Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Charlton Athletic 1 v Rochdale 1

Oh dear, oh dear. Another disjointed footballing performance by the Addicks on home soil and we are doing our best to ensure we don't encourage too many stay-aways to return to the Valley. For those there, precious little entertainment for the 15,000 home fans and the less than 100 visitors.

Bradley Wright-Phillips started again upfront for the injured Danny Haynes and Johnnie Jackson was missed again as Bradley Pritchard deputised once more. In the back-line Cedric Evina came in at left-back and Rhoys Wiggins was switched uncomfortably to right-back. Not sure what's wrong with Chris Solly but he was missed this evening.

Our midfield pairing again stuttered and Stephens and Hollands struggled to compete with the bald duo of Jones and Kennedy. Green did nothing and Bradley Pritchard tried hard but he has no physical presence or pace.

We started well enough with BWP streaking into space to collect a through ball and flashing a shot wide of Kurucs right-hand post. Bradley was creating space, getting caught offside as well as winning aerial balls. I thought he looked odds-on to score. Then Dale came into the game for a twenty minute spell where they forced the pace and made us look uncomfortable. We came back into it before the break but nil-nil at half-time was only fair.

After the break and kicking towards the Covered End, surely it was only time before we broke the deadlock. Afraid not and we were instead caught out on a three against two break which gave Dale the lead. Bury revisited I'm afraid and in spite of a fabulous Yann Kermorgant equaliser which was stroked home from a 25 yard free-kick, we simply didn't do enough to deserve  a winner. 

The substitutions we are making now seem to detract from the performance, not enhance it. Green was very poor this evening but Wagstaff did little more after coming on. Well, I say little, he managed several appeals to the linesman for imaginary touches off Dale players and non-existent fouls. The usual. Leon Clarke then came on for BWP but I struggle to see what he adds. He looks the part, prowling around but he struggles to lose his markers and seems to possess no weapons. 

At the death, Leon Cort came on for Evina which necessitated a defensive shuffle but, again, unclear to me what it added other than an unnecessary distraction in the final few minutes.

Chris Powell will tell us it's a long season and you can't them all etc, but I am afraid we look nothing like the side our league position reflects and it needs changing not tolerance. Stephens isn't working in midfield since he came back and frankly, I would revert to a previous central pairing. Illogical though it seems, Hughes and Hollands probably gave us as much mobility and control of the middle as any pairing we have so far tried. Jackson will strengthen the side when he returns but we need a modicum of consistency on the right flank which neither Green or Wagstaff look capable of providing.

For me, it's the midfield that needs sorting. I am confident Yann Kermorgant and Wright-Phillips will resume scoring when they are fed chances and not hopeful balls from deep. Kermorgant was forced to come into midfield tonight far too enough to get the ball.

I thought Amankwaah was outstanding for Dale at centre-half. He handled Wright-Phillips very well in the first half when he threatened most and continued to break up most of our best opportunities.

I have two guests from Stevenage on Saturday and the way we are playing, we have to expect to be beaten at home. Perhaps we will raise our game against the better opposition and three points from them would be better than three from Rochdale, but we will need to be far better than this evening throughout the side. It looks like we are asking a lot.


Anonymous said...

There was never 15,000 there. It was a poor performance bar kermogant who seems to get better every game.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave

Couldn't get there last night - I had tickets for the original game but can't do Tuesdays so they went in the bin!

Sounds like another dismal performance and the worrying thing is that our unlikely wins and default draws could very easily turn into draws and losses. Big as the points gap is at the moment it can very soon be whittled down with two and three point gains by our rivals. Not time to panic but it is worrying that CP doesn't seem to be able to find a way to address the problems' It would be nice to see a convincing performance against Stevenage but I'm not too optimistic!


Anonymous said...

Dave, thought you were far to confident yesterday, we just arn't clicking at the moment and personally I can't see a way out of the current slump...still we are unbeaten this year, there is still a healthy gap beween us and Wednesday/Huddersfield (though not United) so it's not all bad, Stevenage will provide a stern test....win that one and then maybe the players can relax a bit and then hopefully regain the form of earlier in the season.

Sciurus Carolinensis Nemesis said...

Dead right Dave,
Stephens and Green are real problems. Green has an obvious replacement who sadly offers similar failings, Hobson's choice unfortunately. The central midfield options are more numerous and choosing one is essential if Stevenage are not to be handed a walkover on Saturday. Russel's continued absence from the squad after his ban ended is very odd, especially as there has been no word at all on him. His or Andy Hughes's energy and bite in the middle is essential on Saturday. I was concerned when Hughes came in for the injured Stephens earlier in the season but his first few games soon put my mind at rest. Let's hope SCP saw things the same from pitchside last night and last week (he must have mustn't he???)
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