Sunday, March 17, 2013

The king of the jungle

Yesterday the Millwall lions were the kings of the concrete urban jungle that is South East London. Bragging rights go back to South Bermondsey, for the time being at least.

On a day of torrential rain Charlton certainly had their chances, Yann Kermorgant returning from suspension saw his sweetly taken free kick go inches wide while Laurie Wilson knocked the ball over the bar from just a foot or two out. Millwall, still riding high from their midweek cup triumph which booked them a cup semi final at Wembley, soaked up every Charlton attack and then pounced, biting us where it hurt.

Former Addicks loanee Dany N'Guessan went off and Jermaine Easter, the man who's goal for Wycombe knocked us out of the Carling Cup quarter final, came on. This proved to be an astute move by Millwall boss Kenny Jackett. Richard Chaplow somehow found a hole between two red shirts and crossed the ball from the left to Easter who, with his first touch, turned the ball past David Button. A tragedy of a goal from a Charlton perspective. Jackson was bullied by Chaplow and Solly saw the cross go through his legs, yet that was the hard part. Easter had it much easier as his deft touch saw an almost comical piece of keeping from Button which probably had Ben Hamer's persecutors begging to have our number one back between the posts.

Millwall's second was in fairness a wonderfully struck free kick from Australian born Shane Lowry. David Button stood very little chance, in much the same way as when he was beaten by Charlie Austin a couple of weeks earlier, although being a set piece he did perhaps have a little more time to position himself and prepare for this one. With twenty five minutes left on the clock the game was to all intents and purposes over. Four games against two South London rivals and we've come away with a point.

As if the result wasn't grim enough, Charlton supporters then had a well documented detour to make their way home so that visiting supporters had a quick and easy journey to the train station. Reputations or not, I cannot think of another football club that would disrupt routine for their own supporters rather than risk antagonizing their counterparts. I've heard stories that it was police driven but it wouldn't surprise me if the club instigated it, worried that damage to the Jimmy Seed stand could occur if the result had gone the other way and Millwall's travelling contingent had been held back after the final whistle.

There was no place for new Charlton loanee Mark Gower, signed from Swansea City midweek, he will just have to wait a couple more weeks before trying to help Chris Powell's side get over this home form voodoo. Again, it's another week where sides down the bottom dug deep and picked points up, we may be almost over the line but on the basis of the home form alone we'd be propping the other twenty three clubs up single-handedly.

In a post match interview Powell never shied from the fact, “I’m embarrassed by it. It’s not right. I’m just absolutely mystified by it at the moment.” He's not the only one. Our season tickets may be competitively priced but in the value for money stakes they fall very short. The money for next years will certainly stay in my bank rather than the clubs for a little bit longer yet.

We are now only five points from safety, fortuitously so are another half dozen sides.

Next Saturday (thankfully?) sees an international break, followed unfortunately the following weekend by another home fixture against Bolton Wanderers. Please excuse my lack of confidence, and for that matter, enthusiasm.

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