The Charlton squad returned from sunny Spain to a very damp South East London this week. After the chance of facing sterner opposition in the form of a tale of two cities, Bristol and Cardiff, it's back down to earth with a bump. Aldershot on a Wednesday night.
There is very little i can say about the trip to Spain that hasn't already been said. The win against Bristol followed by defeat against the Bluebirds have been documented elsewhere, and with a lot more attention to detail than i can give. With limited press and media following the trip, it meant relying on other clubs footage and reports. Bristol City excelled in this! The official Charlton Athletic web site does however contain a very entertaining blog from goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts that i strongly suggest reading.
Aldershot on a Wednesday night then. Work dictated that i was never going to make it, i have to wait until Woking on Saturday to catch my first glimpse of the lads, but a good couple of hundred Addicks did make the shortish trip to Hampshire.
With the added bonus of the Charlton Live team giving us our first commentary of the season (except for missing the start of the second half and Paul Benson's goal) and normal service was well and truly resumed.
Now i have a very poor excuse of a reason for despising The Shots. A club that have been through plenty of the heartache we have, more so in fact with a new club being formed and competeing in an incredibly low division, i should have more sympathy.
There was however a gentleman whom i shall not name that i used to work with, a big big Aldershot fan. That's fine, i like to see a bit of passion about your side, but there was some real arrogance and nastiness in his Charlton baiting. Add to that a bit of trouble when they came to Crawley, although from what i can make out Crawley aren't exactly saints, and all in all i'm not a massive fan of the rising pheonix.
Back to tonight's match. The starting eleven for Charlton was a very strong looking team. Elliot, Solly, Taylor, Morrison, Wiggins, Bover, Hollands, Jackson, Green, Benson, and Wright-Phillips. The first half did however fizzle out into much of a nothingness. Two items of note only. A Danny Green strike which rocketed against the crossbar. He's becoming a popular signing this boy, his name was mentioned frequently tonight.
Then a penalty for Aldershot. Morrison brought down his man in the box and presumably due to it being a friendly, no card was shown to the centre half. No need to worry, Danny Hylton fired it high and wide over the bar. I fear he had been watching the Womens USA team taking theirs at the weekend. Note, no Nicky Bailey gags here!
Green again played a part at the start of the second half with a cross for Benno to get his head on and hey presto 1-0 Charlton. Technical difficulties (apparently) meant us listeners missing that piece of action. Commentators propping up the bar is a more likely scenario though.
A goal for the home side against the run of play by Luke Guttridge caught Charlton napping midway through the second period. Otherwise nothing really to complain about. It's a friendly, results aren't the be all and end, and to be fair it's the first time they've had a competative ninety minutes. Before tonight Chris Powell had fielded different eleven's either half, so it was a good step up for the players.
Danny Green looks good, young Ruben Bover (a heat seeking ferret?) got glowing reports and may well be knocking on the first eleven door quicker than expected.
A successful evening, if things go according to plan, it should get better by the game. Woking first, then Den Bosch at The Valley for the people's cup Tuesday.
Footballs back........and about time too!