Wednesday, December 23, 2009

10 Memorable Draws of the Decade

Having spent nearly six years living in America, I’ve perhaps been brainwashed into thinking that the entire concept of a draw is abhorrent.

Indeed, given that most teams that drew every game would be relegated, I’ve always tended to be repelled by managers that proclaim that they ,”…came for a point.”

However during the decade, Charlton have been involved in several memorable draws that would have left no spectator unsatisfied. Here in detail are my top ten (in order):

1. 9 Dec 2000 – Charlton 3, Man Utd 3

United arrived at The Valley on the back of eight consecutive Premiership wins, and with a star-studded line up full of confidence, few gave the Addicks much hope of denying them a ninth one.

Shaun Bartlett made his first start for the Addicks after being utilised during the previous weekend’s defeat at Anfield, and the South African headed an unlikely 10th minute opener, burying a Graham Stuart cross past Raimond van der Gouw.

However the current Sports Personality of the Year Ryan Giggs, was rampant and influential in United’s quickfire response, taking the Champions into a surely unassailable 3-1 lead midway through the second half.

His classy finish in the 42nd minute, was followed a minute later by an audacious 50-yard lob which bounced off Dean Kiely’s crossbar straight into the grateful path of Ole Solskjaer.

Giggs then set up Roy Keane for United’s third midway through the second half, a cue for Alex Ferguson to remove both the Irishman and David Beckham, presumably considering the game won. Remarkably he was mistaken.

Bartlett took advantage of slack marking to head home Radostin Kishishev’s 79th minute cross to give Charlton hope.

Then with just five minutes left, substitute John Robinson collected the ball from an uncleared corner, and delivered a cute shot from an unlikely angle past van der Gouw.

His equaliser was the catalyst for the type of wild celebration that fully explained just why the passionate Welshman was loved so much.

Brilliant stuff, and it can be enjoyed again here.

2. 19 Nov 2001 – Charlton 4, West Ham 4

This pulsating televised local derby was the type of match that seemingly only the English Premiership can produce.

The lead changed hands three times, and if ever a draw could be termed the ‘fair result’, then surely this was it.

By the half-hour mark it was already 2-2, with former Charlton striker Paul Kitson and Jason Euell both netting braces.

Shortly after half-time, Jonatan Johansson gave Charlton back the lead from Scott Parker’s pass, but it was Kitson again who scored his third of the night to restore parity.

However when 19-year old Jermaine Defoe silenced the boo-boys with a well-taken 84th minute volley, it seemed that the Addicks would emerge as losers from the game that didn’t deserve to have one.

But with referee Alan Wiley counting down the injury time minutes, Johansson delivered one of his trademark overhead kicks to provide the perfect finale to an extraordinary game.

3. 15 May 2005 – Charlton 2, Crystal Palace 2

I was a little reluctant to include this one given that it was a meaningless fixture for Charlton, but it gave far too much pleasure to so many to exclude it (not least to those in West Bromwich).

A win for Iain Dowie’s side would have ensured Premiership survival, but it seemed an unlikely outcome for nearly an hour until Dougie Freedman equalised Bryan Hughes’ first-half opener.

But when Andy Johnson scored his 21st Premiership goal of the season from the spot, the scenes of joy in the Jimmy Seed stand were offset by those of desolation at The Hawthorns, where the Baggies required all three of their relegation rivals to slip up.

Then with just eight minutes left, Jonathan Fortune headed home from a Jerome Thomas corner, to ignite scenes of jubilation which were the very epitome of schadenfreude.

The Addicks held on for their point, whilst WBA secured the win they needed over Portsmouth to become the first Premiership team to be bottom at Xmas to survive.

Interestingly despite finishing a creditable 11th in the table, Alan Curbishley complained in his post-match comments that he had been the subject of considerable criticism from Addicks fans.

In just a year’s time Dowie would be sat in his vacated manager’s chair and the rest as they say, is history.

4. 23 Sep 2003 – Charlton 4, Luton 4 (8-7 on pens), League Cup 2nd Rnd

Despite Charlton’s dire League Cup history, an impressive crowd of over 10,000 arrived at The Valley for this 2nd Round encounter. Few could have expected the extraordinary game that followed.

Curbishley fielded a full-strength side that included the likes of Young, Powell, Parker, Jensen and Di Canio, but it was only the Italian’s 90th minute intervention that ensured the Addicks even made it to extra-time.

The Hatters had stormed into a 2-0 lead with two first-half goals inside two minutes, but Scott Parker and Kevin Lisbie replied either side of half-time to bring the home side level.

However when the up-and-coming Gary McSheffrey fired home a stunning 25-yarder on 76 minutes, it seemed the Second Division side (which included current Addick, Matt Spring) would not be denied.

However Paolo Di Canio’s late intervention after good work from young substitute Jamal Campbell-Ryce brought thirty extra minutes, though one wonders how many disgruntled Addicks fans were already on their way home.

Claus Jensen put Charlton 4-3 up during the opening extra period, but Chris Coyne scored the game’s third equaliser with ten minutes left to ensure penalties.

After an extraordinary 15 successful penalties, it was eventually Coyne who was denied by Dean Kiely to send the Addicks into a Third Round tie at Everton.

5. 7 Nov 2006 – Chesterfield 3, Charlton 3 (3-4 on pens), League Cup 4th Rnd

Having overcome fellow Premiership side Bolton in the 3rd Round, this comfortable-looking tie offered the Addicks an outstanding chance to reach the last eight of the League Cup for the very first time.

Iain Dowie recognised the importance of the tie, selecting a strong side for the trip to Derbyshire, cognizant perhaps that both Manchester City and West Ham had already fallen victim to their evening’s opponents.

However his side were forced to come from behind twice during normal time, goals from striking stars Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Darren Bent, replying to the Spireite’s goals at the beginning of each half.

When Hasselbaink scored his second in the third minute of extra time, it seemed as though the Addicks had earned a hard-fought win but veteran striker Wayne Allison scored the sixth goal of the night with seconds left to bring on spot-kicks.

Hasselbaink missed his effort to give the underdogs an early advantage, but two saves from Scott Carson gave Hermann Hreidardsson the chance to secure a 4-3 penalties win, and the Iceman obliged.

Dowie was gone by the time the 5th Round came along, Les Reed’s charges duly buggering up the golden chance handed to them to reach a first major semi-final for 50 years.

6. 17 Apr 2001 – Charlton 3, Aston Villa 3

A last-gasp equaliser from Lee Hendrie denied the ten-man Addicks a battling Easter win, after Richard Rufus was sent off for an innocuous-looking 36th minute foul.

Despite the setback, Charlton built on the early lead handed them by George Boateng’s own goal, doubling it via a soft Claus Jensen penalty on the stroke of half-time, referee Graham Poll perhaps doing some ‘evening up after delivering his harsh red card.

However goals from substitutes David Ginola and Darius Vassell put the visitors into the ascendancy, before future Villa midfielder Mark Kinsella scored a well-deserved 89th minute third for Charlton.

However Hendrie’s well-taken last-minute goal broke Charlton hearts, and ensured that home fans would not forget Poll’s earlier intervention. He required a steward’s escort to leave the pitch.

7. 19 Dec 2009 – Charlton 4, Millwall 4

When a team suffers two penalties, a red card and an own goal, it’s hard to ultimately deny them the point that their battling display deserved, even if it’s Millwall.

I chose to give this one a miss, deciding that if I wanted to learn more about Neanderthal man, I’d opt to spend an afternoon at the Natural History Museum instead. Given the way the game transpired, I don’t regret my decision.

Nicky Bailey’s stunning goal was the highlight, but unlike the 4-4 draw with West Ham for example, I suspect this particular eight-goal clash won’t be termed a ‘classic’ with the fullness of time.

Nonetheless given its status as a local derby, and the freshness of its memory, it would have been incongruous not to include it in this top ten.

8 May 2004 – Leeds 3, Charlton 3

If ever there was an occasion where a fan wasn’t willing his or her team to complete a stunning fightback, then this was probably it.

Two late goals in three minutes by Jason Euell condemned Leeds to relegation, forcing the travelling Addicks fans to face the ire of their famously boisterous Yorkshire compatriots.

Ironically perhaps just five years later they would be battling for promotion together in League One.

Kilgallon, Pennant and cult hero Smith had given Leeds a 3-1 lead with just 21 minutes left, after Matt Holland’s earlier opener for the visitors.

However cash-strapped Leeds were now largely shorn of their highly-paid stars, and relegation had been on the cards for some time. Nonetheless as we would do the following season too (see above), we condemned a club to relegation.

9. 6 Jan 2001 – Charlton 1, Dagenham & Redbridge 1 (FA Cup 3rd Rnd)

It remains a source of considerable mystery why arch tactician Alan Curbishley would seemingly be found out so consistently in these types of fixtures.

If it wasn’t for John Salako’s 86th minute equaliser, Charlton’s defeat at Northwich Victoria in this season’s FA Cup would not have represented our first exit at the hands of non-League opposition.

Remarkably Charlton had just beaten Arsenal on New Year’s Day, and triumphed two days earlier 4-1 at Manchester City. Conference side Dagenham & Redbridge should have been cannon fodder.

Instead the Essex side comprehensively outplayed the Addicks with a display of impressive verve and intensity, and I recall feeling slightly saddened when we equalised. Even a fan as impassioned as me can recognise a gross injustice when I see one.

Texas-born striker Junior McDougald almost claimed back page Sunday glory for himself with a first-half header, but Salako’s deflected strike earned the Premiership side a replay which they just about scraped through.

The Valley standing ovation for the Daggers was fully deserved.

10. 24 Apr 2000 – Blackburn 1, Charlton 1

With seven games to go in this procession of a season, Charlton needed just 13 points to reach a century of points.

However in true Charlton fashion under Curbs, rather than romp to the Division One title they rather limped over the line, eventually securing it with this scrappy draw at Ewood Park.

Although neither was ever seriously in doubt, the Addicks only secured both the title and automatic promotion respectively by two and four points.

Matty Svensson’s first half goal was cancelled out by Lee Carsley’s penalties, but Charlton held on to secure their first League title since the Division 3 South in 1929.


At 4:42 PM, Blogger StoneMuse said...

In retrospect no. 2 was my favourite ... if memory plays me right it was absolutely pissing down with rain. My son and I were at the front of the East Stand and got drenched but did not care, it was such a great game.

At 6:38 PM, Blogger Marco. said...

I remember totally believing that if the game had an extra 5 minutes, we would have gone on to win against Manchester United. We were full of belief and United were rocking on their heels.
I just watched the clip again and it still gives me a thrill.

I made a hasty exit from Elland Rd when the home crowd steamed onto the pitch to carry Alan Smith on their shoulders.
Despite many people still being inside the ground, it was a bit of a hairy walk back to the city centre where we were staying in a hotel.
It was a remarkable come back though.

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

I rather enjoyed the outing to Chesterfield where I was sitting on a wooden bench next to a very gloomy Brian Cole. I would have included the 4-4 against Norwich which involved coming back from 2-4 late in the game (as I recall).

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Wyn, I'm pretty sure that 4-4 you refer to against Norwich (the one where Jason Lee was amongst the scorers) was in the 1990s.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Dave said...

NYA - The Palace game has to be number one for me, although I'm right behind you on the rest. Wegot a point from all the others but we got revenge from that one.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 12:23 PM, Blogger ChicagoAddick said...

Wow, that sounds serious (above comment).

Great selection NYA. That Luton game along with Liverpool's 3-2 (Lisbie hat trick), Arsenal 1-1 (Di Canio's audacious pen) and Pompey away 2-1 (Bartlett last minute winner) were my last 4 games I went to before I left for Chicago. Great memories.

A happy Christmas to you, Mrs NYA and the two boys NYA.


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