Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Charlton Athletic 1 v Barnsley 2

Well, we managed to do it again. No, not win to continue the W, L, W, L, W, L, W, L sequence, but to trip up monumentally in front of a relatively bumper home Valley crowd. I don't wish to sound alarmist or to get this defeat out of context but it was worrying in many ways and I have very little confidence for Friday.

Our failure to score goals appears to be morphing into an inability even to create chances. Sorry to say but it's hard to see who is going to change this. Jose Riga made a huge error tonight, in my opinion, with his team selection. Given the criticality of the match and the need to beat the bottom-placed side, we had to go with our strongest eleven. Either Jose doesn't know who they are or he thought of resting players with Friday in mind. Either way he picked the wrong team.

Callum Harriott burst on the scene and showed us plenty of promise a year ago or whenever it was. The problem is he has been struggling for a long time to make any impact and his performances of late have become extremely poor and confidence damaging. Tonight's was woeful and he was lucky to appear for even nine minutes of the second-half. 

Why-oh-why wasn't Wilson started on the right flank? The first opportunity for months to play him in front of Solly and he is on the bench? Not only that but when he is introduced with us chasing the game, it is as a left-back sub to give Solly more rest ahead of Friday. Riga threw the towel in there and then, although the match looked beyond us.

We have four very capable centre-halves, but Michael Morrison is the natural leader and yet Riga chose tonight to rest him too. Bizarre. I am almost certain I could see Morrison leaving his marker and heading out to clear the in-swinging corner that was left to allow M'Voto to charge in and bundle the opening goal.

Having said all this, Barnsley were absolutely dreadful in the first-half. They looked like the worst side in the division (bar us on today's form). Mis-placed passes, failure to control the ball near the touchlines and negative tactics across the side. But of course they took the lead courtesy of the softest of goals.

They didn't really improve much after the break but their confidence soared after a freak mishit cross wrong-footed Hamer (who was too far off his near post) and drifted in. Not the first time Ben has committed this error this season but it was fluke.

After that Barnsley looked more likely to get a third for most of what I stayed for. Sordell and Obika continued headless chicken mode and we really struggled to create anything. Johnnie Jackson looked focused during the first-half but he disappeared after they took the lead. Cousins was his usual frustrating self. Winning balls and making quick ground but telegraphing every pass to the extent that most were blocked or deflected. This will be his bete noir as a professional footballer.

My final grumph will be another display of too much cynical professionalism from some of our players, borne pretty obviously from sheer desperation. Harriott was so ineffective he hit the deck more often than not looking for sympathy or for a consolation foul. Sordell did the same, even managing to sacrifice the best scoring position of the game for a hopeful penalty which he waited for contact to take. Absolutely pathetic.

I wasn't there to see the scrambled consolation goal from Asdarevic but that too was almost inevitable. It's the hope that kills you.

We are still a point clear of the Lions with a game in hand but tonight has demonstrated perfectly what games in hand are worth compared to points in the bag and we have put ourselves in the corner. If this season goes to the last match, I decided this evening I won't be going to Blackpool. Not only could I not bear it but performances like this evening's make it unjustifiable.

Roland Duchatelet's negotiation skills in agreeing a £4m price reduction in the event of a relegation begin to reflect rather well on him. Sad to say but if we go down I will be pleased that Jiminez, Slater & Co feel the pain too. They have fashioned this situation even if Roland failed to tackle it adequately having had the opportunity to when taking over fully three months ago. 

Final thought this evening for my mate Chicago Addick who flew back from Bermuda just for this game....


Matthew Blake said...

yep, it's the hope that kills... I woke up in the middle of the night out here in Asia to check the score... echo the Calum Harriot comment, my heart sank when I saw he was starting. Went back to sleep with feint expectations of a 1-0 win but thought it all rather charltonesque when I woke up to a 1-2 defeat.

Anonymous said...

It could be down to years of supporting Charlton and witnessing on numerous occasions, our ability to turn opportunity into missed opportunity but I've had this feeling for weeks that we would lose at home to Barnsley, the performance smacks of players and management alike, thinking that the job was half done and beating Barnsley was a given.


Tony said...

Although he had a poor game (Harriott), the chorus of boo's was of no benifit to anyone.
As for the crowd, the North Stand T/O still had quite a queue at KO.
How many of them will be back this season?
Poyet looked a class above any of the remaining 19 outfield players on show last night.
Like you, there isn't a hope in hell i will be going to Blackpool. To be honest, it will most likely be my last game of the season.
Lucky that games are running out, but following last nights performance, 7/2 relegation doesn't seem too shabby.