Monday, March 19, 2007

New defenders, same result

Charlton Athletic 2 - 0 Newcastle Utd

The hangover of Thursday's dismal capitulation in Holland continued yesterday, as Newcastle once again failed to overcome a more spirited side. Glenn Roeder opted to replace three of Thursday's back four, but despite the reshuffle the result was the same, with Given once again forced to retrieve the ball from his net twice.

With Huntingdon, Bramble and Taylor all paying the price for Thursday's non-performance, we started the game with a back four featuring Oneywu and Moore in the centre, with Duff and Solano at full-back. With Emre restored to midfield, in place of the suspended Butt, the team looked likely to be a strong attacking force, only to misfire badly in front of goal.

Despite appalling weather, we started well, with the midfield working well, but were unable to really carve out any decent openings up front. However, we also stifled Charlton, who looked clueless as to the best means of providing Darren Bent with any opportunities. However we failed to build on a decent start, and by the end of the half had allowed the home team to settle.

The first goal was always going to prove crucial, and when Martins managed to get through on goal his glaring miss proved to be the turning point. Charlton promptly trundled their way up the pitch, won a free kick and after Darren Bent had hit the bar, Zheng Zhi was on hand to nod the ball into the empty net. After that we huffed and puffed, but there was only ever going to be one winner, with confidence now flowing through the Addicks they forced Given to produce two quality saves before Solano fouled Zheng in the box in the final minutes. Jerome Thomas duly dispatched the penalty, to condemn us to our eleventh defeat on the road this season.

Charlton may now be looking upwards, but for us the end of the season can't now come soon enough. We'll pick up enough points to finish in mid-table, but the top half is the best we can hope for, and even that seems a long way off if this is all we are going to offer between now and May.

A Charlton fan's perspective: Addicks Premiership Diary, All Quiet In The East Stand

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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