Sunday, 2 August 2009

Bouremouth 1 v Charlton Athletic 2

A day of disappointing drizzle on the south coast yesterday but it couldn't dampen an impressive pre-season display by a close-to-full-strength Charlton side. Rob Elliot played in goal with Youga, Llera, Dailly and Richardson in front of him. The four man midfield of Bailey, Racon, Spring and Sam supported the surprise two-man attack in the shape of Izale McLeod and Andy Gray, both of whom were expected to move on to pastures new last week.

The first half was played pretty much in the Bouremouth half with the back four able to play a high line and were rarely troubled by Bournemouth break-outs. It really was a solid midfield display as Charlton played around Bournemouth for large periods probing for openings. Lloyd Sam continued his fine recent form on the right and created the first goal-scoring opportunity when presenting Matthew Spring with a chance which he pushed wide. Bailey then smacked the crossbar before the inevitable goal came after 20 minutes. A Racon shot from a blocked free-kick took a big deflection to beat the Cherries keeper Jalal.

Charlton should have added to their half-time tally and did have a McLeod goal ruled out for offside, but it was the home team who surprisingly drew level having been awarded a very generous penalty on the stroke of half-time. Racon appeared to cover his face from a close range shot but his instinctive act was judged deliberate and Bournemouth coverted the spot-kick.

The Addicks responded strongly after the break and Racon, Gray and Shelvey (on for Spring) all had chances before Therry Racon scored from close range after excellent work by Shelvey and McLeod. The game should have been wrapped up as the Addicks continued to dominate play but a succession of chances were missed; Racon hit the bar, Lloyd Sam had a good shot well saved. Deon Burton had replaced Andy Gray and Basey got on for Nicky Bailey. Bournemouth managed a couple of headers from their towering centre-forward but both were dealt with by Rob Elliot. The old-stager, Sammy Igoe, also had the audacity to thunder a shot off the underside of Elliot's bar before the end as the Cherries posted another warning that the scoreline wasn't as decisive as the domination of possession had been.

Chris Solly came on before the end for McLeod but was cut down in his first tackle by a knee-high challenge, the only dirty piece of play in the 90 minutes. Solly was stretchered off but he was sitting up and I'd like to think that it was a precautionary step and that he will be fit to play again shortly. Yado Mambo got a minute before the end in a move which confirms to me that he will be played this season in the absence of signing another centre-half.

There were 400 or so Addicts at the game in a crowd of1845. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe decribed the Charlton performance as "excellent" and went on to say we had given them their toughest match of the pre-season.

At the moment, it's our lack of a first-choice striker or even striking combination that is the biggest concern for the season ahead. The choice of Gray and McLeod was a puzzle yesterday. You have to assume that perhaps Gray's transfer to Barnsley is off for him to have been played and that he is now back in contention for the Wycombe game. McLeod too was supposed to be on his way to Hearts but was also risked yesterday. The fact that both started doesn't say a lot for Burton, Dickson or Fleetwood. Burton did at least get most of the second -half but Dickson and Fleetwood were nowhere to be seen.

My bet is that Dickson will be sold this week to Gillingham. He hasn't really been fancied by Pardew or Parkinson and despite being a favourite of the fans, he hasn't scored the goals that he has managed away from the Valley on loan. He also needs to be playing regular first team football if he is to fulfil his ambition of playing in the African Nations Cup in January, and I suspect Gillingham will give him that opportunity.

Bring on the Chairboys!


Anonymous said...

I agree with alot of what you have said, although I feel that Bailey was lucky to stay on the park. I do expect him to be in the thick of things, but there were many a time when he completely seemed to lose it and got involved when he didnt need too. He was taken out of the action because of him having a "hot head". Parkys words to Kins, not mine, I was stood behind the dug out and overheard!

Dave said...

Anon - I agree. It was a friendly and it's only protocol to withdraw anyone who's getting too involved. You have to admire Bailey's approach though - he's an all or nothing player.