Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Weekender

Every now and again during the course of a season, a weekend will appear on your calendar that involves two or even three events rolling into each other. This weekend was one of those.
The visit of Huddersfield Town to The Valley was still a long way off on Friday afternoon when my weekend got under way, i had a lot of drinking to do first.

It started in Islington with fellow blogger and all round good guy, Hungry Ted. Now this is a man who knows his beer and just as importantly where to drink it. The Craft Beer Company has a wonderful selection of fine ales under it's roof, whilst providing a majestic environment to drink them in. Clean, classy and spacious, we found a corner with armchairs that invited you to settle in and get comfortable. My favourite tipple here was a beer called 'Happy Chappy', it seemed fitting for my mood as a weekend 'bender' was about to begin.

White Lion Street N1

From White Lion Street we then ventured to just the other side of the Angel tube station to Danbury Street where we found The Earl of Essex, another gem of a boozer situated in a lovely residential area, fortunately well out of my price range. How the residents manage to conduct a life outside the pub remains a mystery to me. More locally brewed masterpieces here, the names of which elude me ( i admit that in a rather embarrassing fashion), and i knew i'd had an unbelievably long overdue good old fashioned Friday afternoon booze. Now many people (my age at least) would have quite happily called it a day there and gone home to sleep it off in front of a film on the sofa, but not me. No sir, i had other plans. I was headed to Camden for an evening i'd been looking forward to for literally months. Myself and yet another fellow blogger, Marco were going to watch The Wedding Present at Koko, a venue next door to Mornington Crescent tube.

Now i thought i had some front, Marco's sister Becky had plenty more. After a quick chat and photo opportunity with David Gedge, the Weddoes frontman, we hunted for a good view for the show. After climbing some stairs Becky pointed to a shut door with the words 'directors box' on it and beckoned us to follow. High up in a box, with it's own private bar, we settled in to watch the support act, an all Japanese girl band Toquiwa. I'd seen them before a couple of years ago in Brighton at another Wedding Present show although they billed themselves under a different name then, so i had a good idea of what to expect. Infamous for their cover of Kennedy, a Gedge classic, they didn't disappoint jumping off the speakers and giving it their all. Good fun and obviously a favourite of David's as he's now released their album on his label.
And then the hours, days, weeks, and months of waiting were over, The Wedding Present took to the stage to perform their iconic Seamonsters album.

The boy Gedge doing what he does best

The album made up the middle of the set opening an opportunity for the band to 'knock out' a selection of other classics both before and after. It's hard to pick out highlights when the set is of such quality but everyone i spoke to enjoyed the rare rendition of My Favourite Dress.
A surprise for the three of us was the unexpected arrival of two fellow addicks, Flynny and Louis, both regulars from the Rose of Denmark. It would appear they had stumbled in on accident but were both suitably impressed with what they saw and heard.

As the songs came and went i looked over the edge at the dance floor below. The first six or seven rows were full of forty somethings moving around in what i believe you would call these days a 'mosh pit'. Try as i might i couldn't resist it's lure and raced down to become a part of the sweating mass. It was while i was down there swaying with the crowd wherever it chose to go that i could have sworn i heard David Gedge say he'd be back to perform another album, The Hit Parade, sometime in the future. I'm already counting the months down.

The venue turned into a club after the set, we knew beforehand we were a little old for that. Instead we met friends at the Cittie of Yorke pub in Holborn where we kept going till last orders before venturing back to Woolwich to rest the eyes a little, well there was a football match to attend just a smidgen over twelve hours away.

A nice early start in the Rose and we soon turned our attentions to the match. With three wins on the trot, many Charlton supporters were full of expectation leading up to this visit of Huddersfield, so much so that we hit the 20,000 mark for bums on seats for only the third time this season.

Emmanuel Frimpong came straight into the starting eleven, Stephens was back in the middle but there were noticeable absentees in Dan Seaborne and the in form Danny Haynes. Fuller started up front with Hulse, Kerkar filled in at left back whilst the biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved for Yann Kermorgant returning to the match day squad after his injury enforced lay off.

The Terriers have started this season in surprising fashion having lost their talisman striker to Blackburn in the summer, many would have tipped them as relegation fodder before a ball had been kicked. Talking to a slightly tipsy away fan in the Kings Head at London Bridge after the game i was informed that they may well have used their season's luck up already, he assured me they had been second best to most they had played so far but had grasped good fortune with both hands once it came their way.

I thought Huddersfield matched us quite well, even when they went down to ten men. Does every club struggle to play against ten men in the same way we do? I really can't recall an occasion where we made numerical advantage count and truly dominate a side wearing them down.

The conditions were awful (although i fail to believe this could have had a bearing on why blue and white stripes clash with red), the rain lashed down although not quite to the standards of the Hull match earlier in the season. This could have had a bearing on the game as the first half struggled to get going, the straight red (which i've yet to see again) being the main talking point. The second period was much more eventful.
Charlton took the lead with a wonderful goal, a nice run and cross from Bradley Pritchard and a sweet clean finish from Rob Hulse raised the spirits of the very damp home fans. Now to capitalise and kill the game off.......

A very hard working and influential Frimpong went off seven minutes later, not through a bad challenge but just a tweak due to a lack of real match fitness. This highlighted a real problem with the loan market, a chance for other teams to use us to get their players match it, a similar thing happened of course to the Arsenal midfielder with Wolves last season.

Chris Powell must have felt we'd done enough, big Yann came on for a cameo, the gaffer obviously keen to please the crowd and make the popular substitution. He replaced Fuller who again showed moments of class yet frustratingly mixed this with an occasional sloppiness.  Four minutes later things were a lot different, the buoyant atmosphere silenced. Chris Solly allegedly challenged unlawfully and the away team had a last minute penalty.

Of course they scored, we really had thrown this away. Hulse twice had chances to snatch it in stoppage time, the first a mix up and lack of communication with a team mate, the second foiled by some magnificent goalkeeping.

We left feeling like we'd lost. It was a case of two points being thrown away, something that always leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. There was nothing else for it but a couple of sobering pints on the way home!
My wife had been shopping with her sister in Camden so we caught the same train out of town stopping for a curry just to round off what had been a very heavy couple of days. A true weekender.

On Tuesday Peterborough arrive in SE7, i'll be a lot more upset if we throw points away against them.

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