26 September 2010

Charlton 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 2

I don't want to go into the question of whether it was a penalty (it wasn't), but it turned the game around and it shouldn't have. D'n'R were absolutely hopeless in the first half, the worst team I've seen in ages. Charlton were playing some lovely football, although it might be symptomatic that the goal came from Llera at a set-piece.

But then that penalty - which was, to be fair, brilliantly taken - and you had to wonder what Parkinson would make of that at half time. The clear message he needed to give was that the team just needed to continue playing the way they were and goals would come. Or he could have used the obvious sense of injustice to stoke up the team. Don't know what he said, but in the second half the team looked defeatist from the start. The movement and interplay was gone. DnR began to play, when they weren't wasting time, and always looked the more likely team to score, especially with Llera having a really bad day in defence. Charlton managed to get a goal with their only real chance right at the end, then dozed off to let DnR get the equaliser that their pathetically small band of travelling fans treated like the greatest victory since General Wolfe at Quebec*.

It raises questions about Parkinson's management. How could he not prevent that total collapse in confidence? The first half showed that the players are good enough; on the whole he's assembled a good squad with negligible resources. But the failure to get them to give a consistent performance is more and more worrying.

*I visited Quebec House in Westerham this summer. The Battle of the Plains of Abraham lasted about as long as a football match, and changed North America for ever. Next time an American says "If it wasn't for us, you'd be speaking German", say "If it wasn't for us, you'd be speaking French. With an atrocious accent."

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