Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Other than Robbie Elliot, it's hard to imagine anyone enjoying the match day experience last night. These are nights to endure...get out of the way...and then forget about as our attention turns to the far more important matter of two home league games inside the next week. With the North Stand empty the stadium was completely devoid of atmosphere; a totally uninspiring fixture, an extra burden of a game that nobody wanted on a desperately cold night. And all this served only to guarantee a low turn-out. None the less, the gate was far lower than even I'd predicted. A few hundred less than 5000 bothered to brave the cold...but I couldn't be critical of those that stayed away. All around you on nights like this are constant reminders of how low we have fallen. Fingers crossed that's the last time we will ever see the 1st Round of the FA Cup! Thank God we was spared extra time.
I know what you might be thinking: nobody bends my arm to go to these sort of games. Of course they don't, but it's what 'supporters' do and it's what I'll always do. If I attempted to think too deeply about whether it really made sense I'd probably have given up on football a long time ago. Good times with the bad, rough with the smooth, highs and lows, peaks and troughs. But then if you're bothering to read this blog then I know you'll know what I mean. I have, however, endured enough of these sorts of desperate nights to have had the foresight to make a warm flask of soup for my drive home. It was the best thing about the evening!
Not that I will be critical of the players. Last night was certainly not the time and place to judge too deeply the recent change in form or whether it has the legs to continue. If the brief was to get a goal - however it came - and just somehow survive the remainder of the match without conceding, getting someone sent off or picking up an injury, then it was a job completed successfully, if not with distinction. Reid's individual goal was very well crafted, but you could almost see him dropping down the gears in his celebration afterwards and he may as well have not been on the pitch in the second half. Elliot was truly outstanding throughout with some top-draw saves. It may well have been his best game for Charlton. He needed to be good: Barnet had nothing to loose and considering we made little effort to get a second, their chances were coming around pretty frequently.
And so on to Saturday, where the mood and gate will thankfully be totally different even if the temperature remains the same. We have a very good opportunity with the two back-to-back league games to further cement our place within the top 6.
Things will be a little different for me on Saturday as I will have the company of my good friend, Bolts, who is taking his young nephew along to what will be only his 3rd experience of a professional match (he's been to a couple of Norwich games, which is his home town club). Lets hope The Valley and Charlton leave a good impression on the young lad.