Saturday, 26 April 2014

Charlton Athletic 1 v Blackburn Rovers 3

This was a match Roland Duchatelet would have benefitted enormously from watching if he knows his footballing arse from his footballing elbow. Sadly, like every other week, I suspect he was being entertained elsewhere and he doesn't know his footballing arse from his footballing elbow.

Had he been present he might just have noticed the gulf in class and ambition between his team and the Venky opposition. The Venky's may have been caught with their pants down at Ewood Park but it was very clear that not all of the millions they have poured in to t'Rovers have been squandered. There was a gaping chasm in class between these sides.

Rovers may only have long outside odds at a play-off place but it was hard to tell as they ruled the roost in SE7 today. Rudy Gestede's peach of a header from a superb deep cross took the only line it could have to beat Hamer at his far post. Even then it wiped it's feet on the post on the way in and squeezed passed Ben's fingers. Gestede looked a threat throughout and Michael Morrison did a fine job keeping up with him. That gave Jordan Rhodes a bit more space but thankfully, he looked a yard off his game today. 

Morgan Fox belied his inexperience again today and was my man-of-the-match. He was up against a quality opponent in King and did very well to compete throughout the match. Solly was solid as were Morrison and Dervite. 

In midfield Poyet earned his stripes again although we looked disjointed with Cousins out wide right, Jackson in the middle and Harriott on the left. Astrit Adarevic started, possibly as a withdrawn striker but he couldn't help falling back and clogging the midfield. Jackson really didn't contribute and whilst Harriott looked better on the left, his contribution was once again sub-standard. Lawrie Wilson must have upset someone because there is no credible explanation for our failure to play him down the right flank today.

That left Marvin Sordell to look for the goal and I have to say that this was his best performance to date, certainly at the Valley. He played like you would expect him to every week. Hungry for the ball, precious of it when he got it and always angling for goal. His first touch was much better than I am used to and he looked like he would score. It's just a pity that after being up-ended for a penalty at 0-1 that he insisted on taking the kick. The spirit world heard 10,000 minds say "noooooooo, let Jackson level the game." Sure enough, his penalty lacked angle and Robinson blocked it. At least Marvin looked deeply hurt by his error and determined to atone.

Into the second-half and it was no great surprise when Blackburn finished off a set-piece with a downward header from Hanley to make the game safe. Sordell did manage a fine solo finish from a quickly taken throw-in by Fox but even at 2-1 our players didn't look convinced. We had a ten minute spell when an equaliser might have come but the inevitable happened ten minutes or so later when Cousins lost possession with a short pass that was dangerously casual and Blackburn stormed forward to make it three.

After that, frankly, we were lucky not to concede a fourth or even a fifth. The only good news was that Reading came back to beat Doncaster and that Birmingham lost at home to Leeds by the same scoreline as us. Blackpool's surprise win at Wigan effectively makes them safe (on goal difference) and leaves it between us, Millwall, Donny and Brum. A win on Tuesday against incentive-less Watford would see us safe but on current form, we could well be left sweating at Blackpool. Birmingham have Wigan on Tuesday at St. Andrews and if they can't get a result there they deserve to be relegated at Bolton on the last day. 

Millwall are not safe yet but their point at QPR today suggests they will see it through against Yann Kermorgant at the New Den on Saturday. That leaves Doncaster Rovers who have to get a result at Champions Leicester next week. The Foxes may be Demob happy but surely they will raise their game in their final home match of the season? Given Brentford's cruel loss in the play-offs last season to Doncaster Rovers after missing that last minute penalty and then seeing Donny streak away to net a winner, there would be a delicious sense of justice if Brentford swapped places with them for next season.

We are not there yet and if we go down there will be no complaints from me. I am left thinking like the Stranglers that "something better change..."


devlinpowell said...

I am going on Tuesday Night will be watching between my finger( which will be crossed ) BTW , a £10 bet on our religation could win £260, I am just saying ...

Pete said...

As I mentioned yesterday, despite the gulf in class, I thought we looked reasonably comfortable at least until their second goal. It was a couple of mistakes by midfielders that done us. I get incredibly frustrated with all these casual little flicks that seem to have been coached into our game, or at least encouraged. A lot of these don't come off and we lose possession ending up with us coming under pressure. Now is not the time for showboating chaps!!

Anonymous said...

Great write up on yesterday's game, couldn't agree more.

Re Donny, sense of justice, don't mention this to Paul Dickov after that game at The Valley on August 24th. If we survive at their expense, they will rightly feel aggrieved.