Sunday, 15 December 2013

Charlton Athletic 0 v 2 Derby County

Saturday 14th December 2013
Football League Championship
The Valley, Charlton
Admission: Free
Programme: £3.00
Attendance: 16,871
Match Rating: 3

My second visit to The Valley this season came about by another excellent initiative by Charlton, who sent out free tickets for today's match to those people, like me, who held a season ticket last season but did not renew for this season. A clever and laudable initiative in my opinion, rewarding supporters for their past support, creating considerable goodwill for seats that probably would not be sold anyway, whilst perhaps tempting people to purchase a half season ticket for the remainder of the season.

It would be a tough order to get anything out of today's game for Charlton. After dropping two points during a crazy ten minute spell last time out at Yeovil, they went into today's game fourth bottom of the table, with just 18 points from 19 games. Today's visitors, Derby County, are the form team in the division under former England manager Steve McLaren, in fourth place with 34 points from their 19 games played, and had won their previous five games. They are by some distance the top scorers in the division, with 40 goals, whilst Charlton are the joint lowest scorers with just 18 goals. However, one stat that would give Charlton some encouragement was that they have conceded less goals than Derby.

On a chilly, overcast afternoon, Charlton had a surprisingly good opening to the game, looking the better of the teams and having more sights on goal, although they didn't really convince they were likely to score. They were made to pay for not capitalising on their superiority in the opening half hour when Derby somewhat fortunately took the lead on 32 minutes. Jamie Ward won a free kick just outside the area, he took it himself and although the Charlton keeper Ben Alnwick seemed to have the shot covered, the ball took a large deflection off the wall and with Alnwick wrong footed, the ball bounced into an empty net. Buoyed by the goal, Derby assumed the ascendancy for the rest of the half, but the scoreline remained 0-1 at half time.

Into the second half and the hosts again started the half strongly, but it was the visitors who came closest to scoring on 60 minutes when Ward saw his powerful shot come back off the crossbar. On 72 minutes, Charlton had probably their best chance of the game when Michael Morrison headed just wide of the post from close range when he really should have hit the target. Other half chances came and went for Charlton, before Derby sealed the win three minutes from time. Craig Bryson ran onto the ball with only the keeper to beat, and he calmly placed his shot into the net. That was game over, to leave Charlton in an ever more precarious league position. Although this was a predictable result, Charlton played well, outplaying their in-form opponents for long spells, but scoring goals is their big problem at the moment and that needs to be resolved quickly if they are not to suffer a return to League One.

Video highlights can be found here

No comments: