I already feel a little apprehensive about tonight’s game as I’ll confess I’m finding the sparsely populated Valley on a matchday a difficult sight to accept (the walk from my usual parking spot seems a very lonely affair these days). I suppose it could prove a real blessing to have another game at home so soon after Saturday’s disappointment, but it could also work the other way if fate, luck, inevitability or whatever you want to call it decides to stick another hefty studded boot in where it hurts. And all this drama played out in a stadium that will struggle to be half full tonight: the occasional supporters uninspired to venture out and part with their hard-earned cash. For me, there are few things better than a floodlit game at The Valley. The atmosphere always seems more intense under the dark cover of night as if there’s nothing else going on in the world around you (certainly not more important, anyway). The players need to put a performance in tonight to avoid further apathy and a drop in home gates. As fickle as we football fans are, momentum can be built as quickly as it’s lost, so a win tonight, coupled with a decent performance, will change the complexion in a flash.
Upon further reflection, within the first 30 mins on Saturday there were some decent enough signs of hope from a newly-constructed team that is still work-in-progress. It was far from perfect, but that sort of play could well be good enough to win matches in this division. On the downside, our inability to keep a steady and consistent momentum throughout the full 90 is worrying, especially when we’re at home and so dominant and untroubled against a poor team. It’s Parky’s prerogative to believe that the ref changed the course of the match on Saturday, but I’m disappointed with that view as I believe this Charlton team should be mentally strong enough to overcome a setback (as Sunderland showed on Saturday after that bizarrely conceded goal). Whatever Parky said at half time clearly wasn’t anywhere near good enough motivation or direction, but then the players themselves shouldn’t really need it.
From what I’ve seen this season, the one over-ridding criticism I do have of the new-look Addicks is that nobody appears to be sticking their chest out and taking the responsibility on the pitch when things are not going to plan. Take Racon, for example: for all his obvious promise he must start to dominate the midfield, particularly at home.
Anyway, I’ll be heading down to The Valley tonight full of hope as usual…