Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Charlton Athletic 1 v AFC Bournemouth 0

Another clean sheet and a last gasp header from Dorien Dervite won Charlton the crucial three match points last night. It was far from a classic but there were some encouraging signs of life and the spirit remains intact. The win, of course, lifts us out of immediate danger and we have the schadenfreude of looking down on Millwall who have replaced us in the coffin zone.

We started poorly in the sense of team selection and line-up. Desperate to score a goal it was a 4-5-1 with a lost looking Simon Church floating around on his own trying to trap long balls and beat several players before be able to fashion a chance. It wasn't going to happen, especially when the two wide players in the midfield were the mis-firing Danny Green and Calum Harriott. I suspect Jose's game-plan was to keep it tight in the first half.

Bournemouth largely bossed the first 35 minutes as they passed around us in midfield looking for openings for Lewis Grabban. Morrison and Dervite sat deep watching the pacy striker and the Cherries were limited in terms of chances. The frustration for the viewing Addicks was an error strewn showing and a dysfunctional midfield. Only Diego Pyet emerged with any credit for me. He rarely wastes a ball and he reminds me so much of Luka Modric the way he balances, his ability to turn sharply either way and his awareness of small spaces (I can't really think of a better midfield comparison I could make). His first touch is invariably a short one and he plans it to ensure he moves out of any possible trouble before he finds another red shirt.

I was delighted to see Jose Riga make an early change on 35 minutes and to see Calum Harriott hoicked off. Riga had spoken to Johnnie Jackson minutes earlier and they had been told to prepare for a quick 4-4-2 shift as Jonathan Obika entered the action. The move worked sweetly as Charlton immediately seized the initiative. Obika was everywhere and those around him responded. He managed our first on-target effort but his snapped shot on the turn was straight at Lee Camp.

After the break and attacking the Covered End, we won more possession and looked more likely to score. As the game wore on and with another blank looking increasingly likely, we began to fashion a few more chances. We finally got men forward in numbers and had Bournemouth all-at-sea as the ball ping-ponged around their box but there was no good fortune. 

Danny Green was eventually subbed after another duff showing where he managed to waste several decent opportunities. He is really poor at estimating shots and crosses. Can't beat the first man invariably from corners, swings crosses high, wide and handsome, and has a habit of somehow putting free-kicks ten feet plus over the bar. I have really seen far too much of him now. Marvin Sordell was his replacement and we played with three strikers although I don't understand why Church was the spearhead and Obika and Sordell both out wide.

Diego Poyet eventually found himself close enough to goal to shoot and he tested the keeper with a good shot although it was straight at him and he beat it out. Johnnie Jackson then hit a trade-mark free-lick over the wall and under the bar but Camp was there to push that out too. It wasn't looking like it was going to be our night but in the third minutes of four added, we won a final corner and Jackson again swung a six-yarder in for Dorien Dervite to beat Michael Morrison to the ball as it dropped early and he stooped to nod home. 

The celebrations of the players were almost extraordinary. Jose Riga was urging them back into their own half to see the game out and within 30 seconds the final whistle was blown. It was reassuring to see the management team all embracing enthusiastically, including Dyer and Riga. 

Johnnie Jackson did some tunnel leaps as I headed for the Royal Oak and some celebratory Stella. Football is a fickle business as we know and I felt a sense of disloyalty to Chris Powell but we remain unbeaten under the new manager and have yet to concede a goal. "It's not Jose's fault" was something I heard several times after the match and obviously it isn't. He has added Obika and he made the right changes during the game. Powell would have added Obika given the opportunity but he might not have acted as decisively or swiftly in terms of the changes.

Burnley will represent a fresh challenge but we are finally looking up again and things are looking a little brighter.


Anonymous said...

If we are going to keep on winning then Hamer and Jackson need to work on those tunnel jumps, totally lacking in style and class:-)

Pete said...

Was thinking on the (two hour!) trip home that Poyet also reminds me somewhat of Parker, with his quick turns and short incisive passing. Parker used to have long hair too! Didn't see so much of the box to box stuff that Parker did until last night though.

Tony said...

Back on the beer then Dave? On a school night?
You deserve it after what you have been through recently (both Charlton and Scotland).
As for would CP have made the early positive substitution? Getting a bit sick of it all now to be honest.


P.S. No, he wouldn't have :-)