11 October 2009

Charlton 0 Oldham 0

One thing I've rarely discussed in these post-relegation football posts is the quality of refereeing outside the premiership. First the good: there's a healthy absence of ego. Few games are ruined by a referee wishing to be the star of the show. The worst-refereed game I've seen since relegation from the Prem was two years ago, when a prem referee - slumming it, and obviously not liking it - managed to give out 10 yellow cards in a far from dirty game, but completely missed the foul that put Todorov out for the rest of the season. We won't forget that, Rob Styles, should we ever meet again.

But the bad is that sometimes some absolute howlers are made. Even if they don't affect the outcome, even if they are balanced out, they destroy your faith in the officials. Yesterday's referee, G Horwood, and his officials were in that category. Some utterly capricious refereeing means that no-one quite knows what rules apply.

It wouldn't have made a difference. Oldham were appallingly negative, playing for the draw from the start. They just decided to soak up Charlton's possession play, which they did very well, helped by the weakness of Charlton's front line. Shelvey really seems to have lost the plot at present, playing much too deep rather than keeping on a fairly tight radius off Burton. Also, for some reason he's still the principal dead ball player, although Nick Bailey seems much more dangerous. Izale Macleod came on in the second half, to miss two fairly straightforward chances.

Definitely two points dropped rather than one gained, but it shows that Charlton need to have a strategy for this kind of game: when you're totally on top in midfield but can't convert it into goals, what you gonna do? Clearly, what's needed is to put more players forward, but if even Shelvey isn't getting in dangerous positions, the goals aren't going to come.

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