Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Get that open top bus ready...

Okay perhaps I'm being over the top here, but as I look back over the past thirty years I've supported Charlton I realise that despite the glory glory premiership years I've only been lucky enough to witness four promotion campaigns. '81, '86, '98 and 2000. (Oh and a Full Members Cup Final).

Another great win for the Addicks.  Huddersfield tried hard to break us down but I think they'll know in their heart of hearts the best team won on the night.

It's great fun being a Charlton supporter at the moment, if not a little difficult to blog, because there's just not much to moan about right now.

Chris Powell showed his managerial bravery in bringing on Hughes so early. And what an eye he has for a player in the temporary Jackson loan replacement of Ephraim.

Industrious and with a resolute will to win the Addicks to a man look every part Champions elect from where I'm standing at the moment. I know there's some way to go, but this latest result and performance just further goes to show how far we've come since last season.

The only possible fly in the proverbial ointment was the 'sinister' lurking presence of Neil Lennon in the crowd, who apparently was there to watch Huddersfields on form striker, but would have been given quite some food for thought from Charlton's first half performance. We can only hope that the club owners are more interested in the long term opportunities of keeping this squad of players together rather than looking at making a fast buck in January.

Carlisle in the cup on Saturday gives the manager a chance to rest some of our key men and the rest of us a chance to calm down a touch.

It's taken me a few days after the match to post as I am now only just starting to feel normal following post post match liquid celebrations on Monday night.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The run ends here!

It's one of the most anticipated (certainly by me) games at The Valley for a long time tonight against Huddersfield.

I remember during my early days as a Charlton supporter seeing us play Huddersfield quite a few times during our long stay (well it seemed long at the time, but when your a kid the world does seem to turn a lot slower) in the old second division.

Of course there's always the good old 7-6 match as a point of happy reference, long before my time, over 50 years ago. There's some good information and links on wiki here

But it was fifty years ago, and things move on.  Huddersfield have coped admirably well with the recent expectation levels heaped upon them due to the unbeaten Nottingham Forest record they were gunning for, and beat. Lee Clark did an excellent acting job of seeming uninterested in the record and more focused on picking up points. Once they had beaten the record he did admit he was desperate to complete this achievement. Now with the Arsenal record being banged on about I think this may well become a monkey on Huddersfield's back! We've already tasted defeat in the league, and are still top, so that particular hoo-doo or whatever you may want to call it is no longer  of worry or consequence to the players.

It was the home game against Huddersfield last season, despite it ending in a one nil defeat for the Addicks, that I feel we first saw the old Charlton side begin to 'get' the way Chris Powell wanted them to play.

I don't expect any tactical changes to the line up. Jackson will need replacing, it will be interesting to see who slots into that spot. I would imagine it will be Ephraim.  We may also get to see Darel Russell for the first time, albeit from the bench.

It's only ten O clock and I've already got the twisted feeling in my stomach of anticipation and excitement for tonight's game.

A hard match to predict the outcome for. Charlton unbeaten at home and with plenty of goals in them, Huddersfield unbeaten away having drawn more than they win however and with 18 goals. We could see a high scoring match tonight. Charlton's goal difference is two to the better so I'm going to go for a thrilling 4-2 TV win for the Addicks, with captain Taylor getting on the score sheet. In fact I may even have a punt on that one.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Jackson injury leaves first real change of the season required.

So once again Chris Powell's class of 2011 fly in the face of the norm and actually ground out a result at Griffin Park. Five points clear of Huddersfield and 7 points clear of Sheffield Wednesday in third it's all set up for that tantalising home game against the Terriers on Monday.  The only fly in the ointment being the possible mid term injury worry to captain Johnny Jackson.

The timing and signing of left sided midfielder Ephraim seems an almost prophetic piece of business by Sir Chris. It will remain to be seen as to whether the 23 year old is a worthy temporary replacement for the club captain. Or even whether Powell opts to play with Wagstaff or Green on the left ?

On that note, if indeed Jackson is going to be out for a few weeks (as seems likely) who will step into the breach as fill in match day skipper. On the face of it there are quite a few contenders for different reasons. BWP is probably most influential player with his goals, having said that I really can't remember too many successful captain strikers.  Taylor is by far one of the most vocal players on the pitch so could be (excuse the pun) Taylor made for the role. (Groan).  Hollands is a solid rock in the midfield, and has looked even better than early season since he's been released to go forward more. Hamer who has made it very easy for us all to forget the once prodigal son that was Rob Elliott has always looked really confident behind the back four. There's even a case for Hughes after the way he has stepped in and looked like alot more than a squad player with his mature and sensible performance's. Or Wiggins, who by general con census has been one of the real stars of the season to date.  I just don't know!

Jackson, despite not being overly vocal has brought a calming influence and has lead by example with his tireless and honest displays (and his goals).

The change may well go in our favour for next Monday, as I'm sure Lee Clark would have done his homework on our regular first teamers, so the potential to have another type of player pairing up with Wiggins on the left may well be a bit of a curve ball for them.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Anything's possible in SE7

I didn't post after last Sundays excellent (yes, I said excellent) result against Blue Square North FC Halifax as it had all been pretty much said about this game.

However in the build up to the Brentford away game, it has shown that trends can be broken and these days anything is possible with the men from SE7.  Even back in the Premiership days, this was the type of game that we would capitulate in and embarrass ourselves.  Chris Powell took the competition seriously and fielded a mix of first teamer's and squad players, it worked and we're through to the second round and a home tie against Carlisle, which I think we will win and hopefully go out valiantly against top opposition in a third round thriller, further boosting the experience and confidence of our happy band of men. (And needless to say the clubs bank balance).

Over recent years we've had mixed results against Brentford. Most recently, since our prolonged stay in the Third Division, we've only managed to get all three points once at the Valley with a two-nil win. Other than that they did the double over us last season and we got a 'credible' 1-1 draw at Griffin Park (one of the nicest grounds in the league, with a pub on all four corners of the stadium). And of course there was the three nil home horror of the Johnston (watch paint dry) Trophy earlier this season.

In fact it has been over thirty years since our last win at Brentford. And do you know when that was? It was our last promotion campaign in England's Third tier. If this season is the one where we turn things around and fly in the face of recent history, I think we'll replicate that victory from back in 1980 and nick a one nil win.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Free scoring Addick's win again...

I'm sitting here posting this suffering from a rather bad case of man flu (or a bit of a cold as it's technically known).

Another Saturday has passed us by, and another incredible win by the mighty Addick's. I can't recall the last time I saw us put five past opposition at The Valley.

Besides the fact that BWP is now on 13 goals for the season what's really encouraging is the spread of goals this season with the midfield contributing over 40% of those scored so far.  One of the centre backs even got in on the act at the weekend.

The way we have been playing since the Stevenage game it's quite difficult to single out individual players for particular accolades such is the level of team performance at the moment. Only one more game, away to Brentford, before what I think will be our biggest league game of the season. Huddersfield play their next league game at home to Notts County which may see them beat Nottingham Forests record of league games unbeaten (they equalled it at the weekend).  If they do avoid defeat to take their place in the history books it will set things up pretty nicley for the game on the 28th, which dare I say it, I think there's a good chance of us winning to further extend our lead at the top of the table.

If you look at our position at this stage last season along with Brighton the eventual champions you get a better idea of just how far Sir Chris has taken us.

After 17 games we were on 31 points and second behind the Sussex club who themselves were on 35 points. After the same number of games we're on 40 points. With six games between now and Christmas there are 24 more points to play for.  If this fantastic winning streak continues we'll enter 2012 on 64 points.  If we maintain our season to date form of 2.35 points per game we'll be on 54 points.  After 23 games Brighton were on 46.

I know we're not even at the halfway mark, but it is begning to look like one of those special seasons.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Bring on North End...

When your top, and have been installed as favourites for promotion pretty much every game takes on the title 'potential banana skin'. A phrase i've almost certainly used far too much this season. (Such shrouded pessimism is a sympton of being a life long Charlton supporter i'm afraid).

Preston North End, after a good start to their league campaign, have had a torrid time of it latley. Their last win came back in September (bare in mind we are now in Novemebr and well and truly into the ever earlier countdown to Christmas silly season) against struggling Wycombe Wanderers.  In the form tables they are currently 24th (bottom).  Some may say that Saturday could well be the game they turn things around in.  I say it won't be.  We can all bare testament from last seasons awful run how easy it is to get a losing mentality as a team and get into a dangerous rut as opposed to a blip. (Which is what we seem to have had against Tranmere and Stevenage).

Prestons danger men are overweight ex Liverpool striker 'Fatty' Mellor, Huime and Jamie Proctor - who have all contributed to PNE's season with goals and assists this season.  I don't feel Mellor is mobile enough to give our back four too much of a problem and would fear (if that's the word) both Proctor and Huime more if selected.

Despite the fact that Preston's reserves beat our own pretty well in the League Cup it will be a completley different game this time round with our first team full of confidence and looking like they now have a steely 'we must win' mentality. Another Charlton win to improve our home record as we close in on the big match against Huddersfield at the end of the month.