Friday, October 29, 2010

Master Sheff

Although this fixture is probably about as glamorous as League One fixtures get, I'd not realised that the two sides actually hadn't met in the Premiership since 1998/99.

The Owls were relegated in season 1999/2000, so the Addicks leapfrogged them by winning Division One, and did not meet in League action again until meeting in the Championship in 2007/8.

To show how these things ebb and flow, it wasn't that long ago that a Kim Grant and Paul Mortimer-inspired cup win in 1996 earned Charlton the Sunday back page headlines as 'giant killers'.

This season represents Wednesday's second visit to the third tier of English football since the aforementioned exit from the Premiership, a worrying indication of just how difficult it is to return even to Championship-level stability despite impressive support (which has only once dipped below an average of 20,000 in the past two decades).

Wednesday did well to capture Alan Irvine after Burnley strangely opted for their former player Brian Laws during the middle of last season.

Irvine had been sacked by Preston despite a solid record, and although he could not save the Owls from relegation, they have made an impressive start to this campaign, built mainly upon a tight defence (just eight goals conceded).

Tight defence is definitely not a trait that Charlton can claim, their 20 goals against ensuring a negative goal difference and worse defensive record than Leyton Orient in 21st place.

On a related point meanwhile, statistical junkies like me however will have gladly noted the curious fact meanwhile that Charlton and Exeter share identical League records (P13 W5 D4 L4 F18 A20).

Paul Benson's brilliant late header at Carlisle may well have saved his manager's job, although his sudden bout of goalscoring form has at least removed another form of pressure, namely from those questioning the worth of the ex-Dagenham man.

Five goals in five games is a terrific recent return, and it's just as important to note that his perfectly timed goals in the 86th, 90th and 90th minutes respectively have earned the Addicks five vital points too.

Strip those away, and we'd be sitting a point above the relegation zone.

I'm particularly encouraged by the quality of the finishing, which all very clearly have the mark of a 'poacher's finish'.

Watch his 1st, 2nd and 4th goals carefully again and ask yourself whether any other player at the club would have scored them (or indeed any we've had for several seasons).

His partnership with Joe Anyinsah reportedly showed plenty of promise on Saturday and the pair are bound to start again, whilst no doubt hoping any productivity is not ruined by defensive calamity behind them.

It's difficult to pinpoint why a relatively robust defence has suddenly leaked nine goals in three games. Rob Elliot has come in for some blame, rightly or wrongly.

Like any keeper at this level he has some drawbacks but he will continue to improve. However he would surely benefit from more robust competition than the inexperienced Ross Worner can offer from the bench.

Elliot's opposite number will likely be ex-Addick Nicky Weaver, with whom he shares some considerable facial similarity, as well as a penchant for the odd pie it seems.

Apparently it's Phil Parkinson's 100th game in charge (I can only count 96 so far but anyhow). Either way, he's only won 36 of them in League and Cups which isn't really worth shouting about given the opposition he has been facing.

There are unconfirmed rumours circling that another potential takeover of the club may be imminent, but we've been here before so I'll save myself the excitement.

For my charity bet I'm tempted by the 7/1 available on Joe Anyinsah to open the scoring, whilst for the hell of it I'll find a random long-priced bet which might just pay off.

NY Addick bets £5 on Joe Anyinsah to score first (at 7/1)
NY Addick bets £5 on Charlton to win second half 3-1 (at 50/1)


At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Ketts said...

Parky's 99 games thus far are as follows NYA:

League 87 (28 2008/09, 46 2009/10,
13 2010/11)

Play-Offs 2

FA Cup 4 (Norwich(2), Sheff Utd,
Northwich Victoria)

Carling Cup 2(Hereford, Shrewsbury)

JPT 4 (Barnet, Soton, D&R, MKDons)

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Thanks - I'd forgotten the play-offs and the Norwich replay.

He's won 37 out of 99 then....not great.


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