Saturday 23 August 2008

Charlton Athletic 4 v Reading 2

A second successive home win has sent us joint top albeit only for a few hours. The match was shown live and was a great advert for the game and for Charlton Athletic. Alan Pardew's bare-bones team played with grit, determination and no shortage of flair from the off to record a deserved win against promotion favourites Reading. The referree awarded three soft penalties and harshly decided to let Reading re-take one which briefly gave them undeserved parity and threatened to ruin the match. However, these Addicks weren't to be denied and battled on to get the win.

Nicky Bailey was outstanding in the centre of the park and together with Matt Holland they won the midfield battle within the first 15 minutes so that Bailey could control the game and dictate the pace of much of the play. They were supported very well today by Lloyd Sam and Hameur Bouazza who provided the much needed ammunition from the flanks. Sam needs to be more aware of who's around him as he gets run off the ball too often but I can forgive him this week as his cross for the third was superb and he created a number of other good chances. Bouazza was unlucky in the first half with a shot on the run having skipped past two defenders as he cut into the box. He did rather better in the second half as he ran on to a deep Moutaouakil cross to volley home at the back post and secure the three points.

The back four were worked hard by a tall Reading side. Jonathan Fortune had a particularly busy match but he kept Leroy Lita quiet and together with Mark Hudson looked secure. Grant Basey played well at right back although Jimmy Kebe showed him a clean pair of heels twice early on as he cut inside to cause problems. Grant learnt his lesson though and Kebe was little threat thereafter. Yassin Moutaouakil was also busy at right back but did a lot more pressing than Jose Semedo does (understandably) and Lloyd Sam had a better game as a result.

Nicky Weaver didn't have much to do but he saved Hunt's penalty and was harshly adjudged to have come off his line before the ball was struck. He had already stood up to Doyle's first-half penalty and seen it ricochet off the bar. He had no chance for the first as Sonko powered home a header just before the break.

Up front Gray had a very strong game and worked well with Luke Varney. Gray made his penalty look easy after Luke had taken a tumble under a challenge from Sonko as he burst into the box after a fine through-ball from Lloyd Sam. Luke scored the crucial third goal as he got up from a penalty appeal to head home the cross that Lloyd Sam fired back into the box.

I got home in time to see Varney collect the man-of-the-match award from Matt Holland (shave that schoolboy tache off!) and tell us that he couldn't wait to get back into the dressing room "because the boys were buzzing." The crowd leaving the Valley were also buzzing and we can go to Preston next week in confident mood that we can add to our six points. It's very early days but Nicky Bailey might just make the difference to our season this year.

1 comment:

  1. Thought Charlton played really well today long passes on target and played well in midfield. Pity about the officials but high hopes for the rest of the season being good.

    Come on you reds

    Moray loon


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