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Saboteur

02 October 2013

Charlton 1 Forest 1

If the Millwall game had left me speechless (and blogless) in a bad way, last night's 1-1 victory defies analysis in a different way.

Before the game the opinion was that it would be a difficult evening. Forest were a good team, enjoying a good run of results. Charlton were anything but, and with Solly, Jackson and Kermorgant all unfit, had to fear the worst. Ah well, I thought, at least we might see a virtuoso display by Andy Reid.

Be careful what you wish for. Within three minutes, he had scored. It was difficult from my position to tell if it was a fluke, or bad defending, or brilliance; but with Reid we'd better assume it was brilliance. The night suddenly looked like it would be even longer, but the Covered End, maybe remembering last season's game against Cardiff, shrugged it off and carried on singing. And the team responded. The first half performance wasn't great: there was still an element of nervousness in some of the decision-making. Time after time a high ball failed to find a Charlton head and possession was lost. Forest weren't looking particularly dangerous, though. Billy Davies, their manager, said after the game that they had scored "too early", which sounds like nonsense - can you ever score too early? - but if what he meant was that his team didn't have any urgency about them after the goal, then he was right. Their best chance came from a bad lapse of concentration in the Charlton defence and Lawrie Wilson made a dramatic goal-line save.

The second half was one of the most thrilling 45 minutes of football I can remember. Marvin Sordell equalised after about five minutes, and from then on Charlton put together wave after wave of attack, probably creating more chances than they've had in all previous games this season. It looked impossible for Charlton not to score, but somehow they managed it. Meanwhile Forest had a huge number of corners, which they failed to exploit.

You could argue all night about whether it was a point gained in a game we probably should have lost, or two points lost in a game we could easily have won. Doesn't really matter, though. The team will know how well they played, and as long as they remember that feeling and how to get it, happy days should be here again.

Readers may remember that I used this game last season to draw an unlikely comparison between Andy Reid and Penelope Cruz. Savvy readers will already have realised that was just a ploy to justify including a picture of her. But it's become a tradition, and who am I to defy tradition?

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