Sunday 31 October 2010

Charlton Athletic 1 v Sheffield Wednesday 0

Phil Parkinson will have poured himself and Mrs P a large glass of their favourite tipple in their Greenhithe home last night. As he and Mrs P enjoyed that, he will have reflected upon the fact that merely two matches on from the embarrassing home thrashing by Brighton, his side have entered the play-off positions following two successive wins. Not a single chant of "Parky Out" and the nay-sayers have been silenced for weeks to come at worst.

Credit where credit's due. After a less-than-convincing win at Carlisle last week which no-one predicted, the Addicks played a very tight and controlled game yesterday and got the goal necessary to win the game against a strong if limited Sheffield Wednesday. The key for me, as highlighted by Blackheath Addict, was the best midfield performance by Semedo and Racon this season. Their work-rate was immense and they out-fought and out-thought their opponents. That provided a level of protection the back four have lacked in too many games this season and with the running and industry of Jackson and Wagstaff, we were on the front foot for most of the match. 

Wednesday themselves were limited in terms of attacking intent and apart from a cameo role from Neil Mellor, they lacked the ambition necessary to win the game. Backed by close to three thousand supporters, they probably deserved better but didn't really look threatening until they brought on Johnson and Morrison in the last third.

The first-half was largely a Charlton affair and we held most of the possession without creating too many scoring opportunities. An almost unrecognisable Nicky Weaver made a superb diving save from a pile-driver from Jackson (or Fry?) as we upped the ante and the goal , when it came, was from a typical piece of first-half pressure. A ball from a corner was played around the box and found it's way to Wagstaff on the right whose first attempt cannoned off Benson and fell back to him with the Wednesday defence still shaping to defend the first shot. From where I was sitting, there was a clear route to the corner of the goal through the melee of players and Waggy saw it too. His low shot picked the perfect angle and Weaver could do nothing about it.That was pretty much it at half-time although Rob Elliott was called upon to produce a smart save before the break.

Mrs Peeps was making a now rare appearance at the game and I commented that we were due a poor second-half based upon form to date. Wednesday stepped up their efforts after the break but we still held the upper hand and for the first time this season put in a full 90 minutes. There were chances for a second but 1-0 was probably the right result having failed to score a second in  the first-half. Wednesday looked better in the last half-hour as Johnson and Morrison attempted to up the tempo but they were still some way short of a goal. 

Up to sixth then and only a point off second place. Swindon away on Tuesday and Peterborough at London Road a week next Saturday will test the new resolve but I am much more confident than a fortnight ago. Both of those sides lost yesterday and one win would probably be enough to keep us in the hunt. I won't be going to Swindon but have tickets for Barnet and am swithering now about Peterborough.

It was good to share a pint with Chicago Addick and his regular pals yesterday although I fear he's probably wondering what all the fuss has been about this season as we made a routine win against a relegated side look relatively straightforward.

Saturday 30 October 2010

The Coupon 7

I need a calculator when I put my coupon together. Increasingly, it's not just for the odds but to keep a tally of my losses. So far, I am about £135 down. Time for more than the treble that I am scraping most weeks which stems my losses but doesn't turn a profit.

1.  Fulham v Wigan (home win 5/6) - surely, Andy Johnson back?
2.  QPR v Burnley (home win 5/6) - unbeaten at home v no win away
3.  Oldham v Plymouth (home win 11/10) - unbeaten at home
4.  Torquay v Morecombe (home win 5/6) - 13th v 19th, long trip

5.  Bristol Rovers v Carlisle (home win 5/4) - decent odds and form
6.  Dagenham & Redbridge v Hartlepool (home win 13/10) - home form
7.  Exeter v Brentford (home win 6/5) - unbeaten at home
8.  Accrington Stanley v Cheltenham (home win 11/10) - 14th v 19th

11 bets @ £3 each = £33

8 Trebles

1, 2, 3 = £21.16
1, 2, 4 = £18.48
1, 3, 4 = £21.16
2, 3, 4 = £21.16
5, 6, 7 = £34.15

5, 6, 8 = £32.59
5, 7, 8 = £31.18
6, 7, 8 = £31.87

2 Quadruples

1, 2, 3, 4 = £38.79
5, 6, 7, 8 = £71.71

All 8 = £926.36

TOTAL clean sweep = £1248.61  (41-1)

Friday 29 October 2010

The Charlton Champion

Unashamed plug today for a new "hyperlocal" Blog from Addicted Darryl. Darryl's own 853 has always been a great read and a source of genuine news so I was delighted to find that he's finally been driven by the lack of anything else, to create something specifically for the residents of SE7.

If you live in Deepest Kent or far flung around the planet, it will offer you the chance to keep up with all things Charlton and news of anything likely to enhance or detract from matchdays at the Valley will, no doubt, feature large - Darryl knows his audience and loves his local club. He has engaged a number of local people in order to keep the content coming and take other perspectives.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

League One Weekend Preview, Game 14

After the highs and lows and highs of last weekend's recovery game against Carlisle, our heroes get the chance to blow it again this week in front of the tortured faithful at the Valley. Lacking any innate ability to find anything else to do when Charlton play at home and being in possession of a season ticket, I will trudge back with lowered expectations than the last time.

I have always enjoyed games against the Owls. A visit to Hillsborough makes you aware that this club are one of the true Sleeping Giants although, like us, the days when they could really compete (and win things) are almost beyond living memory. Nonetheless, their fans will turn out in numbers and the streets and pubs of SE7 will reverberate with South Yorkshire accents complaining about the price of a pint and homilies about why Yorkshire is the centre of the universe. Can't help liking them though.

The match itself promises to be a disappointment. They are unbeaten in six and have scored 12 on the road whilst only conceding 5. Looks like hard work all the way and I think we will do well to nick a point. Whilst we are all looking furtively at second spot, here's who the rest face.

AFC Bournemouth v Colchester United
Undefeated at home versus undefeated away here. Bournemouth will be warm favourites here but I am tempted to stick my neck out and go for Colchester to enjoy another away day. Odejayi crashed in two goals on Saturday and they have goals in Mooney and Shakespeare.
Prediction; 1-2

Bristol Rovers v Carlisle United
Close call this but home advantage to edge it. It could take Carlisle a while yet to get over the manner of their defeat last week.
Prediction; 2-1

Charlton Athletic v Sheffield Wednesday
I guess it could go either way based on last week's results but it's very hard to see how we might expect to win this after our last home game against decent opposition. I think our players fell under pressure at the Valley and things become unnecessarily difficult when we fall behind. I would love parky to be right in that we've turned a corner last week but I think we have a jutting glass chin at the moment. A draw is as much as I can go for.
Prediction; 1-1

Dagenham & Redbridge v Hartlepool United
The daggers have hit rock bottom but their home form is decent. They have to expect to roll over sides like Hartlepool when they come to the Smoke.
Prediction; 1-0

Exeter City v Brentford
Having taken another good home scalp, I fully expect Brentford to go missing at Exeter. they have the added excuse of an extended Carling Cup match against Premiership Birmingham last night which won't have done their little legs any good.
Prediction; 2-0

Huddersfield Town v Walsall
If this isn't a home win, I'll eat my hat. Walsall aren't great at the best of times but they are in a slump right now and being trounced 4-1 at home by Tranmere takes some doing. Out of confidence and out-of-luck.
Prediction; 3-0

Leyton Orient v Rochdale
In the reverse fixture here I couldn't look beyond Rochdale. However, I think the O's should see them off here. Like Dagenham & Redbridge, it's their home form that they will rely upon to keep them in this league.
Prediction; 2-0

Notts County v Southampton
Paul Ince for Notts County? Good luck. They obviously still have delusions of grandeur and a long way to go through denial before they come out the other side. In the meantime, expect Southampton to win again and move ominously close to the play-off positions.
Prediction; 0-2

Oldham Athletic v Plymouth Argyle
Oldham have been spluttering of late, as expected, but they still boast an unbeaten home record. Argyle have something of the part-pooper about them but this might be a bit too routine for them. Routine defeat I mean.
Prediction; 2-0

Peterborough United v Brighton & Hove Albion
League one Match-of-the-Day. Goal-fest in prospect as these two sides clash. Posh are in blistering form at home and Albion, as we know, are full of it. We made Albion look much better than they are and they might just find this too much.
Prediction; 3-2

Tranmere Rovers v MK Dons
MK Dons take their terrible away form to Tranmere whose home form isn't much better, however, they scored four at Walsall last week and will be hoping the hangover has worn off.
Prediction; 0-0

Yeovil Town v Swindon Town
A morale-sapping defeat for Swindon would do us Addicks nicely here before we pay them a visit on Tuesday. Swindon appear to be a lesser side than that which played such decent football last year and who were unfortunate victims of Millwall in the play-offs. I have to believe they still have enough about them to beat Yeovil, but what do I know?
Prediction; 1-2

Monday 25 October 2010

Disgusting greed

If any reminder were needed this weekend about the sad state that our national game is in, we got it from Wayne Rooney and his despicable management team. In the week of austerity measures and when Portsmouth FC nearly went to the wall again, Rooney was cynically manipulated to extort a hefty ransom from Manchester United to prevent him moving on. Having forced a reported £200,000 a week deal worth £50m over five years, he had the temerity to tell United he was staying and he withdrew his comments about their lack of ambition. All this from a player whose form has been shot since the World Cup and who again been embroiled in prostitute scandals. For me, Rooney has crossed the line and he deserves nothing but contempt.

The fact is, myopic United fans don't have too great a sense of reality when it comes to money (or class) and will, most likely, quickly forget this once Rooney manages another goal. I am surprised that Sir Alex has let this happen. It doesn't show him in a good light and I am left wondering whether or not the decision was forced on him to some extent. They say no player is bigger than the club, but you have to wonder at this.

No doubt the Rooney camp will be puffing on cigars this weekend and he will be getting pissed in a 7 star hotel in Dubai this week. Football fans have long memories and never will the chant of "one greedy Bastard" be more appropriate as swaggers his way through the rest of his career.

Sunday 24 October 2010

The tension builds

Today's the day all Charlton fans long for with eager anticipation every year. Better than Christmas morning as a six year-old, it's the day when we are reminded of our proud F A Cup win a mere 63 years ago and all of those famous efforts since to win it again.

It's the day when the ball with our number on it (12) enters the F A Cup draw for the first time. Traditionally this occurs sometime in early December but one of the few perks of being in League One is that we get to start the competition in the First Round.

If you think about it, winning the competition from the Third Round is practically cheating. True winners should really beat all-comers from the First Round and so we get the opportunity to do it properly nowadays.

I will be glued to ITV this afternoon and with butterflies fluttering in the tum I am hoping for a home tie against one of the big boys. Bournemouth, Colchester or Rochdale would make mouth-watering opponents and give us the opportunity to expunge from our memories the skid-mark that was Northwich Victoria last season. Fingers-crossed everyone.

Saturday 23 October 2010

Carlisle United 3 v Charlton Athletic 4

Phil Parkinson needed a win today like he's never needed a win before. He had to get a response after last week's humiliating home drubbing in order to stabilise the ship and earn himself more breathing space as the Addicks' boss. He made four changes to the starting line-up from last week and two of them did the damage in the border town of Carlisle as Charlton took a two-nil lead in at the break. After making it 3-0 immediately after the restart, Parky looked to have answered the critics and to have prolonged his managerial reign.

Incredibly, his players somehow managed to let him down in spectacular fashion by conceding three second-half goals as they wilted pathetically. In another game where we only managed to perform in one half, questions will undoubtedly have to be asked about the quality and mental attitude of this squad. And yet, Paul Benson somehow managed another last-gasp goal which earned Parky the most amazing win he was so desperate for.

Scott Wagstaff had a lively first-half and provided the cross for Johnnie Jackson to skate onto and finish at the far post after 23 minutes. Jackson himself had been moved up to the right wing as a replacement for the injured Kyel Reid and it was him who supplied the cross for Joe Anyinsah to score at the near post seven minutes before half-time to put the Addicks firmly in control. Benson had missed a sitter only seconds before as Wagstaff squeezed yet another cross into the six yard area.

Benson must have been feeling a heel at half-time because he scored straight after the restart with a well-placed shot which should have effectively ended the match as a contest. Joe Anyinsah had a goal disallowed for a foul on the keeper before the tide turned.

Carlisle battled back and Mike Grella, on loan from Leeds, fired home after Carlisle had seen a goal disallowed only moments before. What looked like a consolation was given more significance after Curran scored on the hour. At 2-3, it was all Carlisle and observing Charlton fans had an uncomfortable feeling about what might be about to happen. Sure enough, Madine scored the equaliser after a deep back-post cross beat Rob Elliot and we braced ourselves for the coup de gras.

Amazingly, not only did we survive what Carlisle threw at us, but we broke out to score a late winner as Paul Benson netted again from a powerful header to earn a famous victory and throw his boss a lifeline. If Richard Murray has no intention of sacking Phil Parkinson, this is the perfect opportunity to come out and make it clear to, hopefully, kill off the "Parky Out" business (if only for a few weeks). If he doesn't, then I think it only fair to conclude that Phil remains under massive pressure and that anything other than a prolonged winning streak will see him being given his cards sooner rather than later.

It's never particularly easy being a Charlton fan and now is as testing as any time I can remember. Can we build on this next week or will we immediately crumble again? Believe-it-or-not, we are up to 11th and only three points behind second-placed Bournemouth. It really is a poor division and one any side with something about them should be leaving. As if to emphasis that point, Brighton are six points clear at the top.

The Coupon 6

I didn't manage to get a bet on last week as I was simply too busy, but will take a walk around to Coombes' this morning. I still have the consolation of a £13 treble to collect from the last punt. I've been balancing my odds so far but am taking the shortest and longest together in each four this week.

1.  Watford v Scunthorpe (home win 8/11)
2.  Preston v Palace (home win 10/11)
3.  Norwich v Boro (home win 10/11)
4.  Colchester v Notts County (home win 11/10)

5.  West Brom v Fulham (home win 6/5)
6.  Carlisle v Charlton (home win 6/5)
7.  Brentford v Peterborough (away win 5/4)
8.  Plymouth v Huddersfield (away win 6/4)

11 bets @ £3 each = £33

8 Trebles

1, 2, 3 = £18.18
1, 2, 4 = £20.76
1, 3, 4 = £20.76
2, 3, 4 = £22.93
5, 6, 7 = £32.67

5, 6, 8 = £33.30
5, 7, 8 = £37.12
6, 7, 8 = £37.12

2 Quadruples

1, 2, 3, 4 = £38.17
5, 6, 7, 8 = £81.67

All 8 = £1038.90

TOTAL clean sweep = £1381.58  (42-1)

Friday 22 October 2010

League One Weekend Preview, Game 13

I arrived back from India this morning after 21 hours of travelling. My packed schedule of meetings, taxi's, hotels, meals and flights meant I didn't even manage to log onto the internet for any footballing updates other than headlines delivered to my mobile. A quick scan through Charlton Forever and Charlton Life today confirms my suspicion of growing supporter unrest. Parky has gone public saying he is "running out-of-patience," which sounds a bit worrying because it's the fans who traditionally do this and there's not a lot we can actually do to influence team morale, selection, tactics or changes when we do.

I have a horrible feeling of deja vu (all over again) and it feels like Phil Parkinson's management reign has finally been holed beneath the waterline. Pardew fought on for a couple of weeks when he reached this stage but the home hammering by Sheffield United was the straw that broke the camel's back. I can't see us getting anything at Carlisle tomorrow however hard I try and a defeat here would pile enormous pressure on everyone at the club with the visit, coincidentally enough, of Sheffield's other side to the Valley next week. Cue the drum-roll.

If we lose tomorrow, I won't blame Parky. I will blame the players he's brought to this club and for whom he has given relatively big opportunities. Ultimately, it is they who have let him down even if the final analysis proves he hasn't been a good enough manager. I am honestly hoping for a turnaround of Alex Ferguson proportions but I just can't see us putting together enough of a team performance to do it. It's high time Pawel Abbott repaid some of the faith Phil Parkinson showed in bringing him to the club.

Brentford v Peterborough United
It's Posh's home form that has propelled them to second-place and they have been mediocre away from London Road. Twenty-one goals at home and only seven away. Brentford are struggling and have largely kept things tight at home. A draw would probably be a decent result for both sides.
Prediction; 1-1

Brighton & Hove Albion v Yeovil Town
However disappointed we were with our performance last week, Brighton certainly played with plenty of confidence and that's probably all they need to beat Yeovil.
Prediction; 3-0

Carlisle United v Charlton Athletic
It's a long trip there and I think it will be even longer back. Carlisle slipped up at Exeter on Saturday and will be keen to make up lost ground on the promotion pack. I wouldn't be surprised if the pressure some of our players feel under is enough for someone to see red.
Prediction; 2-0

Colchester United v Notts County
Both of these sides have slipped in recent weeks but Colchester have still only lost once this season and their home results must improve shortly.
Prediction; 2-1

Hartlepool United v Bristol Rovers
Rovers have been hard to predict this season and like to upset the odds. Hartlepool blow hot and cold and this could be a stalemate.
Prediction; 1-1

MK Dons v Exeter City
MK went down fighting at Bournemouth where they lost 3-2 last week but had four booked and one sent off. They will scrap again tomorrow to preserve their unbeaten home record and that should see off plucky Exeter.
Predictions; 2-0

Plymouth Argyle v Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield are all or nothing away so far this season and my money's on them winning this against a Plymouth side that could very well go down this year.
Prediction; 0-2

Rochdale v Dagenham & Redbridge
The Daggers are bang in trouble and have managed only two points away from Corn-Beef City. One, of course, was at the Valley but I expect they will get no favours in Lancashire.
Prediction; 1-0

Sheffield Wednesday v AFC Bournemouth
Fourth play third here and this could be an entertaining game. Both sides won well last week and Bournemouth are having a right go every week. Wednesday are beginning to grind out results and I can see them doing it again before they pour south to SE7.
Prediction; 3-2

Southampton v Oldham Athletic
Southampton should climb above us in the table if they win here and I expect just that. they might just have started their long march...
Prediction; 2-0

Swindon Town v Leyton Orient
Swindon are on the mend and this is a meat n drink match. The O's are traditionally poor away from home and with only two points on the road this year, I am not expecting miracles here.
Prediction; 2-0

Walsall v Tranmere Rovers
A Fourth Division match in all but waiting this. Can't see there being many fans or goals either.
Prediction; 0-0

Saturday 16 October 2010

Charlton Athletic 0 v Brighton & Hove Albion 4

Well that's a quarter of the season gone and we marked it with a gutless home defeat to a Brighton side who had everything we were missing; confidence, organisation, responsibility, teamwork and belief. Man-for-man, I don't believe they have any more quality and capability in their squad than we do. It's hard to get away from the conclusion that our faltering efforts are more to do with the management.

Parky's post match viewpoint will make interesting reading because I don't see how he can avoid taking responsibility here. My suspicion is that he will heap praise on Brighton but that will be a cop out. The odd poor showing is excusable but this coming on the back of the shambles in the first half at Brentford is unacceptable. There might be a "lot more to come from these players" but they aren't showing many signs of delivering it and with Kyel Reid stretchered off with what looked like a serious injury, we look to be in a pickle.

Our back four look incapable of going through a game without gifting the opposition at least one goal. Gary Doherty will be criticised for their first when he was caught flat-footed by a clever lob back into the box. That might be harsh but he gave the ball away for the second and Johnnie Jackson compounded the error by leaving a back pass woefully short which Brighton took full advantage of. Lua-Lua's beautiful strike for the third was salt in the wounds but the game was already settled. I am pleased to report that I missed the fourth because I left with the mass exodus after the third.

Racon and Semedo simply cannot run the midfield and provide attacking impetus as well as a defensive cover. We manage the latter but do very little of the former. Instead we have been focusing on our wing players to provide the ammunition for two front-men who look increasingly like third division plodders. Reid did at least manage a succession of crosses today but most were over hit or at least put to the back post when our man was on the near post. Lee Martin was again lightweight although he did manage one superb run and cross in the first half which found Abbott only to be steered wide of the post. 

Benson saw very little of the ball today and Abbott was left to lead the line. His first touch is particularly poor and he appears to rely on stretching rather than jumping for the ball. 

We are now past the "gelling" stage and I am afraid we look like we are lacking motivation. This was an easy win for Brighton and, frankly, it was an embarrassment. I am glad I am off to India for a week because I don't want to think about Charlton for a week at least. We are down to 14th and with Carlisle away next week, a relegation battle could be closer to hand than a promotion push.

Pre-match Brighton

What a week! I literally haven't stopped from waking up until falling asleep everyday. I am very tired and will be up again tomorrow morning at 5am in order to catch the Mumbai flight. I will be working in India until Thursday night when I fly back from Bangalore. So, no posting this week and I will probably struggle next week too.

I intended to post after Scotland's 3-2 defeat at Hampden but didn't get the opportunity and was locked in a workshop at Heathrow on Thursday and Friday. In brief, the scoreline flattered Scotland. Spain were incredibly comfortable on the ball and if Torres, Xabi and Fabregas had been available, we might have all been back in the pub before the match finished. I will see three or four of the remaining qualifiers next Autumn but qualification looks beyond us.

I am just starting to prepare for this afternoon's match. Apart from getting my shoes on and confirming pre-match drinks, I am thinking about the game. Brighton arrive on top of the table and will be noisily backed by 3200 fans who will come with expectations of a repeat of their Valley win last year. That might just bring the best out of us and I am feeling optimistic that we can see them off. It's high time we scored first and if we can do that, it might just be a sobering message for Gus Poyet's boys. We have the personnel to close the game out if we focus and get our tactics right.  I'm going for 2-0 and will take Benson and Reid to do the damage.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Plymouth Argyle 2 v Charlton Athletic 2

I spent the weekend down at my sister-in-laws in Kent, so missed the commentary yesterday and had to make do with the BBC's on-line vide printer. The fifth goal up was Plymouth 1 Charlton 0 (Wright-Phillips) which caused an expletive in front of the kids and an equally quick apology to the adults.

The only notable difference from the starting line-up was the fact that Parky appeared to bow to fan pressure and dropped Francis at right-back as Forch came in to cover. I think Francis has something about him but he's simply made too many mistakes of late. He can have few complaints. Dr. Kish informs me that Franny's wife has just had a baby, so maybe not as dramatic as it might first appear.

Paul Benson's first-half equaliser put me more at ease and I thought that was the pointer for a second successive away win but Bolasie had other ideas and late on fired home a thumbing shot against the run of play. That would normally be enough to break us, but Paul Benson played to the whistle and turned in a 90th minute equaliser after a header back across goal from Gary Doherty.

There will be more rumblings after this result against a side who have lost three times at home and who are struggling. The point leaves us in tenth with top-of-the-table Brighton the next visitors. Strangely, I am seeing more positives from the fact that we twice equaliser yesterday and that a forward netted twice. If we add to that the amount of possession we and the chances we created, then perhaps the signs are there of the long awaited improvement. It was certainly a more positive outing, although I guess you could say that we were forced into it having to chase two Plymouth goals.

Parky needs a break and a good win at the Valley on Saturday could be the key. Our players might well respond against the better sides as we have often done in the past. It's the one
thing that allows you to manage the suffering of losing to the bottom sides.

Friday 8 October 2010

The Coupon 5

A second blank week last weekend from four so far (only two out of four on each line). This will be my fifth and possibly my last with this bet if it fails to provide a return. I have had to take on a couple of international matches in order to get eight results I feel comfortable with and as I type, neither of those selections are winning!

I have gone for the Czech Republic to beat Scotland in Prague. Scotland have struggled to score goals away from home and the Czechs know that a win here will give them the edge against probably their main rival for a runner-up place to Spain. I did think twice before betting against my home nation but I am settled in the thought that if it goes down it will be a result for me ahead of the Spain game on Tuesday.

I am also taking the Republic of Ireland to beat Russia because I think the odds of 6/4 are generous against an Ireland team who have been playing well and getting results.

Tomorrow, I am quite comfortable with my League One homes of Carlisle, Colchester, Rochdale, Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton. My punt on Peterborough to win at Hartlepool is a risk bearing in mind the Pools good win at Plymouth last week.

1. Czech Republic v Scotland (4/6 home win)
2. Colchester v Huddersfield  (11/8 home win)
3. Hartlepool v Peterborough  (Evs away win)
4. Rochdale v Yeovil  (4/5 home win)

5. Republic of Ireland v Russia (6/4 home win)
6. Carlisle v Notts County  (10/11 home win)
7. Sheffield Wednesday v Leyton Orient (4/7 home win)
8. Southampton v Tranmere  (2/5 home win)

11 bets @ £3 each = £33

8 Trebles

1, 2, 3 = £23.75
1, 2, 4 = £21.36
1, 3, 4 = £18.00
2, 3, 4 = £25.64
5, 6, 7 = £22.49

5, 6, 8 = £20.03
5, 7, 8 = £18.59
6, 7, 8 = £13.98

2 Quadruples

1, 2, 3, 4 = £42.75
5, 6, 7, 8 = £31.48

All 8 = £448.84

TOTAL clean sweep = £686.91 (21-1)

Thursday 7 October 2010

League One Weekend Preview, Game 11

It's an international weekend facing us, so to some extent, the domestic spotlight will fall on League's One and Two. There's even the chance of an appropriately small match report in a national Sunday paper. Our trip to Plymouth looked perilous after last week's shambles at bottom-club Brentford. It looks slightly less so following a spirited, if hardly complete performance at MK Dons. The win should have lifted heads but we will need some focus and more ambition at Home Park if we are to get anything. The positives are that Argyle have lost three from their opening four home fixtures and if Hartlepool can win there you have to have hope.

Next week we face our biggest test of the season and will have our largest gate as top-of-the-league Brighton come to the Valley backed by a 3200 following. It promises to be a tasty encounter and it would be good to go into this one having closed the gap at the top.

Brighton & Hove Albion v AFC Bournemouth
A second successive south-coast derby for Bournemouth and they will want to do better than the defeat at Southampton. Brighton's point at Tranmere was enough to keep them two points clear of Peterborough. This is a big test for Gus Poyet's men but I think the Cherries are good enough to scrape a point.
Prediction; 1-1

Brentford v Oldham Athletic
I thought Brentford played some decent stuff in opening half-hour last week despite our poor showing. More of the same might be good enough to see off Oldham whose ordinary away forming has seen them slide to a more understandable mid-table position.
Prediction; 2-1

Carlisle United v Notts County

Peterborough won at Brunton Park last week and dented Carlisle's unbeaten home record in the process. Notts County were slipping at home to Sheffield Wednesday at the same time and this looks a much tougher assignment.
Prediction; 2-0

Colchester United v Huddersfield Town
Like us, some harsh lessons for Town in recent weeks. Beaten inexplicably at home by Bristol Rovers last week, this is probably not the fixture you would want to bounce back in. Colchester are unbeaten at home, although they have been held on four occasions. I can't see another draw and believe they are due their second home win. Moon-ey!
Prediction; 2-0

Hartlepool United v Peterborough United
Great win for Pools down at Plymouth last week but this looks more awkward. Posh are on the march and had a creditable win at Carlisle last time out. This is nearer to home and shouldn't be any harder than last week.
Prediction; 0-1

The Daggers haven't managed a win away but they have had two good draws at the Valley and against Colchester on their last two trips. MK Dons have drawn and lost in their last two, if we include Tuesday's match and they are overdue a home win.
Prediction; 2-0

Plymouth Argyle  v Charlton Athletic
Here we go. As I have said, I am more optimistic than four days ago. However, much will depend on our game plan and I am  not sure Parky is ready to change it. After the appalling first-half at Brentford we battled back but Tuesday's encounter at MK Dons started with yet another over-cautious and unambitious opening. I am convinced this is not the right tactic but Parky obviously believes it will come good and pay dividends, so I expect he'll go with it again. That will encourage Argyle to come forward and we will invite trouble. This a game where the first goal could prove decisive. If Argyle concede first their heads might drop, if they score first, we might have to chase the game once again. My money's on them scoring first.
Prediction; 1-1

Rochdale v Yeovil Town
Long trip for Yeovil and one I can see being fruitless. Having thrashed Huddersfield 3-0 in their last home outing, Dale will be looking forward to a repeat performance to maintain their early season challenge. That should be enough here.
Prediction; 2-0

This should be a home banker, although Wednesday's home form has been erratic. The O's are poor travellers and this looks like another blank for the strugglers.
Prediction; 2-0

Southampton v Tranmere Rovers
A home win here should see the Saints appear in the top half of the table for the first time. That would be an ominous sign and I can't see Tranmere stopping them.
Prediction; 3-0

Walsall Exeter City
Chris Hutchins thankless task in leading Walsall looks like it could be nearing an end in north-east Birmingham. Rooted to the bottom of the table and with four home defeats so far, they might just invite Grecian pressure from the off here. Bye-bye Chris.
Prediction; 0-2

This is the live Monday evening Sky game. Rovers have been something of a surprise package this season. They are competing well in most games and their win at the Galpharm last week was impressive. Swindon are still struggling to match the form of last season although I suspect they will finish in a play-off spot. If they are to do that, they should be winning matches like this, although it's a hotly contested local affair, so you never know.
Prediction; 2-1