Monday, March 27, 2006

No defence

Charlton 3 - 1 Newcastle

Three soft goals and one absolute belter told the story of our afternoon yesterday. Sadly, we were once again the team conceding the soft goals, with abysmal defending leaving us to return home from London empty-handed again.

With Boumsong restored to the defence in place of the injured Babayaro and suspended Elliott, we tried yet another back four combination. This time it was Ramage at left back, Moore and Boumsong in the centre, and Stephen Carr down the right.

Sadly this combination was to prove no more successful than any we've previously tried, as individual mistakes once again undermined an otherwise decent team performance.

Charlton's first goal came after quarter of an hour, when a hurried Newcastle clearance landed at the feet of Jerome Thomas. His surging run into the box ended when Craig Moore tackled him to the ground, and referee Mark Halsey awarded a penalty. Darren Bent, in front of the watching eyes of Sven-Goran Eriksson, stepped up and slotted the ball past Given to give the home side a one-nil lead.

Despite our early lapse, we continued to press forward, and after good interplay between Emre and Shearer the ball was fed back to one-time Charlton player Scott Parker, who blasted a cracking 30 yard drive into the top corner, to bring us level and silence the Valley boo-boys with the goal of the game.

Sadly our return to parity was to last less than two minutes, as Charlton promptly went back down the other end, and flighted an aimless ball into the box. With no real pressure on him, Moore hammered his clearance off the other ex-Addick in our ranks, and the ball rebounded off Bowyer and into our goal to give them a two-one lead at half time.

Roeder took action at half time, taking off Solano, moving Ameobi on to the right wing, and bringing on Dyer up front, and Kieron did cause them problems with his pace and strong running. Sadly not enough problems to force an equaliser.

Then, with time running out and Newcastle pressing for a share of the points, Dennis Rommedahl broke forward, and fired in a cross which substitute Jay Bothroyd was able to head home, and wrap up the points. That Bothroyd was able to get to the ball must have been an intense source of frustration for Roeder, as nobody tracked his run, and the whole defence stood statuesque instead of moving to intercept the cross.

Shearer's last trip to London ended, as they so often have, pointless. Our defence's performance this season captured in a nutshell: an unsettled line up making individual errors which cost us points.

Come the summer, serious investment is needed at both ends of the pitch. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about.

Charlton fans' perspectives: All Quiet in the East Stand, Addick's Premiership Diary, Chicago Addick, SE7 Dreams

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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