Sunday, 9 March 2014

Same old, same old

Home tired and dejected. A sporting weekend which promised so much has ended, predictably, in another double defeat for me. I was at Murrayfield yesterday to see Scotland fail to close out their match against a fumbling French side and today I joined the throng at a sunlit Bramall Lane for a toothless defeat to lower league opposition and yet another wasted Cup opportunity.

Scotland first then, and I knew we would lose by the odd point long before the finish. At 17-16 Scotland opted for long range penalties which were both missed and they settled for a protracted scrummaging game which took minutes off the clock at a time as the fussy ref set and re-set the scrum. I'm sure the home players were feeling pleased with themselves but there was a glaringly obvious inevitability about the finish. Scotland had been penalised mercilessly throughout the game by Pollock for every infringement and if I had been in Scott Johnson's shoes I would have made sure they knew to avoid it in the second-half. Every player tackled seem to have a second or less in which to release the ball before he trilled his whistle. Scotland were penalised for not throwing straight at the line out and for putting in squint to the scrum. Sure, these are infringements but the decisions were hairline and have been tolerated in all of the other matches I have seen. Nonetheless, it meant we would gift the French a penalty at the end of the match from which to beat us. Not even Bruce Munro's stunning "field of light" in St. Andrew's Square could really life the mood.

I awoke fresh and excited this morning ahead of a four hour drive down from Edinburgh. My head told me it would be another juddering disappointment. My my heart, as always, said something else. Why not us? For once, a routine victory against lower league opposition? Some bad luck to befall our opponents, a penalty or a sending-off perhaps? Maybe we would simply be too good for them?

A 30,000 full-house, a bristling atmosphere and brilliant sunshine. For most of
the first-half we looked assured and did plenty of probing although it was very difficult to see how Tudgay and Church were going to make any impression on Collins and Maguire. Not only that but our midfield looked hobbled. Cousins can't play wide and Harriott was kept largely quiet by John Brayford. That left Jackson and Poyet foraging in the centre and with Poyet content to sweep along in front of the back-four, it was hard to see us scoring.

After the break United upped the ante and we snapped. Another swirling cross beat our back line and Flynn stretched to reach the bouncing ball and guide it past Hamer. I went to relieve myself at this point and said to the weary bloke next to me that I was worried they would score a second before we could manage an equaliser. As we climbed the stairs to the seats another deflected goal settled the debate. The Blades were in full cry now and any remaining belief left us. We were very poor after that and we could afford to leave a few minutes early to beat the rush. I am pleased we did because we heard the M1 was closed after we passed through Leicestershire. Peter Varney and his Missus must have had the same idea because we drove alongside them for most of the way down the motorway. At least they were well-tanned and looked far more relaxed than we were (I know they were hurting the same).

Reflecting in the car, we were agreed that things are looking very bleak and that this week could get worse still. Chris Powell must lift his troops for Huddersfield at home on Wednesday before what will likely be less than 10,000 pairs of eyes. If we can't beat them, we will go to the New Den in a sorry state and that only spells one thing. At that point we risk being cut adrift at the foot of the table irrespective of the games in hand. 

Roland, my son, I think you might be starting to regret selling our top goal-scorer and not buying at least an adequate replacement, eh? Still, your club I guess and you don't actually have to watch it.


Anonymous said...

Well Dave, I don't know where to start really.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I looked at the results yesterday, I knew then that fate would conspire to send us to defeat at Bramell Lane, but it's the abject performance that hurts and worries me the most,.

Do the Belgians have a comparison to "you reap what you sow" ? because at the moment, this appears to be happening under RD"s short tenure.

We still don't really know his long term plan for us, assuming he has one of course and the feeling of disillusionment is palpable amongst Addicks fans now.

That performance leads one to think that there are real problems behind the scenes, if he truly doesn't want Powell as manager, then he needs to just get it over with ASAP and sack him and give us at least a fighting chance of survival.

I just can't see us beating Hudders, a draw perhaps and then we have that lot, even my glass is starting to look half empty now.

I watched the England/Wales game, which I was looking forward to immensely and it was another great performance from England and went some way to erasing the bitter disappointment of last years game in Cardiff, even so, my mood was still subdued at the end, thanks Charlton.


801912601 said...

your summary is spot on as normal. Had a good night up North before the game and saw lots of old faces but unfortunately the same old result. I do think if we had scored first we would have won but scoring isn't our forte. By your photo we must have been sitting close - I was upper row p seat 45ish. Oh well back to the league survival but we need to start scoring goals - can't be any more reason for some emergency loans???

Dave said...

Paul - nail on head mate. He either doesn't understand the consequences of relegation or he's more laid back Flemish than bolshy Walloon. Tough week.

Dave said...

Barry - I nabbed that photo whilst takings first bottle of Carlsberg. The reward for being VIP, Valley Gold, Season Ticket holder, first in the queue, is the shit seats in row D in the lower tier by the corner!

Anonymous said...

So Dave, on the back end of that, will you be renewing next season?
That was bloody appalling and i am still annoyed at the performance some thirty six hours later.
If Powell takes the same approach to Millwall next weekend, then it could be his last game as a Charlton Manager.
I would be interested to know if you still back Powell? The post mach comment regarding if we had scored we could have defended the lead, sums up all that is wrong over there.
Not only is football a results business, it is also entertainment. Powell would do well to take heed of this.
All the best.

Dave said...

Tony - I will be renewing and taking advantage of the innovative pricing arrangement in the East Stand. I think we were all gutted at another depressing let-down but it wasn't really a shock was it? We have no real scoring threat and they were the bookies strong favourites to beat us at home.