Saturday, 3 November 2012

Charlton Athletic 1 v Middlesbrough 4

I didn't fancy our chances today. Boro arrived on an impressive run and we have had a glass jaw at home. Prior to the match I was tempted by Boro's odds at 13-8 and did them in an accumulator with Palace, Derby and Huddersfield. Business is business I'm afraid.

Anyhow, it was a pleasant autumnal day for it and the 16,000 Addick regulars (where are any of the glory-boys?) were joined by an impressive 1500 Boro fans in a 17,736 crowd for this Championship match. Chris Powell pulled a few selection surprises that, for thirty minutes at least looked inspired. The unfit Cedric Evina was replaced at left-back by Salim Kerkar whom I have to say, did pretty well. In front of Solly, Morrison, Cort and Kerkar we went with a four in the shape of Jackson, Dervite, Pritchard and Wilson which enabled Wright-Phillips to partner Hulse up front.

For thirty minutes it worked perfectly. In a slow tempo start, we bettered Boro across the pitch and deserved our lead when Hulse fired home after being played in following a sharp move in which Pritchard stood out. In fact Pritchard had an impressive first half with Dervite who was active in breaking up much of what Boro contrived to create. Unfortunately, Boro struck an equaliser on 27 minutes through Jonathan Woodgate and by half-time they deserved to be level. Woodgate got a yellow card before the break for a crude dragging tackle on Wilson which was to end Wilson's match as he didn't appear after the break. 

Slowly but surely, we were outclassed in the second-half. Huff and puff as we might, Boro began to assume more control and moved the play further upfield. Leadbitter and Ledesma began to play behind our midfield and Boro committed more and more players to the attack as they went in search of goals. It was an unfortunate mistake from Morrison that was punished for the second. Having intercepted a through ball, Michael played it straight to a Boro player who fed Scott McDonald in space and he hooked home past Hamer from an angle to put Boro in the driving seat. After that Boro sat and waited for their chances on the break. Emmanual Ledesma was next with a 20 chip after a four-against-two break and we can thank Ben Hamer for keeping out two other efforts after that which could have given the match a completely unrealistic scoreline. The fourth at the death was probably one more than we deserved to concede but this is a very good Tony Mowbray side and they will surely be close at the finish come May.

Hard to be overly critical of our side but we are not showing enough urgency or being bold enough in my view. We have the players to score goals but matching teams is not good enough in this division. You have to be decisive and go for the jugular. Millwall did it at Forest today and that has to be the game-plan for us, especially at home.

Nicky Bailey had a quiet game today which says something when you are soundly beaten at home. Too many Charlton heads dropped after the break and I thought Jackson looked lost. Pritchard faded badly after Dervite went into the back four as Cort made way and we didn't see anything from Haynes or Cook as we gambled upfront.

We really need to beat Cardiff at the Valley on Tuesday. They remain top-of-the-table after a 0-0 at Bolton today, so we will need a step up in urgency and commitment if we are to stay out of the bottom four.

I will collect my £601 from the bookies tomorrow without any sign of guilt or embarrassment but I would gladly have binned my coupon had we managed even a point at home.


Anonymous said...

Poor today and not looking forward to Cardiff on Tuesday night. That said, despite the fourth goal, we looked to have a better balance when Dervite & Morrison went to a centre back partnership and Danny Haynes came on.If we get something from the Peterborough,Bristol City, and Huddersfield games coming up, it puts us in a good position to then consolidate in a December when we face Millwall and Brighton before possibility of maximum Xmas points at home to Ipswich and Derby.
All's not lost yet. Just remember Tony Mowbray's teams always do well at this level and Scott McDonald was scoring goals against Manchester United in the Champions League just a few seasons ago. We played a good, streetwise team today and lost. It's not the end of the world but if we don't win any of our next four games then it's time to start getting worried.

Dave said...

Anon - hard to disagree with anything you say here. I thought Dervite looked very comfortable in midfield and when he went into the back line but I didn't understand why Cort was taken off. Not sure what that offered us, especially as Cort is probably our biggest aerial set-piece thread. I assume Powell wanted to reward Dervite with 90 minutes at home.