Saturday, 10 January 2015

Charlton Athletic 0 v Brighton & Hove Albion 1

I described today's match as a crunch game and elsewhere the consensus was that it could be pivotal. On that basis and given yet another unsatisfactory collective team performance, and another defeat, we are now officially in deep trouble. We may be 14th in the table and still five points better than today's visitors, but we are in free-fall and there is an alarming lack of apparent cohesion and concern amongst our players.

It was Bob Peeters birthday today and he won't be out necking champagne this evening. He has been struggling to give any satisfactory explanations for our loss of form in recent weeks and there has been a hint of defeatism about what he has had to say. I am of the view that it would be wrong to sack him now but he could have few complaints if Duchatelet decided it was time for someone else to try and motivate these players to win a football match.

As we left the stadium today, I commented (once again) that I have only seen two wins this season. Some fans get to see two or three in a week. My step-brother's twelve year old remarked that he had only seen one this year and only two last year (he can't attend night games where we had more success last season). My wife has also only seen one win this season and we are all season ticket holders. Some Charlton fans might think that's not unusual but I can assure you it is.

I was boosted pre-match by news that Wiggins was back and that Wilson was starting right-side of midfield. Gudmundson was left-side with George and Igor up-top. I felt we would have a good go today and was semi-confident of seeing a goal. Unfortunately, Brighton started a yard faster than us for the opening twenty-five minutes and we were abysmal. Solly and Wilson both let balls run under their feet and into touch. Bikey and Wilson both put terrible passes into touch and Cousins and Jackson had both gone into hiding. Brighton were doing all the pressing but were short of end product save a defensive mix-up involving Etheridge which we managed to scramble away.

After that opening spell we came more into the game and managed to get some balls up to Igor and George but nothing was sticking and we were still struggling in midfield. Nil-nil at half-time was the only plausible scoreline and there was some hope that we would pick up after the break attacking the Covered End. 

When our players trotted out, Gomez had come on at right-back with Chris Solly pushed into central defence for the injured Jackson. It's a sign of our small squad that any enforced changes of players usually results in others having to play out of position. We were better after the break but not really enough to seriously threaten Stockdale's goal. Chris Solly managed to hit a shot from nowhere which beat Stockdale but came down off the bar and was cleared. That was our best chance and in spite of plenty more balls into the box we created very few clearcut chances. 

George Tucudean was injured on 50 minutes and Tony Watt came on for his debut. He nearly scored with his first passage of play when he dropped a shoulder, burst clear of his man and fired near-post but Stockdale kept it out.

Joe Gomez did very little wrong and he brought some urgency to our play in the second period but he did not keep his shape when Brighton attacked. It could be he was following orders and Wilson was supposed to fall-back and defend our right corner but Brighton attacked down our left several times and there was a man free in acres of space on our right every time. Just after the hour a cross from the left to the back post was our undoing. It looked like Ben Haim was beaten in the air by Rohan Ince but Etheridge added to the problem by careering off his line and missing the ball altogether which left Ince to head into an unguarded goal.

Our response wasn't good enough. Tony Watt looked busy and was promising and was joined, rather ironically, by Simon Church after Brighton had scored with the anonymous Wilson rightly being subbed. I have long been a fan of Wilson but he hasn't done enough when he has been given a chance in recent months and today's performance doesn't warrant a start next week.

All-in-all it's another depressing Saturday evening and I am only pleased I don't have to see us play again until the end of the month. By then things could look even worse. I don't envy any of you going to Watford next week.

Can't finish today without wishing Kevin Nolan a full and speedy recovery from his recent stroke. Hopefully we will be firing on more cylinders by the time Kevin is doing the same and takes his seat watching the Addicks again.

3 comments:

Dave said...

PH - Hard to say what effect the 'network' is playing here although I am looking elsewhere at the moment. Our squad is patently too small and we have been struggling with injuries. We were discussing this in the Oak pre-match and agreed we were missing Wiggins and Henderspn more than we thought. Wiggins always takes about six games to visibly get back to where he was and whilst he was ok yesterday he made some mistakes I suspect he would next month. Etheridge has done his best but he was at fault yesterday and the body language from the whole side as they strolled back to the centre-spot said a lot after the goal. I do think there is some discord in the side. Lawrie Wilson visibly doesn't look bothered whatever position he is put in and the back four aren't firing as a unit. Ben Haim has become the most consistent defender without improving. What concerns me about the owner is he doesn't look like he will spend anymore money in the window which tells you he believes we are safe and will settle for scraping survival again this season, although the cheapest option in that case may be to replace Peeters and hope for a bounce.

Anonymous said...

Dave,

I get bored reading the match reports, it must be like pulling teeth to watch.

Surely Peeters would only be replaced by Riga or someone else from the network and then come the summer we're back to square one, with the better players leaving and a new manager trying to cobble something together with what's left, a few new signings and more "hand me downs" from RD's empire.

PH

Anonymous said...

Rather dispiriting, as are the two comments. Our form is troubling and also our early form probably gave us false hope. Has Bob got what it takes? We can only hope so. Concerning too, how the players left the field. Don't usually take a lot of notice about rumours concerning disharmony in the dressing room but something, apart from the disappointment of the loss, does seem to be up.