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Charlton Athletic 2 Watford 3 (07/03/2009) 07/03/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.
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Five thunks from our first win at the Valley since 1990…

1- In common with his predecessor’s more successful periods, Rodgers increasingly suggests that he knows what needs changing at the interval.  We’ve seen tactical switches in previous games… today, one assumes, it was just a much needed kick up the backside that provoked a sterling second-half performance…

2-  …and a fightback which really shouldn’t have been necessary.  Letting the limited Addicks back into it was sloppy at best – overconfident at worst, as a half-time protagonist not unfamiliar with these pages suggested.   Mike Williamson in particular displayed previously unsuggested absence of concentration.

3- Charlton are as dead as a dodo, displaying so many characteristics of a relegated side… plenty injuries, inability to hold a lead, glum silence rather than anger in the stands, inability to change a game (three like-for-like changes).  We’re not safe yet, but we don’t look like that.

4- Some blinding goals for the Golden Boys.  Make sure that you catch Rasiak’s if you weren’t there.  Or even if you were.  Wallop.  And Priskin’s wonderful winner… my brother’s celebratory text informing a friend of developments contained a single word that said everything.  Dink.

5- What a wonderful bloody racket from the travelling support.  Keep this up and we’ll risk ruining a hard-earned reputation for decorum and restraint…

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Comments»

1. Lesley-Anne - 07/03/2009

Yes, an excellent afternoon’s entertainment, a bit too close for comfort really but we got there in the end. Cowie continues to look a good addition to the team. Three great goals to savour: first one was a great build up whereas the 2nd and 3rd were great finishes. That’s 2 contenders for goal of the season for Rasiak now, along with the one against Palace, and Priskin is showing what confidence can do for a goalscorer! His chip over Richard Lee in the pre-match warm up left Lee shrugging to the fans behind the goal as if to say What am I supposed to do with that?!!!!!!!
Hope Tommy Smith will be back soon and we really missed DeMerit again, hopefully he might be back on Tuesday.

2. Vicarageroad - 08/03/2009

Couldn`t make the game, but even on the radio there were only one set of fan “hoisting their Flag”!
The valley was rocked by the sound or the Orns

3. JohnF - 08/03/2009

What is it about playing away that induces such nervousness in the defence? One game they are solid coming of three clean sheets (confidence boosting or what?) then they look as though they’d never met before and were all playing in defence for the first time. All of the back four looked uncertain and the central midfield started joining in. Mariappa was the most nervous and it demonstrated how thin our defensive resources are, particularly in the middle. Still the attacking part did very well and always looked capable of gettinga goal from a defence that was as nervous as ours. Three great goals. The first was sheer quality with a wonderful move that was like a can-opener opening up a tin to provide a treat at the end. Rasiak’s was important to stop frustration and garner hope and confidence, an excellent strike. The third was less spectacular but a goal from a striker who is on top form, alert and quick, robbing the defender and coolly flicking the ball over the keeper; never any doubt. Made up for the embarrassment of their two gifted goals. A thoroughly satisfactory afternoon with great support.
I’ll be sorry to lose Charlton, easy to get to, decent beer, good fish and chips, nice ground and great stewards, very friendly, and on this occasion a win at the end.

4. Matt Rowson - 08/03/2009

John… agree about losing Charlton; don’t totally agree about the defence. Thought Lloydinho did well throughout, and would put much of the defence’s problems in the first half down to unusual lack fo protection through the middle… a number of times Charlton just came straight down the centre…

5. The Great Big O - 08/03/2009

I felt the most influential factor in this match was Charlton’s fluctuating level of confidence.

From the start they looked worried when we began brightly and passed all round them. But when we saw we were better than them and sat back (the overconfidence previously noted), they took courage and we found out Mariappa and M Williamson were having off-days. At 2-1 up, Charlton looked confident and up for the fight.

Half-time provided a considerable change. Rodgers boasts that he ‘verbally attacked’ his players. But the change seemed to come more from Charlton – fear at holding a lead. They played defensively and nervously – which allowed us to start passing again – and they paid the price thanks to two high quality finishes from Rasiak and Priskin.

Fun, though.

6. Tim Turner - 08/03/2009

Is it just me, or is Tamas Priskin the most infuriating striker we’ve had for years? On the one hand, he’s blessed with sublime creativity at times, always looking to outsmart defenders (which is presumably why he gets caught offside so much), and a great finisher, as demonstrated again yesterday.

But the way he goes to ground at the slightest hint of physical contact from an opponent drives me mad. It’s surely counter-productive, as referees will get used to it and turn down genuine appeals for free kicks and penalties. I was thinking during the game yesterday that if he wasn’t our player, I’d be directing some extremely choice abuse at him.

7. Fran - 08/03/2009

TGBO, I didn’t think the change came from Charlton at all. We had looked very shaky after they got their goal. In the second half, we appeared up for the fight again, there was a renewed confidence.

The goals were all excellent, but Rasiak’s was breathtaking. In a way, the ropey defence made the day all the better. The mental celebrations and the post-match celebrations would not have had the same intensity if we’d not had that fightback.

A thoroughly enjoyable day out and I, too, will really miss going to Charlton next season.

8. Joel Goldman - 08/03/2009

atmosphere was immense from the glory hornet boys. best away day ever!!! wont be forgetting that for a while. the singing just carried on the whole way home. throught the streets on the train, in the station. unbelievable. really looking foward to great prospects for next season. lets keep hoisting up the hornets flag.
Joel Goldman

9. Tops - 08/03/2009

1. Did Tommy Smith going off actually help us in a strange way? Playing 4-4-1-1 was affording Charlton too much respect. They’re so poor that an old fashioned 4-4-2 with two proper wide men and a target man, and full backs bombing on, had much better results. Would Rogers have changed the tactics had Smith stayed on? Perhaps.

2. Rasiak, playing for perhaps the first time this season like Rasiak circa 2004. As my mate (a Derby fan) said just after his goal, “when he plays like that, he’s far too good for this league”. A shame he can’t do it more often, but a joy to watch.

3. The support was superb. Full marks to:
a) The creators of the song
b) The stewards for allowing those who wanted to stand to stand…what a difference it makes
c) The rendition of ‘this is the best train I’ve ever been on’ on the way back to London Bridge, which had the rest of the carriage (even the Charlton fans) in hysterics

4. A shame to lose Charlton – consistently the best away day of the last few years. The word demoralized doesn’t come close to capturing the mood among the home support.

5. Jack Cork continues to impress, and not just for his footballing ability. For a kid, not from Watford, not even owned by Watford, the degree to which he cares is extraordinary. More passion than countless players actually on our books over the last couple of years. Well done young man.

10. Matt Rowson - 08/03/2009

Tim Turner – can only agree re Priskin. I thought the challenge by Racon (in which he appeared to injure himself) in the second half was probably a penalty but there was no way Priskin was going to get it after going down so easily previously. Plus, the referee was letting an awful lot go for both sides, which I guess you’d rather have than the other extreme.

Priskin’s improving all the time though, it’s clear why he’s been persisted with for so long.

11. Esp - 08/03/2009

Fun yes Great Big O but don’t the team let the fans go through a roller coaster of emotions throughout the season? Never boring innit?

The away crowd wee magnificent and with only two goalless draws in the entire season I can see a few more goals coming in the upcoming Forest and Ipswich fixtures too.

A nice local match for me this was and it was fantastic to secure a first win at their place in 9 years (thanks Mr Statto!!) – I can’t tell you how nice it was to walk back over Blackheath to Lee Green resplendent in my yellow home shirt with “12 -Doyley” on the back, some of the hand gestures from passing cars were a little rude though i has to be said

Finally one hand gesture I CAN put up with is the thumping fist salute that Brendan gave the Jimmy Seed Stand immediately after the match. It maybe a bit Aidyesque but I have a feeling our love affair with this man may last a little bit longer. Survival in this division is a bit nearer this weekend and mid table safety is very achievable from where I’m sitting

Brendan? more please!!

12. Matt Rowson - 08/03/2009

esp – 19 years

mr. add-up-o

13. DM - 09/03/2009

Half-time protganist here..

What a second half that was. A great recovery, Premiership quality goals, boisterous support and a great win that relieves the pressure added by the Plymouth team selection. Good stuff Brendan.

Whatever Brendan Rodgers said to his players at half-time worked an absolute treat. The over-confidence we showed after Cowie’s goal was forgotten by the way we flew into Charlton from the start of the half. Having been let back in by our switching off in the first place, they simply couldn’t cope. But it was our fast start that got us back on track rather than any change in Charlton’s attitude.

One key thing in that second half was the performance of Cork and Jenkins. I lost count of the amount of second ball that pairing won, they gave us a perfect platform to launch successive raids on the Charlton defence. The last goal was all about the pressure we’d built up on them. Priskin and Rasiak rightly get the kudos for the goals, but the credit for enabling us to keep on top goes to our young midfield duo.

Onwards to two winnable home games, the first of which is as big a six-pointer as we’ve had thus far. By Saturday evening we could have a very nice cushion indeed….

14. Esp - 09/03/2009

I wrote: “it was fantastic to secure a first win at their place in 9 years” thanks you for the correction Matt; I’m taking my abacus back to the Early Learning Centre – 19 years??? Makes the victory even sweeter 🙂

15. East Stand Man Expat - 09/03/2009

Every so often I get reminded why I have supported Watford since my first match nearly 50 years ago. The way we took over London Bridge Station after the match was spine tingling and life affirming to say the least – this is the best trip of…….

On a more measured note we never look so good at the back when John’Arley plays there. I think he is a fantastic player but only in mid field.

Still a great day out and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

16. Gerry G - 09/03/2009

I too will miss Charlton in this division, though let’s not get complacent about not joining them as it’ll only take a few duff results to put us back in the bottom 3. It’s only a few seasons back that Charlton was being held up as an exemplar of a small to medium sized club that had established itself securely in mid-table in the Prem, Leicester being another. Their sorry fate really does show how quickly a team can fall from Prem grace, and how precipitous the consequent decline can be. They never went over the top in spending like Leeds did, yet for all their prudence and care still slid down the ever-greasier and ever-steeper snake like Sheff Wed, Leeds, Leicester and Forest (to name but a few ‘famous’ names that have bitten the dust), to end up in the third tier. Their decline is indicative not of a badly-run club, because it’s not, and indeed the club’s relations with Addicks fans have been spot-on for many years, but of the vast and obscene wealth gap between the Prem and the rest of football.

Leeds you have no sympathy for as they sowed the seeds of their own destruction through reckless spending, and their fans are charmless violent nerks. Forest, Wednesday and Leicester were all partially guilty of bad financial management and hubris and perhaps needed a period down amongst the dead men to cut them down to size. Charlton, though, have done nothing to deserve their plight, and it’s very sad to see them in the shit like this. And a salutary reminder that we, and any other club, could go the same way very, very easily.

17. Greg - 09/03/2009

I agree DM but how good was Harley? who almost seemed to play Left Mid as Cowie cut inside behind Rasiak and Priskin until he switched back with Mcanuff. The only problem I have at the moment is Mariappa we need Demerit back.

18. Matt Rowson - 09/03/2009

Greg, I’m with East Stand Man (#15). Harley is ace, but not a left back. Always on the bench, and sometimes on left of midfield, but Mariappa’s going to be terrific, and Mariappa-JD-MW-LD from right to left looks our best defence at the moment.

19. Red - 09/03/2009

Sorry to say, for reasons I won’t go in to, I was sitting in the East Stand with the Charlton supporters. I didn’t need to worry as they were moaning so much about their own players I could have said anything- one Charlton supporter even started to sing “Your going down with the Charlton”.
The Horns support was fantastic- why can’t it be like that at home? However, lets not kid ourselves. these were TWO very poor teams- the fact is Charlton were pretty awful. Rasiaks goal, which came out of nowhere, came as a result of Mcanuff slipping when he crossed and the ball went to where it was not intended. The third goal was a gift- “thats why your going down” was appropriate. I am still very worried. Hopefully a good win on Tuesday will have you writing about how mistaken I am, but when we played Charlton at home I tipped both teams for relegation. Please God I am wrong.
P.S. Liked the fishhhhhh, on the advert. Whats that all about>

20. Joel Goldman - 09/03/2009

Greg- what about gavin hoyte?

21. JohnF - 10/03/2009

I agree with you Matt on the defensive line up but we do need central cover with DeMerit frequently injured. The key for tonight will be staying calm when things get hectic.

Gerry G, I agree up to a point about Charlton but when they lost Curbishley, who went when the pressure from the fans to push on to the top four became more intense, there was no plan B. Giving new managers a lot of money and then just a few games is not the sign of a well-run club.

22. stephen hoffman - 10/03/2009

not left back harley was class yesterday 2 vital goaline clearances what more do you want from your left back

23. Matt Rowson - 10/03/2009

stephen – I’d like a left back who could cope with a halfway decent winger. Harley will give everything and is fine in many situations… but he reminds me of Robert Page in that he often looks good retrieving situations that his poor positioning has created in the first place.

Red – I think you’re being harsh. Nobody’s pretending that we’re suddenly Brazil 1970 but we were much better than Charlton. We might have got a break with McAnuff’s “cross” but there was nothing lucky about the finish. With the third goal, yes Hudson stuffed up but Priskin BULLIED the mistake out of him (yes, really) and the finish was exquisite.

24. DM - 10/03/2009

STAT CHALLENGE

I’ve mulled this over, and do you know what, I’m going to challenge your 1990 stat, Rowson. I put it to you, Sir, that you are wrong, and that the 1990 win you mention was, in fact, at Selhurst Park rather than the Valley.

What you got to say about that ? Eh ? Eh ?

PS Black Shorts…….

25. Matt Rowson - 10/03/2009

Yes, OK. 1990 was Selhurst. Cup run 1984 was last win at the Valley (25 yrs).

As a consequence of which… we still haven’t won at the Valley since 1990. So the intro is correct, albeit perhaps misleadingly so.

As ever, messenger, you provide the right answer to the wrong question.

red shorts. obviously.

26. Wat4Steve - 10/03/2009

Can’t believe people are having a go at Mariappa (Greg) I think he has been far better than Jay this season and altogether a much better defender.

Re Demerit I would use Matt’s analogy of Robert Page…….

As I have said before we are trying to bring in Mancienne (excuse spelling) but agree a left back would be good too.

27. stephen hoffman - 10/03/2009

i think your being incredibly harsh on harley he links very well with macanuff and makes many important tackles and isn’t as slow as people think he is. Positioning – i dont think it’s that bad – compare it to the previous left backs , mayo , darlington , stewart- it’s pretty good. Harley also provides experience at the back.

28. stephen hoffman - 10/03/2009

i remember page and his positioning was pretty good until his last season with us when his confidence was shot. The main problems i remember with page was crap distribution- but his numerous attributes from tackling to being a dirty bugger who never gave the opposition forwards an easy game to a great headerer , to a vocal leader- i for one think he’s the best captain we’ve had in the last 15 years,to his deceptive turn of pace ( he weren’t that slow.


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