Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Charlton Athletic 2 v Doncaster Rovers 0

As predicted we ran out winners in this replayed league match, although few would have foreseen just how easy it was. The scoreline flattered Doncaster who could have conceded seven.

The only real surprise to the starting line-up was  a debut for Ben Alnwick, presumably because of late sickness or injury to Ben Hamer. Alnwick could hardly have hoped for a quieter match and he must feel great to return a clean sheet.

Simon Church should have opened the scoring as early as the third minute when he collected a ball dropped onto his foot by Jordan Cousins eight yards out. Church controlled it first time but snatched at the shot and whilst it beat Turnbull in the Rovers goal, it also skidded wide of the far post. It was a sign of what was to come.

There were so many attempts it's hard to remember precisely what order they came it but Yann Kermogant steered an effort onto the inside of the post and Johnnie Jackson forced a superb reaction save from Ross Turnbull. Simon Church then got on the end of a neat move to run in and again beat Turnbull but drag his shot agonisingly wide of the far post. Just as we were all beginning to think it was one of those days, Dale Stephen entered the fray and despatched a pearler of a volley from 25 yards. The venom and arc of the shot had goal written all over it from the moment it left his peg and there was no stopping this one. 

After the break we pushed on and more chances came and went. Simon Church missed another before Dale Stephens split the Rovers back line with a raking pass that freed Church from his marker. Simon ran in on goal, feigned a shot to drop Turnbull before angling his shot for the near post. It wiped it's feet on the inside as it went in but he had his reward for his persistence and we were home and hosed.

Cameron Stewart had the next two best chances on the run. The first stung Turnbull's fingers as he was forced to tip over and the second rattled the bar. We also managed a comedy of errors as several players miss-hit efforts in the Rovers box before it fell to Church in space and with the goal at his mercy. Unfortunately, his feet got stuck in the turf and he fell flat on his face. He was subbed minutes later, more to save his embarrassment than anything else, but he got a deserved round of applause for his non-stop running and the crucial second goal. 

Hard to pinpoint why we were so strong this evening. We were at them from the off. First to the ball, quicker with our passing and we closed them down across the pitch. Tempting to say Doncaster aren't very good but they looked world-beaters in August in the wet.

If we play anything approaching this on Saturday we should get back-to-back home wins. Easier to call out the under-performers today. Lawrie Wilson looked sluggish and made a few mistakes early on which marked his card and he struggled to get forward until late in the game. Jordan Cousins played well although there were a couple of signs in the second-half that he might be believing his own hype when he stood arms out complaining that he hadn't had a return ball or been played when running into position. That might have been the case, but I think you need a good deal more than ten or so appearances before you start criticising your team mates.

Marvin Sordell got on for the last ten minutes but didn't show again although we were largely playing for time. Hughesy and Danny Green also got added time but the match was over by then.

I didn't see or hear the gate being announced but the turnout was predictably poor and don't think there were more than 10,000 there. Should be much better on Saturday. Bring on the Carrot Crunchers!


Geoff said...

Agree on the crowd, Dave. They've put 14000-odd in the paper. That must mean an awful lot of absentee s-t holders added on. South Eastern can probably be blamed for a couple of thousand giving up. My own journey, normally 45 mins, took 1hr40 on buses.

Alnwick looked safer than his First Namesake has in a lot of games, but not fair to make a final judgement as there was not much activity in our box. Stewart had the best game I've seen him have, but he often takes the wrong option trying to beat someone when a short lay-off wd be better. Ditto Cousins and the night's Hero, Stephens, or van Basten as he may now be known in the changing room.

Dave said...

Geoff - I meant to mention the transport chaos. My boss was stuck at Cannon Street and it tool him two and half hours to get to Bexleyheath. I have to smile at the thought of Dale Van Basten, although it was some shot and he now has a small collection of gems.