Saturday, 6 April 2013

Charlton Athletic 2 v Leeds United 1

A thrilling finish to an uninspiring match. A relatively poor looking Leeds side should have been seen off long before the finish but it took an added time header from Jonathan Obika to seal the points.

I was pleased to see we persisted with the 4-4-2 at home and that the only change from Tuesday's start was to see Ricardo Fuller restored in place of Lawrie Wilson. Leeds started without Varney or Diouf but Steve Morison came in up front and Michael Tonge was the only other established player in their side that I knew.

Leeds fought hard during the first half but failed to create anything significant. We increasingly took the game to them and Yann Kermorgant missed a header at the back post towards half-time. Michael Morrison will also blush when he sees the gaping goal he missed after a Dervite drive was parried into his path. I will forgive Michael anything. We were looking the livelier and took that into the second-half when Johnnie Jackson took only two minutes to break the deadlock. For the next 30 minutes Leeds looked beaten but we failed to capitalise. Ricardo Fuller simply didn't do enough and despite outplaying them on the flanks, we were short of the sort of pressure that would have brought the second. 

Instead we made another poor change. By bringing on Kerkar for Fuller, we seemed to invite pressure and Leeds filled the vacuum. Luke Varney was brought on and within five minutes he hooked home the equaliser after a scramble in the box. He did have the decency not to celebrate and in return, in was good to see Andy Hughes play a stormer and be applauded by the Leeds fans every big challenge he won, even when it was halting a Leeds opportunity. Unbeaten in three since his return to the starting eleven.

The game wore on and with four minutes of time added and further substitutions, it looked like a lost cause. That was before a final Jackson charge down the left flank. He cut inside and fed Wiggins who drilled a cross towards the far post. Jonathan Obika, who had come on minutes before for Harriott, was on the charge with a number of others and it was his head that made the crucial touch to steer the ball into the top corner and win the game.

The Leeds fans had been chanting "we're drawing away, we're drawing away, how shit must you be, we're drawing away," so it was especially pleasing to correct things for them at the end. The table shows that we have edged into the top half, are seven points clear of the drop and, more importantly, have eight sides between us and Blackburn. We will stay up this year but may well be looking at the demise of Blackburn Rovers, a club in absolute turmoil who sacked their manager whilst in 6th place. Whether by design or not, it's probably time to acknowledge that a knee-jerk sacking of Chris Powell a couple of months ago could have been calamitous.

After the numerous disappointments of the season, we face the prospect of finishing top ten, something that has looked beyond us for most of the season.


WattO said...

Massive credit to SCP if we finish above the other two promoted teams, with essentially the same team as last season - which now thanks to today's three points looks odds on.

Anonymous said...

SCP. Manager of the season?

Anonymous said...

It was Kerkar who laid the ball off to Wiggins for his injury time cross (with his weaker right foot incidentally). Both Kerkar and Obika were involved in the winner. Inspired subs indeed!