Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Charlton Athletic 1 v Nottingham Forest 1

After weeks of nothingness, we finally get back to a game of two halves. You know, where we are abject first half but hugely improved in the second. Most would have taken a point before kick-off and the perceived wisdom was we would get a 3-0 trouncing. In spite of that, not many would have expected to see Forest take the lead with their first chance on goal, barely two minutes in.

I probably need to see it again because I saw an innocuous-looking deep cross from the right become increasingly threatening and then Ben Hamer not seeing the danger until it was too late when he hadn't moved his feet sufficiently to get enough on it and it went straight in. The Tannoy man confirmed, almost inevitably that it was Andy Reid who had struck it.

It may have been a fluke but it appeared to knock the stuffing out of us and we struggled to get anything much going until close to the break. Our injury hit squad meant we played a 4-4-2 with an unusual diamond formation in the middle that didn't work. Wilson, Morrison, Wood (outstanding) and Wiggins were the back four with Stephens, Harriott, Cousins and Gower in the middle and Church and Sordell attacking.

Strangely, Cousins played just in front of the back four with Harriott ahead just behind the strikers with Stephens and Gower out on the points. Gower hardly touched the ball and our shape was ill-disciplined. Forest picked holes through us for much of the first half and we were lucky not to concede a second after a calamitous mix-up let Forest in one-on-one but Ben Hamer got something on the low shot and Lawrie Wilson managed to hook the goal-bound effort out from a tight angle. Before the break we had several efforts in succession as the ball ricocheted around the Forest box but Pete and I were already downstairs comforting ourselves.

After the break and attacking the Covered End, it was all change as we seized the initiative and Forest looked distinctly average. Suddenly we were carrying the ball at pace and getting men forward in support. Gower was joining the play and Wilson was getting down the right. Five minutes into the half and we equalised. A break down our left from Stephens with fast support drew the Forest defence in and the driven cross found Wilson in space advancing from the right, His effort was blocked but the ball fell to Marvin Sordell who simply couldn't miss five yards out. Sordell looked relieved and our players celebrated like they had all been given new contracts.

For 15 minutes after that we were a different side with everyone looking to get on the ball. Things were suddenly falling for us and Darlow had to make a smart save to deny Sordell an unlikely looking second. Forest looked weak at the back at times as we knocked crosses into the box from left and right. We were missing height up front but Forest still struggled to cope and they were fortunate to hang on. Billy Davies was clearly unimpressed and made two changes before the hour mark, albeit with no obvious impact. Henderson came on for Blackstock with twenty minutes to go and after that Chris Powell made his three well-spaced changes as we looked for a winner.

It was reassuring to Andy Hughes come on for Gower and he made a difference by putting his foot in, cutting out balls and finding red shirts. Joe Pigott was cheered on for Simon Church who limped off and there was finally hope we might convert one of our aerial balls. Our best chance of a winner came in another ping-pong attack as four or five players hacked wildly in the box. It finally fell for Cousins who lashed his shot off the post. Forest rallied before the end with everything coming from Reid. He was a cut above again but was lacking the quality around him. Even Lansbury had a relative quiet match. 

The crowd had made a big difference second half (we had scored) and the team were applauded off at the whistle. I have much more confidence about Blackpool on Saturday. If we can put two halves together we must surely get a second home win which will help give some balance to our opening ten games.

Finally, I must mention those 42 new 42 inch TV screens that we surprisingly found money for ahead of the Millwall game. They managed to get them switched on for this evening's match and it was immediately clear why the screens were bigger and how they were being funded. We now have a border of advertising around the actual TV picture making it smaller than before! Not enhancing my matchday experience.


Kings Hill Addick said...

"Before the break we had several efforts in succession as the ball ricocheted around the Forest box but Pete and I were already downstairs comforting ourselves."

I'm not sure what to make of this? I'm not sure I've ever 'comforted' myself or (more worryingly) another fan at a game before!

Still a very enjoyable evening, I must say!

Dave said...

KHA - jusT read that back to myself and chuckled. It was just a pie and a pint, honest!

Pete said...

KHA - I was being "comforted" by an awful hot dog and even worse chips, he had a pint. There's nothing to see here, move on!

ChicagoAddick said...


Anonymous said...

I am glad someone saw the same game as me. Counter to what Chris Powell had to say we were not on top for 88mins, nor did we show much until the last ten minutes of the first half. The diamond shape left too many of our players playing out of position, especially Harriott and it started to look as Forest had a couple of gears in reserve after scoring.
The second half was a totally different story but at the death, with us bringing on a defender for a forward we went back to being too conservative at home.
The performance was a step in the right direction but does not hide our lack of quality.

Anonymous said...

Blimey, you must've been desperate. In no way, shape or form could a pie and a pint at The Valley be called comforting. Still needs must in troubled times I suppose.

Geoff said...

Those misinterpreting your use of "comforting", Dave, have forgotten that for a pie and a pint you need two hands.

Dave said...

Geoff - unfortunately, Pete had the pie and I had the pint.....