Monday 21 November 2022

A Beaten Mess!

How things change eh? A month ago we’d just secured our first away win of the season at Shrewsbury  and one that completed a run of 3 wins on the spin. We started looking up and not down and even the most pessimistic of us began to entertain thoughts of a play-off spot.

Fast forward to now and the play-offs appear to be just a pipe dream with the overall mood at the club much more of a down beat nature.

Anyone who witnessed Saturday’s dire performance will know just how bad it was. One has to feel for all those Addicks who made the journey to Vale Park only to be rewarded with probably the worst display of a very average season.

One shot on target for both sides in the game’s entirety tells its own story, the difference being that Vale scored with theirs.

There’s so much that one could dissect about the game and all serves to confirm the bad news. The defending for Butterworth’s goal was just awful. He had to beat 3 defenders plus AMB (he had a fine debut) but he did so with very little trouble or resistance.

We insisted on playing out from the back and every time that I can recall we got nowhere from it losing possession or the ball going out of play quite quickly.

If you don’t have players to carry out your preferred system you simply don’t do it. Talking of which, I thought Garner had had his road to Damsacus moment and realised that 2 recognised strikers up front works best for our squad.

Of course, Stockley isn’t playing well but we really aren’t playing to his strengths and he’s feeding off scraps.

The decision to remove Jayden when bringing on Aneke made little sense to me. Having our only two fit strikers on the pitch at the same time surely represented our best chance to get anything from the game.

Some very basic moves don’t happen. A good example of this was about 10 minutes into the second half. Sessegnon (who had a good game overall) had a clear opportunity to make an overlapping run but for some reason it didn’t seem to enter his head to do so.

This is pretty basic but either players are encouraged to do so or for some reason it’s not covered in a training session.

The manager’s post match comments received a deal of attention. Unusually, he was critical of the players, something that he’s not prone to do usually. Nothing wrong in that and probably deserved.

Garner also went on to moan about the pitch which seemed fine to most people as I don’t recall anyone else mentioning it.

To make matters worse he went on to moan about Vale’s tactics. Apparently, their manager made them awkward to beat, the devil! Garner made himself look silly by saying this.

He went on further by bemoaning the lack of investment in the squad and the summer transfer window. Garner is correct on that point of course.  However, it’s a bit late in the day to complain and to be honest with the squad we have we really ought to have beaten a newly promoted team lacking their main striker.

Maybe it was a diversionary tactic but it did him no favours and one has concerns about what that does to the mood in the squad aside from the friction it doubtless causes with the owner.

Garner ought to have managed the team better. After Aneke, there were no more subs until the 76th minute which was very late in the day to try and affect the game. Let’s be honest very few players deserved to stay on the pitch and it was crying out for earlier changes.

The one saving grace this season has been our cup runs but you’d have to worry that our interest in two of those could well end within the space of 5 days.

Garner has stated that he’ll put out a young side against Pompey on Tuesday and on Saturday, Stockport will provide a tough test. County are on a pretty good run of form and one could easily see us going out of the Cup.

The only hope for this season remains one of two scenarios. One sees Sandgaard sell to someone who has the finances and interest to move the club forward. The other sees him get his act together and at a minimum invests in the squad.

The latter is a tough one as January is a difficult time to recruit any decent player. In addition, you’d have to wonder why anyone would want to join our club at present.

A mess indeed!

Monday 14 November 2022

Another Draw!

After the excitement of the cup games The Addicks league return only produced the 6 goals following the 8 against Ipswich. Like the last league there was to be no winner as the goals were shared evenly.

I followed the game via Twitter as I was watching the England rugby league team go out in extra time to Samoa. For the second time in two visits to the Emirates the team I wanted to win didn’t.

In contrast to the Ipswich game post match this felt like an opportunity missed. Having been 2 nil up in the first half to the bottom club it should have been job done. However, our ability to concede soft goals again proved to be our Achilles heel.

It was good to see Kirk score a couple of well taken goals. It’s just as well that those outside the main strikers are doing so as Stockley continues to struggle. To be fair to him he would benefit from having a regular strike partner and one who is actually a forward.

These are the games we really need to win if we are to stay within touching distance of the play-offs. It’s very much the Charlton way to fail to get over the line against teams we ought to beat.

Ideally you want your skipper geeing up the team from the heart of the action. That means it has to be combative type midfielder of central defender. Typically the best skippers have met that criteria.

Sadly, our captain is somewhat remote up the top end of the pitch. In addition, his current form is unlikely to inspire his teammates nor leave him in a good position to criticise the performance of others.

Like many decisions this season, Jayden being made skipper was a big mistake.

We live in the hope that Sandgaard will invest in January although there’s little evidence to give cause for optimism in that respect. There’s much to be done for Garner to be properly supported. Sadly, the January window is rarely a good for most teams and it’s rare than clubs can pick up a player of real quality.

One has to feel for Joe Wollacott whose pre-match injury has ruled him out of the World Cup. It’s such a freak injury and one that leaves us exposed somewhat and we’re left hoping that Macca stays injury free with AMB a long term injury.

The break in the Prem and the Championship provides an opportunity for some clubs to attract those fans who might want a football fix at another club. Sadly. Our expensive tickets and late booking fee will only act as a deterrent to the casual or impromptu.

Another missed opportunity from Tommy. Perhaps there will be one or two folk who feel the urge to visit the Valley on Friday night on 2nd December. Should they do so they can benefit from the £19.92 fee.

There’s a week’s break now before the Addicks are travelling again, this time to Park Vale. Vale got trounced 4-0 away to Oxford on Saturday. With a defence that appears as porous as ours it could be another high scoring game and one well worth including in your both teams to score accy!

Friday 11 November 2022

Back To League Action

With no Cup action this weekend our attention turns to the monotony of league football with a trip to bottom club Burton Albion.

Former boss, JFH, was allegedly a target for Tommy at some stage but thankfully that didn’t come to pass or at least it hasn’t yet. You never know with our bizarre owner.

The Brewers are now managed by Dino Maamria. He is someone I know little of and had to turn to Wikipedia to provide some info.

As the old saying goes, as a player he had more clubs than Tony Jacklin and his managerial career appears to be heading in the same direction. Dino has been sacked from his previous two clubs.

As I understand it he remains in temporary charge despite having been in situ for a couple of months now. Unlike our own recent protracted managerial audition Maamria can’t claim the right to the job unlike Jacko.

To add to Burton’s woes there is an injury list that makes ours look reasonably rosie!

Despite all the recent cup action and excitement, tomorrow ought to see us victorious at the Pirelli Stadium. We just need to tread carefully, maintain good balance, steer away from danger and if we can handle the pressure, then all ought to be ok.

Apologies for the poor puns, regular readers will appreciate it’s not been a good year for that!

Garner has a job in balancing the needs for fielding another strongish team against those who’ve played a lot and may need a bit of a rest because they feel a bit "tyred".

However, the recent positive results if not performances ought to put a spring in the step of the players. One would hope that they’d be champing at the bit to get out there again.

I’d like to see JFC get an opportunity to play some part and Payne really should be starting.

As ever, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we don’t collect any more injuries especially to our two remaining strikers.

A tougher trip away to Port Vale awaits on the following Saturday and a win tomorrow allied to at least a point at Vale Park would represent a good return.

Off the pitch our illustrious owner remains tight lipped and in terms of social media, very distant. It must be very frustrating for him as he appears to need the limelight and attention in very much the same way as Matt Hancock.

Let’s hope it’s because he’s negotiating to sell up, Tommy I mean not the odious MP.

Garner has to ignore all that and keep the team focused on maintaining some sort of challenge in the remote hope we might get a play-off spot and that, in January, Tommy or a new owner might actually invest in the team.

Yours truly is off to the Emirates Stadium tomorrow for only the second time. I’ll be watching England take on Samoa in the rugby league World Cup semi.

Hopefully, it’ll be more rewarding than my previous visit when The Addicks took on “ Thierry Henry’s Arsenal “ where we lost, had Osei Sankofa sent off (his appeal against that poor decision was deemed to be frivolous and he received a further one match ban) and we eventually got relegated.

Let’s hope we can prevail at The Pirelli!

Come On You Reds!

Monday 7 November 2022

Cup Fever

It's cup matches all the way at the moment and let's hope we can complete a hat-trick of trophy wins tomorrow against Stevenage.

Given our paucity of success in any kind of cup competition one would hope our boys can overcome the team from Hertfordshire. That they are the latest team to employ the services of the odious Steve Evans enhances that desire for victory.

Maybe we can get Lee Bowyer back on the Addicks bench to add a bit of spice to the proceedings!

Should we be triumphant then it's another cup draw that will retain our interest past the first or second round. That is a rare event in one competition let along two or three if your interest extends to the pizza trophy!

Saturday's win over Coalville helped to set up scorelines from the Muskateers League, i.e. all 4-1 and one 4-4! I'll get me coat!

The cup games do of course, give chances to those who don't for various reasons get a chance for league games or their opportunities are restricted for some reason. That includes the like of JFC and Payne.

One day we may discover why JFC doesn't get anywhere near playing in the league. Why Payne's appearances have been rather dew and far between is another mystery. He is a cut above most of our midfield contingent. Hopefully, Saturday will have done his cause the world of good.

Campbell had another good showing and confirmed his undoubted promise. 

The injury to Thomas has added to our defensive problems allied to the loss of Egbo earlier in the week. This has led to the recall from loan of Deji Elerewe. Some of us were puzzled as to why he went out on loan in the first place seeing as he did well last season.

Our progression in the cups is a double-edge sword of course considering the aforementioned injury situation for our small squad.

In the meantime, we have our eyes on tonight's cup draw and tomorrow's trip to Stevenage. I guess we all have our dream of a tie against teams that we might have some connection with. Looking ahead to the third round (dangerous I know!) but a home tie against non-league oppo wouldn't be the worst for us.