Sunday, February 26, 2006


I've been trying to start writing this match report for about 20 minutes so far, but very much like the game itself, I'm lacking in both imagination and motivation.

We had the better of a tepid first half, and Villa had the better of the second, but over the course of the 90 minutes a 0-0 scoreline is exactly what both sides deserved. Perhaps on balance of chances created we should have sneaked a goal, but to claim three points through such an insipid performance would have almost been embarrassing.

Darren Bent looked lively enough early on to suggest that he could get a goal if provided with the right kind of service, but the midfield is where we were really lacking today. It is also evident that although Kishishev gives his all, age isn't on his side, and effort alone isn't enough to merit his continued inclusion in a side whose goal was supposed to be European qualification this season.
You have to ask yourself if he would still be in the first XI at Newcastle, City, Bolton, West Ham, or Blackburn. These are the kind of teams that we should be aiming to finish above, and, with the greatest respect, I don't think any of those sides would have kept faith for so long with a player who tries, but simply cannot do.
I don't mean to single out Kish with that last paragraph; the same applies to Holland and Hughes aswell. Holland's passing was simply atrocious today, and Bryan Hughes was anonymous for the best part of his 62 minutes on the pitch. No surprise that both were withdrawn.

I know that we have injury problems in midfield at the moment, and I know that Curbs never intended Murphy to leave in January, but perhaps we shouldn't have our midfield options diminish to this. We haven't had a ball winning midfielder who is also capable of playing a bit since Parker left, even though players like Steve Sidwell were available cheaply last summer. We were heavily linked with him, but decided not to take the chance, signing Smertin on loan instead... We really missed the boat there, Sidwell has been superb again this season, and is currently leading Reading's relentless charge towards our league.

The squad list for the season has been finalised, I know that; but midfield is surely the area that we need to strengthen as soon as we get the chance. There is too much dead wood at the club just drifting around and collecting paychecks at the moment.
I still just cannot get that post of New York Addick's out of my head. Unthinkable as it seemed to me at the time, perhaps he was spot on. We have a massive rebuilding/reshaping job to do over the next year in my opinion, and only one asset worth any real amount of money. How else are we going to fund what needs to be funded?

Anyway, this was supposed to be a match report, so I'll get back to the match.

The only other real talking points were Marcus Bent limping off injured, Baros making an enemy out of the Covered End, and Euell's return to action in SE7.

Jason did his best to change things when he came on. He is evidently short of fitness, and although he lost the ball a couple of times in midfield, at least he tracked back and re-won it for us. I really think that he can still play a part in the side this season, plus he proved again this afternoon that he still has the knack of ghosting into the box unmarked, and the ability to score goals from centre midfield would certainly be a welcome addition to the side. Holland, Smertin and Kishishev are never going to offer the same threat.

With regards to Baros, in real-time from where I was sat it looked as though Spector clipped him from behind, but I think what swayed the referee into not giving the penalty was the laughable way in which he collapsed. If you feel contact and you go down, fine, but for God's sake Milan, try to do it with a bit of dignity. I'll wait until I see Match of the Day tomorrow before I slag him off too much, but I do believe that players reactions are always the best way to tell whether or not a decision is correct, and no other Villa players were pleading his case. I think it's safe to say that he dived.

After rereading the above, perhaps this article reads a little harshly on certain individuals, but I don't mean that to be the case. This performance was certainly not the worst that Charlton have turned in this season, I am just utterly frustrated at the moment by players who don't seem to want it half as much as I do.
The BBC called it uninspiring, the official site identified it as frustrating, Sporting Life declared it lacklustre; but Cynic Athletic will go one step further, and label it as downright boring.


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