Saturday, 31 August 2013

Charlton Athletic 2 v Leicester City 1

I must start today's post with an admission. I bet against us and was quietly confident when I did my accumulator that we would be swept aside by the Foxes. So I am pleased to be able to report that I got it wrong and maybe, just maybe, our season is finally underway.

It was a cracking day today with clear blue skies and late Summer sun. Great to meet with up with a few mates in the White Swan pre-match and stroll down for a Valley victory. Good to see Chris Powell prepared to stick with the 3-5-2 formation that we fielded against Huddersfield. Morrison, Dervite and Cort held the back-line with Wiggins, Jackson, Stephens, Pritchard and Wilson fighting in the midfield and Kermorgant and Church leading the line.  The pitch was gloriously green and we even had the irony of the sprinklers on before kick-off.

We started positively and our defence looked assured as Leicester tested us. The five man midfield quickly got to grips with the opposition and we were soon taking the game to the Foxes. Yann Kermorgant was evidently up for the match and he set the tone by fighting tooth and nail for every ball. Simon Church ran his socks off alongside Kermorgant and the pair were a handful for Leicester all afternoon. 

It was another former Leicester player, Michael Morrison who opened the scoring with a firm header from a Charlton corner at the visitors end. Morgan was outstanding in  the Leicester defence but they were vulnerable all afternoon to the aerial ball. Our second came on the hour from another corner kick which was hit deep and Yann Kermorgant steered it home from three yards beyond the back post. Two-nil and we looked comfortable and things got even better when James collected his second yellow card for his over-zealous attention to Yann Kermorgant.

Leicester tried to hit back but Vardy was thwarted one-on-one after an impressive burst of speed had carried him through our rearguard. Hamer saved again after that but was finally beaten when Leicester drove down our right side and pulled a ball back for Drinkwater to slam past him.. 

Charlton then slowed the game and played some impressive possession football fully utilising the extra man. Wilson, Pritchard and Stephens made pretty patterns for ten minutes as Leicester threw on sub after sub trying to change their fortunes. Schmeichel made a fine save down to his right-hand post to deny Yann from a free-kick but he had saved the best to last. A brilliant one handed diving stop to deny Kermorgant a deserved second from a colossal back post header. We had other chances towards the end and we had the telling introductions of Jordan Cousins and Joe Pigott before the finish. 

Things may be far from perfect behind the scenes at the Valley but Chris Powell has again managed to stir his troops and get a response. Once again it's a pity that we have to go into an international break when we have our tails up. Watford in a fortnight may represent a step-backwards but at least we are off and running and the aggressive salute from Lawrie Wilson at the whistle spoke volumes.


Wyn Grant said...

I wasn't able to make the game for family reasons which was probably why we won. I did listen to the commentary, albeit by the awful Emma, and her account of the sending off was that James thought he should have had a penalty. He then ran over to the referee and abused him, not very sensible when you are on a yellow. He was thus asked to leave the 'field of play' for dissent.

Geoff said...

Pretty sure James saw red for mouthing-off,and he gave the lino a spray as he went off which won;t help him if it went in the ref's report.

On the much-improved play, I was impressed that we can manage to defend without Chris Solly. (But don't want him to leave!) That 3-5-2 was pretty flexible in practice. Wiggo seemed to be back in a four much of the time with Morro at right back. Maybe it was just reflected the angle of LCFC attacks, but it was welcome. However, we did not pick up the central runner coming from deep, mostly King and sometimes Drinkwater. Late scrambling in most of those cases. Never mind; great result.