Sunday, 29 December 2013

Mud & The Mundane...

If Roland Duchâtelet does take control of Charlton then it's debatable whether he should concentrate on strengthening Chris Powell's threadbare playing squad first or sort out the awful Valley pitch. Both need urgent investment. Unsurprisingly, today's '6-pointer' against fellow relegation threatened Sheffield Wednesday was as awful a spectacle as the quagmire pitch the game was played on.
Ideally, after such an encouraging performance and result against Brighton on Boxing Day, Powell would have no doubt preferred to field an unchanged side, but Solly was not considered fit enough to compete in two games back-to-back so soon after returning from a long injury and Wiggins was unavailable due to the birth of his first child. That meant Evina came in at left back, Wilson dropped to right back and Jackson returned to the side after suspension. Bizarrely, Jackson's inclusion meant Stephens was played in an unfamiliar right midfield role. The usual talismanic Jackson failed to get into the game at any point and I can't recall a single meaningful contribution, whilst we missed Stephens in the middle. Powell needs to find a different way of playing our skipper if he remains determined to include him.
Powell also needs to be braver, especially at home and where his substitutions are concerned. How shit must Sordell be in training if he fails to get onto the pitch when Church is clearly having a stinker? I'm not Sordell's biggest fan, I'll be honest, but I wonder if he'd have dealt any better with that glorious chance that fell to Church towards the end of the game. We'll never know, of course.   
Tactically I thought Powell got it wrong today but he is working with a very limited deck of cards. I for one remain 100% behind him, but I can't help thinking we could end up regretting this result come the end of the season rather than viewing it as a point gained.
Hopefully he will be given funds to strengthen in the January transfer window.
And so, despite a forgettable first half in which we created very little, we found ourselves in front early in the second period. Thanks to some woeful defending Stephens was put clean through from a throw-on by Wilson and he kept his nerve to shoot past an oncoming Kirkland.
The lead lasted just over 10 mins before Wednesday equalised through the impressive Connor Wickham, although just as I felt at the time, the striker was well offside in the build up to the goal (as the screen shot to the left shows). The inept linesmen failed to spot it and the goal stood. I thought we'd shaken off the bad luck? 

Wednesday continued to press for a winner and we looked increasingly like we were happy to settle for a point. Alnwick made a first class stop from a header otherwise a disappointing afternoon would have got a whole lot worse.
All in all, a draw was about right. Both us and Wednesday have a lot of work to do to avoid relegation on this showing. I won't dwell anymore on today's game.

On a positive note, 5 points from the last three fixtures is a good return and one I didn't really expect. We have opened up a 4 point gap between us and the bottom 3 and once we have negotiated a tricky away fixture at Ipswich on New Years Day (I'm not expecting anything there) we should look forward to some winnable games in January.  

Above all else, hopefully, fingers crossed, we can look forward to a brighter future thanks to an incoming wealthy Belgian businessman...

1 comment:

  1. No Wiggins, no solly, Jackson awful and a shocking double substitution that made no sense in terms of trying to win the game. Absence of our full backs left us unbalanced but when our manager plays Stephens wide to start with we were always going to struggle. Combine that with our awful playing surface.......! It just shows how thread bare our squad is, bring on the new owners, soon!!