Monday, 17 September 2018

The Good News and The Bad News

The BFG set to be out for at least 2 months

Lee Bowyer clearly hasn't read the script. He has his team performing well, just chalked up 3 wins on the spin and won games since being made permanent.

That's not normal for any Charlton manager let alone one working under the ownership of the odious Duchatelet.

As I'm sure Bowyer would be first to acknowledge credit must go to other members of the management team. Jackson, Gallen, Euell et al must all take the plaudits too.

The manager has made the team tougher and hard to beat. In pairing Taylor and Grant he has created the best couple of strikers we've had for a while. Theirs is a blosoming partnership that bodes well for the future.

To get a comfortable win at Bradford such as the one The Addicks secured on Saturday is no mean feat. The two goals of good quality were a real bonus.

Given the small size of our squad and the owner's relutance to invest sufficiently in it there is always a caveat to any success that we might enjoy. Injuries and suspensions are always likely to prove a stumbling block.

Thus it happens. Just as we were starting to get players back the BFG, Patrick Bauer is going to be missing for at least two months. Sadly defence is where we have the least cover so this is going to hit us hard.

Our Arsenal loanee, Krystian Bielik, who can also cover that position is currently out too which in the short term further limits our options. 

I expect Sarr to fill in of course. However, we can ill afford another injury to one of our central defenders so extra order of cotton wool are needed.

Next up on Saturday is bottom of the table Plymouth. Their last visit to the Valley was at a time when they were flying high and it was Bowyer's first game in charge. Bowyer went onto to record his first win and the Pilgrims season went into decline.

The boss should be confident of getting the 3 points again at the weekend. However, Charlton being Charlton we all know we can't take anything for granted ! 

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Send On The Subs

The subs allowed Charlton to take a strangehold on the game

Charlton recorded back to back league wins for the first time this season. It was far from pretty but whilst we'd all like pretty football the result is all that matters at the moment.

In addition to the missing 3 players Bielik was missing I assumed through injury  ( Dr Kish has confirmed it was a calf strain ). Somewhat surprisingly Steer replaced Phillips in between the sticks.

Joe Aribo returned after missing out at Southend through injury. Mark Marshall returned to the bench after impressing the manager in the EFL trophy in midweek.

Bowyer decided to deploy 3 centre halves and the inclusion of Sarr was presumably to help deal with the huge presence of Akinfenwa. However, he didn't actually spend much time marking him.

I was pleased to see the big man play and he is quite effective in being a nuisance with his sheer strength alone. Overall our defence dealt with him well and I can't recall him having any real clear cut chances.

A rather drab first half was punctuated by only the goals and an audacious overhead kick from Taylor that nearly paid off.

Wycombe took the lead on 7 minutes when Willimas was allowed to curl a left footed effort into the far corner. His effort was not hit with any great pace from the edge of the area and I did wonder whether Steer was poorly positioned for it. However, having seen a replay he appears to be unsighted by one of his own defenders ( Page ? ).

The Addicks equalised as the result of a rare bit of good fortune as Page's cross was defelcted into the Wycombe net. Bizarrely for some time Page was credited with the goal.

The second started with in the same fashion as the first with little excitement. The arrival of Reeves and Lapslie changed things very much for the better as we carried more attacking intent and threat.

Taylor scored again as he has the happy knack of being in the right place at the right time. Never mind that it was a tap in not all strikers get themselves in those positions. Fortuntely he does.

Sarr notched a third in the 80th minute and the game was effectively over. Wycombe did pull one back after Taylor was fouled on the East Stand touch line in front of linesman Magoo. The referee also decided to ignore it and The Chairboys scored from the resulting corner.

The afroementioned ref was pretty awful coosing to ignore many synical Wycombe fouls. Possilby his most ridulous decision was to book Steer for timewasting. This was bizarre because the visitors were gulity of doing that several times and no warning was given to the Charlton keeper.

The most odd aspect of it is that we had been awarded a free kick about midway in our half and Steer was making his way from his area when the daft official was to be seen brandishing the yellow card!

Pratley made another rash tackle in the course of this game. He made a similar and possibly worse one the week before. He needs to be careful aside from the fact that we can ill afford to lose players to unnecessary suspensions we could drop points playing with only ten men especially for long periods.

Given the players we had missing this was a good and useful win. Those four players missing yesterday ought to all come into contention for next Saturday. The competition for places is now starting to intensify.

All welcome news and a rare treat for the new permanent boss to have a few headaches over selection for good reasons for a change. 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

The Beast !

Adebayo Akinfenwa - The Legend

Saturday sees Wycombe stump up at The Valley. This means that the man, the legend, the beast that is Akinfenwa will be setting foot on the hallowed turf in S.E. 7. 

Despite living close to Sixfields I never went to him play during either of his spells with The Cobblers. In fact, I've never seen him play anywhere so I'm looking forward to that.

Wycombe have won 1 game, lost 2 and got one point from the other 3. It seems that like the town itself they are very much the drawer specialists. As such they ought to prove a tough nut to crack.

One time Charlton target, Craig Mackail-Smith, is now in the ranks of Wanderers. CMS seems to have lost the goal scoring knack of late and perhaps a word with Karlan Grant would help, not least in advising the benefits of ditching a double-barreled name!

The Addicks have been buoyed of late with the return of a few players from injury. Added to that the recent additions of both Ward and Cullen has strengthened a squad that very much needed it.

The playing side is still thin and more so in some areas than others. However, what there is actually has pretty good quality for this level. Charlton ought to be confident of getting something from most League One matches.

Naturally for that to happen it needs an awful lot of not just with injuries but also suspensions. Exhibit A, Fosu, m'lud! The talented midfielder now finds himself missing 3 league games ( let's not mention the EFL trophy nonsense in relation to this suspension other than to say just how much it very much underlines how awful the EFL is ! ).

I have sympathy for Fosu it's easy to say he shouldn't have reacted to the kick he received whilst on the gorund especially as he's just come back from a lay off. His now permanent manager had a word but given his various escapades on the pitch couldn't be too critical and was probably also sympathetic to a degree.

We can't really afford to be without him and the loss of the new boys Ward and Cullen is a blow too. Nonetheless we should still fancy our chances as the competition for places has increased with the return to favour of Ajose and from injury Vetokele.

Pearce is back in defence and Aribo ought to be available for selection again. Reeves played for a few minutes short of an hour on Tuesday and will no doubt be in the squad.

Things looking up on the pitch then and off it too with aforementioned permanent appointment of Bowyer in a rare moment of sanity from those running the club. That should prove to be a big boost not only to the management team but the players too with a modicum of stability following this endorsement of the manager.

I'm sure Bowyer will be pushing for a win. To achieve that we need to move the ball quicker than I've witnessed recently and make better decisions in and around the area.

Hopefully they can secure the 3 points and play their part in my metropolis based weekend as Sunday sees me return to the smoke for a couple of treats. 

The mrs has treated me to a power boat trip on the Thames and later we're having afternoon tea complete with sandwiches, scones and cakes. I'm glad it's happening in that order.

Here's hoping The Addicks don't leave me feeling queasy come 5pm on Satruday !

Come On You Reds !

Monday, 3 September 2018

The Brawl At Roots Hall

Players exchange pleasantries just before the final whistle.....

Charlton won 3 points at Southend that were hard fought in every sense and came at some cost.

It seems that we deserved the win with debutant Cullen being particularly impressive as he came straight into the starting eleven. No real surprise in that but there was with Ajose seemingly making a return to favour and starting along with Taylor and Grant.

Pearce replaced Sarr dropping to the bench. Aribo was injured and Marshall dropped out of the squad altogether. 

Fosu returned from injury finding a place on the subs bench. He went on to have quite an afternoon.

Things really took off in the second half with the Addicks taking the lead through Taylor only to be pegged back a couple of minutes later. 

On 87 minutes a bullett from Bielik saw him score his debut goal for us whilst restoring the lead.

In time added on things erupted as Fosu attempted to keep the ball in the corner. He was on the receiving end of late tackle that was followed up by a kick to the back of the legs. Little surprise that Fosu just returning from a lengthy lay off due to injury was a tad miffed. He shouldn't have reacted but perhaps it was understandable.

The Southend keeper ran a long way to get involved and he too saw red after throwing punches at the angelic-faced Lapslie. Oxley not really setting a good example as skipper.

Having only secured one win to date in the league, this was an important result to boost confidence and to move up the table. Sadly despite that the loss of Fosu for the next 3 league games is massive such is his ability and importance to the team.

His absence on Saturday allied to that of both Cullen and late arrival Ward due to international call ups is a blow that would be softened a bit if Reeves were to return to the squad. 

If we can keep players fit then we have a pretty decent squad. However, our recent injury record suggests that is unlikely added to which we'll certainly find suspensions playing a part too.

The EFL further underlined how absurd they are with the situation regarding Fosu's suspension. Tomorrow's EFL trophy game doesn't count as part of it but Fosu is not allowed to play as he's serving a suspension. What utter tosh ! 

The EFL trophy game against Wimbledon is of little interest save for seeing which players can survive unscathed. On the plus side it does allow Bowyer to get some playing time into one or two players who've not had much playing time of late.   

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Old versus New

Saturday see the Addicks come up against the legend that is Chris Powell and his Southend team. The former player and manager is returning from a one game touch line ban following a spat with Plymouth manager Derek Adams.

For his part Adams got a two match ban. Clearly what he said and did upset Powell. It must have been bad because Powell, as we know, doesn't rile easily.

Ironically current boss, Lee Bowyer, could receive a similar punishment following his strong criticism of the referee from the Posh game. One can forgive Bowyer for that, a combination of an appalling ref and Steve Evans is enough to try the patience of anyone !

To date the Shrimpers have won 2, lost 2 and drawn 1 in the league. As a result they are 2 points and 3 places better off than us in the league.

Powell has just added striker Harry Bunn to his squad and will be expected to play a part on Saturday.

The Addicks could use a little additional fire power themselves as the finishing and decision making in front of goal has been pretty poor. The return of Igor on Saturday ought to help. Not only should he be a good player at this level, his presence should motivate Grant and Taylor.

Although clearly not a favourite with Bowyer, Nicky Ajose should merit another chance and can probably count himself unlucky not to replace Marshall against Fleetwood.

Pearce made the bench last Saturday and Fosu is rumoured to be in the squad for this Saturday. Slowly the injured are returning and that is good news. However, given our paper thin squad we need an incredible run of luck with injuries and also suspensions if we are to field decent sides.

Fosu will bring much needed creativity and a goal scoring threat both ingredients that we've been largely lacking to date.

Marshall has been disappointing again this season and his place must be under threat. Morgan deserves another go in my view as he seems capable of producing something.

Charlton need to pass the ball quicker and play with more attacking intent. There's a tendancy to pass backwards too much. No problem with that to retain possession on occasion but there's still a need to be more direct at times.

If fully fit then one assumes that Pearce will come in for Sarr. Naby hasn't done a lot wrong at all even if he does give fans a few heart in the mouth moments! Peare is a more natural partner for the BFG though of course.

At last there is a little room for manoeuvre for Bowyer with the starting eleven. A chance to swap things around and rest one or two of the younger players who looked a little jaded against Fleetwood.

At the time of writing there's been no more news on the mooted loan deals the Josh Cullen one seems the most likely. Let's hope they do come to fruition as they'll be much needed.

Bowyer's men fae a tough game but as with most this season we ought to be confident of getting something from it.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Crisps Prove To Be The Best Fayre At The Valley

The highlight of the day! * Please check with your line manager before opening.

It was pretty much a case of deja vu yesterday as another home fixture against the Cod Army resulted in a drab game with the same 0-0 scoreline as the one back in March. I'll not forget how bitterly cold it was that day even if like yesterday's game the match itself will not live long in the memory.

The silver lining from 5 months ago was that it was the last with Robinson as manager. As hard as one might look there's no apparent good news on the horizon save for some players returning from injury.

It was a crisp start from the Addicks as we broke quickly from kick off however, as packets of chips rained down from the stand there was no crisp finish. Indeed there wasn't to be one all after as only Grant was able to find the ( chesse and ) onion bag but was ruled offside.

I'm not convinced that he was but would need to see a replay. I think he stayed onside and a couple of others retreated from an offside position. However, neither side deserved to win this drab game with both teams squandering good opportunities to score.

Marshall replacing Morgan was the only change form Tuesday's starting eleven. Sadly he struggled to get into game and was replaced by Lapslie early in the second half.

Phillips acquitted himself well making a couple of good saves and in a competent display.

Igor came on for about 30 minutes but had little opportunity to score with our lack of creativity offering few chances. 

Taylor was both frsutrated and frustrating. Sure he was fouled a lot with the weak referee not seeking to give a free kick and / or issuing a card. However, his propensity to down like a sack of spuds a little once too often was irritating and something he needs to remove from his game.

As I said, sadly the crisps were the day's highlights. I know we're without a few of our better players but those on the pitch yesterday are capable of a lot better. The decision making and movement of the ball was all too slow yesterday. Both need to a be a lot quicker add to that a need to cross the first time more. Too many touches and a lot of passing backwards isn't helping.

We need to pick up a win soon to restore some confidence and also drag us up the table. It is possible for us to challenge for a top 6 spot but that needs a couple of additions, the play to improve and a largely injury free squad. All that is unlikely but without at least one or two of those we will struggle at the wrong end of the table.

The crisp throwing and the pre-match protest achieved their aims in highlighting the plight of the club and its staff. There was wide reporting from across all forms of social and traitional media. I don't hold out much hope that the EFL's propsoed metting with the club and the trust will bear much fruit. We can but hope but to date they've shown themselves to be ppor guardians of the game and the clubs within it.

They could at least satisfy us by clarifying the situation with the alleged takeover. They only need say whether they are awaiting more paperwork or whatever. Then that at least would be clearer.

I've more faith in the actions of ROT to push us nearer to our dream of a Roland free club. Please may that day come soon.  

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

MK 3 CAFC Mk.3 0

We were always on a hiding to nothing yesterday as Lee Bowyer had to balance the priority of the league against a league cup fixture.

Thus it proved to be with only a handful of players with any first team experience whatsoever and for some of those only one or two games at that. In some cases just half a game ! Sat behind the goal without my spectacles ( I forgot to bring them ) I struggled a bit but there were only four players I'd readily identifty any !

No wonder the lads found it tough going albeit against a lower division team. I doubt that many had played together before so it was a very much cobbled together side that emerged into the Bucks evening.

MK's side contained a majority of players in their league squad from Saturday.

Bowyer left Jacko and Euell to manage the side which made sense in as much as Euell ( and to a lesser extent ) Skip probably know the players better. I understand that Bowyer like the latter days of Curbs' management opted to view the game from the stands.

All that aside I expected to see all these players not only thirsty ( for obvious reasons ! ) but hungry and full of desire as there's at least one place going on the bench. Sadly, not all of them looked as motivated as I'd have hoped.

We conceded a soft goal early on as Cummings unfortunately headed too weakly towards Phillips. On 16 minutes we conceded again follwoing a good finish although we backed off too much to allow the shot.

The second goal finished the game in reality as it was unlikely we were coming back from that.

Oddly whilst we were contained in a narrow area of seating behind the goal the rest of the ground was completely open. Clearly none of the cost cutting measures that afflict the Addicks applying here, well away end aside !

There's very little else to report aside from us hitting the bar and having two nailed on penalties turned down in the second half.

One of those for a clear handball and another just a couple of minutes later when Ajose was scythed down as he was about to shoot were both turned down instantly. Referee aside the lino surprisingly showed no interest either. Not just me sans the lorgnettes then !

On to Saturday and Accrington away. We're unlikey to have any reinforcements for that one and I'm not aware of anyone recovering from injury.

Stanley got well beaten last night although one assumes that they too played a weakened team. Their forst tow league games mirror our result albeit their loss came at home and the win away.

Ahrad of the visit of a strong Peterborough side the following Tuesday we really need to get some kind of a result. Here's hoping !

Come On You Reds !