POST MATCH RAMBLE: Charlton -v- Wednesday

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Charlton -v- Wednesday

Both me and the young un were feeling tired and worn out after a good night out the night before…she’d obviously drunk a lot more than me because, as everyone know that reads these rambles, I tend to hold back a little when it comes to getting drunk.

Things weren’t too bad to be fair as we weren’t up early for the train to London…these days I have to pick and choose carefully and make sure I get the cheapest tickets available and with that in mind we boarded the train at 11.30….and before anyone starts…yes, it was the correct train!

A very subdued journey to the big city with a bit of nattering about how well it had gone the night before and before ya knew it, the journey was over and incident free. This was something new for us really, arriving in London totally sober…I’d drunk one bottle of ‘Special Oasis’ which had simply made me feel more tired than normal and the Young Un had drunk nothing at all, despite us having several bottles ready made up…usually by this time we walking a very unsteady path to the underground and because of the late arrival we had no time to meet everyone else in the pub to drink more to get into a lighter mood.

London Bridge Underground

A very brief visit

We headed out to London Bridge just as everyone else was leaving the pub and making their way to the train to Charlton…for some reason I was getting a lot of texts already about getting lost…no idea what that was about. This London away lark is a very easy thing when you’re sober, dunno why I never thought of it before really.

We met the others just before boarding the train but because of the crowds and the melee with everyone desperate to squeeze through the doorways we ran down to a clearer opening to get on, this meant we weren’t in the same carriage…my phone rang, it was Baldy…’Did you actually get on the train?’

‘Of course we did….mindst you, we could be on a totally different train to you couldn’t we? I mean, we can’t see each other so anything could have happened’

I have to be honest, we did genuinely toy with the idea of getting off at an earlier station and looking shocked at them peering out at us having got off at ‘the wrong’ station again….but fatigue and an overwhelming feeling of ‘can’t be arsed’ took over.

Before ya knew it we had sauntered our way to the ground and we were in and once again we split up…it’s not for us sitting at the back to watch footy, me and the Young Un much prefer the really crap closer view down the front….it’s something I never understand if I’m honest. Going to footy is about being part of the game and whilst I get the much better overview you get from sitting way back and watching from a distance I’ve never felt connected to the game whenever we’ve done that, whereas it may be a totally piss poor view closer to the front but at least you really do feel part of the game…up close and very personal…a whites of their eyes experience…ya pays ya money and all that…

As it got closer to kick off time Charlton had a smashing few moments lined up….

First of all they wheeled an old lad onto the pitch…not just any old lad but a 91 year old war veteran and all four sides stood as one to receive him and applaud him…beautiful…

Poppy DayTo follow that, they announced it may not be possible for us pay tribute to a living World War One vet’ but they had a football that was used on Christmas Day in the trenches and it was piped onto the pitch whilst a cracking eulogy was read out paying tribute to players from both clubs fallen in the wars…

It wasn’t finished yet though…the teams come bounding out of the tunnel to Red, Red Robin…I know it’s not new but it could only be more cockney if it was ‘Knees up muvva brarn’ and as always I expect them to run onto the pitch with baggy trarsers and braces, with thumbs hooked under em…with that exaggerated knees up cockney thing going on….

The teams exchanged pleasantries before gathering around the centre circle and then to round it all off we stood in silence…an immaculate silence…which was followed with a very moving rendition of the last post.

A cracking tribute from Charlton Athletic and kudos to them.

THE MATCH

I know a lot of the feeling of apathy about our football style at the moment is down to me personally being dischuffed with football at the moment but to these battered old eyes this looked like two very similar teams fighting for the mid table mundane safety net…both had started the season really well but the reality is, they’d both simply flattered to deceive and if mediocrity is the season target then both clubs should reach that target comfortably.

This is a much better Charlton side than we saw last time under Chris Powell, they seem well drilled, athletic and have a bit more spark about them but for all that their passing seemed to be more sideways than thrusting forward and with us setting up to hold the midfield and hit them on the break this was never going to be an out and out thriller.

Charlton Peeters

Not Chris Powell

That said it wasn’t too shabby a game in that opening first 45 minutes.

Whatever Charlton had we looked comfortable in dealing with it and happy enough to hit them on the break though it became clear early on they saw Nuhiu as a threat and after a very early chance where he should have done better but contrived to head the ball wide, at every opportunity Charlton had him sandwiched between their two big centre halves. We didn’t notice that at any point in the game and especially in the first half our players seemed intent on lobbing balls into the box for him to get onto to…it wasn’t working and we should have changed that plan quickly.

I said to the Young Un it needed changing because Nuhiu wasn’t going to win anything in this game but at least he was occupying at least two Charlton players which should free up some space for our midfield and that’s where I expected any goal from us to come from.

I felt confident we could get at the Charlton defence especially down the flanks if our wide players supported each other and overlapped well, using their noggins a bit more …a big ask I know! When they did do that we got a bit of joy and they certainly had the beating of the Charlton full backs

Pretty much from the off Drenthe looked to be our best chance of breaking through that defence and having sent out a warning shot by putting the ball just wide of the post it wasn’t really a surprise a few minutes later to see him pick the ball up just inside the Charlton half and jink past 472 of their players before rifling home a left footed shot to the bottom right corner…of course the Wednesday fans went nuts and what little noise there was from the home fans disappeared totally.

Drenthe celebration

Drenthe enjoys the moment

It was a smashing piece of skill from by far the most skilful player on the pitch throughout the half and he celebrated by running over to the Wednesday bench and the coaching staff, a cracking moment.

Charlton weren’t happy about that and reacted quickly by attacking with purpose and catching us very flatfooted with no one back in defence….it looked bad….their lad was bearing down on our box now with only Liam Palmer giving chase but with clearly no chance of catching the lad…

I say no chance…

578 yards he covered did young Liam…400 of them yards he’d given the Charlton player as a head start….and STILL he caught him…not only caught him, but got a superb tackle in to prevent the shot but because he’d made up so much ground, the ball fell loose, the Charlton player jumped on it, Liam couldn’t regain his footing quick enough but Westwood was there, reliable as ever to make the final stop…Westwood walked over to Palmer straight away and gave him a good pat on the back of the head by way of a well done…great stuff from the youngster, a lovely bit of defending.

A couple of minutes later and Joe Mattock was being stretchered off. I missed what had happened but it didn’t look good as they carted him off. He was replaced by Claude Dielna who isn’t a patch on Mattock. I know a lot of fans don’t like Mattock and I’ve had my own doubts about him too but he’s improved this season and has been pretty steady for most of the season. OK, a few blips but overall I’ve been happy enough with him. I’m not as impressed by Dielna if I’m honest and early signs are he’s a shirker….but I remain open to him changing my mind and proving me wrong.

With the half coming to an end and only a handful of minutes left Drenthe once again picks the ball up and makes another mazy run…he’s in and out of Charlton players…he zigs…he zags…he’s full of confidence now and 150 zigs and 149 zags later a bunch of 4 Charlton players all clumping together, stop that run and bring him down with a foul…

The Wednesday fans love it…well they love the run and bark at the ref for the foul, which he duly gives…and we duly waste.

Maguire Charlton

Maguire should have done better

Charlton ramped up the pressure and increased the tempo as the clock ticked towards half time but a bit of sloppy play by them almost put us in for a second with the ball finding its way to Nuhiu on the halfway line he casually flicked the ball forward into the path of Maguire who strode forward down the left and eventually finding himself one on one with the keeper, albeit at a slight angle, he took the shot and put it wide of the far upright.

A good chance gone begging and the last action of the half as the ref blew for half time.

You’d expect the home side to crank up the pressure second half in a game like this….they needed to get back in the game and obviously they needed to really take the game to us….and that’s what they did.

It wasn’t before we had another good chance or two though in those opening minutes…

First of all a superb cross into the box that goes past all the Charlton defence and the keeper watchin anxiously as it continues on its merry way without hindrance from either set of players…where was our attack? It only needed a tap to put us 2 goals to the good!

Never content with letting one good chance to wrap up a game go begging moments later, a superb ball into the box and Nuhiu leaps majestically to final win a header uncontested and puts it over the bar…

It was time for Charlton to play a bit….

They did just that and we seemed more than content to sit back and let them batter us…I don’t think we got out of our half, out of our own final third for at least 10 to 15 minutes…whenever we tried to clear it, the ball fell nicely to a Charlton player and they started again…at one point it had a bit of an Alamo feel to it, they attack, we repel, they regroup and come again….it was ridiculous and we didn’t have a player who seemed capable of trying to play the ball out of trouble, though to be fair to Charlton, they weren’t giving us a minute and harried us quickly and pressured well….they had a period of play that seemed as though they’d had 720 quick successive corners and we’d somehow managed to simply get in the way of them…we couldn’t keep this up…HOPEFULLY, Charlton couldn’t either…

Charlton score

A soft goal to concede

They did though…the pressure was constant…they had corner after corner, shot after shot and somehow we blocked them all or kept that at arm’s length but you knew…you just knew it was coming…and when it came was…as is usually the case with these things…as soft a goal as you like.

In amongst all the good Charlton pressure we’d actually managed to break upfield but instead of using it to our advantage all our players seemed to be clumped together to our right outside the Charlton box, without thinking or looking we cross the ball into the box and once again it goes unhindered and harmlessly across…we didn’t have one player waiting for that ball…not one….

Charlton use that ball and reaffirm their dominance of this second half…they casually stride forward down our right…I say casually…there wasn’t a Wednesday player in sight for the first 500 yards of the casual saunter…and then when the lad did meet a Wednesday player or two they nicely stepped aside to allow him into our box and cross the ball for Vetokele to tap in from a couple of inches away uncontested…

We’d defended so well under that heavy Charlton pressure for so long and then totally switched off when things got easier…it was gutting…fair play to Charlton it was what they’d deserved but who cares about deserved?

Of course Charlton could smell blood now and they ramped up the pressure yet again…I said to the Young Un we really need to hang on now…it was looking grim and a Charlton winner looked the most likely outcome as we had nothing that could change things for us…that seemed to be underlined when Drenthe went off to be replaced by Gary Taylor Fletcher.

We did eventually get what we thought was our breathing space when we managed to get forward and ease the defensive pain…. Nuhiu broke into Charlton box on the angle and was brought to the ground with as clumsy a foul as you will see and all ends up a stonewall penalty…there was no doubt in anyone’s mind and even Andy D’Urso couldn’t argue with this one…

Andy D'Urso

My game my rules me owd cocka!

Hmm…mebbe not…no foul says the man in charge…

YOU ARE HAVING A CHUFFIN LAUGH ME OWD COCKER!

HOW ON EARTH CAN THAT NOT BE A CHUFFIN PENALTY!

Even allowing for the D’Urso factor this was a decision beyond ridiculous and ya know what? Up to that point I think he had a pretty good game…OK, so the Young Un had been playing her ‘D’Urso Gets In The Way’ sweepstake game all through the match…basically guessing how many times he gets in the way of play, which for some reason he does more than any other referee…she guessed at 4, I guessed 8…one more incident and she was a winner…but that aside, he’d done well and that’s a remarkable achievement for him in Wednesday games, in fact I can’t remember a game when we didn’t sing ‘ANDY D’URSO IS A W@NK£R’ but it didn’t happen today and that’s as good a measure you’ll ever get of how good he was…but from the moment he made that bad decision it was like he suddenly realised he was down on his quota and hastily set about putting that right with a flurry of poor decisions running right up to the final whistle.

In the run from that poor penalty decision to the final whistle Charlton continued to apply pressure and we continued to soak it up but they went awfully close to finishing us off with a one on one that Westwood did well enough to force the shot wide and another where the ball was in the net only to see the flag go up for offside….to be fair it went up nice and early, it just wasn’t seen by the Charlton players as they celebrated…or the home fans as they went nuts and gave us it big style…there was a young lad going nuts giving us all kinds of gestures and waving his arms about like a good un, until his dad realised and pinned his arms down to stop him…still one of my favourite things in footy when it happens to the opposition…less so when it happens to us.

And that was it…the game ended in a draw…overall I suppose it was a fair result…we should have killed it off first half, they shoulda done same second, that neither side was able to do so speaks volumes about the averageness of both teams.

At the end of the game the players came over to applaud us and we gave it back…they’d done well really at a place we never really seem to do well and most Wednesday fans will have left the ground reasonably happy about the result whilst feeling a little robbed at the ‘non penalty’ decision….I suppose Charlton fans will have similar feelings too.

London Bridge Underground

Another brief visit

We made our way out of the ground and up towards the station where we stood for absolutely ages waiting for one train after another before eventually shuffling our way forward to get on one to London Bridge to meet everyone for a quick drink before heading over to Kings Cross.

We grabbed a bit of snap at a kebab place before having that drink, a quick natter about the game and all too soon we had to make our excuses and get a move on to the underground…just as well we left with plenty of time because it was rammed down there…and a tight squeeze once on board for the short journey.

Other our train being delayed half an hour the trip back up T’North was incident free and for the first time in absolutely ages I was home from a London game, not only sober but in time to catch the Football League show.

Right…show me I was right then BBC!

I couldn’t believe it!
Just to add insult to injury the BBC didn’t show the penalty incident!

How the hell am I supposed to be proven right if they don’t show it?
A huge part of the matchday experience is going off on one and ranting like an idiot to anyone who will listen about the injustice of it all only to see it on the telly in glorious high definition and see once and for all that you were once again way off the mark and it was nowhere near a pelanty, the ref was right…that special moment was taken from me.

I demand to see it, it’s my right!

Steve:Beastie
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
Twitter: @Owlsalive or @Beastie_


One Comment

  1. Excellent read ,really enjoyed, great post

    Albury addick

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