Saturday, 20 October 2012

Charlton Athletic 0 v Barnsley 1

I should have known better. Bumper, expectant Valley crowd, mate's grand-childrens' first ever football match and you know we are going to end up fluffing  our lines.

The margins between winning and losing are very slim in the Championship and it was another very competitive game this afternoon. Barnsley deserved the one-nil result, so we need to look very carefully at what we could be doing better that will make a difference.

After winning at Blackpool fielding a 4-5-1, Chris Powell was tempted to do it again at home and I think that was a mistake. We changed to 4-4-2 after the break and effectively lost the match to a second-half goal, so there will be plenty who will say 4-5-1 was the way to go. The trouble is, when you set your stall out with a busy midfield and fail to take advantage, you hand the initiative to your opponents. Perkins, Dagnall and Cywka bettered us first-half and with their tails up we needed to do much more second-half when switching to a two man attack. 

The Charlton back four were solid throughout and Leon Cort was head and shoulders man-of-the-match as he shackled the dangerous looking Craig Davies. I thought Stephens had a decent first-half and was benefitting from the extra man but we didn't take advantage and we didn't see enough from Green, Kerkar or Hollands. Rasak played in the hole and did ok for his first "pairing" with Fuller but they both needed more ammunition and Barnsley weren't giving it up.

I would have done precisely what Chris Powell did after the break with the bold double substitution of Hollands and Rasak for Wright-Phillips and Jackson. It worked to some extent because we began to get the ball further up the field and Fuller saw more of it, but we lacked the sense of urgency needed and we failed to put Perkins, Dagnall and Cywka on the back-foot. 

The Barnsley goal, when it came was unfortunate in that Danny Green was skinned in the box by Cywka who closed in from the goal-line and Hamer was then fooled on the near post to move to defend a cross as Cywka fired in from an impossible looking angle. It was probably what the Tykes deserved and we couldn't up the ante after that. Green was subbed for Pritchard in a move that looked a trifle like a punishment and we then lost Fuller with a hamstring which meant we had to play the last ten minutes with only ten men.

As I said at the start, small margins and we must keep our heads up. Three successive home defeats are relegation form but we must be prepared to be more ambitious and look to win games from the start and not contain opponents for an hour before trying to throw a double-six.
PS I thought we saw the single best refereeing performance I can remember.


Anonymous said...

Sorry cannot agree about subs. Unless Rasak was injured I am unable to see why he was taken off as he looked quite lively.
Jackson has lost his pace and influence and in my mind, regrettably, he added nothing and was a mere passenger as anticipated. Green also fits into the category of not being good enough, though I think Hollands could come back from what I feel is a dip in form and should not be written off.
BWP added little though he did nt see much of the ball. Wilson has questionable defensive qualities but doe s abetter job as a wionger than Green.

Dave said...

Anon - we hadn't ene enough attacking up until half-time and were struggling to get possession. The addition of another out-and-out striker and a change in formation with Jackson in for an ineffective Hollands may have forced the game or encouraged a change from Barnsley. I too thought Rasak did ok but we needed a tactical and player change. Jackson may have lost form since injury but he is a threat from set pieces and has a habit of scoring goals. Agree too it obviously didn't work.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Dave, have to disagree with your take on Stephens. Thought he ran around like a headless chicken at times, the remainder being spent on his arse. Extremly lightweight, and would love to know what Villa saw in him.