Franchise FC make a Rickett?
The increasingly absurdly-monikered MK Dons have taken a flyer on the Addicks' (not so)youngster Mark Ricketts by taking him on loan after he apparently impressed in a trial with the club. In a further blow to the academy player's prospects of getting a run out for the Charlton first time any time soon, he has been cleared to play for the Dons in their FA Cup clash tomorrow, preventing him from getting a run-out in the cup for us should he return.
Those who have seen him play for the reserves wouldn't be too surprised to see him try and make the move permanent - as he appears to have little chance of shifting anyone from the Charlton XI and getting a run-out - The Division Formerly Known As Division Three appears to be his best prospect of carving out a career for him (just ask Michael Turner, who is now a regular for Brentford)
Another one of those games that we always seem to lose, I'm looking forward to this one as much as Bolton at home last week. Despite having, to all intents and purposes, a pretty crap team, Mark Hughes looks like he may have got them working as a coherent unit (no mean feat when your starting XI includes Bellamy, Tugay and Bentley) and, with the right injection of personnel in the transfer window, may even make a run for a European place. In contrast with previous seasons, Blackburn appear to have some goalscorers - Pedersen, Bellamy and Kuqi are all capable of scoring and there is always a threat from midfield.
Charlton's problems at the moment appear to be solely related to home form - the 5 man midfield works superbly away from the Valley, and Curbishley is highly unlikely to change it for what promises to be an arduous trip up North. Hopefully Bent will be fit again after picking up a virus - he was badly missed against Bolton, and Thomas may push for a recall after being left out of the starting lineup for the last couple of games.
Gormless Tool Lawrenson is prediciting a 1-1 draw. For once I find it hard to disagree with him
Never been so bored at a football match in my life
Sheer, unadulterated drivel, not worth a match report
Andersen - 7 - Good game. Excellent positional sense and little chance with the goal - forced to palm it away after a deflection. With a little more experience he might have palmed it out for a corner
Young - 7 - Another solid, consistent performance
Spector - 5 - Nervous. All those calling for Powell to be replaced need their heads examining after this performance
HH - 8 - Never stopped giving it all game. 100% effort, dealt with the agricultural challenges thrown at him with aplomb
Perry - 6 - OK, but didn't look as unflappable as he has for most of this season
Ambrose - 5 - Ineffective. Plenty of effort but never looked like a threat
Kish - 6 - Stout defending in front of the back four but never managed to link up with the midfield
Smertin - 6 - Not as classy as recent games. Pulled up with an apparent groin injury early in the second half, which is a worry
Murphy - 7 - Still looked fresh after sensibly being subbed against Chelsea to spare him the 120 minute grind. Unable to pick a way through the massed ranks of Bolton's back nine
Rommedahl - 7 - Looked a threat and was a bizarre substitution victim. His pace worried the pedestrian Bolton defence. Not a bad performance
Bothroyd - 4 - Now this WAS a poor performance. Didn't win a thing in the air, looked short of fitness and reminded me of Bobby Zamora (NOT a compliment!)
Hughes - 6 - Looked to get involved and unlucky not to score with a fine header which Jaaskelainen palmed away
Holland - 6 - Looked a bit baffled as to what was expected off him when replacing Kish but managed to exert some influence in the dying stages
Johansson - 5 - Anonymous
Jaaskelainen - 8 - Commanding performance, three excellent saves
Jaidi - 6 - Big old unit at the back - no pace but effective in the air
N'Gotty - 7 - Impressive
Gardner - 5 - Average
Faye - 6 - Stifling
O'Brien - 6 - Another decent youngster from Bolton getting his chance (presumably due to a Moroccan, Japanese or Tibetan journeyman being injured)
Speed - 7 - Crafty veteran still likes getting forward - and does so to good effect
Nakata - 6 - An excellent player still adapting to the speed of the Premiership. Showed his class with some neat touches but tired toward the end
Nolan - 8 - Excellent performance. Big Sam's calls for an England chance are not unfounded. Has a knack of appearing the right place at the right time.
Diouf - 5 - Disappointing showing from the cheating, spitting, diving bastard
Davies - 6 - As skilful as a a bag of spanners, with the turning circle of an oil barge, he did his job well enough - although that 'job' consisted largely of getting his fat arse in the way of our centre-halves whenever a ball was lumped up to him
Borgetti - 5 - Useless on the ground, decent in the air. Should suit Bolton down to the ground when he acclimatises
Okocha - 5 - Cameo role late on
Ben-Haim - 5 - Ditto
Clattenburg - 7 - Not too card happy and tried to let the game flow
Hermann - no contest. Immense performance, especially from a man who played 120 minutes three days before
Quote Of The Day
"...it's disappointing for our home fans"
Curbs on our non-existent home form. No shit Sherlock!
Hughes He Is
Chelsea 1 CAFC 1 (AET - CAFC win 5-4 on pens)
Blimey - is this the year we finally do something in the Carling/Coca Cola/Milk/Fray Bentos cup? Following years of baffling underachievement (even noted footballing giants like West Brom, Norwich, Swindon and Stoke have won it - fer chrissakes, ROCHDALE made it to the final) we achieved a victory at the most noteworthy of places - Stamford Bridge.
Incredibly, I am reliably informed that this is the first time we've made it to the last 16 for 27 years - the fact that the victory came at the hands of our nouveau riche neighbours made it even sweeter.
No time really for a proper match report, suffice it to say that Chelsea dominated possession, but for all that, didn't create many chances of note. The Addicks were content to hit them on the break, and could have got a couple themselves.
Terry's goal came about via a Robben corner - which he had won himself after running about with the ball tied to his foot for five minutes. El Kak's marking was lax - he lost Terry in the six yard box and that was that. The hapless Huth gifted Benty our equaliser with a feeble back header to Cudicini - credit must go to Darren though for a cool finish with the Italian advancing to narrow the angle.
The second half was more of the same - Chelsea bringing on Lumpalard and the Drog and exerting plenty of pressure but never really threatening Andersen. Indeed Bothroyd could have won it late on in normal time only for Cudicini to beat his effort away.
Extra time seemed to fly by in a flash - the only incident of note being Terry's ill-conceived clattering of Andersen, sending him sprawling into the net after he clearly controlled Drogba's low header. Escaping with only a yellow, you have to think that if it had been Bothroyd doing the same on Cudicini he would have walked. Oh well, C'est La Vie, as they say
Penalties? We shit 'em. After not bottling a single one against Sunderland in the play-off final, of course we were going to score all ours. Huth's was saved by Andersen, Hughes nervelessly despatched the winning spot kick into the bottom corner and we were through
Shalalalalalalala - we sent the Chelsea out!
Cudicini - 7 - A couple of good saves during the match. No chance with any of the pens, although unlucky with Bothroyd's - which squirmed under him after he guessed the right way
Ferreira - 6 - OK, but didn't get forward with much effect, apart from one effort early on
Bridge - 7 - Looked short of match fitness, but bombed up and down and put one peach of a ball into the box for Crespo which the cosmetically-challenged Argentine wasted
Terry - 7 - Immense at the back, well-taken goal. Marked down for stupid lunge on Andersen which should have seen him sent off.
Huth - 5 - Nightmare really - despite actually not playing that badly he gifted Benty our equaliser and missed the pen which sent them out.
Geremi - 5 - DEFINITELY not Makelele! Reasonable, but sadly lacking going forward
Essien - 6 - Thank Christ he wasn't as on form as he was at the Valley earlier this season. Quieter, and fell to the ground like a pansy far too often
Robben - 6 - In and out game for the little dutchman - plenty of skill but often little end product. Like Rommedahl. Only a bit better. (Obviously). On the telly later, it looked like he was shitting himself when Herman went for him after he fell over following a challenge
Wright-Phillips - 5 - Kept quiet all game by Chrissy Powell
Gudjohnsen - 6 - Wasteful, but has the knack of finding space for himself on the edge of the area
Crespo - 5 - Poor really - after his superb header at the Valley he never really looked like much of an aerial threat, and has a poor first touch
Lampard - 7 - Drove Chelsea forward after coming on - fired up the crowd with his penalty
Cole - 5 - Anonymous after replacing Bridge
Drogba - 4 - Guilty of a howler of a miss when planting his header straight at Andersen
Andersen - 8 - Excellent performance - no chance with Terry's goal and stopped everything else they threw at him
Powell - 7 - 120 minutes from a man whose legs had supposedly gone. Kept Wright-Phillips in his back pocket all match
Young - 7 - Excellent at the back and marauded forward to good effect too
Hreidarsson - 8 - Immense. A tower of strength
El Kak - 6 - Tough one this. Still looks a mite short of match fitness and directly culpable for the goal. Other than that, he had a good game
Ambrose - 6 - Quiet
Hughes - 7 - Effective in midfield, and totally nerveless with the winning pen
Holland - 6 - Not able to exert any forward-thinking influence on the game and never liekly to win the tackling contest with Essien. Still did OK, considering his lack of first team football
Murphy - 7 - Never going to be an easy one for him with Chelsea's midfield swarming all over ours at times, but calm, composed and always looking for the killer pass. People often berate him for his workrate as well, but it was excellent tonight
Rommedahl - 5 - The one disappointment for me. Looked like he did last year and deservedly subbed
Bent - 8 - For sheer workrate alone. Ran his bollocks off all game, took his goal well (never look a gift horse in the mouth and all that) and didn't seem to tire at all
Thomas - 7 - Made a difference when he came on. Neat, tidy and not too many tricks
Bothroyd - 7 - Big ol' lump - extremely handy to have on the bench and the only player to worry Terry in the air all night
Kish - 6 - Effective stifling job after replacing the tiring Murphy late on
Wiley - 6 - Decent enough performance, but he should have sent Terry off for clattering Andersen
MOM - Has to be Andersen. Superb performance, which looks likely to keep Deano sidelined for the foreseeable future
Quote Of The Day
"Its nice to win two matches"
Curbs, after being asked by a patronising reporter whether this ranked up there with Charlton's best ever results. We ARE second in the league for f**** sake! It wasn't THAT much of an upset!
Shurely Shome Mishtake
Player marks from The Times
I know Rommie didn't have his best game in a Charlton shirt, but thats a bit harsh, surely? And didn't Murphy set up both goals?
From Barnaul to SE7 (via SW6)
An interesting piece on loan signing Alexei Smertin in today's Times. His pre-career training regimen sounds like something direct from the Mervyn Day school...
A game of three thirds
The old 'two halves' cliche didn't really ring true yesterday, as the Addicks, little more than spectators for the first half an hour, completely turned the game on its head after 30 minutes to boss the rest of the match with another assured away performance, collecting three points in the process.
Much was made prior to the match about our inability to win a game after going a goal down - yesterday's second half put paid to that, with Murphy and Ambrose in particular outstanding and two very well-taken goals finally deflating Pompey to the extent that the last quarter of an hour was little more than a formality.
It was oh-so-different at the beginning of the match, as, with Portsmouth rampant going forward and the Addicks seemingly unable to string two passes together, it looked like we were in for a long, hard afternoon. Spector looked very nervous in his full debut, allowing players far too much time and space, and Hermann looked worryingly like he had at the arse end of last year (crap, for all those not in the know). Lauren 'Cheating Bastard' Robert brought a good save out of Andersen, tipping his fierce effort onto the post very early on, then made a good low save from O'Neil.
Little service from the midfield meant Rommie and Ambrose (recalled for the injured Thomas) offered little respite for the Addicks, resorting to humping balls into the channels for the tireless Bent to chase down. The game became a bit fractious, although there was nothing really nasty about it - yet Webb still managed to find excuses to book Hermann & Kish in swift succession. It was little surprise when Portsmouth took the lead. A long ball down the right was totally missed by Hermann, who slipped a little as he turned, allowing Dario Silva the time to collect the ball and forage into the box. Still there seemed little immediate danger as he appeared to take it a touch too far, but the Uruguayan smashed his shot low across Andersen and into the far corner - a superbly taken goal.
However, instead of trying to build on this, in a period where they were so obviously dominant, Pompey left Silva isolated up front and didn't really push home their advantage. Had they done so, perhaps the game would have turned out differently. As it was, Charlton grew in confidence and began to stroke the ball around midfield with more authority. Ambrose went on a mazy run before shooting straight at the Pompey keeper, then, about five minutes later, tried his luck from further out with the same result. There was one further scare in the first half, Perry's clumsy collision with Silva could have led other refs to assume the worst and point to the spot, but Webb for once saw it for what it was - a wily forward with bags of experience in the Spanish league trying to con a penalty out of him.
Clearly having given his team the hairdyer treatment at half-time, Curbishley came out looking like, for want of a better phrase, he had 'the right arsehole'. Whatever he said worked, as the Addicks started the second half in the ascendancy, their slick passing frustrating Pompey into rash challenges - one of which saw Vignal go into the book for upending Smertin, perhaps the only yellow of the day for either side which was truly worthy of a caution.
Despite being on top, the Addicks had a real scare on the hour mark, as the largely ineffective Vukic hit a low shot which brought a superb stop from Andersen down to his left. Minutes later, the Addicks were level. Murphy was now finding the room in the hole behind Bent and fed a lovely ball into Ambrose who coolly slotted under Ashdown's body as the Pompey keeper advanced to narrow the angle. This truly knocked the stuffing out of Pompey, and they were lucky not to conceded again immediately from the restart as a woeful backpass from Vignal almost saw Bent sneak in. Eventually being forced wide, he nevertheless sent a peach of a ball over for Ambrose, who had managed to sneak into the box unmarked but directed his header inches over the bar.
Webb again became the centre of attention as (thankfully for the Addicks) he brought play back with Pompey breaking dangerously for a non-existent head injury to the interestingly-coiffured Viafara.
This was to prove Pompey's last real chabnce of salvaging something from the match, however, as shortly after, Danny Murphy picked another gem of a through-ball for Rommedahl, who leathered a scintillating shot high into the far left corner of the net, giving Ashdown no chance.
Despite Vukic skying a good chance for Pompey, and Perrin bringing on two striekrs for the last ten minutes or so, it was the Addicks who looked most likely to score again, Ambrose inexplicably booked for diving by the useless Webb despite clearly being caught by Ashdown as he skipped past him, and JJ, on as a late sub, firing wide when well-placed.
Another excellent away performance (5 wins out of 5) which saw us climb to second in teh table again. Bring on the West London league of nations in the fizzy pop cup!
Ashdown - 7 - No real chance with either of the goals and made some notable stops
Vignal - 6 - Reasonable, but wants too much time on the ball and made a real hash of a backpass shortly after our equaliser to almost gift us another
Stefanovic - 7 - Excellent job on Bent, despite being run ragged all afternoon he never really gave him a sniff
O'Brien - 6 - Reasonable
Taylor - 5 - Average - one decent effort in the first half but not the paciest
Priske - 6 - Lively
Robert - 5 - Not a threat, except for one effort that Andersen tipped onto the post early on. Still a cheating bastard as well as bone idle
Viafara - 6 - Ungainly, but good engine
O'Neil - 7 - Looks a very good player. Nice range of passing and inventive on the ball
Vukic - 5 - Can look good one minute, but absolutely terrible the next. No touch at all but a willing runner
Silva - 7 - Excellent strike for the goal. Wily after years of playing in Spain, he needs a partner up front for Pompey to get the best out of him
Hughes - 5 - No impact (introduced too late)
Todorov - 5 - See above
Mbesmua - 5 - See above (are you starting to see a pattern here, Perrin?)
Andersen - 8 - His best performance in a Charlton shirt. No chance with Silva's goal and made three or four outstanding saves, including one from Vukic that was world-class
Young - 6 - Assured at the back, but little threat going forward
Spector - 6 - Looked poor for the first half hour but may just have been nervous as he was much better in the second half
Perry - 8 - Outstanding at the back again
Hreidarsson - 6 - Bad misread for Pompey's goal. Looked a little nervous playing with Spector
Smertin - 6 - Quiet, and gave the ball away far more often than usual. Looked a little tired and needs a rest
Kish - 7 - Tireless running, important tackles. Charlton's best player in the first half hour and held us together when Pompey threatened to overrun us
Murphy - 8 - His second half performance was inspirational. Even in the first half when things weren't running for him you could see him urging everyone on and never let his head drop. In a word, superb (again)
Ambrose - 8 - A menace all afternoon. Excellently taken goal, seems to have an almost telepahic understanding with Bent and not afraid to do the donkey work either
Rommedahl - 7 - What a strike for the winner! To be honest, his crossing was pants as usual, but he has developed an excellent ability to ghost behind full backs, inviting Murphy to find him with crisp through-balls
Bent - 7 - Ran all day long, hassled and harried the Pompey back four. The epitome of a lone striker's performance away from home
Johansson - 6 - Bit of an odd one this, as he offers no more defensive cover than Rommedahl (who he replaced). Had a good late effort but pushed it wide
El Kak - 6 - Brought on late to counter the two strikers Perrin introduced and won some important headers
Webb - 4 - A pain in the arse. Dished out 5 yellow cards when only 1 was warranted, and denied Pompey a clear opportuinty when whistle-happy for Viafara's 'injury'. Fussy and demonstrative throughout.
Tough one this week. Rommie, Murphy and Andersen all in with a shout, but it has to go to Ambrose for his tireless workrate, ability to change the game when drifiting inside and his well-taken goal
Quote Of The Day
"I put our team on the board at half-time and told them I've got just three players out there, eight weren't doing it. I told them if that carried on they would be sitting with me in the second half."
Alan 'maths not my strong point' Curbishley
so we would have ended up with six players on the pitch after your subs then Al?
Always the friendliest away trip of the year (ahem), most teams anticipate their trip to Fratton Park with some trepidation. This surely holds for the Addicks as well as anyone - with a sketchy home performance against Foolham still lingering in the memory, a journey down the M3 to that most welcoming of football meccas wouldn't have been high on Curbishley's want list.
Having a tough time of gelling his team of European journeymen and nobodies from the far reaches of the footballing globe into a coherent team, Reggie Perrin's long lost brother Alain appears to be treading on some extremely thin ice. With a chairman not exactly noted for his patience or rationality, Perrin's motley crew better start winning soon or he will be back in France quicker than you can say 'Konstantinos Chalkias'.
There are signs, however, that things may be improving for Pompey. Their last two fixtures have seen creditable (if not exactly thrilling) draws away at Boro and at home to the Geordies, perhaps indicating a shoring up of the defence. However, a lack of goals seems to be Pompey's most pressing issue - looking at their front line its hard to see where the goals that will be necessary to keep them up are going to come from.
For the Addicks, getting a weak performance against Foolham out of mind quickly is a must if we are to maintain our excellent start to the season. Its a sign of how far this team has progressed from the dire performances that plagued last year that we now see a draw as 2 points lost rather than 1 gained. We've certainly been more effective away from home this year (witness the caning of Boro and the first 30 minutes against West Brom) so shouldn't expect any change against a struggling Pompey side.
However, with the atmosphere at Fratton Park likely to be as intimidating as ever, that prat ringing his bloody bell all game and the Pompey players perhaps starting to believe they can extricate themselves from the nether regions of the table, it won't be easy. My prediction is a hard-fought 1-1 draw.
Gormless Pillock Lawro predicts a 1-0 win for Pompey, stating that the game is one you'd prefer to 'take your Mother in law shopping' than watch. Twat
Ever heard of the Cauwich Cup?
You will have after visiting former Valley Favourite Andy Hunt's blog about his new life in Belize. Its a fascinating read (largely non football-related, although he has written about the Foolham game) and shows that not all footballers are clueless pillocks fit for fuck all except kicking an inflated leather ball around a bit of grass.
Andy always was one of the more cerebral players around, and he seems to be enjoying his life immensely since his enforced early retirement. I know a few people who've met Hunty, and all have said he is a genuinely nice bloke. He seems to thoroughly deserve his happiness after footy and I'm sure everyone associated with CAFC wishes him well.
Not sure about his barnet now though...
CAFC 1 Fulham 1
Whilst last night's result could not exactly be described as a robbery, Charlton did enough in the first half to merit a three goal lead. However, chances were spurned and, perhaps more worryingly, gaps appeared with alarming regularity at the back. Indeed, had Fulham had a little more ambition, they might have ended up sneaking a win themselves - as it was, a draw was probably the fairest result.
The game got off to a poor start, but about ten minutes in, Rommedahl began to exploit Niclas Jensen's poor positional play and lack of pace (a recurring theme throughout the first half). A sublime pass slipped through by Murphy found Rommedahl's intelligent run in behind Jensen - the fleet-footed Danish winger cut inside the last defender and rifled a low shot against the foot of the post. Unfortunate in the extreme, the Dane wasted little time setting about Jensen again and beat him on numerous occasions, failing to create clear cut opportunities but worrying the life out of the Fulham defence with his pace and willingness to get behind the defence.
Despite Murphy pulling the strings in midfield, Charlton looked a little dodgy at the back, and Fulham could, and should have taken advantage on a couple of occasions before finally taking the lead. Collins John, already guilty of a poorly scuffed effort when well placed, made amends in spectacular fashion. Former valley favourite Claus Jensen took a quick free kick which caught Jerome Thomas napping, allowing Malbranque to smuggle the ball across the edge of the area. John swivelled and smacked a volley past Andersen with consummate ease. Fulham could have doubled their advantage just minutes later - Radzinski (on for the injured - and useless - Phillipe Christanval) fired across the face of goal and inches wide after the Addicks' back four failed to deal with a free kick.
Sensing that Fulham were establishing a hold on the game, Charlton began to assert themselves mor eon the middle of the park, and it almost paid dividends. Murphy fired wide after a surging run through the middle, Rommedahl skinned Jensen yet again but his attempted cross was blocked and, right on the cusp of the interval, a quick ball into the box from Smertin was diverted agonisingly wide by the marauding Hreidarsson.
It was, therefore, little surprise when Charlton equalised with the second half little more than a couple of minutes old. Powell put a low ball into the box which Fulham were unable to clear and Murphy took a touch, looked up and rifled the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
Instead of using this as a starting point to build from, inexplicably Charlton failed to capitalise. Substitutions were made which baffled most onlookers - despite the arrival of Bothroyd (which should have seen us go to 4-4-2 to chase a victory), Benty was pushed wide, with Rommedahl switching flanks (nullifying his threat completely). The game managed the neat trick of petering out with half an hour left to play, and neither side really looked loikely to get the winner.
All in all, it was a frustrating night for the Addicks' faithful - although optimists will point to the fact that we would most definitely have lost this last year as cause for comfort. Our home form is starting to become something of a concern for us - we look lacking in the necessary areas to break teams down, and show a worrying lack of concentration at the back. Following a poor performance from Chris Powell yesterday, Curbishley might think its time to give Spector a run-out at Pompey. Whatever the sqaud selection, its clear that Charlton will have to step performances up a gear to continue the fine start to the season.
Andersen - 6 - Little chance with Fulham's goal, and had very little else to do of note
Perry - 6 - Stepped off John a couple of times and didn't look particularly commanding in the air. Missed a chance to win it late on, stretching to put his header over the bar
Hreidarsson - 7 - Mammoth at the back again
Powell - 5 - Run ragged by Malbranque at times. Needs a rest
Young - 7 - Got forward well and put a peach of a cross in late on which deserved better
Kish - 6 - Not bad, but dallied on the ball a couple of times and would have been punished by a better team
Smertin - 6 - Not as effective as usual. Quiet all game
Murphy - 7 - Fits and starts, but played some beautiful passes and took his goal very well
Rommedahl - 7 - Blinding first half, utterly anonymous second due to inexplicably being switched to the left
Thomas - 5 - Not a good game - his first poor outing of the season
Bent - 6 - Ran about a lot, but not the threat he has been so far this year
Bothroyd - 6 - Huge physical presence, and won almost everything in the air after coming on. Little direction in the knockdowns however, and looked isolated
El Kak - 5 - Stupid lunge on Boa Morte about 5 milliseconds after coming on which got him booked, and gave the ball away from a free kick. Needs a run in the team, but not as the holding midfielder
Hughes - 5 - Anonymous
Crossley - 6 - No chance with the goal, handled everything else effectively
Volz - 7 - Got forward well, and handled Thomas nicely
Niclas Jensen - 5 - Exposed terribly by Rommie in the first half
Bocanegra - 6 - Reasonable performance
Goma - 6 - Looks a little unfit, but handled Bent well
Diop - 7 - Immense in midfield - blimey he needs to go to a better club
Malbranque - 7 - Terrified Powell by running at him with pace. End product often a bit sketchy, but genuinely quick and inventive. Fulham's best player
Christanval - 4 - Is a poor, poor player at the best of times. These aren't the best of times either. No coincidence that Fulham looked a threat when he went off with a knacked hamstring
Claus Jensen - 6 - Typical performance from Santa - very creative, but bone idle
Boa Morte - 5 - Lots of running. Little else
John - 7 - Superb finish for Fulham's goal. A handful all night, but not blessed with the best of first touches
Radzinski - 5 - Had a good effort just after coming on, but I genuinely thought he'd been subbed himself until 20 minutes from the end of the match when he put another chance across the face of goal
McBride - 5 - Probably seething at John's inclusion in the starting line-up over himself, but didn't look too fussed after coming on as a sub
Riley - 6 - Picky, but not as bad as usual
Rommedahl, on the strength of his first half alone. Murphy was too up and down and Herman didn't do quite enough
Quote Of The Day
"...we could easily have come away with all three points"
Chris 'Cookie' Coleman - Yeps. You could also just as easily have come away wi' nowt
Last year's preview of this fixture saw me 'dreading it' strangely enough, despite our victory in the game, Fulham's poor start to this year and our excellent opening to the campaign, nothing has changed. Why is it that certain teams get you nervous, regardless of their form or yours at the time? I hate Fulham. Fucking hate 'em. Doesn't matter how well we're playing, I still think they'll turn us over every time we play them.
This year is no different. Last time out for the Addicks (feels like about three months ago) we put in an impressive performance against Spurtz yet came up empty-handed. Perhaps some of the good luck we had from earlier in the season (the second half against Birmingham anyone?) is about to desert us big-style - the pessimist in me thinks if it happens it'll be against Foolham.
For Fulham, Coleman can call on Zat Knight once again, after suspending him for apparently breaking a curfew - strengthening his options at the back. The mercurial Legwinski is still absent through injury, however, but nearly everyone else is available - including potential gamewinner Steed Malbranque and former Valley favourite, tough-tackling (ahem) Claus Jensen.
For Charlton, whilst Ambrose and Bothroyd may push themselves onto the bench following returns from injuries, Curbishley's main selection dilemma will be in goal - with Kiely back from a broken finger to challenge current custodial incumbent Andersen. Opinion is spilt bewteen the Addicks faithful as to whether to recall Deano in place of Andersen. Whilst there is no doubt that Andersen has been very good so far this season, in the last two games he has been less impressive. Perhaps its time to give him a bit of a sit-down and see whether Deano is still up to the task. Personally, I would expect Curbs to give Andersen at least another game - and he may well stay in until he puts in a truly poor performance.
Whoever plays in goal, the rest of the team is unlikely to see any changes and hopefully, with Darren Bent 'fresh' from England duty (the only activity he saw was picking splinters out of his arse) we'll get about Foolham early doors, score quickly and be able to control the game
My prediction? A pessimistic 0-1 to Fulham
JT Scores in U-21s romp
Jerome Thomas has scored his first goal in an England shirt - albeit at Under-21 level. Capping an excellent performance, he pounced in the 21st minute to fire into the far corner, doubling England's advantage at the time (they eventually ran out comfortable 4-1 winners)
Thomas' performance was the highlight of the match - although the excellent Aaron Lennon and C*rlton C*le also turned in decent showings.
If JT keeps up the form he is showing currently, surely Sven will take a look at him in the full squad as a potential answer to the 'problem' left midfield slot. Blessed with an excellent first touch, skills that baffle defenders and a deceptive turn of pace, Thomas would seem an ideal choice to replace the increasingly useless Joe Cole, and would form a devastating partnership down the left flank with one-time teammate Ashley Cole.
Of course, despite this making sense to all concerned, Eriksson is bound to stick with the hapless Chelsea misfit, just as he will persist in playing Crouch when Rooney & Owen aren't fit.
He's Behind you Darren!
...but only in the picture
It looks increasingly likely that Eriksson will start with 'human head on a stick' Peter Crouch on Saturday against Austria. Despite clamour from (of all people) Rodney Marsh, it appears a consensus in the meedja that Benty will once again be forced to take his place on the bench.
It does seem odd that Eriksson whould place his faith in a man so obviously bereft of natural goalscoring ability rather than one who has scored at a rate of a goal a game thus far this season, especially since the Austria game is arguably the more important of the two (if England win they will be virtually assured of qualifying as one of the best second-placed teams, rendering the Poland game virtually meaningless)
No-one is expecting Bent to get a look in when Shrek is back, but, as Crouch won't figure then either, surely it would make more sense to throw in a man in goalscoring form?
Oh well - must be a tough old life being England manager (twelve games a year at 4 million quid)
Bartlett quits international football
Its a decision he has already made once before, but he is unlikely to reverse it this time. Shaun Bartlett has announced his retirement from the Bafana Bafana, effective the end of Saturday's WC qualifier with the DR Congo. With South Africa already unable to qualify for next year's World Cup, and in a development likely to send shivers down the spine of Charlton Fans everywhere Bartlett says he has taken the decision in order to concentrate on 'winning his place back at Charlton'.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Clueless pillock is at it again
'Allo. Wanna buy a Rolex? 'free for a paaahnd
Once again, Simon Jordan is making an absolute arsehole of himself in the national press. It seems that every time he gets to voice his 'opinions' in his column in the Observer he uses it as an excuse to exercise his inferiority complex with another sly little dig at us.
This week's subject du jour is player's wages, yet somehow he manages to bring up the topic of the Valley Express in Kent and ponder the possibility of sending a coach to Brighton to pick up would-be Palace fans. The difference here would appear to be that, whilst we may be successful in attracting new or lapsed CAFC fans to the Valley due to the style of football we play and our (relative) success in establishing ourselves as a top-flight outfit in recent years, Jordan has as much chance of attracting new fans to Sellout Park with his 'product' (his words) as Palace have of being promoted again.
Reg has rebuffed his comments succinctly in this short but pointed piece on the official website, building the obvious enmity which exists between the two of them nicely.
The saddest thing of all for Jordan is that, whilst he concentrates on attempting to badmouth his rivals in the press, his team is slowly sliding down the table - their brand of tedious 'get stuck in and hump it upfield' tat being found out for the hollow, empty fare that it is, and in danger of losing the best manager his 'club' has seen for many a year.
Cheer up Simon, maybe you can berate Kit Symons on national television again - raise your profile as a hard-nosed businessman a bit more. Twat
What a surprise! Dangermouse overlooked by Sven
Seemingly hell-bent on proving he actually knows nothing about Football, the (un)canny Swede has picked the next-to-useless Jenas and shit striker turned shit midfielder Alan Smith ahead of Danny Murphy for the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.The good aspect of this, of course, is that Murph won't get injured playing for/training with the national team, but it is surely an absolute disgrace that someone as out of form as Jenas is picked ahead of him (or, for that matter, Spotty Porker)So much for Tord Grip talking up his chances during the week. We should have known there was no chance Eriksson would pick Murphy with Jenas 'fit'. Whats the betting, if England are 1-0 down against Austria with 20 minutes to go he throws on Crouch (goals this season = 0) and Defoe (goals this season = 3) instaed of Benty (goals this season = 8)Pathetic
A well-read Red
On-loan Chelsea midfielder Alexei Smertin gives a revealing interview in today's Torygraph. Talking up Dangermouse's chances of an England recall, expounding upon the work put in by Curbishley pre-season and waxing lyrical about his passion for reading, Smertin appears to be a well-rounded character.
Perhaps more worryingly, he states that he has a 'close relationship' with Kish on and off the pitch (ooer!)
Its an interesting read, and the mere fact that it was written highlights our excellent start, and provides proof that Charlton's star is in the ascendancy
Bent double - and mugged!
Davids outmuscles Kish in midfield (a recurring theme)
An unimpressive Tottenham somehow waltzed away from the Valley with three ill-deserved points yesterday, managing four clear cut chances in the match yet scoring from three of them. This despite Charlton having numerous golden opportunities in what was an entertaining, if frustrating afternoon.
Spurs started the brighter of the two sides, and made a lot of the early running without really creating any clear-cut opportunities until Ledley King somehow managed to spoon the ball wide when it fell neatly to him in the six yard box following Stalteri's knockback from a corner. The lively Aaron Lennon was being given plenty of time and space to forage down both flanks, and Mido caused problems with his aerial prowess. However, Charlton clicked into gear after about quarter of an hour and slowly took hold of the game. The ever-impressive Murphy and Smertin bossed the lightweight Mendes & Jenas out of the game - only Davids offering any real bite in the Spurs midfield. Bent caused all sorts of grief with pace, strength in the air and workrate, and made a couple of runs that were flagged just offside.
Spurs' reliance on the offside trap was to prove their undoing, however, as Murphy floated an absolute peach into Bent's path, springing the offside trap and clipping the ball neatly past Robinson for the opener. The second half ended with an absolute siege on the Yids goal - and a contender for miss of the season by the mercurial Bent - making minimal contact when presented with an open goal following excellent approach play from Smertin and Rommedahl.
The Addicks faithful didn't have long to wait for Charlton's (and Bent's) second - three minutes after the break, Thomas slid an inch-perfect ball through for Bent who advanced on the Spurs goal. Robinson must have thought the chance had gone when Bent was forced to check back after having his angle taken away, but the striker simply looked up and curled a beauty into the far right corner of the net.
However, instead of consolidating the lead, the Addicks allowed Tottenham an almost instant reply - as Tottenham skipper Ledley King instinctively poked out a leg from Mido's flick-on. The deficit reduced, Tottenham came out of their shell and began to ping the ball around in midfield. As the heavens opened, drenching the Valley in a brief but tumultuous downpour, the slick surface aided both teams' passing and an already entertaining game became even more attractive. Murphy and Davids were having a real influence on proceedings at this stage, but it was another midfielder, Smertin, who made a costly error which led to the Spurs equaliser. Seemingly caught out by the slippery surface, he mistimed his clearance, allowing Spurs sub Tainio to slide a wonderful pass through for Mido to pounce and fire the ball under Andersen from a tight angle. Certainly at fault for the goal, Andersen has now made two mistakes in two games - and both have led to goals.
The Addicks were stung into life and Murphy cut the Spurs defence in half with a wonderful ball for Young, who inexplicably managed to fire wide from six yards - arguably as bad a miss as Bent's earlier in the first half. A betting man wouldn't have liked to put money on which team was the more likely winner, but the odds took a massive turn in Spurs' favour as Bent was forced from the pitch after a clash of heads - without the injured Jay Bothroyd, he was replaced by the supremely ineffective Bartlett.
Of course, it was written that the little Judas would have a say in proceedings at some point in the afternoon, and his moment duly arrived with about ten minutes to go, picking up a pass from Lennon, carrying the ball to the edge of the area and knocking it into the path of Robbie Keane, who planted it past Andersen from 10 yards.
The real kick in the teeth for Charlton came after this, as a succession of chances came and went - Young and Bartlett in particular being guilty of glaring misses when well-placed - and Tottenham somehow came away with all three points.
This is a setback for the Addicks, no question. Of perhaps more importance than the dropping of the three points, however, is their inability to kill teams off. For the last twenty minutes of the first half, Charlton absolutely murdered Spurs, and it wouldn't have been a travesty had they gone in 3 up at halftime. As it was, conceding so soon after doubling the lead will have worried Curbishley, and is something that needs to be put right if Charlton's fledgling European challenge isn't to peter out.
Andersen - 5 - A poor game for Andersen. Didn't really have too much to do, and left wanting positionally on three or four occasions. Directly at fault for the Spurs equaliser. Two poor perfeormances in a row might leave Deano with a chance of coming back in soon
Powell - 5 - Never one to accuse of a lack of effort, Powell looked every one of his 36 years today, especially with Lennon running at him
Perry - 7 - Not at fault for any of the goals, and had a good old tussle with Mido
El Karkouri - 6 - Some nice passes, but looked rusty at times
Young - 6 - OK defensively, and got forward well, but only he will know how he missed from five yards. Also had a good chance late on
Kishishev - 5 - Not at his most effective, and gave possession away too frequently. Got a massive cheer out of the Addicks faithful when provoking Judas into a foul on El Kak
Smertin - 7 - All-action again. Strangled the life out of Jenas & Mendes, but poor clearance contributed to Spurs equaliser
Murphy - 8 - Genius again. Hasn't had a bad game all season, and his passing was sublime
Rommedahl - 5 - Ineffective. Poorest game this season
Thomas - 7 - Not as tricksy as usual, but did everything else right, and slid a beautiful pass through for Bent's second
Bent - 8 - Would have been a nine if not for his shocking miss min the first half. Has to be a contender for England's qualifiers against Austria and Poland and, if he keeps scoring at this rate, is a shoe-in to go to Germany next year
Spector - 6 - Had a go after coming on
Hughes - 5 - Ineffective really - didn't get involved enough
Bartlett - 3 - Useless. Is blatantly past it at this level, like Feeesh was last year, and should be punted on ASAP whilst we can still get a bit of cash for him
Robinson - 7 - Assured, good distribution and not at fault for either goal
Stalteri - 7 - Nice and solid at the back
Kelly - 6 - Looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights at times, but still looks to be a better bet at Left-Back than the Korean no-hoper whose place he took
King - 7 - Colossus at the back, got on the scoresheet as well. Missed a much easier chance in the first half though
Naybet - 5 - S-l-o-o-w. So slow he'd make Phil Chapple look rapid
Davids - 8 - Looked every inch the class act he obviously is. Covered every blade of grass and had a superb battle with Murphy and Smertin
Jenas - 4 - Two bob. Completely, utterly anonymous
Mendes - 6 - Poor in the first half, but came back into it in the second half. Good passer
Lennon - 7 - Livewire. Very good prospect
Defoe - 5 - The arsehole's worst game against us. F&*@er still managed to set up the winner though
Mido - 7 - A handful all game before being forced to withdraw through injury
Keane - 7 - A Handful. Needs to move on and play regularly - took his goal very well
Tainio - 6 - Excellent pass to set up the equaliser, and made a number of other contributions
Dawson - 6 - Put under pressure after replacing Mido and dealt with it well
Close-run thing between Bent and Murphy, but the fact that Bent has managed to score more in his first SEVEN games for Charlton than top scorer Bartlett got in THIRTY EIGHT games last year says it all. If Eriksson doesn't play him at some point in the internationals next week he wants shooting
Dowd - 6 - Fussy, prissy performance. Far too many freekicks given for very little
Quote Of The Day
"Its our problem. If Robbie wants to play for us, then he will"
Spurs coach Martin Jol on Robbie Keane's frustration. Not if you don't bloody pick him he won't!