Saturday, 14 January 2017

Charlton Athletic 0 v Millwall 0

First thing, this was a much better performance than the pre-Christmas effort. No visible signs of bottling it or wilting. However, we lacked any cutting edge whatsoever once Magennis was stretchered-off early in the first half and were fortunate, as a consequence, not to lose one-nil as Millwall missed three glorious chances before the finish.

Robinson started with a better looking balance to his squad. Rudd was back in goal, with Texeira and Bauer in front of him. Lewis Page debuted at left-back and Chris Solly got the opportunity at right-back for a man-of-the-match performance. Unfortunately, Page pulled-up in  the first-half not long after Magennis had left the field. At first it looked like a severe case of embarrassment having been beaten on the run but clearly he is injured.

The midfield was anchored by Crofts who I thought had his best game for us. He played slightly deeper and appeared to have a lot more space than normal which allowed him to spread play from one side to another which we did for much of the game. Konsa and Aribo both put in tidy shifts playing triangles and feeding the wingers (Byrne, Chicksen and sub Dasilva), and all of them looked for Magennis and Tony Watt when he made a surprise entrance. It had to be said that Watt wasn't fit. You could hear and see him gasping for air after his first run and there was no realistic prospect of him fashioning a clear chance.

Magennis jumped into a tackle early on and didn't get up. It looked bad but he appeared later and made his way to the bench, so hopefully nowhere near as serious as it at first looked.

Millwall had the best chance in a limited first-half when Lee Gregory collected a ball over the top and had time to angle his lob but he drew it too far right and it cleared the back post. The best we could manage was a few low scudders from distance straight at Archer.

The appearance of Dasilva for Page meant a reshuffle but why wasn't Holmes brought on? The Chelsea youngster had a very difficult debut. He was stripped of possession regularly and when he did get a chance to cross he was high, wide and handsome. Only to be expected but why introduce him in a derby match we were desperate to win? As it was he suffered the ignominy of an early bath before the end so Holmes could have a go. We did manage to get the ball in the net following a spill from Archer but it was disallowed for something, although it looked fine to me. Bauer managed a solid header from distance before the end which was our best effort but that was it.

Keith Stroud was his busy-self with the yellow cards and managed to get in the way and stop a couple of Charlton breaks. He also red-carded Texiera after the whistle and Steve Morrison in the tunnel. He does at least know his reputation as he called the other officials over to escort him from the pitch at the end because he probably feared a right-hander from someone.The visiting fans were strangely subdued and saved their only 'you'll never beat Millwall' chant for the last minute of added time, as if they were seriously worried we might have managed the win if they had sung it any earlier.

I was in the North Upper which looked pretty full but the West and East were still sparse. The official attendance of 15,300 looks optimistic once again but it was clearly a gate of over 10,000, so one of the best of the season.

I will look forward to what Karl Robinson has to say. After his comments this week that the new training ground will stand the test of time for 50 years, it's pretty clear passionate Karl is clearly prone to a bit of exaggeration. He was beating the badge on his shirt at the end as he milked the Covered End applause. I hope he's realistic enough to acknowledge we never looked likely winners despite it being a much improved performance. He also needs to address the striking options. If Big Josh is out for any length of time we look in trouble. Ajose is not fancied and didn't make the squad today, nor did Lee Novak. Tony Watt looks like he won't be fit until April. When is our Academy going to produce an out-and-out striker we can sell? Paul Walsh and Jermaine Defoe were the last ones - nearly as long as our last victory over Millwall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was in the upper north too Dave, block H - good fun wasn't it! We get around £11m for our two players and spend about £1m plus loanees, whilst the rest goes on the training ground..that FFP is a bitch isn't it. Shame as I like Karl and I think we could have some fun and excitement if he was really backed. We were lucky Millwall didn't take their chances late on, but we know that twat of a ref robbed us. To lose two players so early against a side in such good form was really asking a lot so I'd say a point one. Hope Lewisham Council stick the knife in.

Pembury Addick