Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bees Knees

No-one sensible leaves Charlton matches early to beat the traffic.

If games only lasted 85 minutes, the Addicks would have drawn with both Notts County and MK Dons, and earned a valuable point at Exeter.

Early leavers meanwhile would have missed a two goal finish at home to Dagenham, as well as Chris Solly's smart late finish at Leyton Orient.

Margins are extremely thin in football, and it's worth acknowledging the degree of fortune involved (not merely Jonathan).

There was no lack of commitment on show on Tuesday night, but once again a discernible and (more importantly) repeatable game plan was not obviously in evidence.

If this season was to fizzle out due to our inability to find a degree of consistency, it would be enormously frustrating given the opportunity that this season's medicore League One presents us.

It's worthwhile noting that Norwich City had just 9 points from their first 9 games last season, yet embarked immediately thereafter upon a run which saw them generate an amazing 86 points from just 37 matches.

When I suggested in my last post that it wasn't clear that Parky was adding much value over and above what might reasonably be expected from our current crop of players, the same accusation could certainly not be levelled at Paul Lambert last season.

The Canaries side that he took over had lost to his former side Colchester 7-1 on the opening day, and appeared to be on the brink of meltdown yet he turned it around.

In fairness he probably inherited a more talented squad than Parky currently enjoys, albeit one temporarily lacking any semblance of organisation at the time.

Brighton are the early pace-setters, but I am not yet convinced that Gus Poyet is top management material. The lack of atmosphere at their home matches meanwhile may begin to work against them eventually.

Colchester are quietly unbeaten under new boss John Ward, whilst Bournemouth continue their remarkable story under young Eddie Howe. Either may conceivably be the dark horse of the division based on evidence so far, and cannot be underestimated.

Elsewhere it's hard to see the likes of Carlisle and Rochdale having the depth of squad to maintain their momentum, which leaves the likes of Peterborough and Huddersfield as the other sides that we need to forge ahead of for now.

One imagines that Southampton will eventually find some form, but after just nine games their pre-season hot favourites tag is already looking somewhat absurd.

In short, the division is there for the taking if only Charlton can find those small improvements that we've been promised by virtue of us having a 'new team'.

That excuse will fade over time (if it hasn't already done so), which leaves me setting Parky high expectations because I believe strongly that we have enough to compete for an automatic promotion place.

Anything less will represent failure, although worryingly I'm not hugely confident that I won't be left disappointed.

Brentford is nearer to my house than The Valley, but I'll be giving the game a miss as I'm off to the US again on Sunday for a nine-day trip that will culminate in the Chicago Marathon next weekend.

Parky may welcome back Christian Dailly on Saturday, which if true presents him with a real (and positive) selection dilemma given that Gary Doherty is the only all-present so far, and that Jonathan Fortune acquitted himself so well on Tuesday. There seems no reason to rush the Scot back.

Kyel Reid must surely start if fit, which presents a further dilemma since Matt Fry was exceptional at left-back and must start there ahead of Johnnie Jackson.

The Martin/Benson strikeforce misfired somewhat on Tuesday until the Ipswich man moved into midfield, so Joe Anyinsah may start again with Martin pushed to right midfield ahead of the inconsistent Scott Wagstaff.

I expect us to line up as follows: Worner, Francis, Fry, Doherty, Fortune, Semedo, Racon, Reid, Martin, Benson, Anyinsah. Subs: Daniels, Llera, Jackson, Stavrinou, Sodje, Abbott, Wagstaff.

Brentford are surprisingly bottom of League One despite showing a glimpse of their potential in the Carling Cup, but their squad has a distinct ex-Addicks feel thanks to Nicky Forster, Charlie McDonald, and Myles Weston. With all due respect to that trio, we should hardly be quaking in our boots.

For my charity bet, I noticed that Jon Fortune is one of the obvious targets at set pieces so 12/1 to score anytime seems pretty generous.

Meanwhile if Benson's late contribution has lifted confidence, then this might be the type of fixture which sees the Addicks secure its second away win by more than one goal.

NY Addick bets £5 on Jon Fortune to score at anytime (at 12/1)
NY Addick bets £5 on Charlton to win (with -1 handicap) (at 5/1)


At 10:57 AM, Blogger Hungry Ted said...

Do you remember a good few years back we played Norwich at home and went 4-2 down? With only a few mins plus stopage time remaining I left with the hump, only to hear on the classifield results on the way home that Jason Lee & Carl Leaburn had both scored to secure a 4-4 scoreline!

I was gutted...and a harsh lesson in the dangers of leaving early!

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

The team selection for tomorrow will be very interesting. I felt that the two home games against Dagenham and MK Dons, whilst disappointing in terms of the quality produced, provided some encouraging individual performances and some useful pointers for the months ahead.

Even the fans of Racon and Semedo, and I’m not amongst them, must recognise that there is a real weakness in midfield and in centre-midfield in particular; Charlton have been too easily out-passed by most teams they’ve played so far. I don’t really believe that this is about time-to-gel, so if it isn’t about ability [and, of course, the worry has to be that it is] then it must be about balance.

I suspect that Parky’s view too and hence, perhaps, the surprising experiment with Wagstaff on the left against Dagenham and the much more credible and successful use of Jackson on the left against MK Dons. The latter, as you highlight, enabled by the excellent Fry. Given that the side looked to have a better shape and appeared to be more solid on Tuesday night, I’d be surprised if Jackson were dropped or moved back to replace Fry. This would leave Reid on the bench to be brought on to inject pace if needed and as the game opens up.

I agree entirely re Martin. He is missing an end product, so far at least, but he looked terrific against Dagenham and linked well, in the first half anyway, with both Francis and Benson. He was much less effective on Tuesday evening and has to replace Wagstaff on the right.

It will be interesting to see who gets the nod up front alongside Benson, Abbott or Anyinsah. It wouldn’t surprise me if that is a question we are still asking prior to the last game of the season though I am confident we won’t be saying Abbott, Anyinsah or Sodje; I thought the latter was truly awful when he came on against Dagenham .

With Fortune now in the frame, it could be that the side is now beginning to take shape. If so, I’d like to finish with a comment that I know many will see as controversial at best and plain stupid at worst. With the above midfield and front line I’d like to see how the team as a whole functions with McCormack in for Semedo. Would the side be more fluent, better able to keep possession and more likely to dominate matches?

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Good luck for Sunday NYA. Chicago in the Fall and all for a good cause. Let us know how you get on...

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous SLC Red said...

Very best of luck for the marathon.


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