Monday, 2 January 2017

Charlton Athletic 4 v Bristol Rovers 1

I said recently that it would be classic Charlton to return to the Valley against a side we beat 5-1 away from home just a few weeks ago and lose. For fully thirty minutes today it seems just like that was going to happen. Jermaine Easter had capitalised on an uncharacteristic Bauer slip in position on the half-way line to race in and round Phillips for the opener. We looked half-hearted and it was hard to see where a response might come from. Then, just before the break we won a free-kick in an advanced position which Joe Aribo flighted forward perfectly into the box. The dropping ball was meat and drink to an unmarked Josh Magennis whose leap looked almost necessary but whose onward header was planted to the right of the helpless Puddy in the visitors goal.

Fox, Texeira, Bauer and the returning Solly hadn't really been troubled aside from the goal but they were kept much more occupied than their counterparts. Ezra Konsa was an unlikely centre midfield starter alongside Andrew Crofts and the pair had struggled to hold the ball. Chicksen was doing better on the left but Botaka was all over the place on the other side. Aribo was looking useful but he and Josh were feeding on scraps. Magennis has clipped the bar with our only effort from a free-kick prior to the goal.

At the half-time whistle, Karl Robinson raced down the touchline shouting and gesticulating at his players to hurry to the tunnel. It looked like he had just been given an advanced bomb warning but I assume it was just more Robinson, desperate to impress and look the part of a driven and animated manager.

I assume a good talking to was duly administered because after the break we were, once a again a different side. The back four stepped up and our midfield was suddenly more mobile and fluid. Konsa was getting forward, Botaka covering him inside and Chicksen and Fox moving up in tandem. Best of all, Joe Aribo was dropping back and continuing to see plenty of the ball. He looked strong in possession and far more comfortable than a player with so little first team experience. Very shortly we drew another free-kick inside the Rovers half and once again Aribo stepped up to float a deep all towards the far post where the advancing Josh Magennis again arose unmarked to firmly head a replica goal to his first. 

Rovers collapsed in the reverse fixture after making three rash substitutions at half-time. Here they made two with similar consequences. A third goal followed shortly when a driven low ball from the left by Aribo was knocked in from close range by Jorge Texeira who has clearly decided he wanted to get more involved in the match. After that it was pretty much a case of how many. Magennis was unfortunate to see a shot whistle wide and Konsa had an effort deflected over the bar. It was then that Magennis struck his hat-trick and what a beauty. After a trademark gallop, Magennis beat the last man to the ball over the top, brought it down and swivelled onto his right foot before hammering a pile-driver high into the top right hand corner of the Rovers goal. Hundreds more Gasheads, from their impressive following, left immediately for the exits.

The win means 7 points from 9 and Robinson manages to equal Nugent's three match record for the season. The three points banish any realistic thoughts in my mind of relegation and perhaps start some unrealistic talk about making the play-offs. What would be a major fillip, would be managing our first win against Millwall in 20 years when we next trot out at the Valley. If there were 12,252 there today, I expect nothing less than a 20,000 crowd when the Lions come calling.


  1. Was a nice change Dave to leave the ground with a smile on our face , but still a long way to go ! .Hopefully we can get a few back from injury and a few more in and have a decent end to the season , not sure if it will quite be enough though to sneak into the playoffs, if not Robinson must get the backing next season to mount a challenge right from the off !

  2. Dave I am starting to believe in Robinson, his half time talk fire the team up, with Watt returning those half time talks are going to be Seismic!! (I think Robson enjoys rowing / arguing as much as Watt does!) . I am so looking forward to Watt's return he is a real raw
    talent that needs channeling in form and fired up he will be fantastic in League 1. Enjoyed today and Southend on Saturday. Devlinpowell

  3. Dave, happy new year ! Don't forget that we've no game next Saturday as Rochdale are in FA cup action and unusually we're not ! Therefore, we've almost 2 weeks to prepare for the Millwall game. What could go wrong !

  4. Phil - thanks re Rochdale - have amended my post to prevent thousands from turning up with no game in prospect. Shows how detached I am becoming. What's the F A Cup 3d round?

  5. Just seen the goals again. Ok, tge fourth wasn't a pile-driver but it looked much fiercer at the time.....

  6. Boy did we party in the upper north Dave! haven't been up there for a few years and it took me back a few years to the days of the original Covered End. Our meeting with Katrien (pronounced Katreen apparently) didn't get off to an auspicious start - the club forgot the coach was supposed to be 30 minutes early..But on arrival we had a nice circle of seats in one of the lounges, Lee Novak, two comms blokes and Katrien herself. She readily acknowledged the club had made very serious mistakes in the past (I know we've heard it before but the extent of the error admitted was greater than I've heard before); lack of central midfielders was also admitted, although she did say Russell was happy with the squad. One family of ex Valley Gold members expressed their anger in a passionate but polite fashion that really encapsulated my feelings. They rightly said we sell academy players too soon and never reinvest all the money to get the right calibre of replacement. Katrien said that FFP prevented us spending all the money we made on academy sales - I wanted to revisit that one as I am not convinced but the cut and thrust of my colleagues' questions didn't allow. Going forward the club are restructuring the scouting system and are prepared to recruit ugly to get us in to the Championship (even though those players might not be retained) - this sort of gives me the feeling they are starting to do things in the right way; but I don't get any impression they are selling soon.....

    My son pitched in with a couple of questions then filled his belly with sarnis and crisps - he thought Katrien had very big bags under her eyes, which tells you something. But we didn't ask about boyfriends.

    Pembury Addick

  7. PA - thanks for the feedback. Interesting point re FFP but doesn't appear to make sense, particularly as FFP is effectively impotent. Any restructuring of the scouting system would also be interesting although given their secrecy with Driesen, I am guessing we might nevr really know....


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