Sunday, 3 February 2013

England 38 v Scotland 18

Another great sporting day out at Twickenham yesterday. I called England by 20 points before the match but was genuinely hoping for better and in some ways got it, although Scotland were again a disappointment.

At ten past four I was feeling like it might be a special day for me. Stuart Hogg had just covered forty metres in his dash straight towards us behind the goal and he managed to offload close to the line as blue shirts lent a hand and found debutant Sean Maitland on the overlap down the touchline to give Scotland an early lead. My phone buzzed moments later to tell me we were still leading at Palace. Scotland were very unlikely to hold on but Charlton might.

The predictable Scottish penalties came and Owen Farrell kicked England into a healthy lead before the Scottish line was punctured and defeat became a reality. It was great to see Hogg break away and kick on before touching down at the death to give the scoreline a better appearance and for once we look like we have some pace and handling in our three-quarters. Cue then, time I suppose, for our 20st tattooed giants to turn in a less than aggressive display. If they all gave 75% of the fight Ritchie Gray puts into every match we might get some results. Yesterday was poor and Scott Johnson, the Aussie coach called in right with his "contact, contact, contact" comment.

Not to worry, we enjoyed the sing-along in the Scrum Bar and bumped into fellow Addick Ted who told us that we had bossed the first-half at Selhurst but missed our chances to kill the game. Palace fought back second-half and lanky Murray netted twice towards to end to make it a double defeat on the day for me. I understand too that our support was kettled after the match provoking some embarrassing vandalism as well as a confrontation with the hapless PC's who were carrying out orders many were apparently unhappy about. I live close to the Valley and have had my car damaged in a similar incident a few years ago after the Millwall friendly when some of their urchins decided to pay the Oak a visit looking for some afters. Not finding it there they took their small minded frustration out on the hairdressers windows and the cars of Charlton Lane breaking wings mirrors and denting panels as they went. Those residents of SE25 who were affected yesterday have my honest sympathy.

The only positive thing to say is that the inevitable local backlash might make the police think about a more creative idea for policing matches after the whistle.  Kettling is a controversial tactic and one wholly unsuitable for an entire away support (it might be unsuitable for political demo's too) and I have to think some Chief Super saw it as a great practice opportunity for his forces rather than the best way to police Charlton fans leaving Selhurst Park. There wasn't much wrong with cordoning off several side roads to funnel our fans back to the station. It has always worked previously and, let's face it, Palace hardly make any concerted attempt for any real trouble. Perhaps the Police should be forced to inform you before-hand that you will be detained at length if you decide to go ("for your own safety or those of others") - at least that way you have a choice in the matter.

Our defeat saw us drop six places during the afternoon from the heady heights of 9th to 15th whilst handing Palarse a leg-up to the play-offs. Millwall remain in touching distance after losing again at home to Hull. They really are missing Wood and Henderson. Roll on next season.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

Horrible, losing to the Massives and the self-promoters of SE25 in successive weeks. They took their chances and we can't really claim an injustice. However, I think they are not as good as they think they are and we are not as bad as they think we are.

Chief Super Plod was fortunate his kettling plan did not result in injury or worse. The footpath next to the parked supporters' coaches was open to passage. Except that it wasn't because of the volume of people funnelled in there. Unable to see ahead, no escape to left (walls/houses) and none to the right, and no info, panic cd easily have resulted. Fortunately, folks were getting phone messages from their mates in the wider ("open")bit of Park Road to the effect that we would soon turn left into a breathable space. What may have seemed like a good idea turned out to be both irresponsible and unnecessary.