Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Charlton Athletic 5 v Cardiff City 4

The Fifteen thousand, three hundred Charlton fans went home happy this evening after seeing Chrissy Powell's Red Army beat the league leaders. It was an eventful match with nine goals and (I think) eight bookings. It was also a match in which some sloppy Charlton defending at the start and the end of the game gave a misleading scoreline which does not do justice to our five goal blitz.

Our make-shift side was patched again for this one with Morrison going to right-back, Chris Solly to left and Dorian Dervite drafted into the middle with Leon Cort. I think it more accurate to say we had a fluid midfield this evening with only Salim Kerkar playing in his position on the left wing whilst Stephens, Pritchard and Jackson swapped places throughout, with Pritchard also swapping on occasions with Haynes upfront who was partnering Rob Hulse.

I prefer a more attacking game-plan at the Valley. It's home advantage and we pay to see us winning at matches in SE7. It suits an attacking game-plan and we got that tonight despite going two-nil down to two very soft goals that made Cardiff look like Inter Milan. In a strange way that might have helped the course of the rest of the match.

The home fans played their part tonight as well. A non-stop chorus of Chrissy Powell's Red Army from the Covered End was a powerful show of faith in the manager but was intended, I like to think anyway, as a warning signal to Spanish Tone and the Fickle that we will not support any premature change of management.

To the game then, and it was a disastrous start. Cardiff scored from their first corner as Helguson ran in to glance a header beyond a flat-footed Ben Hamer. Our challenges were no-where and it was weak. It got worse after 25 minutes when we were out-jumped three times in our six yard box as the ball bobbed about before being rammed home from ten yards. It looked like a second-successive trouncing at home but the Covered End continued it's beat for the manager and we continued to plug away. Ten minutes before the break we got a slice of good fortune when Marshall looked impeded from getting to a ball and flapped it down to Jackson who steadied himself before curling his shot high into the unguarded net. A consolation for half-time then but it got unexpectedly better as Jackson met a deep corner to head powerfully home for the equaliser before tea. 

The Bluebirds looked deflated and we came out looking for the lead. Within ten minutes we won a free-kick not far from Chris Powell's stomping ground and Dale Stephens fired in from what must have been forty-plus yards. He did at least have the good grace not to overly celebrate his over-hit delivery which caught Marshall unawares and sailed in to the top corner over his despairing dive.

Three sides of the stadium were buzzing at this point and we were roaring them on for more. Cardiff were all over the place and Bradley Pritchard's deep play saw him win a back-post ball, bring it down for himself and manage to flick it back across goal under pressure to the lurking pocket dynamo that is Danny Haynes and he headed home the fourth. We were now rampant and the best finish was left to Rob Hulse who sped into the box unmarked to meet a Salim Kerkar cross with a thumping header that had goal written all over it once the trajectory of Salim's cross was clear. Cardiff were beaten then with five goals having been scored in twenty-six glorious minutes.

We continued to look to get forward and the inevitable substitutions came for both sides for weary legs. There were a flood of cards too for lazy challenges and dissent as both sides threw balls away after being penalised for free-kicks. To their credit, the league leaders didn't give up and were finding holes in our back line, especially between Morrison and Dervite. Almost inevitably they struck a third as six minutes of added time was announced and we knew they would find another for squeaky bum time.We held on for what we deserved. Three points and my first win of the season!

Bristol City doesn't look half as daunting as it did before this evening and the win lifts us up a couple of places and puts us within a win of mid-table. Suddenly the gloom looks like lifting and some order should be restored. The whiners and lightweights can go back to supporting their team and not knocking it and perhaps the manager and players have learnt a tactical lesson in this division where margins are slim and draws aplenty.

What with Numpty Levein having been rewarded for his failings, it's been a good week for a change. Roll on Sunday.

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