Saturday, 7 March 2015

Cardiff City 1 v Charlton Athletic 2

A fifth win in six games for a rejuvenated Charlton side. We won ugly by the sounds of it but we won. I questioned a few weeks ago after the Brentford win whether it was the Luzon-effect or self-preservation kicking in. The jury was out for a couple of matches but I think we must acknowledge that it is undoubtedly the Luzon-effect. Having moved into the top half of the table, today was one where end-of-seasonitius may have cost us the match. Indeed, it sounded very much like that during the first-half where we were under the cosh and struggling to relieve the pressure.

There were changes to the starting line-up with Igor Vetokele being rested following his niggling injury on Tuesday, although he was still named on the bench. Christophe Lepoint started in his place but only lasted an hour after a poor game and a booking. Chris Eagles replaced him and our fortunes turned although it took a penalty-foul on 'save-me' Simon Church for Charlton to win the match - Yoni Buyens stepping up to fire high down the centre of the goal.

The Bluebirds took the lead on 56 minutes and that was my cue to head out with the dog. Very pleasant surprise to return to a turnaround which leaves us wondering what might have been had we not wasted so many points in mid-season. We need to be realistic about this year and recognise that a top-half finish is the aim and that the play-offs are out-of-reach. The hope of course is what we might achieve next season if we can keep a largely settled squad.That, I am afraid, may be the challenge we face.

Time, maybe, to reflect again on the shortcomings of our owner's stated strategy to build on youth and break even. I think we can demonstrate considerable 'build-on-youth' with Joe Gomez prospering in the side alongside his fellow alumni in Morgan Fox, Chris Solly and Jordan Cousins. We could add a few others to that list but it's enough for now and to prove the point. It looks very much like Roland Duchatelet will foot the lion-share at least of the £10m costs for the revised Academy development and if that is the plan, there will inevitably be concerns that players will have to be sold to help meet the cost. Vetokele, Watt, Gudmundson, Cousins, Solly and Gomez would all attract interest based on current performance. Unfortunately, that would most likely signal a return to the cycle of bringing in new faces and hoping to find a winning formula downstream. It would be fantastic to hear of some commitment from Roland to focusing on a genuine promotion push next season. It's not as if the rewards aren't big enough to warrant it. It would also stiffen season ticket sales which I believe will be weakened by the lack of genuine communication from the owner.

Finally, sorry to see Stephen Henderson go off again at half-time. He is proving to be injury-prone and that is such a shame given the enormous talent he has shown so far. I am instantly reminded of the one-hand reflex save against Huddersfield which maintained our two-goal lead and allowed us to win the game with something to spare as opposed to hanging onto our seats for the final ten minutes.

I said March might be our month and today was a very good start. Blackburn at the Valley next Saturday and Blackpool away the following Tuesday would set us up nicely.


Anonymous said...

What an unbelievable turn around from a few weeks ago Dave. I'm not sure I've ever seen us reverse fortunes this dramatically before. Lets hope I was completely wrong about Luzon and he is the managerial success that the current form hints at. Even if he isn't long term he has secured Championship status for us this season.

Don't know about you but I am having a blast at the moment!

Pembury Addick

Chicago Addick said...

Have you seen us win yet PA?

Anonymous said...

The start of the season was similar wasn't it, with Peeters? Everyone was so pleased with the football we were playing.... just enjoy it game by game is my advice - I most certainly am. Unfortunately I am so scarred by the owner and his actions since he arrived and cannot in my heart believe it will last - brace yourself for what might happen over the summer.

Anonymous said...

lol yes CA we saw the win against Huddersfield making it 2 wins from 34 games. I knew then that Luzon was a genius..

Pembury Addick