Monday, November 21, 2011

Bee Sting

For the second time in the past three seasons, I made the relatively short trip to this often forgotten part of West London, wedged as it is between the M4 and the river.

A couple of main stand tickets had fallen my way courtesy of a Brentford staff member, so I took up a terrific vantage point close to the directors’ box (indeed close enough to confirm that under no circumstances would I mess with Tony Jimenez).

It was reassuring to observe Jimenez sharing a pre-match joke with Richard Murray, suggesting that all is well in the Charlton boardroom, not surprisingly perhaps given onfield matters.

I had deliberately kept my planned attendance at the fixture quiet in the hope of not jeopardising the team’s chances, such is my usual impact on the side.

It seems my plan worked and I witnessed a rare Charlton victory (rare for me that is), although I’d be hard pushed to claim I’d seen a terrific performance, certainly by my demanding standards.

The first half belonged firmly to the home side, with the leggy central midfield pair of Jonathan Douglas and Toumani Diagouraga dominating affairs.

Indeed whilst one would imagine they are probably amongst the most impressive central midfield partnerships in the division, they particularly showed up the deficiencies of Andy Hughes whose first half performance bordered on the mildly embarrassing at times.

It was Hughes’ mistake which forced Ben Hamer to make an early smart low save, whilst a terrific passing move saw the ex-Bees keeper’s woodwork rattled not long thereafter.

The talented but extraordinarily frustrating home striker Clayton Donaldson then somehow guided a free header wide, and the Addicks (who had not created a first half chance) were left grateful to hear the half-time whistle.

An early second-half Addicks corner at least suggested a greater level of attacking intent, and their first real chance of the game may ultimately have changed the game altogether.

Bradley Wright-Phillips was put clear through the middle, and in the melee which resulted from his effort, there was an ugly collision between keeper and defender, which left Shaleum Logan requiring six minutes of treatment.

Perhaps shaken by the seriousness of the injury, Charlton soon took the lead further flattening the atmosphere.

The type of fast-flowing passing which I’ve read about (but unfortunately haven’t yet seen much of yet) saw the ball played out wide to Danny Green in space, and his first time low cross was helped home by Wright-Phillips.

The remainder of the match saw the away side happy to soak up pressure, with Morrison and Taylor resolute in the air, and denying the Brentford forwards any meaningful space.

A series of corners during an unprecedented TEN minutes of injury time were nervy, but the Addicks held on for a hard-fought (and vital given other results) win.

I’ve clearly missed better performances (bear in mind the last match I saw was at Stevenage), but I got a better feeling for why we seem to be churning out results.

Defensively we look rock solid with two big strong lads at the back, whilst in Wright-Phillips we have the division’s most natural goalscorer, playing so much on the last defender’s shoulder that he’s effectively in their blind spot.

Indeed whilst I suspect we rely upon his goals more than we realise, conversely in another sense it doesn’t matter. All teams rely on their best players to a large extent (else they wouldn’t be their best players).

Throw in a terrific workrate, team spirit, better players and one or two additional ‘value adds’ (like Green’s set-piece delivery), and the massive improvement on last season is not inexplicable at least.

As for Brentford, it's not hard to see why their home form is poor. Despite plenty of possession and neat passing, a determined away side can deny them space and frustrate.

They should be good enough for a play-off spot though.

Here are my player ratings:

Hamer 7: a late flap caused defensive jitters, but he made a couple of saves when called upon
Solly 6: relatively quiet, but it’s hard to recall too many attacking forays down the left flank
Wiggins 7: looks a class above this level at times; the signing of the summer
Morrison 8: every League one side needs a brute at the back; he’s ours
Taylor 8: rock solid alongside his big partner
Hughes 4: despite recent results, his continued presence denies the midfield a playmaker – this may not end well
Hollands 7: contested in midfield and never shirked a challenge, but time on the ball was limited
Green 7: excellent deliveries both from set-pieces and open play; needs to receive the ball more
Jackson 5: exited the game in rather comical fashion; never gained a foothold
Kermogant 5: dropped deep to good effect at times, but was largely muscled out
Wright-Phillips 7: only in the side for one reason, and proved it.


At 11:47 AM, Blogger Philip said...

Most bloggers' posts are more interesting when their team is losing, but not yours. You refuse to gloat, always anticipating disappointment.

Addicks' success may help grow your hair back.

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Chicago Addick said...

I heard he is going the Wayne Rooney route.


Post a Comment

<< Home