As this afternoon I was away entertaining my mother (well, drinking the wine bought in her honour and regularly checking the texts), the following report comes curtesy of a fellow Addick who was there. He goes by the name of Poorsodhastolivewithapalacefan Addick:
As I explained to my mate Andy in the convivial pre-match pub, the Lord Nelson in Enfield Road, you can never tell what the result is likely to be with Charlton. If we’re up we tend to be complacent, and if we’re down we tend to fight, eventually; if we’re at home against the bottom team we’re likely to forget to bother to earn the right to play, if we’re away at the top team we’re likely to play well. In other words we always manger to level the playing field, and this, as I have always bored those unfortunate enough to have their ears bent by me, is the most frustrating thing about watching Charlton over the whole 25 years of my life as an Addick. I’d have to get the venerable Dr Arnold Mesmer to see if this is borne out by the stats over the years but it always seems to me that we so rarely thrash anyone, and rarely get thrashed. And we always seem to win or lose by the odd goal. And if we’ve won n more games than we’ve lost then our goal difference is n, as is the current case: n = 1.
Enough maths. My hosts, with their team bottom and not having scored for 4 (four) league games were ever the pessimists: as they were last year when we drew 1-1, which seemed a bit of a turning point for us after a series of wins. So I was very distraught when the same team that played so well on Tuesday failed to get a grip on the early exchanges and Brentford had their tails up from the off. I suspected that their confidence was fragile but we never tested it. After about 10 minutes the game was up as Brentford, causing havoc down both wings, took the lead through Millwall reject Gary Alexander. A corner was poorly cleared and one defender hung back and played Alexander onside and he muscled his way through to thump the ball into Elliot’s roof (oh yeah, the only change from Tuesday was Elliot in for Worner).
Now if this had been Charlton at the bottom of the table we’d have taken our foot off the pedal just a wee bit having gone one up, eased back just enough to allow the oppo in. Not so Brentford, however pessimistic their followers were. Martin, Benson, Wagstaff, Jackson and Fry continued to struggle and Myles Weston (ex-Charlton, naturally taking centre stage in Charlie McDonald’s absence through injury) raided down our right again and again and eventually produced a cross that a midfielder eventually picked up on the edge of the box and struck a splendid shot into Elliot’s right corner from outside the box.
I had been looking forward to the performances of our midfielders Racon and Semedo after Tuesday and they did seem to be working well but they can’t do it all and failed to stop that goal. Martin in particular was a pale shadow of what we saw on Tuesday. The incessant rain was just not an excuse: the wings were not performing and Fry and Jackson were being exposed as fishes out of water. At 2-0 down, Brentford continued to attack. They obviously hadn’t read the Charlton training manual.
Full marks to Parky. He sorted it at half time moving Jackson back to left back and taking off Fry and bringing on Reid at left wing. He also replaced Martin with Abbott, who proceeded to have his best game for Charlton (shock horror, Nick!). Abbott was busy and winning the ball and using it sensibly and basically out-‘nous’ing the Brentford defence.
With the Charlton end chanting ‘Reidy’ he again produced the goods beating their right back all ends up and crossing from the bye-line to Wagstaff, running into the area to slot into the net. Brentford’s response, finally showing cracking confidence, was to take off Alexander and bring on an anonymous midfielder and hope to hold out and maybe threaten on the break.
And so it panned out. But though our shot count went up, our goal count did not (strangely, and it contributed much to our downfall, the foul throw count went up, from zero to three!). Brentford were a threat on the break and scored a third ‘goal’ which the officials mysteriously disallowed. Offside I think, according to my neighbours (I was in the Brentford end, er, side).
In a rousing finale Parky went for shit or bust taking off Fortune and bringing on the Akpo. He was mostly anonymous but did force the Brentford keeper into a very good double save late on. He managed to injure himself in the process and the game was up.
All that was left to me was to make sure I went and stayed long enough in the pub to miss Strictly Come fking Dancing. When will they stop thrashing this ‘reality’ TV to death?
Elliot: 6 not much chance with the goals, some good saves but still crap at corners – easily kept away from catching it.
Francis: 6 Like the rest of them, poor in the first half, better in the second.
Fortune: 5 Still not convinced he’s the answer to anything.
Fry: 4 out of position and rarely supported the attack
Wagstaff: 7 A 6 really, but he can score, and did
Racon, Semedo 13 between them
Jackson: 6 Stick to full back son
Benson: 6 Not a threat
Martin 5: Way too anonymous for such a talent
Subs: Abbott: 8! Galvanised the team and turned the match around, well, a bit; Reid: 7 Turned things around on our left wing; Akpo 7, though he only had 10 minutes.