Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…

Charlton were back in action last night and the big question was whether the team would be rusty or refreshed after an enforced break due to the freezing weather conditions and cancelled games. Those present may have left the Valley still wondering the same question following another Jekyll and Hyde performance. The preverbal game of two halves yet again, but victory none the less.

Valentine’s Day pretty much ensured another disappointing gate. Thankfully, I have the best wife in the world and she would not even waste her effort in trying to drag me to a restaurant when the Addicks are at home. Bless her, she even signed off her card to me with the words ‘your second love’. Walking to the ground a fellow Addick turned to me and joked ‘you got a pass tonight, mate, I see’, before lamenting how 5 of his mates couldn’t attend under orders from their girlfriends. I felt like putting my arm around him…the poor lad looked lost.

I may not agree with how MK Dons came about, but they attempt play football the right way, and that has to be admired. Charlton played some decent football themselves in spells throughout the first half, but with the game in the balance it was with some relief that we received one of the most ridiculous penalties I can recall at the Valley. I could only confess to catching the final throws of the tussle between the Dons defender MacKenzie and Yann the Man, but full credit to the pint-sized ref as despite the ball being cleared from the Dons penalty area and heading air-bound up-field, he clearly saw the whole incident and ran back to produced a straight red to the defender. Such was the confusion and surprise of the incident, it took some time for the crowd to realise a penalty had been awarded. The ever reliable Jackson dispatched the kick well enough to beat Martin in the Dons goal despite the Keeper getting a hand to it.

A couple of minutes later Jackson was felled in the penalty area and stepped up once again to drill home another spot kick. This time, no chance for Martin. A fine captain leading by example.

My personal view on the second half is that the rather abject performance was tactical, although executed badly. Perhaps Powell had instructed the players to retain possession and take the sting out of the game (anticipating an onslaught from the Dons, who had nothing to lose), rather than go for the 3rd goal that would have undoubtedly killed the game. Given the amount of games coming up, perhaps Powell felt we could afford to take our foot off the peddle and ease our way through the second 45. If true, the sentiment could be fairly debated, but the application never worked at all and Charlton were poor. To many loose passes and a lack of drive meant it was an unnecessarily uncomfortable second half. I left the Valley happy, none the less. On another day we may have come unstuck. But we didn’t and the over-achieving Addicks march on. Another sizable hurdle overcome, another game out of the way.

I just can’t see how it could be possible to slip up now, but that’s what worries me! The season’s end can’t come quick enough.

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