Monday, 4 May 2009

Charlton Athletic 4 Norwich City 2

This cruel season finished on a relative high yesterday in the sunshine as the Addicks put four past Norwich City  and ensured we get to play them again next season. Norwich were supposed to be fighting for their lives and you assume they have been putting up a rearguard action in recent weeks to encourage 3,000 plus fans to make the trip. If they have, there was absolutely no sign of it yesterday. They went behind to the first decent Charlton chance after ten minutes when the diminutive Nicky Bailey headed home a fine Lloyd Sam cross and, somehow, they contrived to concede  another two quick goals before the half-hour mark to Deon Burton who went on to score the first hat-trick I can remember for eons (someone remind me). In between times they tried to take the game to Charlton but it looked like attack was the best form of defence as they were so brittle at the back. 

Chants of "you're not fit to wear the shirt" confirmed that the game was up for City and all interest in affairs at Home Park evapourated. A small group of City fans were escourted from the East Stand before half-time when they realised there was no point in enduring any more. Norwich did manage to pull one back before the break when Alan Lee finally got a header to attack. Kelly Youga had been shifted into central defence earlier after Darren Ward had been stretchered off having landed on top of Youga's and underneath Alan Lee's not inconsiderable frame. Youga was an obvious weak aerial link and Lee managed three good second-half headers but it was always going to be too little too late. 

Charlton extended their advantage soon after the restart when Lloyd Sam roared past the full-back and drove his low cross into the path of the back-stretching Burton who managed to get enough of a touch to score his hat-trick. Sammy Clingan netted an excellent free-kick in front of the Norwich fans but that was pretty much it. You felt Charlton could have got six or seven after going 4-1 up with 40 minutes to play but they lost interest in attacking after Norwich had made it 4-2.  

It was a memorable day for Chris Solly, who made his debut for the injured Ward and, for  my money, was the man of the match if you didn't have to give it to Burton. He looked solid at the back, was quick to attack and showed no fear or inexperience. Scott Wagstaffe and Tamar Tuna also got on before the finish and all three are likely to feature next season.

The official attendance was 22, 020 and I had hoped there might actually be something approaching that number in the stadium for the last game. Unfortunately, the vast gaps in the home seating was as bad, if not worse, than in recent matches; we really have driven some of our fans away and it will take a sustained promotion campiagn to get them coming again. In the short-term they are the thousands who will not be renewing their season tickets. 

No big annoucement either of the rumoured takeover. Hopefully news for another day.

After the game we enjoyed an end-of-season drink at the Anchor in Hope on the riverfront where there were a number of old faces I first got to know during the 80-81 season. The talk was of next season and how much better it might be than the dross of  the last few years. Let us hope.


Anonymous said...

Also wondered about last hat-trick - Lisbie?


Suze said...

Don't fall over, but the last hat-trick was scored by Lisbie...against Liverpool in 2003. I'm sure you do remember it...
I had far more regular faces around me yesterday than for the last few games, but, there were large red gaps elsewhere.
We went straight home after, jostling with the Norwich coaches on the motorway, maybe we should've stopped for a drink too...we've been going to the Anchor in Hope, coke only, of course!
Now the interesting months start...

Dave said...

Suze - How could I forget the defining moment of Super Kev's career? It was, at least, a better hat-trick than Deon's but I mustn't grumble. I certainly hope we are in for an interesting few months - we certainly need some big changes. Dave.