Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Brighton Rock

Weather and fussy referees permitting, Charlton will take the field on Wednesday night for their first League One away fixture since 13 November.

Brighton is one of the country's most pleasant large seaside towns, but the Withdean Stadium on a damp foggy Wednesday night does not show it in its best light.

Much has been written about Sunday's postponement debacle, and it is pointless speculating on the true state of the pitch without having stepped onto it.

I wasn't affected personally as I wasn't planning to attend, and indeed from a purely selfish standpoint it is much easier for me to watch a rearranged midweek fixture.

Initially I had found it curious that the club bothered with a Christmas Eve inspection since the local referee (Phil Crossley) could only have definitively called it off (an outcome the club was desperate to avoid obviously), yet he clearly could not have definitively called it on.

A cynic might argue it was undertaken to put pressure on the matchday referee.

However having gone ahead with the inspection, the website reported that the club were, "...confident that the pitch would be declared playable and Crossley found nothing to concern him."

On what basis could they have been so confident given that overnight temperatures were forecast to drop so low, regardless of what state the pitch was presently in?

By the morning of the game several local matches had already fallen foul of the weather, yet the website did not even acknowledge that the fixture might run even a tiny risk of not going ahead.

Presumably this was based upon their continued view that the pitch was playable, but this was merely their opinion, when the final verdict was always going to be Andy D'Urso's.

Anyone who had the misfortune of being outdoors on the mornings of either Christmas Day or Boxing Day must have found this confidence to be surprising, if not downright misplaced.

D'Urso is a particularly charmless referee with plenty of 'previous form', but some acknowledgment that the club's matchday communication to fans might have been better would be welcome amidst the furore, even if the ultimate outcome and ramifications would have been unchanged.

Brighton have managed to maintain a healthy lead at the top of League One, despite a hiccup in form that has seen them go four games without a win.

The division is absurdly compressed, so much so that Charlton are as close to Brentford in 13th as we are to Brighton.

Readers of my blog will know that I believe our rightful position is somewhere in the midtable pack rather than the front runners, but a win against the Seagulls would have me beginning to chew on my words, if perhaps not eat them just yet.

However the form suggests a draw might be the best the Addicks can hope for, notwithstanding a confident win there last season.

Despite having to play in a converted athletics stadium with fans nowhere near the action, Brighton have won six and drawn three of their nine home games, conceding just seven goals (the League's joint best).

Charlton showed some signs of promise using a 4-3-3 formation at Brentford, which could easily become 4-5-1 if required.

The 4-4-2 formation preferred by Parkinson can look very stale, with a Racon/Semedo partnership rarely able to exert central midfield control, and full-backs disinclined to overlap and provide extra width.

This game will see my final charity bet, with my Chicago Marathon fundraising site set to expire on Friday with over £4,000 raised, excluding Gift Aid.

Of this total, £235 has been generated from the 24 £10 charity bets I have placed, hitting me in the pocket for net £210.

Thanks to the return of the above £30 worth of stakes, this implies a total return of £25 implying the charity was better off than it would have been had I simply written out a cheque for the lost stakes (phew).

For tomorrow night's game, I will focus on some longer odds prospects in a final hunt for some meaningful charitable upside.

NY Addick bets £5 on 2-2 correct score (at 16.5/1)
NY Addick bets £5 on Glenn Murray to score first, and Brighton win 2-0 (at 40/1)


At 1:35 PM, Blogger Hungry Ted said...

I totally agree with your thoughts regarding the Soton postponement. I spent most of the morning (especially following an ill-advised run) telling myself there was no chance of the game going ahead.

It seems like Charlton's stubborn determination to keep the game on may have clouded their better judgement.

At 7:59 PM, Blogger Richard said...

I was at the game last night, and it was fair enough i suppose. An away point is always a good result, especially if it's against the league leaders. I am sure Gus would have taken a point before the game, and certainly after 7 minutes when Calderwood was sent off with the score 0 1 in our favour. From where i sat (amongst the locals) it looked harsh, but it was hard to see, and the ref was so convinced, i am guessing i missed something.

However, from a Charlton point of view, from a winning position, and then with the extra man it feels like two points dropped. We had three great chance to score in the first ten minutes, but fluffed it. The more the game went on, the more Brighton looked like winning. We did not make use of the extra man, and it was easy to forget that they were down to ten men. In the last 10 minutes we had another two or three great chances and still messed up. In fact Kish was clean thru' right at the end, and only a great save from Elliot saved the point for us.

On the plus side, Charlton did seem to play football. On a filthy foggy and damp night the long punt up to the front men was the easy option, but to our credit we decided to play Brighton at their own game, and it looked good. Our front two also made it hard for their keeper to build from the back by marking the defenders, and so he was forced to go long, which we handled well. Defensively we were not troubled too much. They managed two shots on target and one of those went in.

Our problem as ever, is that our front men are just not good enough. My man of the match - Racon, hard working throughout.

Interesting price policy published by Brighton in terms of their season ticket prices for the new stadium. The cheapest adult seats will be £395, not cheap, but they will accept 12 monthly payments, at no extra charge, meaning that a Brighton fan can own a seat for as little as £32.91 per month. Not bad when put like that, and something that our new owners might like to look at for next season.


Post a Comment

<< Home