Sunday, February 9, 2014

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

Yesterday I watched Charlton Athletic and listened to The Smiths. They fitted together like a couple of jigsaw pieces. Panic, That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore, How Soon Is Now?, Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before, I Started Something I Couldn't Finish, What Difference Does It Make?, all Smiths tunes that could also be titles to my Charlton blogs.

The effort certainly wasn't lacking, but yet again the same old story; stupid mistakes on a sorry pitch performed by a team that debunks belief and who's collective sorrowful body language emits defeat. And this was a game where we enjoyed two thirds of the possession!

It could have been so different, Cousins should have scored when put through and one on one with former Charlton custodian Darren Randolph, but the visiting keeper showed how far he has come since that farcical own goal against Southampton thwarting what was in fairness a tame effort from the young midfielder. Swedish midfielder Astrit Ajdarević had a fantastic acrobatic effort finely saved again by the keeper whilst Iranian striker Reza Ghoochannejhad looked for a penalty in either half, neither given and the second resulting in a booking for diving. Birmingham had a couple of chances too, they took theirs.

The first a free kick swung in from the right, the Charlton defence were slow to move allowing an unchallenged Federico Macheda to nod home past the hapless Thuram-Ulien in our goal. Their and Macheda's second, ten minutes from time, saw the striker turn inside Michael Morrison and slot past the flapping Thuram-Ulien once again.

Considering the time the new faces have had to gel, the overall performance wasn't too bad. The 'engine room', the heart of the team, Ajdarević and young Diego Poyet were superb, our 'light that never goes out'. The attack minded Swede was always in support and is starting to look match fit, the more defensive of the pair, the young home grown prodigy once again looked like he was the experienced pro. Always aware of his surroundings, if any of the back four were caught out of position young Poyet was quick to slot himself in whether it be full back or centre half. When on the ball he took his time, was never hurried, showed great vision and stroked the ball through the mud as best as was possible. His young talent certainly riled the opposition as they started to bully him through their frustration, finally settling for a move more akin to the WWE as he was knocked to the floor an eon after the ball was played as a blue shirt leapt on him from the top rope.

One thing that had been a saving grace this season was our goal difference; we may have shown an awkwardness in finding the back of the net but we had kept a relatively tight ship at the back. Yesterday demonstrated how that ship was one hit from sinking. You can't help a bit of bad luck and the injuries to Rhoys Wiggins and Chris Solly have certainly been felt, showing up a lack of ability further down the squad. I'm not a fan of Lawrie Wilson as a defender, I've no problem with him in a more forward role but his defensive qualities seem a little sporadic to me. Cedric Evina on the other hand was comical for all the wrong reasons. He seemed to have little awareness of his companions actions and even less of his own. It may well be one of the worst individual performances I've ever witnessed in a Charlton shirt, it says something really when the team have, in the past, merrily banded about a term 'having a Ceddy' on their social media sites.

One supporter was, according to a club statement, ejected for directing racial abuse towards the full back. There is obviously no place for this in any football ground, no matter how shocking he was and how much he warranted 'normal' abuse, the colour of his skin certainly didn't contribute to his dreadful performance. Take note as I'm sure Thuram-Ulien will come in for plenty of abuse before Hamer returns from injury.

We jested how Powell may have been conned in a similar way to Graeme Souness back in 1996 when someone pretending to be George Weah rang about his cousin Ali Dia. This keeper also looks like he's never played the game before and has blagged his way into a career. Morrison and Wood looked perturbed about the security both behind and next to them and by doing so their game also faltered. The defence has gone from the stronghold it once was to a weak link in a worryingly short time.

Still struggling to make the breakthrough, Powell made a double substitution Danny Green and Simon Church came on after Church had stood, stripped ready for action for so long the benefit of his warm up became redundant. I love Danny Green albeit if he is a one dimensional player, he'll run down the wing and put in a cross all afternoon in the same way that Simon Church will run after lost causes all day rather than meet crosses with his head. Our Polish striker Piotr Parzyszek was also on the bench, all 6'3" of him, the sort of player that would love a cross or two to get on the end of. Fortunately Powell didn't bring on Dervite with twenty minutes left on the clock to defend a one goal deficit.

I deliberately hung on before posting this, something in the back of my mind nagging that more breaking news would emerge from the club before the weekend was out. Four league matches under the Duchâtelet Empire, and four defeats. Powell, the longest serving manager in the division, it all makes sense doesn't it? I'm most definitely not shouting for his head, I'll support him all the time he's in charge but I think the writing is unfortunately on the wall. During the week, Powell went on record saying he wouldn't walk away from the club. Malky Mackay said the very same thing at Cardiff two weeks before Vincent Tan waved him goodbye.

If you asked me for my honest opinion, I'd have to say it's too late in the day to turn it around. That many new signings need more matches to get into their stride than we can spare, and the remaining fixture list looks intimidating. The current bottom four are starting to find themselves adrift and we've still got to go to South Bermondsey yet!

We don't really know what's going on behind the scenes, suffice to say the jubilation of a month ago and the takeover has whittled quickly away to leave a cloud of despondency in its place. as I tweeted yesterday, "football club in a coma, I know, I know, it's serious."

1 comment:

  1. I'd been holding off for a bit to comment, and eve natter yesterday I still cannot find anything positive to say, and I'm not going to expend energy to just be negative and reiterate so much of what's already been said. 'Football club in a coma' sums it all up perfectly. I just don't get RD's agenda! Not much point just running things down until the season ends so he can start the real work in the summer is there? Surley scraping fourth from bottom would have been a more cost effective strategy than spend another season down in tier three and lose even more of an already dissulusioned support (customer) base? To say I'm confused by the whole thing would be an understatement. Perhaps he's a secret Palarse fan - undercover.