Sunday, 13 September 2015

Charlton Athletic 1 v Rotherham United 1

After the heightened expectation following our decent start to the season, it was fairly predictable that we were due a disappointing result at home and we duly got one yesterday. Rotherham came to subdue us and they managed it with a dose of good fortune and a referring howler which lead to their goal.

We were back to a full strength looking side although I don't think any of the front three choices are still anywhere near full fitness. Nicky Pope was in goal with Solly, Diarra, Bauer and Fox in front of him. The defence played well although they were guilty of going to sleep for the Rotherham goal when a near post flick was bundled in unmarked at the back stick. Rotherham also managed to test Nic Pope twice during the match with a thumping close range header which he did brilliantly well to keep from crossing the line and a rasping shot which he saved at full stretch. Other than that, all the action was at the end.

Lee Camp made debut for the Millers in goal and he denied us twice in the opening fifteen minutes. Both times Jordan Cousins' pace lead to shooting chances, both of which the diminutive Camp did well to get to. The second one in particular after a flowing Charlton attack saw Cousin weave past two defender and shape a fine shot for the top corner but Camp dived strongly to his left and got a hand on the shot. 

We would have been good value for a one-goal advantage at the break but we couldn't score and after the referee awarded Rotherham a corner following a free-kick which cannoned off one of their defenders in our wall, you knew what would follow.

After the break and kicking towards the Covered End we upped the ante and put Rotherham on the back foot. It took the introduction of Simon Makienok to force the equaliser. Igor Vetokele was the man who made way. I was convince it would be Watt who looked flat footed and struggling during the first-half. Having said that, he came more strongly into the game after Makienok came on. After another Charlton break down the right with Solly and Gudmundson operating in tandem, the ball was hit to the back post where Makienok took it on and squared past Camp for the onrushing Bauer to poke home. It was Bauer's first goal in a Charlton shirt and I reckon he is good got half-a-dozen a season.
Zag Bergdich came on with ten minutes to go and that gave us a bit more balance but we couldn't quite get the break needed to force a winner. Rotherham were playing for time but also kept the odd reminder that they were capable of a second.

Alou Diarra was my man-of-the-match which a dominant centre-half display and also for striding into midfield when he had the space and starting most of our attacking moves. Bauer was again rock solid and he clearly has a game at this level which gives him an extra second and bags of confidence as a result. Fox was fine too but didn't get down his flank nearly as well as Solly who backed Gudmundson superbly in the second-half as we chased the game. 

Kasha saw less of the ball than in the last two home matches but played his part, as did El-Hadji Ba and Cousins, both of whom spent some time on the left side until Bergdich came on. 

Igor did plenty of running but didn't see so much of the ball. Tony Watt was sluggish first-half but he too raised his game in the second-half was a handful once again with his direct running and frequent change of direction. 

We had pre-and-post match pints in the White Swan. It's good to see it open again on match days. It's had a lick of paint but not much else. There were plenty of new staff on although they were far from run-off-their-feet. They have a strange till system whereby one person is ringing all the drinks up and handling the cash which I am not sure works too well with everyone repeating orders and making mistakes. The decent selection of real ales and cider also ran out one after the other, so it's probably just as well it wasn't busier. I will go back.

We need to get back to winning ways on Tuesday and heap the pressure on Chris Powell's Huddersfield who lost at Cardiff and sit second-bottom above Rotherham.

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