Saturday, 24 September 2011

Charlton Athletic 3 v Chesterfield 1

It's turning out to be a very good day. I have a bottle of Wolf Blass' President's red in front of me and I am reflecting on a home win that has put us three points clear at the top of League One with a game a hand. Our victory was also one leg of the Holy Trinity, with Millwall and Palace both being beaten (it doesn't happen often so make the most of it).

I missed the first 30 minutes of the game as I sped back from Brighton having settled my Niece in at Sussex University. I got my first glimpse of Brighton's new Falmer Stadium as I left the Uni and very good it looks too as it hugs the A27. It's nothing, of course, compared to the Valley with 22,151 fans in it watching an increasingly confident side play winning football.

I was informed we were one-up as I ran through the turnstiles with my Step-father and within a couple of minutes of having taken our seats it was 2-0. Having forced a handball close to the edge of their box, we scored from what looked like a training ground routine. The free-kick was driven back across the box and was cleverly dummied on the near post (by Hayes I think) and left for Johnnie Jackson who was running in behind unmarked and was able to beat Fleming from ten yards. 

We were clearly on top at that stage and might have score a third before the break. My attention was only diverted by some strange goings on in the Jimmy Seed. For some reason, our fans seated there were forced to leave the section they had clearly bought tickets for and it didn't look like they were too happy about it. No doubt there will be a story on this....

After the break we failed to seize the initiative and Chesterfield saw a lot more of the ball without really threatening us. They had a very loud penalty appeal turned down after Rhoys Wiggins blocked a cross on the edge of the box with what looked like his falling body but I guess it could well have hit his arms. One of the Chesterfield management team was sent to the stands for protesting - I am inclined to say it was manager John Sheridan but he looked too fat and too grey? Leon Clarke was proving a bit of a handful and he eventually won the Spireites a penalty when he was too quick for Morrison in the box. He was furious not to be allowed to take the kick and we didn't see anything of him after the penalty. Chesterfield brought on a very impressive sub in Dean Morgan who didn't put a foot wrong and was unlucky not to have equalised with an effort that Ben Hamer got a paw to.

After the deficit had been reduced, we all had that horrible feeling in our stomachs but it didn't last long because Chesterfield were quickly pegged back as we realised attack was the best form of defence. The clock was running down and we were again taking the game to the opposition just like we had in the first half. Matt Taylor was booked for diving in the box when the home fans in this ground thought he had won a penalty. It's the second time we have suffered this in recent weeks but Taylor's appeal looked heartfelt and he carried it on after the final whistle. The game was capped with a cracking third Charlton goal. Yann Kermorgant, who had come on for an exhausted Paul Hayes, won a through ball and held off his man to play it on for the over-lapping Scott Wagstaff. Scott broke through the line and his only target was Bradley Wright-Phillips who was steaming in at the other side of the box. His cross was an absolute peach and had the pace and accuracy to make Fleming's job on Chesterfield line almost impossible. BWP gobbled it up and thumped home the header.

Rhoys Wiggins was my man-of-the-match, closely followed by Johnnie Jackson who for once managed a home performance akin to those he seems to save for aways. I forced myself to watch Matt Taylor for spells today because I have rarely noticed him this season. I am pleased to report it's not because he is anonymous but because he is so quietly effective. Chris Solly was very solid again today and I laugh in the faces of those who continue to knock him.

Stephens and Hollands were better today and Waggy made the third even if it wasn't one of his better games. BWP's pace over the first few yards is impressive and his movement was again excellent today. Paul Hayes would be twice the player with Bradley's pace but he is a clever player and works hard.

For a change, the mood leaving the Valley after a "big" game was overwhelmingly positive and were cheered by news that Sheffield United had been beaten at Wycombe Wanderers. With our early season challengers already stuttering, we have a rare opportunity to build our lead at the top of the table. MK Dons on Tuesday promises to be a belter. 

The club deserve some genuine praise for today. The marketing team did a fantastic job in filling the ground and the half-time video of the season to-date was a great way to show non-season ticket holders what they have been missing and what this season currently promises. I only hope the decision to force our fans from the Jimmy Seed doesn't back-fire on us.

I scarcely dare mention it, but if Scotland can crash through the Argie barrier in the Rugby World Cup early tomorrow morning, my weekend will be complete. FREEE-DOM!


innerspaced said...

i thought stephens had a poor game today.his first touch was terrible and gave ball away to much and poor passing decisions.also bwp apart from well taken goal had poor 2nd period.but goes to show that you dare not sub him as he is the most likely to get into a dangerous position and score.overall the squad are getting better and better,cant wait for tuesday .

Wyn Grant said...

Just before the Charlton fans had to leave the Jimmy Seed, a Spireite was frog marched out. It was Sheridan who was sent to the stands, although a sidekick went with him.

Anonymous said...

The Charlton fans were removed from the South Stand as, following the first goal, a number of them decided to confront the Chesterfield fans rather than just celebrate the goal. Whilst this is not fair on those that did behave, there were probably only around 100 in there any way. I’m not sure why the club took the risk of selling tickets in this stand when there were still plenty of seats available elsewhere. I guess a decision had to be made early on before the final demand for tickets was known.
I’m not sure that it was a Spireite who was frogmarched out. I sit at the South end of the West Stand. To me it looked like a Charlton fan.