08 August 2009

Charlton 3 Wycombe Wanderers 2

The new season started with many of the features of last. The first half was a bit like a training game, Charlton playing the ball around nicely, and totally dominating, but lacking that final killer element. Had a two goal lead after 35 minutes but then Llera went off with a head injury and Charlton began to play a defensive game, trying to hold the position until halftime. OH FOR GOD'S SAKE CHARLTON CAN'T DEFEND DON'T EXPECT THEM TO DO THIS FOR TEN WHOLE MINUTES WITH A PLAYER MISSING. Thirty seconds before bandaged Llera came back, Wycombe scored the goal that got them back into the game, when they should have been buried.

The second half started well with the two goal advantage restored after 4 minutes. With half an hour to go, Parkinson made two substitutions: Andy Gray and Izale Macleod on for Lloyd Sam and Deon Burton, who'd both been playing pretty well. After that the team just seemed to lose any pattern, and it was desperate defending by Charlton most of the time, during which Wycombe got a second goal - gleefully running through a disappearing defence. The referee sent himself off for the last ten minutes or so. Someone suggested he'd realised this probably wasn't the job for him, but he pretended to have cramp or a pull, and strapped ice to his thigh.

So what should have been a routine win - against what surely will be one of the worst sides in the Division - turned out to be nailbitingly tense.

First impressions of this year's team are that we've held on to more of the good players than I feared, and some of them - Bailey, Shelvey, Sam, Semedo - should really be looking forward to enjoying themselves at this level. Lleira is big but slow. Richardson, the new right back, looked generally OK. The most annoying player was Kelly Youga. He's enormously gifted but has terrible lapses in concentration. The substitutions look like a mistake; but how can changing two attackers for two attackers make your defence turn into toddlers?

The materials are there for a promotion challenge, mostly - the biggest lack is cover in the centre of defence - but Parkinson still needs to do work on the basics, like concentration.

As for Wycombe. They looked fairly clueless in the first half, but Charlton specialise in making bad teams look dangerous. Their support was disappointing: they didn't fill the south end, and you'd think that their first game at this level in a ground that's not so far away would be a bigger draw than it turned out to be. But then, it's only Wycombe ... probably half the population of the town was at the Valley today.

1 comment :

On my edge sun said...

Hehe, welcome to League 1. It's like a lottery for results sometimes. A wins a win though and they all count to hopefully getting back to the Championship :) Leeds only managed to beat Exeter with 2 minutes to go earlier, but after losing to worse sides in the last couple of years, its a good result :D

This season has a new benchmark too... 'Could be worse, could be Norwich!'