Okay, this is getting a bit ridiculous. Last post on here was the end of January and it’s now almost the middle of March.
I didn’t realise it was quite that long until one of my three readers pointed it out last Tuesday night, thanks Ken !!
So, why haven’t I posted for so long ? I don’t really know, it’s not as if there hasn’t been anything to write about. Maybe I’ve just become a little bit apathetic about the whole thing.
The side has been pretty poor under Robinson with suggestions that some players haven’t been putting in quite the expected amount of effort. Maybe some of the players just aren’t good enough or maybe the manager isn’t up to the task.
But, there have been eleven matches since my last post so (for my future benefit if for nothing else) time for a quick catch up.
First up was Bolton away – and not the best start with Lewis Page getting himself a red card for a last ditch challenge to save what would have been an almost certain goal. Unfortunately Bolton scored from the free kick anyway !
Not all that bothered about ‘watching’ the rest of the game via Twitter but then we equalised through Patrick Bauer and even more surprisingly took the lead just before the break thanks to Nathan Byrne. An excellent defensive effort throughout gave us all three points and a pretty cheerful evening.
Home to high-flyers Fleetwood and such is the mentality of this Charlton fan after Bolton away that I was expecting nothing less than victory.
Taking the lead, possibly against the overall run of play thanks to Ricky Holmes it became a little of what only Twitter could relay from the Bolton game as we slowly dropped deeper and deeper. Of course, it was only a matter of time and sure enough Fleetwood bagged their equaliser right at the death which was compunded by Byrne getting a stupid red card before they very nearly nicked it in the final seconds. Two points thrown away !
Three away games on the trot and the first was a bit of a rerun of Fleetwood. We take the lead at AFC Wimbledon courtesy of Ricky Holmes, don’t capitalise on the lead and then balls it up by conceding in second half injury time.
Off to Oldham on Valentines Day (the team, not me) but nothing doing there as we concede inside the first five minutes and despite having more possession, more chances and more shots on target, we couldn’t get the equaliser.
And so onto Rochdale away. A team not that far ahead of us but one goal ahead of us inside the first five minutes (again). And this from a team who hadn’t scored in the previous four games !!
This time we found an equaliser thanks to Jordan Botaka and then went ahead care of possible new striker Jorge Teixeira. Of course we couldn’t hang onto the lead and Rochdale were soon level. I almost gave up the Twitter feed after eighty-four minutes when Rochdale went ahead but this time it was us getting the last few moments equaliser with Teixeira grabbing his second.
Slightly worrying (and this has been a niggle for a while) is the seeming lack of saves from Declan Rudd. He dropped the cross for the opener when he should have done better and did the same against Scunthorpe a week ago.
Anyway, Oxford Utd at home on the twenty-first, the day after my birthday. The least said about the game the better really with us going down 0-1 with former loanee Conor McAleny scoring from distance with what looked a pretty weak (but ultimately very well directed) shot past Declan Rudd.
Nothing doing in the going forward column bar a shot from Mavididi that came back off the post and Chris Solly getting a straight red for a bit of a lunge. Quite a few complaints from those around me at the decision, especially as Solly looked to have been fouled just beforehand but either way he shouldn’t have dived in and the decision was probably the right one ?!
More importantly was the pre-match entertainment – my brother decided to treat me to a seat in Crossbars for the Curry Night. Not a bad meal by all accounts, (no funny tummy Wednesday morning was the best sign), although the slightly bizarre sight of one of the waitresses bringing out the dessert options of a doughnut, muffin and chocolate cup cake without the aid of a tray or a plate.
I was expecting her to start juggling them before her opportunity was spoilt by a chap dropping his plate into his own lap and spilling tikka down his crotch.
Alas, there was no Charlton Legend in attendance (despite said attendance being in writing on the evening’s agenda) so following our performance on the pitch my brother sent a strongly worded moan to the club and bagged them a second attempt to do better tonight.
Saying that, the Charlton Legend will be Bob Bolder (Keith Peacock is the only other option and he has a lounge named after him) but quite what the poor sod has to do while us lot are scoffing curry I don’t know. Maybe he’ll stand between a couple of the pillars in the lounge, gloved up ready to fend off flying onion bhajis ??
Looking forward to it already !!
Back to the Valley again on the Saturday to face Bury. Patrick Bauer had a goal disallowed early on but then Bury took the lead after we made a complete and utter bish of clearing the ball from our penalty box and eventually they were able to force it home.
Lee Novak, who I thought had a pretty good game was denied by bar and keeper, Mavididi had a half chance or two but again, nothing doing and another trip home with no points in the bag and a general feeling of depression in the air.
Not a lot going the right way for us at the moment and the bottom end of the table was starting to look a lot closer than the top !!
A chance to get away from the somewhat toxic atmosphere that was starting to raise its head at the Valley with an away trip to Shrewsbury Town saw us ahead at half time thanks to two great strikes from Ricky Holmes but Shrewsbury equalised and then went ahead inside the space of two minutes with the highlights of our defending almost too embarrassing to watch without peering through my fingers.
Holmes completed his hat-trick and put us level with twenty minutes to go but our defensive frailty meant we couldn’t hold on and conceded a fourth that we couldn’t equal again.
Another away game had us up at Northampton but we conceded two while only scoring one and another three points go to our opponents leaving us without a win in eight.
Over this period KR had come out and said that some players weren’t fit to wear the shirt (I paraphrase – what he said was more like I have players I have to play cos I don’t have a very big squad) but the suggestion that some couldn’t be arsed was definitely there.
We then played equally poorly at Northampton, leaving those in attendance with more than enough ammunition to chuck at the players and manager after the final whistle with KR saying almost the opposite to his comments from the week before without much evidence to back it up.
In my opinion he definitely talks more than a little too much for his own good – it’s an oldy but a goody, but do your talking on the pitch !!
At the same time as we were being poor in Northampton, a fair few supporters were across the channel in Belgium taking the protests to the home of the man whose ownership of the club has ultimately brought us to where we are now. A march through the streets of St Truiden certainly brought notice to our concerns and I have to be honest, I was very surprised that Robinson kept his job as last time he had a home visit Roly got a strop on and sacked Russell Slade.
Strange then that Robinson didn’t lose his job that weekend but Russell Slade did again – getting sacked by Coventry City (another club with dodgy owners !!)
So after four defeats on the spin, we have three home games in a week to try and stop the rot. Unfortunately, the first of these was against Scunthorpe, a team right up there. I wasn’t confident at all. On top of that I’d already spent most of the day down in Lydd (a town that the back of beyond forgot) for my Great Uncle’s funeral.
Uncle Frank and Auntie Pat used to live just around the corner from the Valley when I first stated going to Charlton, in fact the photos of me on ‘My Charlton Pictures’ page as a small person were taken outside their house.
Quite why they moved to Lydd I’ll never know but a trip back up to Charlton meant a train journey from Chelmsford for my brother who was too young to know them and so didn’t go to the funeral.
A delay to kickoff due to some security issue at London Bridge only added to the general nail-nibbling before the game got underway, we looked quite promising really and Scunthorpe looked a bit shit.
A good corner from Ricky Holmes (in itself a rarity) was met by the swinger of Johnnie Jackson on the volley and we were ahead. A bit of a change in formation with what looked like almost three up front with Ricky Holmes the point of the triangle certainly seemed to cause a few problems for Scunthorpe, and with Jacko making sure all around him were pulling their weight we didn’t look too bad.
Chicksen in at full back for Page gave us a bit more going forward
Unfortunately, the obviously not fully fit Josh Magennis had to go off and Robinson made another odd substitution, replacing him with a holding midfielder in Andrew Crofts rather than either of Tony Watt or Karlan Ahearne-Grant.
This decision seemed to push us back a bit, with Ricky Holmes sent to the wide position and Joe Aribo pushed forward. He had been very good in the middle alongside Jackson but looked well out of position higher up.
A cross from the left was probably too far out for a keeper to come for but Rudd did anyway and made a bit of a bish of it. An attempt at a one-handed catch didn’t and the ball landed at his feet as he landed.
A desperate swing of his left peg tried to clear but he missed the ball completely and Scunthorpe took full advantage, grabbing possession and banging it home for the equaliser.
And so the nail-nibbling began again with Scunthorpe now pushing hard for the winner only for Jorge Teixeira to get pulled down in their penalty area, Tony Watt to grab the ball and ping it past the keeper to take the plaudits and give us the points and a cheerful trip home.
Why then, having played pretty well all things considered against a promotion chasing side did we revert back to a one up front formation against Walsall ?
No brother this weekend, he was off gallivanting abroad at a stag do while Charlton were playing (he can’t complain about Katrien doing much the same) so my eldest daughter made a return to the Valley for the first time in almost a year.
All Walsall early on with Simeon Jackson missing an absolute sitter from eight yards out before Rudd went walkies leaving Joe Aribo to come to the rescue and clear off the line. Another slight concern of late is how easy we seem to be beaten by the very long ball and sure enough we were undone by the same thing – Simeon Jackson away again and he finished well past Rudd to put Walsall up just before the break.
An injury to Ezri Konsa early in the second half had me hoping that Jason Pearce is very quickly available again (as Bauer & Teixeira are not a good pairing at the back) but with no defenders on the bench it all looked a bit ominous when Johnnie Jackson stripped off.
Having seen him not be great at left back a while ago I was almost overjoyed to see him go into midfield and Freddie Ulvestad drop back alongside Teixeira.
And fair play to Ulvestad who played very well there, making me for one a little more confident in the ‘play it out from the back’ system as he is a lot more comfortable in possession.
A switch back to the more successful formation of the previous Tuesday night and we were instantly a better side, helped by the introduction of Lee Novak up front. He started winning headers and putting himself about, a pass from Joe Aribo found Tony Watt and his vicious strike beat Neil Etheridge (former loanee) to tie things up.
Half chances for us and one for them did nothing to change the scoreline and the game ended with a point apiece and us going home a little disappointed not to get more out of it.
Only other thing to spoil the day for me was Mr Twat-Bollocks sitting near us who this time out decided Nathan Byrne was the worst defender ever, or, as he called actually said “I don’t know who’s playing right back but he’s just terrible”.
Possibly more importantly than all that are the rumours (for that is all they are for now) that Roland may be considering selling up.
Honestly I’m not counting any chickens – but what I will say is that I’m hopeful that one, the rumours turn out to be true and two, whoever buys us can’t make any worse a fist of it then Roland has.
We’ll see in due course but until I see something about a firm offer in the national press I shall keep well hid any feelings of joy !!
I may of course take the day off work to come down to the Valley to help Katrien pack, or even just join the massive throng of those politely waving her out of Harvey Gardens.
One final bit of negativity before I go though – who is in charge of the match programme because it has been bloody awful this season. Not in overall content or quality but just in the laziness of production.
The spelling and grammar mistakes just leap off the page and completely ruin it for me. Just a tip chaps, turn on the ‘check spelling in capitals’ option on your laptops because spelling mistakes in titles and headlines are just embarrassing !!
Whinge over – on to tonight, home again against Bradford – brother’s girlfriend’s team !! Surely a win – and a curry in the company of a Charlton Legend too.
C’mon you Reds !!