Sunday, 22 December 2013

Bolton Wanderers 1 v Charlton Athletic 1

All the pre-match chat email with Mexico City Addick was whether or not he would get to see a goal on his annual return to the UK. He was to be disappointed but we took a precious point home from another  away performance that was better than we seem capable of dishing up at home.

We took the 9.40 from Euston which appeared to have more of Manchester United's international following on board than either West Ham or Charlton supporters. In fact I only saw four other Addicks and a couple of West Ham. Not much different on the return leg either, only more Asians and Africans (South) sporting fake replica kits. You'd think they would make the effort to get a real shirt if they can afford to to fly half-way around the world for their lifetime visit to the Theatre of Disappointment this season. Anyway, enough of Glory Boys, this was a day for the Old School Die-Hards.

We managed to talk our way through our routed change at Stockport but a platform switch at Manchester Piccadilly didn't delay our progress and we were walking through the unremarkable Bolton High Street by 12.20. We found the Blue Boar, an old man's pub (I know, I know), just off it and settled in for a mini session as we continued to catch-up on a year's news and reflected, inevitably, on the state of the country, the plight of our beloved Reds and what has happened to the ten others who we travelled with every other week in the 80's and 90's.

The landlord told us we were 15 minutes from the Reebok in a taxi and that he could whistle us one up at a moments notice. When push came to shove we waited outside the pub for 15 minutes before high-jacking one and missed kick-off. Predictably, the driver was obviously not familiar with the layout of the stadium and managed to drop us of at the opposite end of the impressive Reebok from Entrance E where the sub-300 visitors were huddled. As we scampered somewhere passed J, I heard the unmistakeable roar, muted admittedly, but unmistakable nonetheless, of a goal celebration and the muffledness told me one thing - we had scored and we had missed it!

As we made our way into the visiting section we looked for friendly faces and were quickly jeered but half-a-dozen smiling Addicks who recognised us and knew our predicament. Yann Kermorgant had turned and beaten the keeper. It was apparent that Wood and Solly were back in defence and we looked better for it (Wood was my man-of-the-match once again). Lawrie Wilson and Cameron Stewart had the wide places and it was two up front as Church and Kermy fought for chances. 

The match with lively with the ball moving quickly from one end to the other. Chris Eagles was impressive in the first half as Bolton strove for parity and he and Jay Spearing were giving us problems. Lawrie Wilson had a decent half-chance at the back stick but fired over. Alnwick made a fine reflex stop before half-time from a great Wanderers attack where Eagles charged in on our left and his pass was flicked goal ward between the legs of their striker. Alnwick can't have known much about it but moved to stop the effort and he managed to keep it out. 

Bolton weren't to be denied though and before the cup of tea, Aberdeen old boy, Kevin McNaughton was advanced enough to collect a pass of the edge of the box and he flicked home a pin-point shot which Alnwick could only watch nestle in the top corner. Even-Dale Stephens at the break then and I was expecting a second-half defeat. Bolton didn't do enough to deserve a winner and, honestly, neither did we. Chris Solly lashed a shot high and wide early into the second-period and Ben Alnwick made another decent save but the longer the match went on the more both sides seem comfortable with the point. Church was sacrificed for Evina with ten to go as Chris Powell sought to secure the point and Dervite came on for Stewart in the 90th minute just to be sure.

The Addick contingent dispersed in all directions at the final whistle as our Northern Division made their way home to their bigger houses and friendlier neighbours. Mick behind us was off to Preston (the result of a northern Stag Do ten years ago) and on the train back to Bolton station the Bury contingent and others were changing trains. As we walked back to the station we asked a "local" for directions and in broad Ecky Thump he informed us and said he was headed that way. As we walked up we asked him if he thought they deserved anymore, "thought the draw were fair" he said. So we asked who they had next and he replied "Brighton at home." "No, I mean who do you have on Boxing Day" I helpfully asked. At that point he unzipped his jacket to reveal a glistening red football shirt. As we chuckled, he explained that he was a Preston local born and bred and only ever watched us in the north when travel was affordable. I asked the inevitable question and he said "isn't it always the Father's fault." Victor from Preston, I salute you!

A fallen tree delayed the return journey in Staffordshire for an hour but that didn't remove the glow from a better than anticipated Charlton performance. Four points from the next two homes please Chris and maybe we can breathe easier in January.


ChicagoAddick said...

That's brilliant. Classic memories from an old skool away day. I am glad that Mexico Vic talked you into it. Have a great Christmas Dave.

Up the Addicks.

Anonymous said...

Nice match report. Defintely great to see Solly and Wood back in defence.

Who is that criminal lawyer in the picture ?

Paddy Powell's Rusty Roller

Dave said...

PP'sRR - that is Saul Goodman from the epic TV series Breaking Bad. "Call Saul."