Saturday, 2 March 2013

Charlton Athletic 0 v Burnley 1

Another stuttering, disjointed home showing and another defeat, our eighth at the Valley this season.

Chris Powell has obviously been pulling his hair out all week looking for a winning combination. He made five changes and went with what looked like an attacking 4-4-2 with Obika starting on the right and Haynes and Fuller providing the strike roles. Ben Hamer was dropped for David Button, who, one spill part, did nothing wrong. Wilson came in for a presumably injured Chris Solly and Dale Stephens was given a well deserved rest. The changes made little difference and we are beginning to look very firmly like a side short on sufficient quality to prosper at this level.

I thought we started with far more positivity than in recent weeks at home and looked threatening without really breaking through a resilient Burnley back-line. Ricardo Fuller simply doesn't have the pace to play 90 minutes at this level and whilst he has the experience, he needs players around him who can create space and we simply don't have them. Danny Haynes gives it everything but he's not really got enough to make up for Fullers shortcomings and the pair toiled all afternoon.

I'm not sure if Obika has played out wide previously but we saw so little of him I am inclined to think not. Jackson and Pritchard looked busy but without any end product and Dervite cluttered the midfield.

Burnley didn't really look any better than us but in Charlie Austin they have a player capable of winning a match with a touch of quality above anything else we saw all afternoon. He mustered that after 30 minutes when he rifled home from 25 yards giving Button no chance.

We upped the ante after the break and Powell even threw onGreen and Harriott early but we lacked the cutting edge to overcome an increasingly committed Burnley defence. On the hour Lawrie Wilson skipped down the right and his early swirling cross was met beautifully by Haynes eight yards. His perfectly directed downward header was tipped around the post from a superb diving save from Lee Grant. Haynes came close again after 77 minutes but his fierce cross-shot missed the far post and Michael Morrison couldn't convert. We couldn't make anything of the five added minutes as the stadium emptied and home form is now a major problem.

Chris Powell will be feeling the heat but he has limited options and he is continuing to try them. We haven't really invested in the side this season and the club clearly hasn't got the funds to take us to the next level. It's hard to know how we get out of this without selling a couple of the better players and getting lucky with replacements.

I will leave my last comment for the attendance today. It was visibly down on recent weeks and we were debating whether or not it was the lowest gate of the season. Burnley brought about 800 and there were bigger gaps in the West and North than usual. Around us in the East it looked less busy than of late although there were plenty of groups of obvious newcomers being directed to their seats well after kick-off, whom I assume were there courtesy of complimentary tickets. We laughed out aloud when the attendance was given of 20,000 and some. Maybe we are close to a deal to sell the club on after all?


Scoops said...

It's certainly no suprise or secret that with the lack of capability to invest in the close season this squad will need to battle for every last point to ensure another season in this division. (I do think they have just enough in the tank to do so - just a shame we don't get to playnthe bigger clubs away every week. having said that i'll be relieved when we've picked up another four wins).

Sir Chris can't really take too much blame for the way things have gone of late. The awful state of the pitch, not his fault. The lackmof investment, not his fault. TBH the personell he brought in last season completely turned around the clubs fortunes.

Like you rightly say, if we stay up, close season will need some wheeler dealing to improve the playing staff. Solly is really, in my opinion the only 'bankable' comodity we have to bring in a decent amount of funds to enable him to reinvest. However ironically i would imagine Sollys wage of the books would not free up too much for wages for new recruits.

The board really need to step up to the plate and either find a way of realising some more capital or find a buyer for the club with a modest amount of moneymto invest.

Hungry Ted said...

One thing was certain, there was never 20,000 + inside the valley yesterday, and like you, my immediate reaction was to think "who are we trying to impress"?

Another certainty is that this team needs investment...