Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Pride of Manchester

I'm probably the last of the CAFC bloggers to write about Saturday's match at Bury, but it can sometimes be a little difficult to get on a computer in my house. And as for using my phone - forget it! I have enough trouble trying to send a 140 character tweet let alone compose a blog.

My twitter feed on Saturday morning consisted of a variety of Charlton fans making their way to Bury by train, car & coach. Those on the train had a fairly straightforward journey. Those who travelled by car suffered delay upon delay as accidents clogged up the M6. Meanwhile I'm safe in the knowledge that I can leave home at 11am and have time to meet up with some more of the Charlton Twitter family before the game.

It's only a 5 minute walk to the station and by the time we got there it was pouring with rain. At this point I was glad that Bury's ground is covered. I really didn't fancy getting drenched as I have bad memories of a game at Port Vale where that happened. But miraculously just before kick-off the clouds pretty much cleared and it was glorious sunshine for the rest of the afternoon.

Bury's ground isn't the worst ground I've been to, but catering wise they weren't the best organised judging by a tale told to me by Sue Gallop. On arrival Sue decided she's like a cup of coffee. Not an unreasonable request, but she had to wait for the kettle to boil. Somehow I don't think that happens at Old Trfford or Eastlands.

I'd been told by several Charlton fans that we were playing some delightful football this season so I was looking forward to seeing the new look side. In the first half I felt Bury were slightly the better side. Charlton weren't bad, but Bury hustled and made Charlton work. Neither team seemed to make the keepers work until a free kick was given to Bury at the edge of the Charlton area. Now I've spoken to several Charlton fans who were sitting in different parts of the ground, and not one of us heard the referee's whistle. Ben Hamer was still arranging the wall when Ryan Lowe hit in a free kick with only a few minutes to half time.

The teams came out for the second half and I would have put money on every Charlton fan thinking here we go again, we're going to lose this. But within minutes of the start Paul Hayes headed in and we were level. Now the free flowing football could start. But again Bury tried to play and so it became an open game. Then the moment Charlton fans had been waiting for. Johnnie Jackson neatly slots home and we're in the lead! We've come from behind and taken the lead! A few anxious moments were had towards the end of the game when Bury had a few corners, but we hung on for a win.

What made it better was Sunday's football results. When it came through that Spurs had lost 1-5 to Manchester City I was surprised. I then watched Manchester United play Arsenal. I can honestly say I have never seen Arsenal play so badly. And I still can't quite work out if United were playing to their full capabilities. All I do know is that if I was an Arsenal fan I would be embarrassed.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Here We Go Again

Charlton Athletic 3-0 AFC Bournemouth.
Doesn't that look good for the first game of the season? And by all accounts a great game for Charlton fans to watch. Goals from new signing Dale Stephens, an absolute cracker from Scott Wagstaff and a penalty from new captain Johnnie Jackson was enough to see off a Bournemouth side who, like Charlton, promised so much early last season.

Sadly for Bournemouth the loss of their manager meant they lost their way last season and then losing players hasn't helped. Charlton, on the other hand, have bought a complete new team of which six made their debuts in the starting line-up and an another came on as a substitute. 

Listening to the commentary it sounded like the team has already gelled and that can only be good for the rest of the season. My main worry was that it would take a few games for them to settle in, but Chris Powell seems to have worked some magic. The team played like a team. Nobody seemed to be lost, or not sure of what they were supposed to be doing. They know what their job is and they do it. 

Yes there can probably be improvements. All teams can improve. but to hit the ground running on day one of the season is something Charlton fans could only have dreamed of. And whatever improvements need to be made I'm sure Chris Powell and his team will make them.

If we finish the last game of the season in the same position as the first there could be more than a few sore heads come 6th May 2012! Come on you reds!!