Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lucky Four

Post-match opinion after Saturday's bizarre 3-2 win, will likely be divided depending upon whether your love of Chris Powell is unequivocal or not.

If the former, you will acknowledge that he hasn't had enough time to change Parkinson's direct style, but point to his half-time motivational teamtalks and tactical nous that have earned a fourth win in a row (all 7 goals have been in the second period).

If the latter, you will see the same woeful lack of technique but identify that Messrs. Eccleston and Wright-Phillips (neither available to Parkinson) have added new pace and ability to scare defences.

More specifically with regard to Saturday, the former would point to the introduction of Pawel Abbott which changed the game.

The latter meanwhile would question why on earth Powell thought pairing Eccleston and Wright-Phillips (two peas in a pod) was a good idea in the first place.

Not surprisingly given recent posts I fall into the latter camp, more comfortable continuing to put results down to luck (like Wagstaff's injury which probably ensured Eccleston started the second half).

There is quite clearly is not any fundamental improvement yet, and any fan who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. The first-half was truly abysmal yet again.

Peterborough demonstrated far better passing and movement, the ex-Rushden man Lee Tomlin a real livewire, and Craig Mackail-Smith a hive of activity upfront.

The long-haired George Boyd meanwhile directed affairs in central midfield, demonstrating the mobility which Semedo and McCormack lack, and which enabled him to regularly find himself getting the right side of Charlton's central quartet.

Thus when Tomlin scored an excellent opener, it was no surprise that the half-time boos that greeted the substitute referee's whistle seemed to signal an end to the Powell honeymoon.

The introduction of Abbott was an obvious one, although it was the decision to move Eccleston to the right wing which also changed the game.

Scott Wagstaff clearly has an eye for a goal and the intelligence to make runs that might lead to one, as demonstrated by the Addicks' only first-half chance, a weak shot after an inch-perfect Bessone through ball.

However he is rarely penetrative in terms of old-fashioned wing play, and Eccleston's more direct approach would pay rich dividends.

Ironically however, the first goal was all about a full-back and a former full-back.

Picking up on the 'second ball' (as they say in rugby) after a long hoof forward (inevitably), Simon Francis showed some hitherto unknown pace to deliver a terrific cross that Johnnie Jackson bravely finished.

The second goal was credited to Wright-Phillips but all down to Eccleston, and for once there wasn't a long ball in sight (they saved that for Abbott's third).

Running at pace at the Posh defence, the Liverpool youngster played a delightful one-two with Abbott to create space in the area.

Unselfishly he stood up an inch-perfect cross for Wright-Phillips who could not miss from six yards.

The pair of pacy strikers who had failed to make a single meaningful contribution in the first half, had suddenly combined in great style thanks to a tactical rejig.

Abbott's goal was a fortunate one, but even at 3-1 the game was far from ended as a contest, Peterborough's well-taken late consolation adding some late nervy moments.

However the Addicks held firm through six minutes of injury time to record their 9th single-goal win of the season.

It was a result which just about sums up Peterborough's season, and which took the total goals in games they've been involved in to 120.

Maybe that explains why a healthy contingent of 1,000 or so had made the trip from Cambridgeshire. 'That's Entertainment' as The Jam once said.

Despite two further wins in the intervening period, if one adjusts for the extra away support present on Saturday, the attendance was about 1,300 down on the Plymouth game and virtually back to normal Saturday turnouts.

The £5 promotion for next weekend is thus timely because if one of the aims of Powell's appointment was to boost crowds, it clearly hasn't transpired.

In the meantime it's onwards and upwards (about 300 miles) to Hartlepool, a grim though on a weekend let alone a Tuesday night, but one of the vital 'games in hand' which continue to leave automatic promotion in our hands.

The Monkey Hangers are sitting solidly in 13th position, but have conceded four goals in three of their last five games (to Brighton, Oldham and Peterborough).

With just 29 goals to their name all season, they are League One's lowest scorers whilst their -14 goal difference is 19 goals worse than Carlisle's in 16th. It's a funny old game as they say.


At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a vast improvement in both attitude and team spirit. Parkinson's side barely had any character at all. This can seriously make up for what a team lacks in quality.

You can't tell me Curbishley's teams were full of quality, they were not of course, but we over achieved as everyone put in 100% and could be relied upon to do their job well.

The fact is, YOU are the blind one if you cannot see that this is a dramatically different team to Parky's. Maybe not in technique but in belief, attitude and spirit they are poles apart.

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Presumably you felt that way after Parky notched five wins in a row earlier in the season? Or when his team accumulated 84 points without any quality in 09/10?

No quality...absolutely. But no character under Parky? That was about the only thing his team did have.

At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difficulty is that we were spoilt for a while . In my 45 years of going , the best I have seen is the ilk of Parker , Bent, Murphy , Fish , El K , Costa ,Lukewarm,Bartlett, Jensen etc
This lot now are closer to what we had for the other 38 years i.e not very good , but once you have been spoilt it is forever impossible to accept less than that
Our players now are just not very good which we have to accept and just hope that maybe in my lifetime one more miraculous team/period is possible.

Whether Parky or Powell the raw material they have is not much to work with, particularly if you started coming in the last 15 years and you are making comparisons.

At 11:45 PM, Blogger The Exile said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:50 PM, Blogger The Exile said...

We are a side that plies our trade in the 3rd tier of football and we don't have a great deal of quality. We aren't the premiership outfit we used to be and we have to accept that.

I personally didn't want Parky either. The minute we signed him I knew we had resigned ourselves to going down and he was the man they expected to get us back up. It didn't work out and now we have someone else. Let's unite around the manager and the team, whether you like the style of football or not.

It is too early to see what an impact Powell might have, but so far he is doing a good job of motivating the players and they are definitely responding to him.

So what if we have been lucky. All teams need a bit of luck to progress. Promotion is all we need at this point in time, how we get there doesn't matter.

At 12:07 AM, Blogger The Exile said...

excuse my deleted post it was riddled with spelling mistakes... :)

At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

Luck runs out, Exile.

That's the issue. Not the fact that we've been lucky, it's the fact that statistically, we can't KEEP being lucky.

It's not enough.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Hungry Ted said...

NYA - you suggest "There is quite clearly not any fundamental improvement yet" but with respect, in terms of a chance in playing style, I'm not sure what you expected in the 4 games since Parky's departure (or am I missing your point?).

Fundamental difference, no...but subtle differences, yes. And they can continually be improved upon game by game.

The signs are most certainly there that Powell is attempting to build a greater ‘team’ ethic (as shown in the way he’s clearly insisted everyone celebrates a goal together). When a team struggles to find consistency - as was the case under Parkinson – there tends to be an undercurrent of nervous tension running through the playing performances which inevitably will lead to mistakes. In my humble opinion, it’s an improvement in this regard that I’m noticing under Powell (albeit slowly, I admit). In short, the players appear to be taking more individual responsibility to play football. What we (the fans) need to do is support them: the booing at half-time was a disgrace.

This may sound a very trivial point, but when I took over the running of my Sunday league side, the first major obstacle I needed to overcome was trying to get the frowns off the faces of the players and turn them into smiles. Once I’d managed to get them to enjoy their football again, our performances improved beyond belief. I make this point as that is exactly what I believe Powell is doing right now. It does take time.

Well done NYA for these sorts of posts.

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not only was the league less competitive last season but we also had a better team, so amassing 84 points with a better team is obviously an easier task.

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Hungry Ted

I agree that it's unreasonable to expect Powell to have improved things yet, but I wanted to make the point that it would be easy confuse luck with improvement ie. we were cr*p under Parky, and we're still cr*p now. After all he managed five wins on the spin, and two of them were particularly comprehensive ie. not lucky at all.

In short, if the most recent quartet of games had been played 100 times, we'd have picked upon average 4-5 points given the performances we put in. The fact that we accumulated 12 must thus be due to random factors.

In due course the real test of Powell will be 'value added' (over and above what should reasonably be expected given the resources at his disposal).

Given that the new owners have added Bessone, BWP and Eccleston to the payroll, the expectations have increased since Parkinson. He did however lose Martin, although he was a headless chicken who contributed little.

I suspect I'll be the only blogger holding up to these higher expectations but anyhow.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


My heart diagrees with your view but sadly my head agrees with you and I just hope that my heart wins out in the end!

At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do agree with HT that there have been subtle changes to go along with the three new players. The team now "try" to pass the ball better, and certainly the confidence is higher when defending one goals leads late on (as we have become accustomed). Ultimately though, we have been somewhat lucky in each of CP's games (I've seen them all live), and the cr*p play we frequently saw under Parkie still rears its head (mainly in the first halves, or individually rather than collectively). We do have momentum, and if we can do well in the next few matches, that might take us into the play-offs, well clear of the relegation battle you feared we may have seen with Parkie.
We have to stay strong, both on and off the pitch - this may be a new dawn?

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NYA, clearly you're a pessimist rather than an optimist. Although I agree with some of your sentiment, I suspect you'll have a field day if we get turned over soon!

Powell has been somewhat limited in the changes he can make so far, but what he has down is "inspire" a poor team. His additions look useful and we are moving in the right direction albeit slowly. If we finish in the Play-Offs I will see that as an achievement by Powell. If Parky had remained I couldn't see us being anything more than mid-table and I'm sure that is why the new owners took their decision to remove him.

Powell inspires me as a human being and makes me now feel more proud to be a Charlton supporter.

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

I prefer to say I'm a realist than a pessimist (I'm certainly not an optimist, you're right).

I'm aware that I've gone out on a blogging limb in declaring some very real reservations about Powell's appointment, but I'd be delighted to be proven wrong. It will take a year or two to know either way for sure though.

People's perceptions of matches seem to depend very much upon their preconceptions about him (me included perhaps).

From my (very good) West Stand seat, there was 89 minutes of utter dross (or was it 99?) and 1 minute of class. Maybe some people will say 'that's football' which is true to some degree, but Peterborough could have been out of sight by then.

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how can u moan after 4 straight wins? wat more can powell do??
do u rekn wed have won on sat with parky their? or wud we have just collapsed again? ie swindon

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

I'm not moaning, just pointing out that it's the same dross we witnessed under Parkinson (albeit with better players now able to turn games for us with a moment of class eg. BWP's goal vs Colchester, Eccleston's run vs Peterborough).

I've no idea if we would have won under Parkinson, then again he didn't have BWP and Eccleston at his disposal.

However Parkinson was just as good at winning matches we didn't deserve to as Powell seems to be, so maybe we would have.

At 9:03 PM, Anonymous steveb said...

Seems I'm joining this debate a bit late. Although I've been in the NYA camp regarding Powells appointment, my view is softening.

Parkinson's dismissal had more to do with the teams performance than results. It seems almost ridiculous to be negative after 4 straight wins, however, the performance level has remained the same & luck has played a big part.

All we can do is compare our performances to that of our rivals. Over the 90 minutes, most teams that have come to the Valley this season have played more football, created more chances & shown more quality than us. However, teams at our level are not always good enough to punish you when on top & so you always have a chance.

While I've yet to be convinced by Powells appointment, on the positive side his signing of BWP seems a wise one & his substitutions in all 3 home games (forced or otherwise) have worked well.

I'm not sure there is much room for improvement within the current squad & therefore we shouldn't be too critical of Powell when things do start to go wrong. Despite my reservations I couldn't believe the booing at half time on Saturday, although it may have been aimed more at the Team than the Manager.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

I also remain to be convinced. I think Powell may well be a great coach, but up to now he has been a little hamstrung by the lack of quality in the squad.

The worrying thing is that in the recent Q&A Slater said that the way to achieve success is for the coach to make the current players better a mere ten minutes before Powell stated that to improve we need better players.

I think Parkinson was not getting the results that the assets he had at his disposal were worth. I fear that if we hadn't added Ecclestone and BWP we might well have lost all four of those games, certainly I don't think we have another player that would have scored the three goals in games that we have won by one goal.

At 11:17 PM, Blogger Kap said...

I'll join the bloggers coming out of the woodwork and support NYA in his views.

Tonights result brings reality back to the perspective and show that there is much hard work to be done if we are to get promotion. CP does not have a magic wand, although he does have BWP and Ecclestone, quality that Parkinson was starved of.

The gaping faults that we had under Parkie in midfield and defense remain and these will only be addressed if Slater allows CP a peek into the dusty wallet.

But lets not get too despondent there are plenty of pints to play for to suggest that after tonights result that we will not achieve promotion is far from reality.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger Kap said...

Not only pints but points too


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