That was the season that was, it’s over, let it go. I think it was Millicent Martin that used to sing the TW3 theme song. She wasn’t at The Valley today, but she might have been. A global epidemic failed to come to our rescue and we were doomed. And just like a year ago Charlton sent us off for the summer with something close to a smile on our faces and thoughts of what might have been. Sod it, let’s just enjoy the victory.
Surely nobody wants a review of the game. It was fun, for us. It was fun for the Norwich fans – for about a minute. That was the time between their hearing that Barnsley had gone one down and us scoring. After that it was clutching at straws. We played well enough against a limited team, one that had no pace but which carried a threat from every set piece – especially after Doherty had managed to take out two Charlton defenders from a corner, one of which (Ward) was carried off. But having been given a sniff of a chance just before half-time, I was expecting them to come out after the break to really go for it. That they didn’t said a lot about their state of mind.
For the record, we scored good goals. Sam delivered a splendid cross from the right for Bailey to head in, then Racon worked the space for a shot from the right which spilled up and allowed Burton to finish. And a ball in from the left, one of those shots-come-crosses that the goalkeeper and defenders can’t deal with, was deflected by Burton for his second. With Doherty’s elephant-like behaviour having seen off Ward, and Youga switching to central defence, we were always light in the air at the back, and just before the break Norwich executed a fairly simple far post nod back for a finish to get them back in it. Next goal was going to win it, and Sam again provided, getting past the full-back and squaring it for Burton to complete his hat-trick. That Norwich pulled one back from a direct free kick was pretty much irrelevant. In the final 20 minutes either side could have scored more, without it mattering.
No player ratings (I’ve been to the pub and life’s too short), but some overall impressions. Burton, who in my opinion over the last few games has started to show that he wasn’t a daft signing, played well as the lone forward – and a hat-trick is something to celebrate whatever the circumstances. Sam, frustrating as he can be, delivered two of our goals on a plate. Solly came on and had a splendid first-team debut, while Tuna’s late introduction could easily have seen him score. Hudson, who had my vote as player of the season, had another impressive game, while Zhi ... looked from the start like he was saying goodbye.
Now we wait and see. Will there be a Varney-led takeover? Will we keep a nucleus of a team capable of bringing us back up? Will Parkinson be retained? All out of our hands. It was a decent send-off and an enjoyable afternoon. What the world looks like come August is another matter. Personally, I’m going to crack open another bottle of red and look forward to getting my DVD – just in case I feel a sense of optimism coming on. Then I’m going to get up at 03.30 to go to Amsterdam in the morning. There’s always someone worse off than yourself. At the moment he’s wearing yellow and green.