Monday 16 July 2018

Welling United 1 v Charlton Athletic 2

A pleasant couple of hours at Park View Road on a cracking day. Welling have spruced up the Wings Bar during the season with an astro-turf frontage and tables and chairs to allow drinkers to sit outside. It's not the Riviera but a nice touch nonetheless. 

I overheard a couple of Charlton fans moaning about the £15 entrance fee but this is in line with National League South prices and, let's face it, the opposition were better than normal. What's more, if you had a few pints in the Wings Bar at £3 a pint you would have made a few quid back. You also weren't charged extra for not arriving before 10.30am or for having the audacity to print your own ticket at home on your own paper using your own ink.

I said hello to a few old faces and exchanged the usual gloomy view of pre-season preparations and fears for the year. I then had to concentrate to figure out who was playing. Not for Charlton, because even though I haven't been to the Valley for over a year, I could work that out. It was the Welling side I was struggling with. Apart from Wilks in goal and the front pairing of Goldberg and Coombes, I was lost. What was obvious was they all appear to be an couple of inches taller and wider than last year!

The first half was a decent contest. Adam Coombes opened the scoring early on after a hash by Naby Sarr which let Coombes in from the right and with Goldberg on his own in the middle a goal looked very much on. Coombes, though, drove on and buried his shot low into the far corner without given Goldberg a second thought.

Charlton hit back almost immediately. Nicky Ajose saw a shot saved by Wilkes and the rebound was blocked as (Ahearne)-Grant had a go. The ball squirmed out wide to Ajose who finished from close range. Charlton looked very casual and were guilty of being over-elaborate on a number of occasions which allowed Welling's back four to put in the blocks and tackles. At the other end, Bradley Goldberg saw a decent effort stopped at full stretch.

Charlton's second-half team took advantage of a tiring Welling side and had much more possession without causing too many problems. With about ten minutes to go a shot from distance took a big deflection past Wilks into the centre of goal where Lyle Taylor couldn't miss. Two-one and Charlton just about deserved the win without really impressing. 

Bowyer is still looking for a holding midfielder and several other key positions and he needs them if this side are to hold their own in League One again. That's without losing any and several will be gone if Duchatelet can get any fees. Magennis had a quiet first-half and would be my bet to go along with Bauer. In that scenario, Bowyer will have to pull a rabbit of the hat with his replacements.

Meanwhile, the new look Welling side looked robust and will obviously get better with games. I liked the long-haired left winger who was bundled over every time he got the ball. In a proper match he would have drawn three bookings but you get away with those in friendlies.

Late posting given a hectic Sunday and a ten hour drive from 3am this morning to reach my home in Scotland where I have 2-3 weeks to chill out and a few days without the family to get some jobs done. I might take a look at who the local sides are playing pre-season...

Friday 13 July 2018

Park View Road El Scorchio

The Addicks play their annual pre-match friendly against Welling United tomorrow, kick-off 12.30 at Park View Road. 

It's traditionally a long hot day and tomorrow promises to be no different with temperatures touching 30C. Shorts and sunglasses will be the order of the day.

I am looking forward to seeing Welling's new line-up and how Charlton compete. Fully expecting Lee Bowyer to field a different eleven in each half as he seeks to get players match fit and used to playing together. At least it cuts down on all the substitution time which ruins the flow of the game.

The early kick-off reduces the pre-match drinking time but non-League regulations mean civilised supping on the terraces during the game, so use both bars on both sides of the ground as you burn in the July sunshine.

The World Cup may be finishing on Sunday but at least we still have the longest football club takeover in history to continue arguing over.