Saturday, 28 April 2012

Preston North End 2 v Charlton Athletic 2

I was surprised that Chris Powell chose to make wholesale changes today as we went looking for the three points needed to give us a chance of beating Fulham's 101 point League One record. It wasn't as if he decided to deliberately use the game to blood youth or try a new formation or game plan. The incoming players were all squad players and it looked more like a case of allowing everyone to get a game as Champions.

There were few complaints in the opening half after Danny Haynes seized on a mistake from the Preston keeper (Arestidou), nor after Dany N'Guessan got the cigars out before half-time. Preston saw more than their share of the ball and pulled a goal back worryingly early in the second-half. As the clock ran down it was nail-biting time listening in, although the travelling Charlton fans appeared less concerned as they sang and conger-ed their way towards the whistle. Leon Cort cleared off the line and Sullivan was panicking in goal.

It was my Daughter's 7th birthday today and I had a houseful of women. I managed to avoid them for ages but had to come down before the final whistle to see off the entertainment. As I left the commentary, Graham Alexander was on for his 1000th and whatever appearance and I told my Mother-in-Law that he was about to net an equaliser for our opponents (wrongly thinking it was Gary Alexander!). I turned on Final Score just to have it confirmed. Annoying, but we have to put things into perspective and a draw at Preston that maintains our unusually strong finish is still a decent result.

Time then to watch the Blades take on Stevenage and how I feel for the red half of Sheffield this evening. Theirs was a typical live Charlton performance. Strangely unconvincing until it was too late and whilst they managed to salvage a point, they have still managed to hand the advantage to their city rivals who won impressively at Brentford today as the Mig scored another winner. Stevenage are now favourites to make play offs in sixth and they won't fear meeting United again.

I shouldn't concern myself too much. Whatever will be, will be. None of them can touch us and we have a private party at the Valley next week to celebrate the end of a memorable nine months. The close season should also be one of the most exciting on record and we have plenty of reasons to be optimistic for next year.

10 comments:

algordon_cafc said...

Sorry Dave, i hate to tell you mate but it's Graham Alexander. Gary is at a horrid little club in West Sussex around the corner from me.

Dave said...

Al - thanks for correcting me. Even worse that Graham, an ancient defender should net the equaliser!

Ed Adkins said...

There was definitely an 'end of term' atmosphere today, with CP and his staff doing crossbar challenge before KO; then CP kicking balls into the crowd (and demanding them back instantly!)

I felt that CP was giving fringe players a chance to stake a claim for next season. Unfortunately Sullivan's hands were not up to scratch, and I wonder whether Hollands might be a bit ponderous for the Champ. Pritchard was like a Kish in his prime, and the two boys up front added some serious pace to the team.

The next few months are going to be very exciting.

Dave said...

Ed - I was reasonably impressed when Sullivan came in on loan last year but his cameo appearances this season haven't been encouraging. A new reserve keeper looks a must. I am not sure about Hollands. You get a bit more time in the Championship and it's more about the quality of your ball. Hollands might just thrive, although I think he needs to be more decisive when in possession. I am more concerned about Stephens' ability to step up. What is really obvious is that we are crying out for a tough tackling defensive midfielder who can break play up and enable our midfield to counter.

aitchy said...

Freeman looked really good for Stevenage last night. On their website he's listed as a striker, but he played as an attacking midfielder with a lot of skill. Just the sort of player we need. I too don't think Hollands can hack it in the Championship.

Anonymous said...

Charlton fabns were on very good form yesterday Dave. Apart from completely outsinging the PNE fans, they gave a fantastic reception to the Preston kids doing a lap of honour at halkf time, and serenaded with "Championes" two teenage teams (one female) who had won recent trophies - the girls particularly looked tickled pink!

On the way back our coach stopped at an M6 service station where about 50 fancy dress fans were singing their heads off. It went quiet, and when we went outsdie to go home they were standing in front of the Blackpool team coach "going mental". Ian Holloway and team were sort of under siege by Luigi, Mario, a banana, Buzz Light year et al. The charltyon boys were mainly boisterous teenagers andf there was no real hint of trouble, but Blackpooldidn't want to risk a confrontation. This went on for about 10 very funny minutes. As we drove off we could see Holloway staring at the heavens in complete exasperation. I wonder if they ever got their cup of tea.

Priceless

Pembury Addick

Dave said...

aitchy - agree that Freeman looked really good but I did wonder why we he didn't show at the Valley. I checked their line-up that day and he played but you wouldn't have known. Shroot also looked good...

Dave said...

PA - Glad to hear you had a good day. I always found those moments with pros at service stations a bit embarrassing. I remember having a full English somewhere up north after a night game in the early hours of the morning. The place was empty bar a couple of dozen of us and in walks Peter Wythe who had scored for Forest down south that night. Forest were top flight at that time and Wythe one of the leading scorers. "Alright lads! Good result for you boys tonight" as he sat down with his own big breakfast. I'm guessing none of of the Blackpool players did anything similar!

Anonymous said...

I think the Blackpool players would have loved the chance of a burger - they just couldn't get off the coach! I was tempted to offer the poor mites my cheese and tom sarni freshly made - the night before..

How is sunny India Dave? How do get time to do this Blogger malarkey?

Tne Hodgson decision seems like another typical FA safe decision again.

Pembury Addick

Dave said...

PA - departing for Heathrow shortly. Won't be much time for Blogging this week...