Sunday 26 August 2012

No Substitute

KP's prophetic book about Charlton v Hull on 25/8/12

Nearly 47 years ago to the day and our beloved Keithy P became the first substitute in the football league after 11 minutes against Bolton. I think we could have played for 111 minutes yesterday and we wouldn't have seen one for the Addicks. All these years later and Sir Chris could have chosen 3 from 7 but strangely opted not to do so.

The boy from Barnehurst must have been as bewildered as the rest of us as to why no sub was used. Even God Himself made the pitch so wet and flooded that you'd have thought the only option was to send on the subs !

There are very few scenarios where you wouldn't want to make use of the boys on the bench. If you're winning comfortably then it makes sense to rest a couple and / or give others a go or try a different system. If you're coming to the end and have a slender lead you might want to bolster the defence if you're under the cosh. If you drawing nil-nil at home and players are tiring, your skipper in particular, then you'd definitely want to do so ! 

I remarked last season that the deployment of those on the bench seemed to be an Achilles heel for Sir Chris and so it proved yesterday. In the second half we were under some pressure and only Hamer's excellent keeping kept both a clean sheet and a point. 

Jackson was really struggling, not blessed with great pace anyway, he chased down a ball late on in the second half that, as I remarked to my lad, even I'd have beaten him to. It wasn't only Skip who looked tired and it's not surprising given a hard game in midweek. Probably Kerkar and Cook should have come on as a minimum.

I do hope Sir Chris improves in this area as we could have gone onto win yesterday. It does need addressing and let's hope that KP has a word in his shell-like or more subtly, leaves a copy of his autobiography on his desk !

Again with a nod to Sir Alf, we saw SCP's wingless wonders. Fair play, we got a win on Tuesday in that manner and one could argue that it was right to keep the same eleven that brought home the bacon then. However, for me, particularly at home, we need the width a natural winger will provide. We can't keep waiting for our backs to get up the pitch to overlap as we lose momentum and knacker the them too at the same time.

Skip appeared to be in a more central role which is where I think he's best but this forced Hollands out to the left, where he isn't. Our midfield needs addressing !

I don't want this to be a moan at Sir Chris and I'm not ignoring the better than anticipated start to the season. Regular readers will know I love Sir Chris and don't want anyone else as our manager. I just feel we can do even better. When we did get early balls in the box yesterday it caused problems for Hull with Yann even providing a quality cross in the first half.

Hull were a reasonable side who, on the basis of missing as many chances as us, probably deserved a draw. Had he not been so obsessed with shooting on sight, the impressive Aluko, might have fashioned a couple of better chances for the Tigers.

As I said earlier, Hamer was again impressive for us. The eye surgery has helped him enormously and one can only hope that he passed on the details of his surgeon to the ref who somehow missed a blatant Hull handball in the box.

We did have the ball in the net when Yann smashed it home following a BWP effort that was parried by their keeper, Amos. It was disallowed with BWP having been flagged offside some moments earlier. Having seen it on tv last night I still don't know why the lino gave that decision, I can only assume the elements played their part with that being the element of surprise !

Our journey yesterday was as miserable as the weather. We decided to drive and got caught up in the aftermath of the crash on the North Circular that led to Orient's game being called off. Our usual route onto the A12 was closed and luckily my lad's i-phone with appropriate sat-nav device or somesuch saved the day as it navigated us through the East End and eventually onto the Blackwall Tunnel approach. 

There was further delay on our return as hold ups between junction 9 and 10 on the M1 forced us to divert via the A5. From now on I think we might let the train take the strain as Sir Jimmy used to say. Talking of men for whom the tracksuit is sartorial suicide, did you clock Steve Bruce in his yesterday ? Oh dear ! No need for Gok Wan, a casual glance in the mirror should be enough for Bruce to realise the error of his ways.

Next up is Forest away and judging from what I saw on Friday night in their game against Bolton they will provide our toughest test yet. Andy Reid looked mightily impressive and scored a superbly worked and well taken goal. We'll have to be on our mettle for that one.

For now let's be happy with the 5 points garnered to date and hope that we can be even better in the games to come which will hopefully be aided by a couple of additions either in terms of permanent signings or loan deals before that window slams shut for a few months.    


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