Friday, 30 November 2012

I'll take the draw

In my youth 1-1 was a smart correct score bet for any London derby. Local pride, stubbornness, bloody-mindedness and added vocal support often evened things out on the day. Form tended to go out of the window and any class gap between sides was invariably small enough to be overcome.

Over the last twenty years I think we have seen far less draws, particularly against the money-clubs, where passion, commitment and all of the afore-mentioned only get you so far. As far as Charlton-Millwall encounters go, history tells us a draw is a good result for us. I remember my first in 1977 when Mickey Flanagan put us one-up at half-time only for the Lions to level through local legend Terry Brisley who was to join us later that season (although he never looked the same player in red).

We managed a bore-draw at the Valley during our promotion campaign in 1981 and a 2-2 when we next played there in 1986 when Jim Melrose and George Shipley put us 2-1 in front before the break. It was 2-2 again at the Den in '89 although that was the cruellest of all for me. For once we matched them throughout the game and deserved our two goal lead when 'Willo' Williams slipped home five minutes before the end. It was too much for Millwall to bear and they tore back at us. Teddy Sherringham, who used to drink in my local at the time, scored within a minute and in squeaky bum time Millwall forced the equaliser. It was a long walk home that night.

We had that high 4-4 (?) Valley match a few seasons ago when Nicky Bailey scored a fine goal to silence the visitors momentarily but we managed to piss on our chips that day too. 

So to tomorrow then and I would take a draw now although Kenny Jackett won't be offering one. With Morrison in the side and Wiggins fit again, I would be confident of us taking something from the game. Fact is, Wiggins is still out and Morrison is suspended. Chris Powell will probably still be fretting who to put in alongside Leon Cort. Taylor or Dervite are the obvious and likely choices but neither is blessed with Morrison's pace or positioning and that's what allows Leon to concentrate on winning all the aerial battles. 

I can see Millwall scoring and probably a couple, so we will need to score a couple ourselves to get anything and without Ricardo Fuller, I am certain we will play with a lone striker which will make it much harder. I am encouraged by the togetherness of our squad and the game plan will be to slow it down and quieten the crowd although that's difficult at the Den, especially when we are the opposition. The schadenfreude of a Millwall crowd when they are beating us is stronger than any other side we ever face, even those muppets from Croydon.

I will be there in hope tomorrow but suspect it may be a long walk home once again. Maybe I will be more confident about the return fixture in March but I won't see it as I will be in Paris watching an equally historically challenged 6 Nations fixture.

1 comment:

Daggs said...

If it were down to me Dave. I would start with all three central defenders available and just Hulse up front. Try to get to the last 20mins without conceding, then let Kermorgant and (if available) Haynes loose.