Basically we looked like we'd replaced our whole team (of nervous players with limited ability) with players that knew how to pass, hold the ball and create chances.

Granted it was like watching Barcelona take apart Gillingham, but it was a revelation compared to Millwall. You should take into account that I was not at Huddersfield or Burnley so didn't have a perception of the performance there, just the results.

My one disappointment (and it is tempered with the fact that I really enjoyed the game) is that until we equalised I thought we were really dominating the game. Once we got back to 1-1 I felt as thought we reverted to a tight, non adventurous, game. I can't help thinking that if we'd played the same way in the second half as we started it we would have come away with three points.

However it was a great game of football and I would have taken a draw before kick-off. What made it for me was the melee in the Forest penalty box towards the end where the ball was going everywhere and I believed that at any second it could go in. There were blocks, saves, failed clearances and more shots. It reminded me of my early days at The Valley when this seemed to happen every week (it's probably my memory playing tricks on me).

Overall I would say that it was a great game of football - the kind of game I would love to watch on the tele as a neutral.

We didn't win but we also didn't lose. Forest are a good side but not only did we match them I, genuinely, believe that we out played them. All but for a fluky goal it could have been a very different game, but I can honestly say that I can't remember enjoying a game more than this one for a while.

And hopefully I'm back.

Up the Addicks!