Saturday, 24 August 2013

Charlton Athletic 1 v Doncaster Rovers 3 (match abandoned)

I don't really know where to begin. This must rank as the most bizarre match I have ever witnessed. 


As predicted it was raining all day. The pitch looked in perfect nick when we arrived but it was evident when the match kicked off that it was evenly sodden and it began to deteriorate as the rain intensified in the opening 20 minutes. During that time, we were exposed on three occasions as Rovers scored with each meaningful attack. We we were behind in two minutes when Rhoys Wiggins was beaten on the left and a deep cross was headed home by the unmarked Keegan in acres of space at the back post. I don't know where Leon Cort was but he clearly wasn't following the ball. Doncaster made it two with their next serious attack as player after player in a red shirt was beaten before the ball was knocked home from close range.

With twenty-odd minutes gone it was three-nil. In between times, Pritchard and Harriott had seen fine efforts beaten out by Turnbull and the Rovers keeper had also denied a Yann header with a smart save. The pitch was getting worse but it was a little surprising after 30 minutes when the referee appear to be flagged by a lino on the West Stand side and raced over. I thought Powell was going to be booked or sent off but then Paul Dickov was called in and I thought maybe there had been an altercation. It was then that it appeared the pitch was being considered unplayable. It wasn't hard to guess the views of the respective managers. 

The match was then suspended as the Charlton ground-staff ambled on to fork the pitch. This had a touch of farce as the heavens continued to open. Paddy's Field was well and truly soaked and he pushed the water soaker at a snail's pace down the touchline. After about twenty minutes of unreality, the Doncaster players emerged and it looked like the match would restart. However, they went over to collect forks and brooms in a mock attempt to do the work of Paddy's boys. 

The match finally got underway again at about 4.15pm and the referee was obviously still a little bamboozled because he managed to book completely the wrong player after Yann was felled by their large black centre-half. The unfortunate Keegan was then booked again for pulling Yann back minutes later and was shown the red, this after scoring Donny's opener. A match he will never forget.

We then pulled a goal back through Simon Church who poked home after being put clear one-on-one with Turnbull from what looked like an offside position. No matter, with the arrears having been cut and Rovers down to ten men, you could sense both clubs deciding to settle for the abandonment. Rovers did score again but an offside flag ruled it out. Half-time duly arrive but after a 20 minute interval and more rain it was left to the Doncaster players to signal the end by running on and throwing their shirts to the visiting supporters.

The post-match reaction will inevitably focus on the state of the pitch but Chris Powell has had a massive escape as far as I am concerned. We were outplayed and were ball-watching in defence for the opening twenty minutes. If it had stopped raining at ten past three we could have been on the end of an absolute hiding.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

First booking for kicking the ball away wasn't it?

Geoff said...

I'm with you, Dave, on the first Keegan yellow. He was 20mtrs away and the offender was the 6'+ defender, not the 5'8" player of a different colour. In my new location I was immediately above the offence and almost in line for our offside goal. Mr Numpty and his assistants possibly had water on the brain, but, even so, one wonders how he got a ref's badge.

Sir CP was honest about our deficiencies on his 15 seconds of fame on BBC. Big question is whether he can energise and enthuse the players with all that is going on off the field.

Dave said...

Geoff - I sit up in the East in front of where it appended. Khumalo (sp) was the main offender and the ref looked like he ran in to make a booking. Several other players converged as Khumalo dropped back to his position which is why I thought the ref booked the wrong bloke. It may be that he wasn't going to book Khumalo and Keegan may have sad something. Interesting that Dickov didn't mention it after the game, although there was plenty else to discuss!