Saturday, 4 October 2014

Charlton Athletic 1 v Birmingham City 1

For the opening 11 minutes we were treated to champagne football and the promise of being top of the table at 5pm with a healthier goal difference. We pressed the Blues back into their own third and swarmed all over them. First time passes were fizzing from red to red and Igor Vetokele was pulling their back line all over the place.

Vetokele might have scored after only several minutes when he won a ball on the right of the box and advanced on Randolph before flashing a curling shot just wide off the far post. He was not to be denied on eleven minutes when another break down the left by Bulot saw him round the full-back and float a peach of a cross into the centre of the goal. Vetokele had timed his break perfectly and met the cross with a beautiful header which left Randolph completely helpless. He made a shape in the goal but it was all in vain.

One-up and we should have had them on toast. Instead of that we let them off the hook and back into the match. Birmingham huffed and puffed but I thought they looked very ordinary. No-one stood out for them but they were grafting. Donaldson looked lively but there was no end product and he was quickly closed down when he did get possession. 

We took our lead into the second-half and you hoped a half-time lecture might have got us resuming a sustained attack towards the Covered End. None of it. Birmingham continued to press and sure enough it wasn't long  before they were level. After penning us back in our box, a cross from the right was seen out but only to Davis on the left of our box. He could see no option in front of him barring half-a-dozen red shirts and with his backward alternatives being cut-off, decided to have a go and his hard and low cross-shot managed to squirt past everyone and took Henderson by surprise.

Still we failed to get a grip and we were holding nothing in centre-midfield again. Yoni Buyens had been particularly wasteful in possession in the first-half and appeared to want to look to play backwards at every opportunity in the second, almost to avoid surrendering possession. 

I thought Jordan Cousins had his best match on the wing yet, although we were let down by Wilson on the other side who wasn't getting much played up to him and was too often beaten for pace when dropping back to look for the ball. 

BP made an early change on fifty-eight which I thought we needed and it was a far-from-happy Johnnie Jackson who got the crook. Moussa was brought on in his place but once again he failed too make an impression. Wilson went off after another ten minutes as George Tucudean was brought on to partner Igor with Bulot going wide right. It did give us a some impetus but we lacked composure and Birmingham were still strolling forward at will. 

In the end we were probably fortunate to hold on for the point as Henderson was forced to make a couple of better saves than Randolph in the other goal.

The point edges us into sixth place, still only two points off top spot, courtesy of six other draws in the Championship. I am left wondering if another midfielder or a striker might help turn more of these draws too wins. I suspect Roland Ducatelet was there today. I saw a black Porsche Panamera with Belgian plates in the West Stand car park this morning and am guessing this was his and not Big Bob or Katrien's. Perhaps he will have seen enough to be convinced of the same.

For once the international break comes at the right time and we have a chance to get several players back in action. Jordan Cousins landed badly towards the end and was stretchered off. It looked bad so we will have to hope the news tomorrow is better and he can get sorted in the next fortnight.

3 comments:

801912601 said...

Hi Dave - there is so much to be pleased with this season and without doubt we are in a better position than last. On saturday the crowd was flat despite being top of the league for a few minutes at least!!! I think this was down to the style of football after we had scored - it was boring. If we cant get some excitement back into the way we play then the atmosphere will stay down and certainly wont attract fans back to the valley. Lets hope Big Bob can get the team back to having an attacking edge to build on the possession football.

Tony said...

Yet to get over there this season. Managed to watch a couple on the Internet. How's our 7/2 looking? Seems wide open at the moment. 7 draws last weekend tells me any team who can get a good run together after Christmas may be worth a punt.
I think we can get a good idea of how this season may pan out after we lose a game. If we come back strong then we could be in with a shout.

Dave said...

Tony - the 7/2 has got to be looking good. Agree we need to be able to respond to defeat when it comes but we also have a lot of room to improve our win rate if we can find a stronger middle and bolster the striking options. Long way to go but two points from top spot after eleven is better than I hoped for...