As a US-based Addick, I had the benefit of seeing the full ninety minutes from the Riverside, albeit on a three-hour delay. Avoiding the result in New York is far easier than it would be in the UK, and hence I settled down to a lunchtime showing of our game that felt as good as live.
Charlton created three chances and scored with two of them so it's hard to feel aggrieved that we twice failed to hold onto a lead inside the last fifteen minutes. However, given our height advantage, it was disappointing that both goals were soft and came firstly from a set-piece that we failed to clear, and second from a hopeful punt upfield. Indeed, it seemed that panic ensued every time a ball was fired into the Charlton box which was disappointing given that El Karkouri, the Herminator and Bartlett should be been the natural winners aerially.
Deano was exceptional, pulling off a series of fine saves, none better than his first half stop from Nemeth from point blank range. With the likes of Man Utd and Arsenal suffering from keeper problems, it's reassuring to know we have someone between the sticks who continues to pull off saves when you've already braced yourself for a goal. Having said that, (and I feel guilty even suggesting it), he had no reason to race from his line on their second goal given that defensive cover was around and given that the young striker Graham did not even have the ball under control. Deano's decision to come off his line effectively presented a goalscoring opportunity that otherwise wouldn't have existed. Along with his occasionally wayward kicking, his judgment in these situations can sometimes leave much to be desired.
Other players who deserve a mention include El Karkouri who looks as assured as ever; Konch who played intelligently throughout and with limitless energy; Holland who does sterling work, often unnoticed; and Bartlett who is finally adding goals to his repetoire of goal-line clearances and defensive headers. Murphy looked out of sorts, particularly in the second half, and it was no surprise when he was removed. Indeed, whilst the midfield triumvirate of Holland, Kish and Murphy are difficult to break down, none of them have the pace to break forward and support the front man consistently. Despite Holland's fortuitious goal yesterday, we have not delivered enough goals from midfield this season. The one player who perhaps has this ability is of course Jason Euell who remains out of favour.
So we can take away a hard-earned point against a rival for the European slots, but it's hard not to imagine how the table may have looked this morning had we held on for three. Unfortunately I fear that Liverpool will find the momentum they've been lacking, whilst Tottenham's huge squad and improving form will see them finish the season stronger than us. Having said that, our forthcoming fixtures do not look especially daunting until Man Utd visit the Valley, by which point we will know if any European hopes remain alive. The stand-out fixture (and our game in hand) is Tottenham's midweek visit to the Valley which, based on recent midweek encounters, suggest four goals for them and fewer for us.