Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Charlton Athletic 1 v Watford 2

A deeply frustrating night's football at the Valley in front of another disappointing gate. The gate wasn't given out this evening as in customary towards the end of the second-half, almost as if not to rub salts into the wounds. It was miserable, wet evening but the home stands were lighter than of late and I am guessing we struggled to break 15,000 in spite of 1500 visitors. Five points squandered at home in four days is not good enough and won't get the fans flooding back.

It all started so relatively positively. We began 4-4-2 at home with Green and Kerkar on the flanks and Wright-Phillips partnered by Fuller up top. Hollands and Stephens were started again in the centre and the back five were as was. 

The first-half was pretty competitive as both sides felt their way into the game. Lawrie Wilson seemed on a mission to get forward this evening and he was guilty on occasions of trying too hard. Danny Green was less effective than in some recent games and Kerkar also struggled to make space on the left. Too often we lost momentum when the ball got to Stephens or Hollands.

Once again we went a soft goal down at home. A Watford corner was fired across the box and missed by a number of players including Hamer until it appeared to bounce off the incoming Hoban and end up in our net. Watford broke quickly when they got the chance but we hardly looked stretched and were level before the break from the best move of the game. We had been pressing for the equaliser when Kerkar won a cut-out and turned us back on the attack. With colleagues going left and right of him in midfield, he held the ball for a split second before threading it diagonally through the Watford back-line to the bursting Fuller who collected it yards clear and poked in past the advancing Almunia. It got slightly better on the stroke of half-time when the hapless Forestieri was booked for a blatant dive as he sought to gain advantage from a corner and was then flashed a red a second later presumably for dissent because I can't remember him being booked already at that point.

So, forty-five minutes in which to pummel ten men and take the points? Nah! This is the Valley, this is Charlton Athletic. Instead we put Watford under the requisite pressure for twenty minutes but were too hurried. Too many overhit balls and too many players wanting another touch or another pass. Watford blocked, headed and smothered everything and then the pressure eased. With it came a succession of free-kicks as every frustrated Charlton tackle was judge a foul. Three of them saw Watford advance up the field from their box to ours and from there, Pudil curled a peach over the wall and away from Hamer's dive. 

There was still plenty of time for a Charlton comeback and we pressed again but we lacked the urgency in possession that Watford had and we failed to break them down. Plenty more deep crosses and several penalty appeals which looked more desperate than usual given the scoreline. The first substitution was late coming and Green made way for Pritchard and Rob Hulse got on for a debut.

Once again we finished with the ball flying around a congested opponents goal but no killer touch. Watford added to the frustration even further by playing for time and picking up a couple more bookings in the process. We are making this season much harder for ourselves than we need to and if we aren't careful we risk finding our confidence going missing. There is no doubt that we have the personnel but our central midfield is pedestrian with Hollands and Stephens and I believe we will be forced to change it to find a combination better equipped to compete as well as supply the wingers and strikers.


Anonymous said...

Decent enough analysis but I thought Kerkar was very good in parts; especially in the first half. Best thing to come out of Ibrox since the taxman actually.
Fuller was excellent but not quite in synch with Bradders and that's part of the problem. With Yann and Fuller we could have a good attack but Yann's out for 3 months.
Danny Hollands was such a driving force last season and has improved of late but might not just cut the mustard in this division.
Ben Hamer too has to be 100% on top of his game at this level. We don't want any more Leyton Orient New Year's Eve moments.
But on the whole this is the best Charlton team in five years of 'lower' divison football and they will click if we just give them time. We'll finish mid-table I imagine but only if we pull our socks up and realise the obvious potential. There's such a gap in League One and this. Anybody in the Championship would walk that division this year.
Let's hope we start walking a few games soon. Barnsley, Hudds, and Peterborough in a three week speel should put some points on the board and we could even pray for a surprise result at Blackburn.
I would love to have seen the young boy from City/Ivory Coast thrown on at an earlier stage tonight. Maybe he can be the surprise package we need up north west on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Sorry not Blackburn, Blackpool - prettier place and they play prettier football too.

South Croydon Addick said...

Forestier was booked for encroachment at an earlier free kick. The scoreboard incorrectly awarded the yellow card to their number 5, I think.

Hopefully, we'll see Hulse and Fuller up front on Saturday: BWP, though willing, just doesn't look sharp enough for the Championship. Somebody else out of their depth is Dale Stephens. As playmaker, he should have been the key man after Watford went down to ten men, but he created little.

Not sure where Razak plays - centre midfield or wide - but bringing on Pritchard for Hollands was bizarre. As was taking off Green - someone who can supply decent crosses - when you bring on a target man like Hulse.

New York Addick said...

Hi Dave

The pass to Fuller for the goal was from Stephens not Kerkar.....

Agree with the rest of your report though - midfield isn't good enough.

ChicagoAddick said...

Let's hope we don't have to wait for a result at Blackburn. Can you start praying now please.

Dave said...

Anon (the optimistic one) - thanks for your post. It was a refreshing reminder this morning that there is a lot to be hopeful about. My pre-match post reflected my mood.