Saturday 29 November 2008

Charlton 0-0 Southampton

For the first time in a long time, I actually enjoyed watching Charlton play this afternoon. I enjoyed cheering them onto the field, I enjoyed cheering them off at half time and I enjoyed cheering them off at full time. It was also a very refreshing change to not hear any boos around the stadium (except for those directed towards the referee) and to watch a team that actually looked like they knew what they were doing. Fair enough, we didn't win but we didn't lose and we didn't concede a goal, something we hadn't managed in thirteen previous games.

Parkinson's starting XI incorporated a number of changes from the one that took the field to QPR. Ensuring that there are no more than five loan players in the match squad is clearly a juggling act, and on this occasion Linvoy Primus and Martyn Waghorn made way. Fortune returned to the centre of defence, with Jay McEveley starting at left back. Mid-week goal scorer Thierry Racon was surprisingly dropped from the squad altogether with Bailey returning, and Deon Burton making his debut up front with Andy Gray.

The first half made for encouraging viewing and the Saints had Kelvin Davies to thank for a string of decent saves, especially from Deon Burton's overhead shot. In truth, we really should have gone into the break a goal to the good but a lack of cutting edge in the final third of the pitch, along with some dubious refereeing (the Southampton players' arms must have been invisible to Mr. Mathieson) meant that it remained deadlocked. The second half was a bit of a different story and in all honesty I think most fans would have been pleased with a point leaving the ground. The Saints piled forward and Nicky Weaver showed what he can do when on his day with a couple of decent saves.

Of the new boys, Jay McEveley had a decent enough game and I would imagine that Grant Basey and Kelly Youga will struggle to get a look in whilst he is still there. Keith Gillespie showed some good positional play but his legs clearly aren't what they used to be and by the time he was replaced by Lloyd Sam with about ten minutes to go, he looked like he had had enough. Deon Burton looked lively in the first half, with his overhead attempt being the obvious highlight. He was ineffective in the second period however and I really don't think he is the answer to our striking worries.

Of the rest, my man of the match award would be split between Mark Hudson and Jose Semedo. Hudson made some important clearances in the first half and clearly works better alongside Fortune than he does Primus. As for Semedo, why oh why was Pardew so reluctant to play him in central midfield? He showed why he shouldn't be wasted at right back with a great performance in the holding midfield role, making a number of good covering tackles. Weaver also deserves a mention for a solid performance, especially after the Sheffield United horror show of last week.

All the indications seem to be that the manager's job is Parkinson's if he can prove himself in the caretaker role. I've said before that I don't believe he is the man for the job, but I am happy to let him persuade me otherwise and today's performance went a little way to doing that. Fair enough, it's not like we played them off the park (and Southampton are not a great side) but the man isn't a miracle worker and after last weekend's debacle it was a great improvement. With Doncaster and Watford drawing, it's pretty much a case of as you were (although Forest did win) so there is still all to play for. I think I can actually enjoy my Saturday evening now having not watched another completely inept Charlton performance. More please!


Wyn Grant said...

Racon picked up a knock at QPR leading to a swollen knee.

Anonymous said...

Parky is tainted by the old regime. Crainey at full back despite him geeting done for pace costing us two goals this season, and offers nothing going forward. Parky prefers Waghorn and Burton, neither proven goalscorers over Izzy and Dicko but will not give the contracted players a chance to show what they can do.