Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Charlton Athletic 3 v Yeovil Town 0

It was all rather routine in the end but we made hard work of it for over an hour after Dany N'Guessan's early cross sailed in over the head of the bemused Sam Walker. With Wednesday dropping two points at home to Walsall, and another game ticked off, we can now go to Huddersfield on Saturday with a spring in our step and play with a little less fear. Anything we get there will be a bonus and any result that matches or betters either of the Steel City pair should give us our first real glimpse of what's needed and when we might expect to win promotion. The title can wait.

To the game then and I wasn't surprised to see a couple of changes as Taylor and Jackson were rested for Cort and N'Guessan. Harsh on Taylor, I thought, but that's what squads are for and Cort had a fine match, especially after the break when he got forward as much as he could and tried to provide extra feet in the attack. N'Guessan was out wide left and was early to show with some confident touches and swift passes. Just as I was commenting on how quickly he had settled into the side, he broke down the flank and drilled a cross in which I thought was shaping to curl onto an onrushing Charlton head but it flew on and straightened slightly as it passed the flapping Walker and nestled in the far side netting. N'Guessan turned in salute to the East Stand without the slightest hint of irony or a smile. No-one was going to argue. He had done what we brought him in for and we were able to relax ever so slightly for the next hour.

Yeovil certainly had a go and were keen to shoot from every opportunity. Sadly for them that meant many wayward pot-shots often when they had managed to get men forward in numbers to support the attack. For once, Solly and Wiggins were not dominant and it was left to Cort and Morrison to do most of the mopping up.

One-nil at half-time and news that the Blades were four up at Notts County. Sheffield Wednesday were drawing but a home win still looked on the cards. We ploughed on but were still letting Yeovil see too much of the ball and we were fortunate not to concede after the ball deflected back to N'Gala in space eight yards out. His first time effort would have gone in anywhere other than at Hamer which was all he could manage. 

We needed the killer second goal and it was a peach when it came. it looked like something off the training ground. A free-kick out on the left was curled high and wide to the right hand side of the box where Yann Kermorgant was lurking and his leap took him clear of the challenger. He planted a firm header back across the box and onto the head of his strike partner who buried it. Goal number 21 for Bradley Wright-Phillips.

After that, barring one Yeovil effort which looped onto the bar, we had control of the game and began to find a yard of space across the pitch. Cort was playing more in midfield and Danny Green provided fresh legs for N'Guessan who was blowing by this stage. The icing on the cake came near the 90th minute when a three man break was finished off by Darel Russell who beat Walker from close range. 

If I am going to be hyper-critical, I didn't think our midfield pairing did nearly enough tonight, especially in the first half although both Hollands and Russell partly made up for it towards the end. Central midfield is looking like our largest Summer priority. We lack pace and aggression in the middle although Stephens, Hollands, Russell and Pritchard are honest and capable players.

It is going to take something quite remarkable from two of the three sides below us now to stop us. They haven't looked like doing anything quite that remarkable all season, so no reason to suspect two of them will do that now. The big game is beginning to look like Carlisle away or Wycombe at home.


Anonymous said...

i must have been at a different game - hollands and russell were outstanding, particularly the acting skipper. You have to earn the right to play at any level and through their work and commitment they did just that for our team. I am amazed at how negative everyone around me was during the game - it was clear confidence was low but a little 'support' of the team would have put that right. fortunately the team did it for themselves 2nd half and delivered a performance we should all be proud of ..

Anonymous said...

If you look at the maths now, if you assume everyone in the league is going to win every game they play (which won't happen of course), we only need 5 points to be guaranteed a playoff spot, and only 14 points for automatic promotion. Basically, 5 wins from the last 8 games will see us with the title and we might not even need that much depending on other events. Come on you reds....

Joseph said...

I thought the center mids did a good job. They closed down Yeovil attacks and spread the ball about well enough.