Sunday, 30 December 2012

Charlton Athletic 1 v Derby County 1

A big improvement in the performance from the dross we had served up on Boxing Day as Chris Powell made a host of changes and reverted to a more familiar side from last season.

Cedric Evina replaced Danny Seaborne at left-back and made the most of his opportunity with a battling display. Cort and Morrison anchored the defence until Morrison was again red-carded for a second yellow after 70 minutes. Cort was again in great form and is plainly fighting to hold on to his shirt from Dervite. Chris Solly had a much better game at right-back than of late.

In midfield we went with Jackson, Stephens, Pritchard and Wilson. Pritchard made the difference but Derby more than matched us for the duration and their edge here kept them in the game. Wilson had an unusually quiet game and Jackson was less involved than he might have been.

Kermorgant harried the Derby back-line but it was Danny Haynes who looked most threatening and who scored the Charlton goal, the best strike we have seen this season. It's a real shame that Haynes has  tight hamstrings and again had to limp off in tears, this time after just 35 minutes. He was replaced with Bradley Wright-Phillips who also made the best of his chance on the day and proved a thorn in the Derby side for the remainder of the game.

To the game then and Derby started brightly attacking the Covered End. They won several free-kick, one of which saw Morrison booked worryingly early for tackle on Hughes. Hamer was called upon to tip one of these over the bar and another whistled just wide. At the other end, Kermorgant was being shackled by two men but that gave a bit more space for Haynes and he capitalised after 30 minutes. Kermorgant knocked a ball down to him and ran out wide to the left in front of the East Stand, moving quickly, Haynes double-back and turned inside 30 yards out. With players again of him in the box and all taking up their defensive positions, Danny saw a shooting option. I was in-line with the shot and it was a goal all the way as it rose above those in the box and was high and wide enough to be beyond Legzdins reach. Crucially, it was also curling right to left which took it inside the far post - what a goal. It lifted the home side and minutes later, Ben Hamer was inspired to make a superb stop from Tyson who burst through clear on goal and who looked certain to score. His score was low and hard but Hamer managed to block it and hold on.

In the second-half Derby upped the ante and looked like they would score from open play but we responded by getting men forward whenever we could. BWP was particularly successful chasing balls down and we should have increased our lead when a four man move started by a galloping Solly carved Derby open and left Pritchard one-on-one with Legzdins. The Derby stopper made himself big as he rushed out but Pritchard's rushed shot hit the underside of the bar allowing Legzdins to catch in on the bounce.

The miss encouraged Derby to press even more strongly and from a melee in our box, Morrison was dismissed for a second yellow and a penalty was conceded. Jamie Ward, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes, stroked it home and we had twenty minutes in which to hang on with ten men. That we did was a credit to the reds and we even managed to go close a couple of times ourselves as we reshuffled the pack to cope. Dervite was brought on to replace Stephens and Fuller got on for the last five for a tiring Kermorgant. Ben Hamer earned his man-of-the-match award from me with a further couple of important saves as he rallied our desperate defence.

On reflection this was as much a point won as two lost and I would hope Chris Powell starts with as close a line-up to this as possible - Morrison will be suspended and Haynes will most likely miss out. Other results were kinder to us and we remain in 18th place, still about as close to the play-offs as the drop zone on points. The problem is we haven't won in six and we need to break that cycle soon.

3 comments:

Geoff said...

Agree, Dave, that this looked the best line-up for a while, and Hamer must have put a couple of million on the price for the circling crows should pay. Didn't think Morrison's first yellow justified; seemed like an "I'm in charge" from a bossy ref.

Anonymous said...

Well Dave, there is an elephant in room!

That lovely chappy in yellow hasn't been mentioned in you report! What did you make of him?

Pembury Addick

Dave said...

PA - I have to say I thought he was ok. I didn't see the Morrison sending off tackle too clearly at the time but from the replays I have seen since Morrison played the ball first and it should not have been a penalty.