Saturday, 21 March 2015

Charlton Athletic 3 v Reading 2

Another game of two halves at the Valley today. We were abysmal first-half and at 0-1 it looked like a case of waiting for the killer second goal from the visitors. Instead, we fought-back and fully deserved our win.

We lined-up with Henderson in goal, Fox, Johnson, Diarra and Gomez across the back. Cousins and Buyens were in midfield with Gudmundsson and Bulot out wide. Tony Watt was fit again to start and he was partnered by a deeper lying Chris Eagles. 

We had a couple of half-chances early on with Gudmundsson firing wide from a corner the best of them. Reading looked more determined though and spent more time in our half. Henderson stopped a Pogrebnyak header but he could do nothing about the shot he fired home after 40 minutes after collecting a rebound in space six yards out before turning and firing home.

After the break we got at Reading and began getting men forward in support of the hard-working Watt and the ever-running Bulot and Gudmundson. Our lifeline   arrived on 58 minutes when a cross was judged to have been handled by Hector under close supervision from Tony Watt. Reading's players complained of a push but it made little difference and Yoni Buyens drove his shot high into the net. Somewhere along the line Eagles had a snapshot well-saved low to Federici's left post and also saw a back-post header skim the roof of the goal when anything downwards would probably have been enough. 

The decisive second goal was fortunate. A flowing Charlton move down the right with neat inter-passing was finished off by Buyens as he raced to collect a pass in the box. His first touch was awful but it was enough to lift the ball high and wide of Federici. Buyens celebrated unashamedly with the rest of us. 

Simon Church was introduced after 68 minutes and he might have scored before he did when he arrived on a Watt pull-back in acres of space but couldn't find a shot through the mass of sliding bodies who were back in the attempt to halt Watt. However, with ten minutes left Church was in the perfect position to tap home from a foot out after Watt had barrelled into the box, swivelled past his man and threaded the ball along to goal-line for Church to score. Simon didn't celebrate against his former club nor, I suspect, with some of the Covered End Boo Boys who have given him a hard time when he has got on this season.

Two-up then with ten to go and you expect us to concede. We duly did that and with 5 added minutes a draw was on the cards for a few minutes but Henderson asserted himself in goal and we crossed the line. All-in-all a deserved win and plenty of positives for Guy Luzon.

Personally, we look to have options across the squad, despite our injuries and we have attacking options capable of hurting Championship opposition. Watt is obviously enjoying himself at Charlton and hopefully we will see him start in August. Chris Eagles might be too rich for a full contract but he is good enough in this division. Gudmundson was excellent today and earned his crust without relying on a wonder-strike. I felt the middle pairing were far too deep in the first-half and that Buyens looked like he was digesting a two pound steak and kidney pudding. Bulot made another useful contribution and based on what he has shown in the last two months, I'd be pleased to see him start in August. 

Henderson was sound and Gomez was outstanding in front of him. I though Fox was tidy too on the other side and with Wiggins and Solly on the sidelines, we are well served. Roger Johnson was caught for pace on two notable occasions in the first-half, one of which caused him to be booked. He was also culpable for their second but I need to see that again before being too harsh. He has been decent enough but we are seeing some poor mistakes of late and I wonder if that's why he was allowed to go on loan. Diarra doesn't look like a defender to me but what he loses in his defensive awareness, he makes up for with his distribution. 

Results went well enough for us elsewhere, so we shouldn't complain.

The rugby was pretty special too, with over 200 points being scored. Scotland's capitulation was embarrassing. I will look very hard at their fixtures for next year. Can't seeing me doing more than two again...

1 comment:

Chicago Addick said...

"Buyens looked like he was digesting a two pound steak and kidney pudding."

I don't know how, but I going to use that line this week at work. Classic.