Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Passion at last!

So there is passion in our players.  They DO care.  Finally we see it.  Tonight's game was all about the performance.  Sure it's nice that we picked up the point, but we had 11 players on the field working their socks off for each other and putting up a real fight.  I'm sure there were more than a few fans heading to The Valley tonight wondering how many goals we might lose by, and who can blame them after what we saw on Saturday at Dagenham and Redbridge.

Right from kick off the difference in our players attitude was apparent.  The manager had a bit of a shake up in the team and made four changes with Elliot, Bessone, and Racon all getting the nod and Solly getting a starting place ahead of Jenkinson who was apparently dropped for "contract issues".  It worked.  Racon had his best game in a long time.  I'm not convinced that he is best suited for the wing, but the middle of the park did look a lot more assured with Semedo and Parrett.  Parrett in particular was outstanding and on tonight's performance it looks as if he has a very good career ahead of him.

This was without doubt our best performance under the management of Chris Powell, but let's not get carried away, there is still an awful lot to do.  The first half, although we were much better than in previous weeks, we still lacked any real threat on goal.  There was some neat football and excellent defending but our work in the final third just wasn't up to standard and we went in at half time pleased that we had kept the clean sheet but disappointed not to have created any decent opportunities on goal.

Southampton came out and started the second half at a good pace but we dug in and had numbers back and managed to keep them at bay.  That is until some unsporting behaviour from Dan Harding helped turn the tide in the Saints favour.  Charlton kicked the ball out due to an injury but Harding decided he didn't want to give the ball back and the resulting Southampton attack led to a corner.  Some poor marking saw Jaidi find the back of the net with what was a very nice finish.  Elliot had no chance.

At this point we feared the worst.  Lately when going a goal down the team have clearly dropped their heads and almost surrendered.  But the difference tonight was that this just did not happen.  We kept going and started to get a bit of the ball ourselves.  Parrett seemed to be involved in everything and it was from one of his free kicks that we thought we had found the equaliser.  Big Mig stretched out a foot and the ball cannoned off the crossbar hit the floor and bounced out.  Nobody was sure if it was over the line, Llera thought so, replays show that it wasn't, but it got the team fired up anyhow.  When the equaliser did come it was no surprise that Parrett was involved again.  After some good build up play from substitute Nathan Eccleston (why doesn't he get a start!?), Parrett received the ball and slipped a sublime ball into the box to Wright-Phillips who slotted home easily.

It took a bit of luck however to ensure that we managed to get a share of the points.  After a Charlton attack broke down, Saints were quick to respond and had the ball in the back of the net, only for the linesman to rule it out for offside.  Replays showed that it should have stood, and the more negative supporters may focus on this more than what was really important, which was the performance.  It was a perfomance to be pleased with and to be proud of.  My last blog entry was all about why we should be proud to be Charlton fans, but tonight it was our players who reminded us of what pride feels like.  It is this new found passion coupled with an injection of a bit more quality in the summer that will help to get us out of this league.  It's critical that we use this as a stepping stone to at least try to finish the season with a flourish rather than a whimper.

4 comments:

  1. Another good post; completely on the button. My son and I went to the game, silently fearing the worst but determined to cheer along anyway and what a great game. Not a classic, but who cares, the players fought to get the ball, if the ball was lost the player fought to get it back, the fans sung at each other and the game ran from end to end. We are passionate, our players were passionate: keep it up!

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  2. Much better, more like the Charlton we know and love.

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  3. I loved your previous post on the importance of remaining proud Addicks. Totally agree.

    Last night I left the Valley having felt like I'd had value for money. It has been some time since that's been the case. I was proud to be an Addick.

    It's a sad reality that we've sunk to such depths that a home draw has lifted us. Cluching at straws it may be...but it's a start.

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  4. Thanks for the comments guys.

    I can remember a 3-3 draw with Man United at The Valley a few years ago. Everyone went away really buoyant even though we didn't win. Last night felt the same to me, except the major difference this time is that the opposition was just Southampton. It just shows how badly we've slipped.

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