Friday, March 24, 2006

Proud to be a part of it

Owing to the fact that I needed to be at work by midnight and have only just arrived home now, I have missed most of the initial reports and reaction to last nights result.
I presume that the national press will this morning be pulling out the old ‘bore draw’ chestnut, but personally I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and was proud of the way in which we played.

The atmosphere (especially in the J and H blocks of the North Upper) was just superb throughout. It reminded me of the Ipswich play-off game at times, everybody was up for it, not just the usual singers. I’m not sure quite how well the acoustics of the ground carried the sound, but I can categorically state that it was the loudest noise I have heard at The Valley in at least 5 seasons, so well done to all who were both loud and proud last night.

On the balance of play I think that we could argue that we deserved to win the match, but a replay is not the end of the world. At least it ensures that we will definitely be in the draw for the semi’s, and Boro will surely feel that the hard part of the tie is over for them. They will no doubt believe that they can turn us over up at The Riverside, but if we perform up there with the same passion and desire we showed last night, I have no doubts that we will prevail.

Honourable mentions go to the seemingly ageless Chris Powell, Jerome Thomas, and the much maligned on this page Brian Hughes, who I thought had his best game in ages.
Despite those good performances, what let us down was the fact that we simply didn’t work their keeper enough, (especially in the second half) despite having the lions share of posession. In truth, we are playing without a real playmaker at the moment, and although that is something Curbs will obviously remedy in the summer, playing with 3 defensive minded midfielders often leaves us lacking in options when the opportunity for a quick counter attack presents itself. Perhaps that is the reason that so many of our forays forward seem to end up fizzling out just past the half way line, before the ball is passed either backwards or sideways. We just have no fulcrum in the middle around which the side strings fluid attacking moves together.

Another observation was regarding the general standard of our crossing. We seemed to get the ball into decent positions down the flanks a number of times, but unfortunately the delivery of the final ball was lacking. Most were cut out by the first man, and whatever went over his head just seemed magnetically drawn towards the bandaged bonce of Ugo Ehiogu; perhaps that’s just good positional sense from the defender rather than poor crossing from ourselves, but either way, I thought he had a great game for them.

Anyway, when I started writing this I certainly didn’t mean it to sound negative. A big well done once again to both the fans and the players, I was proud to be a part of the crowd for this match, and my strained vocal chords this morning are testament to that. A draw keeps the season alive, and I truly hope that we can reproduce the racket that we made last night when we get up to Teeside for the replay.

I have already booked the day off!

Come on you Addicks.


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