Saturday, 29 October 2016

Charlton Athletic 1 v Chesterfield 0

Three precious points from another disappointing performance, this time against 23rd placed Chesterfield. It took an 86th minute header from substitute Lee Novak to break the deadlock and kill off a Chesterfield side who had looked more threatening during the opening forty-five minutes but who visibly set-out to get a point after half-time.

I am pleased to say that Russell Slade sent us out with a 4-4-2 formation for once but it wasn't an attacking formation. We seemed comfortable to sit back and contain the Spirieites for the first-half. They came close to opening the scoring when Dan Gardner stormed in from the left and curled his shot past Rudd only for it to hit the post. Jose repeated that feat inside ten minutes at the other end but that was pretty much his best contribution in another uninspiring game. He had a golden opportunity in the second-half to head the opener when clear in space eight yards out but he steered his header wide when it looked easier to score. He was eventually withdrawn for Novak and I was busy telling everyone that it would make no difference when the old head stooped to flick on a left-wing cross which rose above and beyond Fulton in the Chesterfield goal.

Today was designated 'Free Speech Day' by CARD and fans were encouraged to bring banners and flags. There were plenty visible before the match in the pubs and streets around the ground but the impact in the ground was largely lost. I could see maybe twenty shortly after kick-off but most were dropped onto seats on put away once the match got underway. CARD distributed 100 North Korean flags in Belgian colours I believe and some enterprising supporters had also clearly been busy making their own. 

I said I would give £50 to the best flag and I am please to say that was Rob from Brighton who I met before the match at the Royal Oak. Not only had Rob made his own stencils to paint his flag but he made 21 of them and was generously handing them out before the game. Another young fan from Manchester had also made a selection of flags and despite not being able to get down for the game had posted them down to be handed out. I was pleased to learn that Rob from Brighton had driven up to hand his flags out but had no intention of giving the regime a penny but was happy to take a ticket to see his side for the first time this season - I hope you stayed to the end Rob to see the winner.

The official gate today was 10,153. The actual gate looked about 6,500 to me. There were several hundred visiting fans and you would never have known it was Kid-for-a-quid. The atmosphere was consistent with an uninspiring display in front of 6,500 fans. 

The win moves us up to 14th and suddenly it feels like we have lifted off the bottom. We have a defensive ruggedness and strength in depth across the back four that should serve us well this season. Our centre-midfield is the weakness but more than that, I believe, is Slade's tactics. Far too conservative, even at home, and dull to watch. Holmes and Lookman should have opposition defences back-pedalled with two in the middle pressing play and all helping create space for the front two. Instead, Holmes and Lookman are 'out' players, encouraged to carry the ball as far upfield as they can before looking to get a cross in. All too easy to defend when you have numbers back and space behind the two front men to clear up in. It's easy to see how he hasn't managed to win promotion in twenty years.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe they say it was over 10k - your estimate of 6.5k is far more like it Dave. The flattest atmosphere I can ever remember. Until next Saturday of course - I heard they are shutting the upper north and west next week because sales are slow.that will really encourage people won't it..

Pembury Addick

Dave said...

PA - I will be missing my third home game of the season by choice. Our cup record is shocking and we are boring to watch. Less than 5,000 I reckon unless they flood out the comps.