2018 draws to close with the state of the country rather mirroring that of CAFC. There's been little progress over the last twelve months for our nation although one can point to some progress on the pitch now that Bowyer is our manager.
At the start of the year there was optimism that the owner was nearing a sale. Sadly, twelve months on and that looks as far away as ever. Clearly our club is an attractive proposition but not at any price. The old fool clings on to the hope that someone out there is fiscally foolish enough to pay his asking price for a club, that despite several cost cutting measures, is still haemorrhaging money.
Duchatelet would still have us believe via his recent interviews that money isn't an issue. Clearly it is although you'd have thought it wasn't really in his interests to hold on as he is.
One can but hope that in a year's time I can be writing about our brave new world under different and more caring owner/s.
The last two games have taken a little gloss off the promising start to the season. However, it would be churlish to be particularly crictical of Bowyer and his players. One needs to look at the bigger picture and acknowledge that the manager is doing a fantastic job.
Effectively, Bowyer is trying to paddle across the Atlantic to the land of promotion on a semi-inflated lilo!
Doubts remain as ever as to whether we can hold on to loan players, that promising players won't be sold and that the manager gets any support in bringing in new targets.
We will have to wait and see but you anticipate that our hopes, like those of many recent previous seasons, will not be met.
All such a shame as our magnificent club, staff and supporters deserve so much more. The EFL, the Premier League and those who purport to run football ought to be hanging their heads in shame at the plight of numerous clubs like ours.
They won't of course as their attentions are focused on ensuring that the likes of Scudamore don't depart office without a good send off.
Thanks to anyone who takes time to read this blog. I haven't posted much this year as both work and personal commitments have impacted. I'm sure you've soldiered on though without it!
Thanks to all other Charlton bloggers, it's alway good to read their views even in these not so wonderful times.
Thanks too to Ketts for his company and chats at home games and for continuing to write so prolifically and insightfully about our special club.
Whatever you're doing tonight I sincerely hope that you have a great evening and I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year ! God willing may that extend to CAFC !
A fantastic performance on Saturday saw the Addicks return
to winning ways in addition to stemming the flow of goals conceded. That this
was achieved against an in form Barnsley team speaks volumes.
I don’t think anyone had a bad game. The return of Bielek
shored up the back four. An improved display for Dijksteel allied to Pearce
being restored to his preferred side really made a difference.
Added to that Steer put in a more assured display with a
couple of good saves and on occasion, excellent distribution.
Grant’s excellent finish following a sublime pass from Ward
was very much against the run of play. The first half was an even affair and in
truth the Addicks would have welcomed the half time break.
The first 45 minutes made it clear that referee Linington
had not improved since his last time at The Valley. Mind you with the sun in
his eyes ( not an excuse he could have for the Posh game ! ) it’s no surprise.
On several occasions he had his hand shading his eyes from the bright orb in
the sky !
It did make me wonder why referees don’t follow the example
of keepers and wear a cap ( ok, I know this means exercising a degree of common
sense ! ). I’m sure The Valley in mid-November can’t be the only occasion
that this is an issue so why would it not be part of their kit they take to
every game ?
The second half saw Barnsley reduced to just one shot on
target pretty much such was the excellent work from the team. The second
effectively finished the game but you can never say never with the Addicks !
A third was disallowed for reasons known only to the man
from the Isle of Wight but it failed to lessen the celebratory atmosphere in
S.E. 7 !
On to tomorrow night and the most one dimensional manager in
league football brings his Oxford team to The Valley. It’s something of a
surprise as most of us thought he’d have gone by now so bad has been the
Yellows start to the season.
A number of fans seem
happy following a run of two scoreless draws and a win over the bottom club,
Plymouth. However, some of the natives have been restless with most seeing through the verbiage and endless excuses of our former manager. However,
A couple of fans recently observed “ No evident style of
play, no clear strategy to score because Robbo is a tactical numpty “ and “
Honestly, I’ve seen bowls of porridge with more tactical acumen “ !!
Of course, we know this all too well having witnessed it at
It we fail to beat Oxford tomorrow it’ll only be down the
goalkeeping excellence of Simon Eastwood, a dodgy refereeing decision, some
horrendous mistake or poor play from ourselves.
Lee Bowyer should be confident of a win although he’ll no
doubt be up to the wee hours trying to second guess what formation Crafty Karl
will deploy !
In the event of another defeat for Oxford no doubt Robinson
will dig deep into the book of excuses. This season he has added the home
ground having an effect on the lads. The three sides isn’t helping apparently.
Jon Obika is out for the season and so won’t be playing.
Ricky Holmes missed out on Saturday but I don’t know the extent of his injury.
Carruthers is finding his fitness and feet after a spell on the sidelines.
Oxford are unlikely to be adventurous and Robinson would
probably take another 0-0 right now. He’ll have half an eye on a smash and
Hopefully he’ll leave pointless with The Addicks cementing
the good work done on Saturday.
Finally, tomorrow’s match is part of Lyle Taylor’s Go Pink
campaign and let’s hope it is successful in raising more money
towards this very worthwhile cause.
Elton John famously sang I guess that's why they call it the blues perhaps inspired by a Coventry victory over Watford. Who knows but Charlton fans knew that feeling after yesterday's game.
A third successive game saw us left the pitch with less than we should. I could say deserved but perhaps that's not entirely true unless we're having that bad a run in terms of luck.
We all know that we have a good squad of players. We all know that is a squad without much cover and for us to stand any real chance of promotion this season we need minimal suspensions and injuries. Of late both have hit us hard.
The defence is really under pressure at the moment. The full back position is possibly the weakest area of all. It may be that Bowyer was somewhat naive to continue with the same back four that conceded 4 goals on Tuesday.
Solly having to play at left back weakens the team and Dijksteel doesn't look totally comfrotable at full back. Might we have done better to keep Solly in his preferred position and play Sarr at left back ? Pratley or Bielek could have played at centre half.
Solly was aforded a vast amount of time and space on the left and regularly picked out vy the Charlton midfield mostly Reeves who supplied some exquisite passes. Solly's lack of a decent left foot resulted in him time and again cutting back onto his right or not quite doing enough with the best efforts his left peg could muster.
In addition to that Solly was left devoid of support when receiving the ball. It was disappointing that it wasn't until the second half that this was rectified when Fosu was sent out to help him.
Ultimately Charlton were made to pay for failing to take their chances. It was surprising that the game was scoreless at the end of the first 45 minutes and that it would need a spot kick to open it up.
Taylor had a great game yesterday and was brave enough to step up to pentalty duties exactly two weeks after he had one saved at the exact same goal. He did have some help from Coventry's Kelly who indicated to keeper Burge that Lyle was going to put the kick to his left. In the end Charlton's number 9 put it to the goalie's right.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first with the Addicks failing to take their chances. That's not to say that City didn't have opportunities to score of their own. They did and they could have scored before they did.
Mark Robins deserves a lot of credit for keeping his team in the game and with a squad that I believe was missing a few key players. Prior to the match he had identified the problems of our defence and the absence of Page in particular. It's probably no coincidence that their main attacking threat came down our right hand side where the less experienced Dijksteel was operating.
Bowyer and his troops have greatly exceeded expectation to date. It is to be hoped that this is very much a blip.
Next week's break offers a chance to regroup and maybe get a couple back from injury. Let's hope they make the most of it.
In the meantime we have a meaningless Checkatrade nonsense fixture. At least it gives an opportunity for a run out for some fringe players. Let's pray we don't have add another page to the current chapter of current injuries!
On Saturday we played the Hatters and on Tuesday we are away again this time to the Iron. At home next Saturday we play Coventry and although it's no Detroit, it is closely associated with cars ( especially Willie Carr ! ).
Clearly we're in the midst of a set of fixtures inspired by Waddington's famous game of Monopoly and its tokens ( I mean the original ones not the more modern ones which are a nonsense - change isn't good !! ).
Portsmouth must be up soon maybe followed by Northampton and Blackburn ( Rovers ) in the cup. If we get Millwall, you'll know we've moved on to Cluedo tokens !
I always felt that Saturday's game against Luton was going to be a tough one and in view of the way events panned out, like just about everyone else I was more than happy with the point.
Chris Solly chose a good time to renew scoring. They do seem to be worth waiting for don't they ?
Bowyer was right not to risk Ward and Grant by not having them in the starting eleven with tomorrow's night's game in mind.
Whether Fosu would have replaced one of the midfielders who played so well against Plymouth
is unclear. I guess Ward's injury solved that problem.
We did dominate for long periods against the Hatters albeit not as much as the Plymouth game. We do need to score more when we are on top.
Following the game from afar was a nervy affair. If we can go two or three goals up it would help with the nerves.
The Iron will pose difficult opponents. After a dire start to the season manager Nick Daws was sacked and replaced by Stuart McCall.
McCall has overseen a real upturn. Accepting that their have been many draws the team remains unbeaten under McCall.
The Addicks do have a record of ending unbeaten runs and they'll need to be at their very best if they are to repeat that tomorrow.
Former Addick Lee Novak is amongst the ranks of Iron players. I don't think we saw the best of him when he was with us and I hope that doesn't start tomorrow !
Lee Bowyer's boys made it four wins in a row yesterday with an impressive preformance against a stubborn Plymouth side who somewhat belied their league position.
The Addicks made a positive, fast attacking start to the start with some crisp passing and movement. However, despite the strong start we went behind on 9 minutes as Carey headed home from a cross from the left.
Plymouth didn't hold the lead for long as Grant equalised 3 minutes later as he prodded home after we had a corner.
Charlton went on to dominate the game as is evidenced by all the stats including the number of shots which totalled 23.
It was frustrating that our dominance didn't result in more goals and an earlier goal. Our front two are scoring regularly but could have even more to their name.
Yesterday there were a few occasions where they were too keen to pass to each other rather than take a shot. I recall that one of them tried to pass to his strike partner when he had 3 defenders in close proximity.
However, I may be being too picky !
Bowyer's managerial career started with last season's home game against the Pilgrims as he took over from Robinson who left for Oxford. In stark contrast to his predecessor, Bowyer is a calm and reassuring presence on the touchline.
That was certainly the case yesterday as he didn't panic or get anxious at any stage. Not when we went behind and even when the game reached the later stages as we pressed for the winner.
I think most of us would have been considering making subs earlier than 75 minutes. Further to that we would probably have made more than one.
The manager only brought on Vetokele for Ward at that 75 minute mark. Of course he was proved to be correct in so doing.
Bowyer is very measured and controlled. Some people like to have an animated manager as they believe it shows passion. However, I don't need to see Lee jumping up and down to know he has that. I know he has that from his actions and words.
I wonder who Oxford fans would rather have as their manager ( a rhetorical question if ever their were one ! ).
The imminent return of Fosu certainly seemed to motivate the midfield yesterday with impressive performances from Reeves, Cullen, Aribo and Ward. Indeed, Reeves had one of his best games as his vision and passing were great. Aribo was great and worked incredibly hard and appeared to cover every blade of grass.
After yesterday it would be harsh on any one of the midfield players if they made way for Fosu even accepting how good he is.
With only Portsmouth of top teams not winning yesterday ( Barnsley's game was postponed ) we find oursleves in 6th place. The spread of points is close however and a fifth win on the spin ought to see us into the top 4 I'd have thought.
Luton await and it won't be an easy game with Nathan Jones boys doing pretty well following promotion last season. The Hatters have only dropped points against Sunderland at home so it'll be tough.
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 !
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.
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 !
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.
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.
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.
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 !
Victory was came late for the Addicks on Saturday as they won the game with a 91st minute goal from Grant. That it was against last season's nemisis, Shrewsbury made it even sweeter.
As exepcted Charlton lined up with the same starting eleven from the previous Saturday save for Sarr coming in for the injured Pearce.
The Shrews were a much changed outfit with only two players starting that played against us last minute out and a new manager to boot. Not a lot to be seen of their new manager as he was serving a touchline ban from last season.
Ahead of kicking off there was a period of applause to honour the short life of Jack Jeffreys. A poignant reminder of more important issues than football but also that the game can unite people and bring us together to support each other in tough times.
The first half was a drab affair in which the oppo had a couple of good chances to take the lead. I believe we hit a post or crossbar late on but I have to confess I missed it as I took a comfort break at the time.
My bladder wasn't on good form yesterday and necessitated a break at Euston en route but the silver lining was that I saw the great Clive Lloyd en route. He still looks pretty well and lean.
Bowyer changed to 3 at the back for the second half and withdrew the largely ineffectual Marshall and brought on Morgan. Young Albie went on to have a good half supplying some good corners and was also happy to take responsibility for other dead ball situations.
A well placed header from Taylor saw us take the lead following a lovely cross from the impressive Lasplie.
It looked as though Charlton would see out the win with the Shrews not creating any really clear cut chances. However, we know our team never makes things easy and so Shrewsbury equalised on 83 minutes.
A cross from the left cut out Sarr and the never knwolingly undersold John-Lewis nipped in ahead of our boys to nod home.
The script usually follows that we go onto lose, however, on this occasion we were to triumph late on. Somehow Pratley crossed incredibly close to the by-line and perhaps more incredibly Grant nodded home when it seemed impossible to do.
Given where we are with all the injuries and a very thin squad the result really is all important and overides the performance. The positives are the perfomances from the youngsters and that the team didn't give up.
In addition, the tactical switch from Bowyer at half time proved to be a largely good time perhaps save for the equaliser where Sarr's towering presence might have prevented it had he not been out on the right.
Aribo and Pratley performed well and adequately in midfield although we still lack a degree of creativity.
Grant looked full of running and of a more direct nature than previously witnessed in SE7 and it's clear that his loan spell at Crawley has done him the world of good.
Good to see new recruits Taylor and Pratley hand over their shirts to fans in the crowd.
Next up is a trip to Milton Keynes for the league cup. An easy journey for me and so I will be there although I have to say if the game was played anywhere else I probably wouldn't go.
What sort of team we put out is anyone's guess. I would assue that Steer may make his debut and perhaps Ajose will start up front. Bowyer will want to rest most but isn't in a position to do too much.
There is a possibility that we might return down the M1 with Chuks Aneke. The MK striker is currently not training and refusing to play I believe. I've heard a rumour linking Bolton and us with him. If he remains fit he would be a useful acquisition, however, he is on good wages I believe and as we know the owner isn't backing Lee much so I don't hold out too much hope.
First home game of the season and we should all be full of hope and anticipation. However, like so many seasons under Duchatelet's ownership that just isn't the case.
I really didn't think he could take the club any lower than he already has but he's managed it. This week we have seen us start the season with just 5 subs on the bench aside from having to field a largely inexperienced starting eleven containing players who weren't really fit enough.
This was down to more than just about two or three injuries although they clearly don't hope. The news of the lack of water for academy players and the comments from Dulwich Hamlet about the pre-season friendly are further examples of damaging hand of the owner.
Even Duchatelet looking to sell it really doesn't have to be like this. However, even when he was remotely interested he showed little interest in his investment ( I don't think he's ever seen the club as more than that ).
You might have thought Duchatelet would want to maintain the club as an attractive proposition to potential buyers but he's seemingly not prepared to take the slightest action or make the minimal investment to achieve that.
In the meantime the EFL continues to look the other way. It's not just us either they apparently haveno desire to address similar issues at a number of other clubs. There is an apparent lack of duty of care within the organisation whilst any potential new owner has to jump through a number of hoops. That would seem pointless if someone does that it is then ok for them to act and behave in any want they like.
I do wonder at what stage, if any, the EFL would feel the need to step in. Maybe we'll find out in due course.
Back to the start of this piece and the lack of excitement. My younger son rarely goes to games these days. This is partly due to breaking the habit when he went to Uni but to be honest there's been little to attract him back even on an occasional basis under the present regime.
My older lad has maintained his season ticket depsite everything until now. For the first time in over 20 years he doesn't have one. At the time of writing I wait to see if he'll be sufficeintly enthused to go tomorrow as he may opt to go to the odd game here and there.
My friend Clive shares my lack of anticipation as we both expect naother season to endure. I'm sure we're not alone in this and that this is reflected across a number of fans. How many fans we will lose ?
I checked yesterday on ticket availability around where I sit. Having done so I'm going to be as lonely as a lighthouse keeper such are the vast gaps around me. What a mess !
I should be writing about the game tomorrow and reviewing Shrewsbury post Hurst and looking at our team and bouncing back from last week's heartbreaking defeat.
Supporting Charlton has never been easy has it ? This is the thinnest of thin ends of the wedge. All we can do is cling on to the hope that the old man will eventually be gone.
In the meantime as far as this season goes on the pitch all we can relasitically hope for is survival in tier 3. That is where we now find oursleves.
Sorry for the downbeat tone of this piece but there's little to be upbeat about. At least the weather's been good !
To date in this summer we've enjoyed one of the best world cup finals for many a year and likewise in terms of our summer. As Addicks of course our football club is there to restore the status quo and to bring us back down to earth.
The euphoria that arose at the end of last season following Robinson's departure and Bowyer's appointment allied to the team's displays has dissapated with each passing day since its denouement.
Respected journalists and the well informed have been made to look those latterday chancellors of the exchequer with their promise of jam tomorrow as there have been so many false dawns in respect of a takeover.
It seems that we as far away as ever with the Australians seemingly unable to get the deal over the line. This should have left the way clear for the second interested party but in reality I don't any of us ever believed one existed.
Sans a CEO and finance officer and any kind of guiding hand it's a wonder that the club continues to function at all.
Last season amid the prospect of a takeover I renewed my season ticket and guess what ? Yes, I did it again at the end of last season amid the almost certain takeover happening as it seemed at the time. Didn't someone once say something about a fool and his money ?
Despite the owner apparently on a mission to destroy our club the EFL standby doing nothing whilst having the only hope we have, the Aussies, jump through hoops etc before sanctioning any kind of a deal it seems.
Our squad is at present looking like the weakest and thinnest we've possibly ever had added to which it contains some of the most injury prone players in football. Bearing in mind our squads of late that's quite some statement.
I do hope you didn't drop by here seeking to reading something in any way uplifting !
Incredibly against this backdrop the team has produced a couple of good pre-season results and Bowyer has somehow maintained an apparent good team spirit. Another couple of high profile departures and if not suitably replaced could severly test that of course.
In more stable times and with a half decent squad I'd say playing a newly relegate club like Sunderland early doors would be good. It may still be the case. If we can avoid defeat it'd be a result.
If we see a repeat of that famous encounter from May 1998 then those who are making the early morning departure are in for a treat.
Yours truly will be away will little prospect of finding a bar showing the game. I will try though. You will have make do without my post match ramblings.....what a shame eh ?
Good luck to those make the Herculean effort to support the lads.
Typical Charlton ! When we last departed the Valley we'd just taken 1 point from 3 games and the prospect of taking a full 9 from the next 3 seemed about as likely as Roly coming to watch a game in S.E.7.
Three totally comitted performances have seen us wholly turn things around. As others have observed you often learn more in defeat than victory. That seems very apt for the Addicks.
Lee, Lee, Lee Bowyer has managed to refocus the squad and again got them all pulling in the right direction. Those last 3 games have seen a real team effort and in each case it's been hard to cite more than one or two players who haven't had a good game.
Yesterday victory was as a result of a real fighting performance and maybe a slcie of luck with the goal. However, no one can really argue that we weren't owed that given the manner of our last two defeats.
It's to be hoped that Page's injury isn't too serious and that he can get back on the pitch next Saturday.
It's clear that the race for the playoffs is going to the wire. Clearly we will need to win again next week. I'm not 100% sure I think we could still miss out on goal difference.
Whatever Bowyer has worked wonders and all from day 1. He has really turned things around in showing us what most have said all along and that is that our squad is more than capable. Indeed, it is capable of beating any League One team.
The manager even managed to get The Valley rocking again yesterday having got the fans to take their support to a new level at Pompey.
Bowyer could achieve legendary status should he manage to steer us through the playoffs and the final and deliver a return to the Championship which is minimum of where we should expect to be.
Skip signed off yesterday with a wonderful speech. It was succinct, heartfelt and beautifully delivered. The man just oozes class.
Mr Jackson, sir, thank you for all your efforts and those wonderful memories. I sincerely hope you're not done with Charlton just yet. Hopefully there are many more outstanding memories to be made !
And so this topsy turvey season continues. It may of course end up going wrong and let's face it the odds are stacked against us. History and previous experience tells us we'll probably miss out on goal difference even if we do get close but it wouldn't be Charlton if it was straight forward or not destined to break your heart !
Frankly it is ridiculous that we are remotely anywhere near a play-off spot let alone be sat in in 5th place. The two teams below us have games in hand but so often it's points on the board that count.
I think that most of us had totally given up after the last two games more as a result of the manner of those defeats as anything else not just the results.
Thankfully Bowyer and the players had other ideas. The manager made 6 changes to the starting eleven and no one could have argued with that.
Clearly it was a much improved and more motivated performance than of late. Can it continue ? Who on earth knows ? We are just as capable of wining all 3 of our remaining games as losing all 3.
Never a dull moment with the Addicks ! Next up Pompey way........anyone care to guess the score on that one !!!
The last time I posted we had just completed a hat-trick of victories playing some scintillating football. This coming from a highly motivated and passionate team. Robinson, his 4-2-3-1 and everything else that came with him all seemingly a distant memory.
Fast forward yesterday and we appear to have reverted to the last days days of the previous manager's reign. As swiftly as we turned things around from the Plymouth game we have moved back to where we started with equal alacrity!
I am perhaps fortunate not to have witness the away games at Rovers and Wimbledon. Neither were good and Wimbledon one could hope was a one off. Indeed, Bowyer was confident that the team would respond in the right way. Sadly, he was let down by nearly every player.
The passing was far too slow and there was no real cutting edge.
This was the bad old days not the good old days with Bowyer playing the Leonard Sachs role. However, the supporting cast were playing a very different tune for our delectation!
We secured 9 points in fine style pretty much against all odds and then in equal measure failed to get more than 1 when another 9 points seemed a pretty likely return.
The path to the play-offs seems even tougher now of course and another two games next week really won't help. We could hardly have picked more testing opposition than Shrewsbury and Portsmouth.
However, this is Charlton and so if we went and won both it oughtn't to be a surprise - expect the unexpected!
Realsitically it not's going to happen and the false dawn has cruelly raised our expectation and in typical Charlton fashion it has been dashed so quickly.
There is little to be optimistic about with the season fading away, no real sign of the takeover being completed, incredibly season ticket prices have risen ( over and above infaltion and certinaly not in line with what we've seen on the pitch for the majority of the season ! ) and the club remains rudderless.
In short, we're in the s**t !
However, history shows us that things can and do turn round and sometimes sooner than we could ever expect to hope. We need to cling on to that hope and perhaps look for inspiration from teams like Bournemouth, Burnley, Brighton and Huddersfield looking set to survive another season at the top table.
We have to hope that the new ownership happens quickly or least in decent time before the start of next season with the manager ( whoever that may be ) suitably backed. Hopefully come kick off in August things will look considerably brighter.
The revival under Lee x 3 Bowyer continued yesterday with a slightly different type of performance from the previous two games.
Rotherham were quick out of the traps and really came at us in the first few minutes and were unlucky not to take the lead when a shot hit the bar. The general feeling was that The Millers would look to get a draw or sneak a win so their aim to try and surprise us somewhat tom come out all guns blazing was a good one.
Losing Fosu so early on was a real blow and he looked to have been withdrawn as much as a precaution as anything and it is to be hoped it is a minor knock. It is testament to the side's current play that it manager to cope so well without him. This is especially trye when his replacement, Kaikai didn't seem to do an awful as far as I could see.
The Addicks slowly imposed themselves on the game and it appeared that we had won a penalty but the referee changed his mind. It looked pretty clear to me but perhaps a Rotherham defender got pushed along the way.
A poor header from one of the Millers' defender let in Zyro and he went on to finsh with some aplomb. A lovely strike!
Shortly after the ineffectual referee who was reluctant to give a yellow card or speak to any player committing a misdemeanor had to leave to the field of play. It wasn't clear if he had an injury and was embarrassed at his poor perfromance !
This gave rise to hope, albeit false as it turned out, that his replacement might offer some protection to our boys from the physical side of the Millers. This wasn't to be and the game bizarrely finshed with us collecting 3 yellows and Rotherham none! Smith in particular can be thankful for that.
The second half saw Charlton really impose themselves on the game. The aforementioned Aribo score two different but equally lovely goals. The first saw him drift into the box to head home unchallenged. In contrast to Zyro's bullet header against Plymouth young Joe almost carressed the ball into the corner of the goal.
Carressed isn't a word you'd use to describe Aribo's second. He powered forward as he broke away and simply smased the ball past the keeper. It was fantastic !
Despite a scrappy consolation for the Millers the lads comfortably saw out the game.
A number of good performances across the team with, for me Konsa, Kaikai and a low key Mavididi not being at their best.
Dasilva looked like someone who'd not player for a while. On the basis of what I've seen so far I think I prefer Page at left back as much as Jay has a lot to offer.
There's little to be critical of, however, if we're looking to improve then we need more imaginative with free kicks. I know we scored from one. A couple of others at least didn't go so well and unless someone is able to hit the top corner from distance they don't go so well.
The dynamic duo continue to work wonders and have in a short space of time really turned things around in almost every respect. There was a bigger home crowd yesterday and the atmosphere cranked up a notch or two as well.
We are now back in the top six and the aim must now be to try and capture 4th place let alone just finish in a play-off spot. Rotherham must fear for their place in that top six as their form since February has been really poor. Added to that teams are queuing up behind them ! Down to 9th place it is so so close !
Lee chose to shuffle the pack yesterday and it didn't change the outcome and neither did the early loss of Fosu. How far have come ? The manager continues to say and do the right things. Long may it continue !
No, not the ex-Norwich loanee ! There's only one Lee and he's been named thrice !
Bowyer contiues to impress with what he says, how he acts and how his team plays. If he can keep this up then I may have to just keep posting pics of him and get one for my bedside cabinet !
The team clearly carried on yesterday from where it left off on Saturday and then some ! Another two early goals settled any possible nerves and the lads went on to add another two.
Despite the oppo not providing the greatest test it must be said that all season we have struggled to put away the most modest opponents. That a Plymouth team that we comfortably beat 2-0 last time out overcame Southend 4-0 is a good indication of how far we've come in a few days.
Unsurprisingly Bowyer named an unchanged starting eleven and they didn't disappoint. It was good to see a resurrgent Reeves score and apprently with his head for the first time. Fosu looked to be on fire and as reported it should and could have been a lot more.
The football and team spirit has moved on a great deal with the players performing with a great deal of self-belief and freedom to express themselves.
It seems likely that barring any injuries Bowyer is set to name the same starting eleven again on Monday. Fresh from completing out first double of the season against the Cobblers we could do the same against the Millers.
Only one win in 5 league games in March sees Rotherham arrive at The Valley in poor form. Should that form continue then they would be in danger of dropping out of the play-off places.
I think a vast majority of us recognised that we had one of the best squads in this division. However, until last week it was lacking organisation and a formation to maximise its potential. Now it seems to be or close to be doing just that.
These last two games have left us wondering what might be. Certainly if we can get into the play-offs then I don't think we need fear any team especially if Wigan and Blackburn take the top two places as seems likely.
I know we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves however, as we know teams that come in to the playoffs on form tend to come through. It would be both astonishing and wonderful if we could do that. A lot of water needs to pass under the bridge before that happens of course.
On Monday the Bowyer bandwagon rolls on and it'll be interesting to see if we can keep it going. Like the last two games it's another must win game and one that could see us return to a play-off spot should we win and Scunthorpe and Plymouth draw. It's hard to see Peterborough losing to Northampton at home.
I think it's fair to say that since I last got out the old laptop to blog things in S.E. 7 have moved on a bit. I haven't bothered for a while as my frustration with Robinson meant I was focused on him and expressed the same views.
I will say before I move on that I always felt he wasn't right for our club and said so upon his appointment. Some have expressed a right man at the wrong time opinion. Not for me. Anyway he is now gone and it's time to look forward.
I had my doubts as to Lee Bowyer as a coach as I felt he lacked experience. The same for Jacko too as both are relative novices in that respect. That is not to say that I felt in the long term they wouldn't come good.
I think they had a problem whilst working for Robinson. Both men owe their opportunity to him and that I guess made it difficult to express a contrary view to the manager's plans. I'm not sure Robinson would have listened anyway.
To date I have to say that as caretaked manager I'm greatly impressed by Bowyer. He has said the right things and conducted himself in a suitable way.
There could be shades of the Curbishly / Gritt partnership when ultimately Richard Murray made Curbs the main man when everyone though it ought to go to Gritt. That, of course, prove to be one of Murray's more astute decisions.
It would be great if the same proves to be the case with Bowyer and I appreciate that Skip turned down the chance. I think he was right to do so.
If a week is a long time in politics then in Charlton related football it's nearly an enterntity ! There was a stark contrast in almost every aspect of the game against Fleetwood and yesterday's versus Plymouth.
The atmosphere for a start so much better and more positive and a feeling that everyone was totally behind the new management team. If this proposed takeover goes through next week it'd be great to see loads of fans returning and for the ground to more full than of late.
The football was so much better as the desire to get the ball forward quicker was blatantly evident. Gone was the tippy-tappy sideways and backwards football the typified our season to date.
The players were committed and showed great desire. Most of them would have been out on their feet at the end. For me, I never felt that a decent Plymouth side would score not even in those dying moments.
The defence was more cohesive and we didn't have a lack of height that we have when Da Silva and Solly play. Therefore, we defended set pieces in particular in a better fashion.
Throughout the season we have seen our players bullied and lacking a physical edge. Not yesterday as we stood up for oursleves. Despite the ref being poor in a way it was good to see him feel he had to speak to Pearce about our approach.
The mood for the afternoon was set early on with Page's wonder strike. How good was that ? I'm opting to overlook his attempt to repeat the feet a few minutes later. Suffice to say it ended up just wide of the goal!
Amos made a superb save before Zyro got the second goal. He pushed the shot onto the post and his reaction in jumping up and giving a huge fist-pump spoke volumes about the spirit in Bowyer's team.
Our second was a superb bullet header from Zyro and we were off up on our feet again celebrating!
I can't fault any player for their performance yesterday. Reeves probably had his best game for us. JFC was full of running and made some great tackles. Pearce and Bauer gave it their all and were superb.
Ajose was a striker reborn and deserved a goal for his efforts. I could go on as there were good displays acroos the whole team.
Clearly Bowyer has had an immediate impact. Remember he was missing the same players as the previous manager plus Konsa and Magennis too. Yet he got a largely 4-4-2 formation to work and involving players like Aribo and Dijksteel who were largely overlooked by Robinson.
The players left the field to a fully deserved standing ovation. Amongst other things I really didn't miss yesterday was the post match huddle and lap of honour. The players and manager acknowledged the crowd and left the field with their minds focused on the next game.
Bowyer has a few nice selection headaches. Anyone who started yesterday will feel aggrieved if they don't start against the Cobblers.
The play-offs remain a possibility and if we can maintain the standard set yesterday then why not ?
If the takeover completes next week then the new dawn really is here and we can all start to look forward and be really positive about the club's future. It'll be a long way back but the hope will be there!
All looking good ahead of tomorrow's pitch inspection. This picture was taken at 2.45pm..................
6 months ago !
In pure football terms Saturday would appear to be a good
time to Wimbledon. In meteorological terms it’s certainly not and it's unlikely
the game will be played.
All the blame can be put on The Beast from The East and this
time, the beast’s not called Roland !
The Dons had a good January but February has not been kind
to them. They’ve played 7 games , winning only 1, losing 5 with one draw. Their
form otherwise has been inconsistent at best and explains why they are towards
the bottom of the league.
Our form has been a little better but not what you’d expect
for a club with our squad and play-off aspirations. The injuries to JDS and Kashi will hardly help our cause but no one other than Robinson apologists would argue that we ought to be in a much better position. That anyone is blind
to his short-comings that are increasingly exposed with each passing game is a
mystery to me. It's not just DHL who are failing to deliver.
Robinson may have improved morale to a degree and be a
slight improvement on the previous recent incumbents ( that's not saying a lot ) but we need someone who’s
tactically astute and can motivate and organise players appropriately. In short, we need
more than a cheerleader !
The manager made a long winded statement ( no, really ! ) praising virtually everyone connected with the club. Unbelievable was the oft repeated word. The same word he used to describe Shrewsbury after he watched them play before setting us up for a right old drubbing last Saturday.
The injury to JDS has implications beyond the mere fact the he won't be available for the next few games. It does mean that when we face Plymouth we won't be able to postpone the game due to having 3 or more international call ups.
That means the unthinkable and not playing Josh Magennis. Robinson will potentially have to think of another way of playing or at the very least try someone else up front. I'm looking forward to seeing how it pans out.
It could be amusing if not effective given that on Saturday he opted to move Aribo to left back on Saturday when JDS went off. There were many options available that were far more appropriate but the manager chose to ignore them all. On that basis replacing the ever-present Magennis should er.......interesting. What masterstroke can he come up with for that one !
Today's aforementioned clarion call was an odd move even for Robinson. Praise on the one hand for all and sundry whilst stating that Bowyer and Jackson don't have much experience in the role. A tough 12 months or so for him but how much has he learned and we're in a much better place.....he's been having lessons from La Meire it seems !
This is new territory for Robinson as he is seemingly getting his excuses in very early. It's not my fault guvnor, honest !
If The Addicks are to scrape into the playoffs we'll need a large percentage of wins from our remaining games. It all seemed highly unlikely before Saturday's potential postponement with further fixture congestion and injury loss. It appears even more unlikely now.
Unless the manager has a footballing road to Damascus moment it's really not going to happen and I wonder, with teams around us hitting form, just how low down the league we will go before season end.
Shrewsbury have been the surprise package in League One this season. Their early dominance in the league has continued despite most folk thinking it might evaporate about half way through the season.
On Saturday in S.E.7 they produced a display that perfectly demonstrated how they got there and why they look set to stay. This is a team that is well drilled, well coached and highly motivated. In fact, on yesterday's evidence they were everything Charlton aren't.
The passing and movement was quick and incisive as opposed to our frequent over elaborate build up play. They never stopped running and pressed and chased every ball.
The Shrews had suffered from an illness bug during the week and also played on Tuesday. To look at the two teams you'd have thought it was the home team that related to.
Post match and Robinson accused the players of not following the game plan. Apparently during the week in training they were told not to forget what they'd been doing all season and not to pass sideways and backwards.
Either the message didn't get through or they didn't listen which brings into question the manager's ability to get the message across or their willingness to listen or perhaps both !
That aside I'm confused as to how you can play without passing sideways or backwards at some stage. One assumes the alternative is to lump the ball forward or simply give it away.
Even before kick off there was a strange twist as having won the toss we opted to kick towards the Covered End. Allegedly we thought the Shrews, like some ancient civilisation, be mesmerised by the slowly setting giant orb in the sky allowing the boys in reds to waltz passed unchallenged to steer the ball into an empty net.
Sadly, they have seen the sun in Shropshire before and this ruse failed as the Salopians went on to dazzle the boys in red who for the most part were left chasing shadows.
The 90 minutes were an object lesson in how to play in manner which Robinson purports to favour but seemingly is unable to deliver for any sustained period of time let alone an entire game.
We had about 5 minutes of good football where Henderson the keeper on loan from United showed why he is such a promising prospect with two or three excellent saves. He was never troubled again.
There were many poor performances and on occasion a total lack of communication. Time and again the ball was lumped upto Magennis who on those times won the ball headed onto to no one was there simply wasn't another player to run on to it.
The manager like the rest of us witnessed this but unlike the us paying spectators felt unmoved to change anything.
Kai Kai again contributed little and to me looks lazy and uninterested. There must be more to him than this.
Marshall again offered nothing and still shows no desire to take on and run at the oppo. He was largely responsible for the penalty as he wasn't in enough space for Solly to pass to in the lead up. The resulting poor penalty kick only served to delay the inevitable.
A quality first goal and poorly defended corner wrapped things after 67 minutes as one knew there was no way back for us.
Thanks to the ongoing inconsistency of teams around us were are still in touching distance of the play-offs. Realistically we oughtn't have a cat in hell's chance of making it but it strangely remains.
However, by the completion of the next three games, all away that hope may have been totally extinguished. At least one can hope that the club will be rid of inept owner by then. We can then look forward to the future. A future that really not see Robinson in the manager's seat as time and again he has shown he doesn't have what it takes to move us forward and out of this league.
I saw my first game back in the sixties when my dad took me along on a very wet and windy day. I recall having to turn my back to the pitch because of it.....shame you can't do that sometimes now !
I sit in the East Stand with my lads who both keep the faith.
I live 75 miles from the Valley having moved away from the area in 1984 but my heart has never left !