Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Season Over

The writing was on the wall for this match even before kick off.  As soon as the line-up was announced it was clear that it was going to be a game that we didn't want to lose rather than a game we wanted to win.  The 4-5-1 formation was negative and BWP, the source of most of our goals since Powell took over, was on the bench, most likely because he isn't the workhorse that is necessary for this formation to have some success.  Powell got it very wrong tonight.  We needed our most dangerous players on the field for 90 minutes, not warming the bench.  But most of all we needed some positivity.

It must also be said that our midfield is the area where we have the most problems at the moment, I don't really see what throwing another sub par midfielder on the field is going to achieve.  With five men in midfield you would expect to see them dominate possession in key areas, but actually what I witnessed were a group of lightweight players who got pushed off the ball with ease, gave the ball away under minimal pressure, had had no idea on how to supply an intelligent ball to the lone striker, and didn't have a clue how to make space to have a shot or two themselves.  We may as well have played four, because the five were no more effective than a four.

The first half was as dull as football could ever get.  Neither team created much, and I don't even think Charlton had a shot on goal for the entire 45 minutes.  Benson looked far too isolated up front, nobody in the midfield gave him any support, when the ball was played to him he was either surrounded by defenders or the ball dropped straight to an opponent, there isn't a great deal to write about.  There were a couple of occasions when we got ourselves into positions and should have made a lot more of it, but our final ball was abysmal.  I know I've been banging on about it for a while but we just don't have anybody capable of creating clear cut opportunities.  A plus point in the first 45 minutes was our defending.  Every time the Dons looked threatening, our defenders managed to smother them and their attacks came to nothing.  Our best (only?) chance of the half was from Kyel Reid.  He burst through and shot wide from about 25 yards.

Early in the second half MK Dons had to take Keanu Marsh-Brown off, and it has to be said there was some relief from the Addicks fans.  He looked dangerous in the first half and definitely was the most likely Don to score.  Ultimately though it worked against us.  Don's got their first goal from some really clever play by Baldock who replaced Marsh-Brown, he put Chadwick through who in turn fed their striker who easily slotted past Ross Worner.  MK Dons really started to play after their goal.  Their midfielders had control of the game with Chadwick and Stephen Hughes being the most impressive, and although we threw men forward, as ever, our final ball was very poor.  Racon got himself in a couple of shooting positions but both times put the ball over the bar.

Their first goal came on 55 minutes.  We needed a substitution almost immediately.  Our heads dropped and the team looked like it needed a boost.  Maybe the introduction of BWP at that point could have helped.  But, despite there being long conversations between the coaching staff nothing was happening.  The players had to muddle through for almost 20 more minutes before Powell decided to introduce Wright-Phillips, which was far too late in my opinion.  Our midfielders had no more joy finding two strikers with a decent final ball than they did with one, and we didn't pose much threat at all to our opposition, despite getting into some advanced areas.  Benson seemed happier with someone to play alongside but he'll have to serve a suspension after seeing red towards the end of the game.  He can have no complaints, he went straight through the back of Gleeson, the ball was nowhere to be seen.  It was a stupid thing to do, particularly as we are struggling for cover after letting Pawel Abbott go.  The only senior strikers we have now are Eccleston and BWP and Powell may now need to bring in a striker to act as cover when we actually need some midfield grit.

All in all another poor night for Charlton.  Not just the players however, Powell and Co. have to take some responsibility for the negative formation and for letting the game go on for too long without changes.  Lessons need to be learned.  I think we can safely say that it's season over for us as it would take a super-human effort to make the play-offs now, and I don't think that this team has it in them.  It's probably not a bad thing, I can't see enough of our team having the guts to fight for every ball in the Championship, and certainly they don't have what it takes to get us out of a relegation scrap.

A number of Players contracts are up in the summer, so the manager needs to now start thinking about what is required to get out of this league and identify one or two targets to bring in during the summer.  Maybe it's also a good time for Powell to experiment and find a system that he likes and to blood a few youngsters.

No comments:

Post a Comment