TWO CHANCES TO WIN GREENWICH CALENDAR
Greenwich.co.uk is giving away two of the Royal Greenwich calendars that have been created for 2014. The calendar features images from around the borough with Greenwich, Charlton, Woolwich and Eltham all represented inside.
It costs £6 and is available in local shops and online.
To be in with a chance of winning a free copy of the calendar, all you need to do is send an email with the name of the tall ship that appears in the month of May in the calendar.
Once you know the answer, simply email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “competition” in the subject line. The closing date is noon on Friday 13th. It will be unlucky for some but lucky for two others when I pick the winners at random from the correct answers.
If you win, the calendar can be sent to you or to someone else if you’d like to give it as a Christmas present.
Helpful tip: all the pictures, along with descriptions, are shown on the website through which they’re being sold.
Yeovil Town 2 (Morrison o.g. 72, Miller pen 76) Charlton 2 (Stewart 37, Jackson 45).
Kevin Nolan reports from Huish Park
As usual in these fraught circumstances, there are conflicting ways of looking at the outcome of this critical relegation clash, one which leaves its contestants in exactly the same trouble at the foot of the Championship table as they found themselves prior to kick-off.
From Charlton’s perspective, a point gained on the ground of their closest pursuer seems, at casual glance, to be far from the shabbiest of results. If they hadn’t carelessly squandered a two-goal lead in the process, they might actually have allowed themselves a faint glow of satisfaction. Appearances are, of course, often deceptive.
It’s spirited Yeovil Town, who will draw greater encouragement from this stand-off. Facing comprehensive defeat after being outclassed for over 70 minutes, they had made no impression until, out of the blue, they luckily reduced their arrears. The effect was galvanic on both sides. The Glovers sensed they were still in with an unexpected chance, their visitors inexplicably panicked and this see-saw game flip-flopped on to its head. Within four more minutes, a penalty unnecessarily conceded by substitute Andy Hughes was converted by his victim, Ishmael Miller, and with shocking suddenness, the Addicks were reduced to clinging on desperately to salvage a point from the shambles. Their cause was hardly helped by the straight-red card dismissal of skipper Johnnie Jackson, of which more later.
It had promised to a be a pleasant stroll for Charlton before the interval. After the Westcountrymen had begun brightly enough, with John Lundstram skimming the bar from long range and Miller forcing a smart save from Ben Alnwick, the visitors took over. A series of fluent attacks, combining crisp passing and clever movement, tore Town to shreds; the handy lead they enjoyed at the interval seemed poor reward for their superiority.
Unpredictable left winger Cameron Stewart made all the difference. He started a brief dissection of Luke Ayling by cutting inside the right back before forcing Christopher Dunn into a flying save to keep out his dipping drive. Moments later, he improved on that effort by firing his side into an already overdue lead.
Sent haring along the touchline by Alnwick’s laser-guided throw, Stewart used Yann Kermorgant’s shrewd running off the ball to make space for the uncomplicated shot he buried into the bottom right corner from 20 yards. This time Dunn stood no chance.
Having benefited from his goalkeeper’s imaginative distribution, the on-fire Stewart was intelligently prompted by centre back Dorian Dervite, who aggressively advanced into Yeovil’s half and sent him down the flank again. Rounding Ayling effortlessly, his precisely measured cross from the left byline left Jackson with the simple task of heading home at the far post. At which point, the Addicks were rampant, the Glovers a tattered mess.
Nothing in the second half’s opening exchanges altered the feeling that the issue was all but settled. In fact, had Dunn not reacted sharply to parry Simon Church’s enterprising overhead effort, Charlton would have moved out of sight of their struggling hosts. So it was a shock when their victims hit back.
Willowy wide man Joel Grant hadn’t made any inroads up against Lawrie Wilson but finally got the better of him and crossed instantly from the left touchline. Moving to the near post to deal with the danger, Michael Morrison succeeded only in turning the ball into his own goal. It was an unfortunate setback but it hardly explained how or why the erstwhile hunters became abruptly the hunted. Their transformation was absolute.
Four minutes after Morrison’s misfortune, substitute Andy Hughes clumsily tripped Miller a foot inside his penalty area. There seemed little need for such excess so far from goal but Miller was clearly not one to look a gift horse anywhere but squarely in the eye. He ruthlessly equalised from the spot.
There was even worse to come for the shellshocked Londoners. Impeded by Ed Upson as he burst into Town’s half, Jackson lost balance and lunged into Ayling as he sought to retain possession. Ayling did him no favours with his agonised reaction but there was no disputing the captain’s sending-off. As he departed, he almost crossed with substitute Chris Solly, whose return following four months of injury and rumour, would otherwise have stiffened his sinews.
So Charlton continue their long trudge to freedom through a minefield of pitfalls, many of their own making. It’s tough at the bottom. Well, fourth from bottom. And who knows, with a slice of luck from time to time, climbing to the security of mid-table. Nolan expects.
Yeovil: Dunn, Ayling, Webster, Duffy, Davis (McAllister 59), Edwards, Lundstram (Dawson 46), Upson, Grant, Morgan (Hayter 46), Miller. Not used: Foley, Stewart, Hoskins, Ralls. Booked: Ayling, Webster, Duffy.
Charlton: Alnwick, Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Stephens, Cousins (Hughes 69), Stewart (Wood 90), Kermorgant, Church (Solly 82). Not used: Pope, Evina, Green, Sordell. Booked: Alnwick, Wilson, Kermorgant. Sent off: Jackson.
Referee: Craig Pawson.Att: 6,053.
Local ward councillor Matthew Pennycook has been successful in his bid to become Labour’s parliamentary candidate at the next General Election which will be held in 2015. He won the selection battle in a ballot of local Labour party members held at the Woolwich Grand Theatre last Saturday. When I hear of other parties selecting their candidates, I’ll no doubt share that news too!
Princess Anne’s visit
The Royal Borough received a royal visitor this week when Princess Anne officially opened the equestrian centre that has been built on Shooters Hill next to Woodlands Park Farm.
The equestrian centre is run by Kent-based Hadlow College – here’s some photos from when I had a look around last year.
Thames Barrier closures
London’s flood defence system was called into action in the early hours of this morning and then again this afternoon to protect the capital from the risk of a very high tide. It was the first time that the barrier has been fully closed this year in response to flood risk and in doing so it protected London against the highest tides since it was completed in 1984. Luckily towns further down river that had been warned of potential flooding seemed to have got off lightly. Here a picture from this afternoon’s closure with one of the Woolwich ferries just coming in to view.
Much loved Charlton Athletic match reporter Kevin Nolan has a new sponsor! Grant Saw Wealth Management, based up at the Blackheath Standard, are backing Kev which means there will be lots more top quality, witty sports writing from Kevin over the rest of this season.
I have again been trudging across the borough armed with a box of calendars and a invoice book doing my best impression of a contestant on the Apprentice. After getting them into the National Maritime Museum last Friday, this week I have restocked shops like Pegga at Blackheath Standard, Warwick Leadlay by the market and also taken a new delivery to Lizzie’s lovely cafe in East Greenwich Pleasaunce and also to Charlton House. They are, along with my River Thames calendars, available online too.
Santa in the Pleasaunce
Speaking of the Pleasaunce, the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce, along with the Bridge community centre, are bringing Santa to the park in East Greenwich this Sunday. From 1pm-3pm, there’s a Winter Barrow sale, a chance to meet Father Christmas between 2pm-4pm (I heard the real one is coming which is something of a coup) and there will also be carols from the Halstow Community Choir during the afternoon.
There will also be carols on Monday 9th December at Mycenae House excerpts from Scrooge performed by the Mycenae Players. Free entry with a retiring collection in aid of Epilepsy Action.
Reading 1 (Sharp 13) Charlton 0.
Kevin Nolan reports from Madejski Stadium.
More than a hundred years ago, Mark Twain bitterly expressed his contempt for statistics. There are three kinds of lies”, he declared, “lies, damned lies and statistics.”
The wily old codger had a point but nobody can be right all the time. Even he would have to concede that statistics prove, among other things, that the world is round, a cat has nine lives and that both of the Mayor of London’s sizeable feet are more often than not found in his even more sizeable mouth. And they can also help in putting together a valid, number-crunching analysis of Charlton’s faltering progress through the season so far. Do your best to keep up with me as I present the case for the judicious use of statistics.
The Addicks’ sixth 1-0 defeat at Reading lends substantial weight to the mathematical equation that if you score at least once against them, preferably early in the first half, you’re better than evens to beat them by the only goal of the game. They just can’t score themselves, this latest blank being their eighth of the season in nineteen tries – that’s somewhere between a 40% or 50% ratio, according to my abacus. And if it’s goals you’re after, steer clear of Charlton because there’s been only 35 scored in 19 games. These are numerical facts, which I invite you to absorb while I extricate myself from a statistical morass of my own making.
Armed with the figures, it was safe to assume that this second 1-0 setback within four days was all but certain as early as the 13th minute, when dependable lower league goalscorer Billy Sharp put Reading into the lead. Picking up a loose ball after Dale Stephens’ poor touch and unconvincing attempt to redeem his error conceded possession dangerously near Charlton’s penalty area, Sharp moved smoothly into shooting range before placing a crisp drive into the bottom left corner.
Sharp’s clearheaded finishing inserted daylight between two otherwise evenly matched sides. It looked even more decisive when Charlton’s Simon Church failed to match his marksmanship before the interval.
Church had been his usual, hardgrafting self, willing to run himself into exhaustion for the cause. Minutes before Sharp pounced, his ceaseless running had panicked Reading right back Stephen Kelly into a poorly judged challenge as they disputed a raking delivery down the inside left channel. It felt like a penalty, looked like a penalty, probably was a penalty. Not so ruled referee Darren Sheldrake, which meant it wasn’t a penalty. Apparently Sky TV
disagreed with him, which will console Chris Powell no end.
Undeterred by his ill-fortune, Church was presented with an excellent opportunity to balance the books as the first half entered added time. Played through a square defence by Yann Kermorgant’s finely measured pass, he outstripped his pursuers, let fly on the run but placed his shot too close to advancing goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. Based on bitter experience – not to mention the statistics we’ve already expounded – there was justification in concluding that his miss would prove costly.
Not that the Addicks went quietly. Impressive willpower forced them on top as the Royals’s self-assurance began to waver, though Garath McLeary almost derailed the process by clipping the bar soon after the break. But the running was generally made by the resurgent visitors and when, with 20 minutes left, Powell went for broke with the bold introduction of three attacking substitutes, a clear statement of intent had been made.
With a massive point to prove, Marvin Sordell was one of the newcomers. There is clearly a talented player lurking beneath the diffidence he has shown in Charlton’s colours and he was eager to make an impact. Twisting, turning, protecting the ball expertly, he surely did enough to nail down a start in Saturday’s crucial engagement at Yeovil. Likewise, the almost completely forgotten Danny Green threw himself, with renewed enthusiasm, into the fightback. Benched skipper Johnnie Jackson was the third sub but though his influence was felt, he fluffed his lines with a botched attempt to exploit Kermorgant’s set-up.
To be honest, Charlton came up with little else but effort despite the modest pressure they exerted. There were bits and pieces but nothing clearcut. Which is where we came in.
So to Yeovil on Saturday, where the natives will be even more restless than usual after two impressive wins recently. A re-vamped line-up, geared for attack, might be the way forward in the West Country but we’ll see. Something has to change before freefall sets in. With his keen insight into the proletariat’s pastimes, that’s something that London’s flaxen-topped Fat Controller (wasn’t he hilarious when he rugby tackled that bloke during a football game?) will be keeping an eye on. Meanwhile, I’ve just finished my last two propositions with prepositions, liberties which betray the pressure I’m feeling. I’m cracking up just when I need to impress my new sponsor most. Swear to God I can do better!
Reading: McCarthy, Kelly, Pearce, Guthrie, Cummings, McAnuff, Gorkss, McCleary (Blackman 90), Williams (Akpan 64), Pobrebnyak, Sharp (Robson-Kanu 67). Not used: Federici, Le Fondre, Drenthe, Obita. Booked: Kelly, Gorkss.
Charlton: Alnwick, Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Stewart, Stephens (Jackson 70), Cousins, Evina (Green 70), Church (Sordell 70), Kermorgant. Not used: Pope, Hughes, , Pritchard, Wood. Booked: Morrison.
Referee: Darren Sheldrake. Att: 18,149.
N.B. This report is the first filed under the new sponsorship of Grant Saw Financial Management, managed by canny Glaswegian Ian Starkey from his premises at the Royal Standard in Blackheath. I haven’t actually met Ian and there are those who might recommend, from his point of view, that we leave it that way but his interest and involvement are sincerely appreciated. I look forward to sharing many a riveting conversation with him concerning financial planning and wealth management, two topics which keep me awake at night.
My encyclopaedic knowledge of Glasgow Rangers, which dates back to Willie Waddell and George Young, will no doubt cement our new relationship and I look forward to a fruitful future.
Charlton 0 Ipswich Town1 (Smith 5).
Kevin Nolan reports from The Valley.
As an exercise in utter frustration, Charlton will have to look long and hard before finding a better example than this desperately disappointing game. The points were effectively on their way to Suffolk after five of the more chaotic minutes in Valley memory. During the eighty five which remained, nothing of deep significance happened, a state of affairs which suited conservative Ipswich down to the ground. Their work already done and dusted, the visitors felt no pressing need to exert themselves and chose to grind it out. Followers of Charlton on the road might recognise the process.
Into those opening five minutes, though, was crammed enough action to send heads spinning and all of it took place in sleepwalking Charlton’s penalty area. No more than fifty seconds had elapsed when sureshot David McGoldrick was played through to confront Ben Alnwick but was outguessed by the advancing keeper, who turned his low shot away for a right wing corner; Aaron Cresswell’s left-footed delivery was met by Tommy Smith’s head but Alnwick smuggled the ball clear for another right wing corner; Daryl Murphy’s header powered Cresswell’s inswinger goalward but Alnwick again saved magnificently, then miraculously kept out Christophe Berra’s point-blank effort to convert the rebound.
Having singlehandedly stood off the rampant Tractor Boys, Alnwick was entitled to a little support. No such luck. Cresswell crossed over to the opposite flank to pick out Smith with a pinpointed outswinger which left the rampaging centre half the easy task of heading down into the centre of goal. Scarcely a defensive muscle moved; in fact, scarcely a defensive muscle, apart from the overworked Alnwick’s, had moved since kick-off.
It was the mother of all nightmare starts but, to be fair, was completely out of character for a defence which has now conceded a miserly 20 goals in 17 league games. That impressive statistic is undermined somewhat by the miserable total of 14 goals scored at the other end. Five of Charlton’s games had ended 1-0, three of them defeats. Even at such an early stage, this one seemed destined to make it four. And that’s not hindsight talking. A cursory glance through their “chances” tells a depressingly futile story.
Soon after Smith scored, Yann Kermorgant crossed from the left for Dale Stephens to glance a header wide; Rhoys Wiggins set up Jordan Cousins to shoot harmlessly off target; Lawrie Wilson’s hard-driven low cross eluded Simon Church on its untouched journey to the far touchline; on the half hour, Wiggins provided the Addicks’ stand-out attacking moment with a fiercely swerving cross-cum-shot which Dean Gerken awkwardly pawed to safety off his right post. It didn’t exactly amount to a relentless siege.
Ponderous and slow in their build-up, with square and backward passing the order of the day, the second half was similarly dire but let’s again record Charlton’s “highlights.” Johnnie Jackson had a brief sight of goal but hesitated and the fleeting chance was lost; Wilson’s skyscraping centre was awkwardly touched over the bar by Gerken; Cameron Stewart cut in from the left to shoot firmly with his right foot but was foiled by Gerken’s plunging save; Cousins sliced hopelessly wide; Michael Morrison haplessly missed headed contact with Kermorgant’s cross. And in added time, Charlton’s torment was exacerbated by a refereeing howler.
Fussy referee Duncan was perfectly placed to spot the coldbloodedly professional foul, with which Cole Skuse halted Kermorgant’s progress in the centre circle but, with his wits about him, might have sensibly allowed an advantage which ended with Stewart promisingly placed to equalise. His premature whistle instead awarded Charlton a meaningless free kick and proved, beyond reasonable argument, that crime often pays when you know what you’re about. But nothing disguises the inconvenient truth that Charlton were comfortably beaten by an average side which rarely found it necessary to shift out of low gear.
So after Tuesday’s victory over Doncaster, it was a case of an important step forward, followed quickly by another sickening knockback. A knockback which apparently was a tactical triumph for Town boss Mick McCarthy, who watched the Addicks in midweek, wove a cerebral web to ensnare them and delivered a meticulously conceived masterclass, which featured the cunning plan of scoring early, then winning 1-0. Ain’t it great when all your schemes come together, especially scoring early, then winning 1-0?
Here’s another version of events. When you win, you’re a coaching genius; when you lose, you’re a coaching blockhead. Much of what remains is cobblers. It’s all about the result and even though many of us admire the tough, outspoken McCarthy, especially since he was disgracefully abused in 2002 by that Quisling whose name, like that of Jesse James’ assassin, doesn’t belong alongside his, let’s not get carried away. Ipswich won. Fair play to them. They were marginally the better of two moderate sides. The work of a Chess Grandmaster it wasn’t. But what a cruel kick in the guts for Charlton it was!
Charlton: Alnwick (correction on the pronounciation, by the way – it’s Ann-ick), Wilson (Sordell 86), Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Stewart, Stephens, Jackson (Green 69), Cousins, Kermorgant, Church (Pigott 69). Not used: Pope, Hughes, Evina, Wood. Booked: Morrison.
Ipswich: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Cresswell, Skuse, Anderson (Edwards 74), Tunnicliffe, Murphy (Nouble 74), Tabb ( Hunt 84), McGoldrick. Not used: Loach, Wordsworth, Mings, Graham. Booked: Nouble.
Referee: S. Duncan.
If you were near the river on Friday morning you might have seen this warship go past.
The Belgian frigate BNS LOUISE MARIE went up to moor alongside HMS Belfast and took with her some sacred soil from the battlefields of Flanders. The soil will be taken through London tomorrow by the Kings’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and it will eventually be added to a WWI memorial garden.
With it being December 1st on Sunday, it means the start of this year’s St Alfege Advent Windows. I’m sure you know what it’s all about by now but 24 homes local to St Alfege will be each unveiling their “window” throughout December. Keep an eye on the Advent Windows blog to see where the windows are!
I don’t think there will be many places in Greenwich doing a BBQ this weekend, but one place that will be is the Greenwich Ecology Park on Sunday. They’re having their Wild Winter Fayre where there will be wintry wildlife quiz trails for children, barbecue and winter warmer drinks, plus gift and second hand book stall. Full details are here.
Did you go and check out the art exhibition at Rushgrove House in Woolwich last weekend? As I mentioned in the previous round up, it was a rare chance to look inside this hidden gem near the barracks. There were lots of great pics floating around on social media – do check out this great set by Chris Mansfield on his new (brilliant) Historic Woolwich Facebook page.
In the grounds of Rushgrove House is Mulgrave Pond and here’s a photo I took of that earlier in the year.
Fans of CAFC match reporter Kevin Nolan can rest easy: a new sponsor has been found and we look forward to unveiling them on the site for the first match of December. In the mean time, why not look back at Kev’s reports of the season so far.
The Cutty Sark has announced a series of shows which will take place in its 85-seater studio theatre. The performance space in the lower hold will welcome acts such as Alan Davies, Ross Noble, Richard Herring and even Sir Robin Knox-Johnston early next year. Full details of that are on the forum.
The Cutty Sark, as seen from the tower of St Alfege Church, features on the front cover of the calendar I’ve made. I was lucky enough to go up in the tower twice this year, once as a dry run just to get a look at it and then again in London Marathon day. It was a great privilege to be allowed to go and there’s a photo from both visits in the calendar.
I am very pleased that the Greenwich calendar, along with my one about the River Thames, will both be stocked very shortly by the National Maritime Museum gift shop, as well as lots of other shops around the borough. Full details about both and where to get them are on the website.
Oh, and staying with the National Maritime Museum – who have just announced Sir Charles Dunstone as their new Chairman, by the way – there’s a free event next Friday afternoon called “Caricatures and Yinka: Life, Love and Laughter.”
Thanks to the NMM for adding it to the What’s On section of the website – you can advertise community events on there too!
Charlton 2 (Stephens 39, Church 60) Doncaster Rovers 0.
Kevin Nolan reports from The Valley.
Recalling their miserable experience almost exactly three months ago, it was easy to understand Doncaster Rovers’ obvious reluctance to repeat this fixture. Put yourself in their place – The Valley was the last place they wanted to be on one of these cold, cheerless November evenings. But that’s how it goes. You have to deal with it. Which they didn’t. They were technically present but they didn’t turn up.
To recap the circumstances for readers oblivious to the fortunes of Doncaster and Charlton, Rovers were leading 3-1 when an unseasonal deluge caused the game on August 31st to be abandoned at half-time. Their position wasn’t quite as strong as the scoreline suggests because they had been reduced to ten men and had their 3-0 lead reduced by Simon Church’s goal shortly before the interval. An awkward second half awaited them but you’d have to say their prospects were promising.
None of which counted for much second time around. Despite missing numerous chances, Charlton exploited their second bite at the cherry to cruise home comfortably. Possibly feeling sorry for themselves, Donny lost by a racing distance .
In managing to double their home wins this season, Charlton were confident and assured enough to toy with their visitors. Only one minute had elapsed when Lawrie Wilson’s impudently contrived chip sent Church in to face Ross Turnbull in the first of their two critical one-on-one confrontations. The striker’s first touch was immaculate but his low right-footed shot scudded wide of the target.
Undeterred by the miss, the Addicks swarmed all over their visitors. A quickthinking dummy by Dale Stephens over Rhoys Wiggins’ low cross provided Yann Kermorgant with the space he needed to beat Turnbull with a crisp snapshot which rebounded off a post.
Dummies were clearly in vogue with Kermorgant’s instinctive deception setting up Johnnie Jackson to unleash a full-blooded rocket. Turnbull reacted superbly to touch the effort over the bar though, as it turned out, the defiant keeper had merely delayed the inevitable. Six minutes before the break, the Addicks grabbed an overdue lead with another candidate for their goal-of-the season competition.
Adjusting his feet perfectly as Bongani Khumalo’s looping header (always direct your defensive headers away to the side of your goal, kids) cleared Cameron Stewart’s centre to him outside the penalty area, Stephens sent an expertly cushioned volley dipping neatly into the top left corner. The legality of the goal seemed unimpeachable but Donny boss Paul Dickov questioned it anyway.
On his sunniest day, Dickov seems a punchline short of a good laugh but his passionate protests to fourth official Kelly were sincere. Something about offside during the build-up apparently. To be fair, the feisty boss’s eventual acceptance of Charlton’s superiority was graceful and he won press room friends with his restraint and dignity. Never thought I’d hear myself saying that.
Football’s accepted wisdom, despite Doncaster’s passivity, demanded a clinching goal and Federico Macheda fired a warning shot across the home team’s bows with a twisting, turning run, which he ended with a fierce drive narrowly over the bar. There was little else to recommend the South Yorkshiremen and the chances continued to arrive -and be missed – by the home side.
Church failed by agonising inches to convert Stewart’s searching cross, then Wilson forced a fine flying save from Turnbull, with the excellent Jordan Cousins drilling the rebound too high. But on the hour, Church sealed the issue.
Jackson’s precisely measured pass sent the gutsy Welshman sprinting through a square defence to confront Turnbull again. Holding off his pursuers, he kept his nerve, shot on the run as the keeper narrowed the angle and found the left corner off the base of the left post.
With the visitors showing signs of collapse, Stewart’s ferocious shooting came into its own. His left-footed drive produced yet another fine save from Turnbull before this two-sided player used his other foot to crash another cannonball against the bar. Five minutes from time, Charlton’s debutant keeper Ben Alnwick (pronounced Al-ick , we’re reliably informed), who had replaced warm-up injury victim Ben Hamer shortly before kick-off, registered his first genuine save for the club by spectacularly turning aside substitute Theo Robinson’s corner-bound drive.
Routine though it turned out to be, this was a vital victory for Charlton. Once again, a defence which has conceded only 19 goals in 16 league games, did its bit and on this occasion was supported by a display of bright, uninhibited attacking. Must do better with their chance-taking, it’s true, but there’s renewed optimism around the club these days. Anyone would think it’s for sale.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Stewart (Green 90), Stephens, Cousins, Jackson (Hughes 90), Church (Sordell 81), Kermorgant. Not used: Pigott, Evina, Harriott, Wood.
Doncaster: Turnbull, Quinn, Khumalo, Wabara, De Val (Peterson 76), McCullough, Wellens, Coppinger, Duffy, Paynter (Robinson 68), Macheda. Not used: Maxted, Cotterill, Wakefield, Bennett, Woods. Booked: Wellens.
Referee: S. Hooper. Att: 14,140.
QPR 1 (Austin 40) Charlton 0.
Kevin Nolan reports from Loftus Road.
Nouveau riche Queens Park Rangers left it closer than expected before edging past cash-strapped Charlton in this so-called local derby. A superb strike from prolific Charlie Austin proved to be the difference between sides widely separated by finance. Rangers’ banking business would be welcomed by Coutts; the Addicks were probably customers at the Co-op before it fell from grace.
Funny club, QPR. Funny peculiar, that is, although sometimes funny unintentionally as well. To be fair, until recently nobody had an unkind word to say about them, chiefly because nobody had a word of any kind to say about them. For over a century, they flew inoffensively under football’s radar. That changed abruptly when Laurel and Hardy acquired the club in 2007.
Stanley Jefferson Ecclestone is a tiny Englishman with expertise in F-1 motor racing, whose interest in football was piqued by the arrival of all-seater grounds; prior to that seismic event, microscopic Stan struggled to see what was going on.
Oliver Norval Briatore, a portly Italian with more dubious affiliations to the motor racing industry, fondly imagined he was the brains behind Stan. Ollie left F-1 amid allegations of race fixing and not much of him has been seen since.
That’s all motor oil under the bridge now, of course, with Stan and Ollie’s ephemeral legacy two inglorious seasons in the Premier League. The world’s eight-richest man, Lakshmi Mittal, was briefly involved but the torch has now been passed to Tony Fernandes. Though the rank-and-file fans and staff remain average, likeable Joes and Josies, it’s safe to say the owner/operators know the value of a pound at Loftus Road.
Fans and bigshots alike didn’t get much for their money in this monotonous game. Without extending themselves unduly, the Rs claimed three precious promotion points against modest opponents content to limit the potential damage of a crushing defeat. The upshot was a low-key affair which was settled by one flash of inspiration from a player, who has made an irritating habit of victimising Charlton.
Last season for instance, while with Burnley, Austin settled an otherwise scoreless clash at The Valley with a spectacular strike from all of 30 yards. Now earning a more substantial crust in West London, he duplicated the feat in almost identical circumstances. Picking up a routine pass from Joey Barton, he stepped inside Jordan Cousins, took brief aim, then crashed an untouchable drive beyond Ben Hamer into the top right corner. That’s precisely what QPR paid for when they pried him from Burnley and re-located him in the Smoke.
With capable help from Barton, Austin’s 40th minute goal settled Charlton’s hash. Apart from a venomous shot, which Hamer brilliantly saved, he was well policed by Michael Morrison and Dorian Dervite and it was Barton’s more industrious influence in central midfield which kept Rangers ticking – and in front.
As much tortured poet as common-or-garden footballer these days, the one-time enfant terrible is a reformed character (though he did fit in a booking for old time’s sake) and seizes every opportunity to remind us of it. Even so, you’d still back him to bash up any of those poncey French philosophers. Sartre wouldn’t stand a chance. Nor would Piaf.
Not that the hardworking but limited Addicks posed much threat to QPR’s superiority. They mustered only two shots on target, the better of them a stinging effort from Cousins seconds before Austin scored, which Robert Green parried with difficulty. Simon Church provided the other one after picking up Hamer’s hefty clearance, rounding Benoit Assou-Akotto but rolling the tamest of efforts at Green.
Midfielders Dale Stephens and Bradley Pritchard combined to exchange a couple of other chances. Stephens accepted Pritchard’s first half pass but stood embarrassingly on the ball prior to shooting; played momentarily clear by Stephens’ defence-splitting ball early in the second period, Pritchard’s loss of confidence was palpable as he was snuffed out.
By far the busier keeper, Hamer kept the contest nominally alive with a string of fine saves. He followed his sharp stop from Austin by expertly fielding Gary O’Neil’s rebound effort, dived athletically to turn Matt Phillips’ daisycutter aside, then later on beat Barton’s netbound free kick to safety. He deserved the luck he received when substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips’s improvised chip left him helpless but hit the bar.
With this most daunting of fixtures behind them, the Addicks’ priorities will turn to the more promising visits of Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday and Ipswich Town on Saturday. You could almost group them together as twelve-pointers. At least Austin won’t be playing.
QPR: Green, Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Akotto, Phillips (Johnson 77), Barton, O’Neil, Kranjcar (Wright-Phillips 65), Jenas (Henry 46), Austin. Not used: Murphy, Traore, Onyewu, Young. Booked: Barton.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Pritchard (Harriott 58), Cousins, Stephens, Jackson, Stewart (Sordell 87), Church (Kermorgant 58). Not used: Alnwick, Hughes, Evina, Wood. Booked: Jackson.
Referee: Dean Whitestone. Att: 17,397 (1,820 Charlton).
I thought I would kick off this Weekly Round Up with a photo I took of autumnal Greenwich Park on Tuesday morning.
Always good to be out and about with the camera although I did forget to check out the Old Royal Naval College where at the start of the week, a new version of Cinderella joined the incredible list of films that have used it as a set. Such is the popularity of the stunning ORNC that Empire magazine recently asked it was the most popular filming location in the world.
Another location in the borough to be used for filming recently has been Rushgrove House in Woolwich. This Georgian mansion is tucked away near the Royal Artillery barracks and it was used in the summer as a set for Mike Leigh’s new movie about JMW Turner, starring Timothy Spall. There will be a rare chance to see inside the property this weekend as it will be one of the venues for an exhibition by students from the Royal College of Arts.
If you’d rather see the works of Turner, it just so happens an exhibition of his marine art has just opened at the National Maritime Museum.
Historian, and councillor, Mary Mills has had a first look at a new book called Greenwich Revealed. The book is an investigation in to some early 18th century line drawings of Greenwich. It “may be the most important book written about ‘West’ Greenwich,” commented Mary on Twitter. Written by much-respected historians Julian Watson and Neil Rhind, it’s available now in Warwick Leadlay and Sabo’s newsagent, priced £10.
It hasn’t been a very busy week on the Greenwich.co.uk forum but there’s been some more posts to the forum post about the proposed hotel where Trident Hall currently stands, including details of a petition.
Speaking of petitions, Stewart Christie has just started one to try and win support for the idea of protecting the Woolwich Grand theatre by getting it listed as an asset of community value. This is as a response to a developer’s proposal to replace it with flats.
Cable car’s four commuters
853blog had a bit of a scoop this week when it revealed that the cable car is down to just four regular commuters. The story got picked up by plenty of other news outlets, too.
West Greenwich House
As part of the big development called the Movement behind Greenwich High Road and Norman Road – which is made up of new flats, student accommodation, a hotel and more – there has been extension provided for West Greenwich House. Local residents are invited to go and see the completed extension to the community centre on Monday, between 3pm and 7pm.
Charity carol concert
It wouldn’t be one my weekly round ups without a plug for my calendar. This week I delivered some copies to the lovely Avery Hill Park Cafe, which means it’s now finally on sale in all of the postcodes that are pictured inside: SE10, SE7, SE18 and SE9. You can get it online or see all the stockists here.
Halstow Craft Fair Thanks
I thought I would begin this weekly round up by thanking everyone that came down and got a calendar or two at the Halstow Craft Fair. It was lovely to meet, amongst others, Eve, Hilary, Sue and Holly and also to see Lara and Sam again. After a pretty barren first hour – think the heavy rain can be blamed – the rest of the afternoon worked out quite well and I learned important lessons such as, contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right and it’s a good idea to take a flask.
Here’s a photo of councillor John Fahy who attended the event and is pictured just before gamely trying a very hot sauce. Well done to Eve for organising what seemed like a very successful event.
Speaking of my Greenwich calendars, as I am prone to doing at this time of year, I must say thanks to Mandy Little for this article which appeared in the South London Press and the Mercury this week. Thanks also to Anthony from Warwick Leadlay for stocking them again this year – full, updated list of stockists is here.
There’s a couple of Christmas fairs on this weekend in the area if you’re looking for any crafty gift ideas. On Saturday there’s a Christmas craft market at Thorntree Primary School in Thorntree Road, Charlton between 12pm and 4pm. Admission is £1 for adults (includes a raffle ticket) and free for kids.
The Blackheath Christmas Fair in aid of Age Exchange takes place at Blackheath Halls on Sunday (17th)between 10.30am and 4pm. Admission is £1 or free for Friends of Age Exchange and children under 16. Looking ahead a bit further, there’s a Wild Winter Fayre at the Ecology Park on the peninsula.
A new hotel behind the Trafalgar?
A new hotel is being proposed behind the famous Trafalgar Tavern. The large hotel would replace Trident Hall – Simon has kindly posted up details on the Greenwich.co.uk forum along with information about how you can make your views known before the closing date which is December 3rd. Do take look and see what you think.
The forum is a good place to start a discussion about anything at all that’s on your mind about Greenwich or nearby.
Elsewhere on the web, Darryl from 853blog.com went to the IKEA exhibition last week and has posted up his thoughts and, as ever, a good discussion followed. There’s also some thoughts on it, along with a range of other local stuff, from Peninsula ward councillor Mary Mills on her blog.
Boycie at the Nag’s Head, Greenwich
Actor John Challis, most famous for playing Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, is doing a book signing in Greenwich on Saturday. After doing a couple of autobiographies, he has now turned his hand to fiction and will be signing books in the Pelton Arms pub from 6pm. The Pelton is a very good choice of location, of course, because it was the pub they used as the Nag’s Head in the prequel to Only Fools and Horses. John is a good friend of local actor, presenter and hotellier Robert Gray – here’s an interview they did a while back.
Charlton 2 (Stewart 45, Jackson 70) Leeds United 4 (McCormack 17, 48 pen, 73, 90).
Kevin Nolan reports from The Valley.
On a dank, drab afternoon, not to mention a sodden pudding of a pitch, Charlton produced their best attacking display of the season, scored two fine goals but still lost to Leeds United. Their downfall can be traced to an inability to control in- form striker Ross McCormack.
The sharp, mobile Scot’s finishing was in a class of its own, his open-play hat-trick as clinical as it gets, the penalty he slammed past Ben Hamer a foregone conclusion. Supported by the superb goalkeeping of Paddy Kenny, he was the difference between these sides; a difference, it needs to be said, enhanced by more dubious methods.
McCormack’s tour-de-force made it almost possible to overlook the darker side of Leeds’ contribution to this sometimes rollicking match. Almost but not quite. A team with gamesmanship in its DNA turned every trick in a repertoire indelibly associated with Elland Road to secure a rare away win. As early as the 38th minute, Kenny set the black arts in motion with a booking for timewasting. His colleagues, meanwhile, broke up play by rolling, writhing and whining in regular, pain-wracked agony. Rarely can a football team have suffered such wretched ill-health. And it was all done on the watch of new manager Brian McDermott, whose record at his former clubs seemed scrupulously devoid of such sharp practice. Leeds don’t change but apparently he does. Still, when in Rome….!
Scoring more than once for the first time in nine games, Charlton chose an inopportune occasion to sag defensively. They should draw heart, however, from a bright, often imaginative performance which, had McCormack and Kenny not skilfully interfered, would have earned them only their second home win of a struggling campaign.
With Callum Harriott’s flair preferred to Bradley Pritchard’s diligence on the right flank, the Addicks started with the confidence of a side unbeaten in five games since October 1st. Lively Harriott had already gone close twice before McCormack struck for the first time.
A foul by Jordan Cousins on Rodolph Austin in the centre circle began the process; Tom Lees’ soaring free kick was astutely nodded over a flummoxed Lawrie Wilson by Dexter Blackstock, leaving McCormack to take a steadying touch before rifling a left-footed drive past Ben Hamer.
Spurred on by Rhoys Wiggins, Charlton hit back spiritedly. The first of the left back’s series of low-driven crosses was awkwardly cleared for a corner by Jason Pearce, a second was turned on to the outside of a post by Simon Church. The Welshman’s sweetly struck half-volley from yet another of Wiggins’ fine deliveries seemed certain to bulge the net but was brilliantly parried by Kenny.
The visitors looked likely to survive to half-time until Cameron Stewart spectacularly equalised in added time. Johnnie Jackson’s free kick was headed out to the winger, whose explosive 25-yard volley left Kenny helpless on its way into the top left corner. While United wilted briefly, Harriott shaved the bar with a curling drive, marvellously improvised from the right flank with the outside of his left foot.
Three minutes after the break, Harriott’s promising display took a turn for the worse. Responsibly tracking Danny Pugh’s aggressive run into Charlton’s penalty area, he stuck a defensively untutored foot in where it didn’t belong and tripped the left back. McCormack made easy work of converting the clearcut spotkick. Erratic referee Stroud got that one right but, unfortunately for Charlton, had been less eagle-eyed when turning a tolerant eye to the blatant first half trip which felled Church in the area. You’ve seen ‘em given – about 99% of the time!
Still irrepressible, Harriott promptly went close to making amends. His viciously swerving drive was magnificently fingertipped over the bar by Kenny while, unmarked at the far post, Dorian Dervite should have done better than make a hasty hash of stabbing Jackson’s corner over the bar. But Charlton weren’t kept waiting long for a second equaliser.
Church’s twisting run along the left byline twice left Lees and Lee Peltier bewildered in its wake before the striker’s low centre was forced home by Jackson, who had typically found a yard of space in a congested six-yard box.
The setback was McCormack’s cue to strike again while the Addicks were still basking in their success. Drifting clear as Hamer hesitated in dealing with Luke Murphy’s free kick, he dispatched a venomous volley inside the right post. It was United’s third shot at goal but their hitman wasn’t finished yet.
With the paltry addition of four added minutes proving that artful timewasting pays off, it was cruelly ironic that it was McCormack who used them to score again. Wiggins’ irritated foul on Austin gave the insatiable Scot the opportunity to curl a sumptuous free kick into the top left corner. His fourth goal put a buoyantly overdue spring in the visitors’ step. Their touching return to the rudest of health gave encouragement to us all and should be exhaustively recorded in the pages of Lancet without delay.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson (Pritchard 86), Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Harriott (Kermorgant 67), Cousins, Stephens, Stewart (Sordell 86), Jackson, Church. Not used: Alnwick, Hughes, Evina, Lennon. Booked: Morrison, Wiggins.
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Wootton (Zaliukas 46), Pearce, Pugh, Murphy, Austin, Brown, McCormack, Blackstock (Smith 76). Not used: Green, Tonge, Thompson, Poleon, Cairns. Booked: Kenny, Blackstock.
Referee: Keith Stroud. Att: 17,601.
Twitter has been awash with photos this week of the very high tides which looked quite startling at places like Greenwich and Putney. I got some photos outside the Old Royal Naval College where the path was covered in water in parts.
There’s more on the forum. It was completely different from the day before when I had been in Twickenham, where the tide was so low because of the annual Draw Off at Richmond weir that huge swathes of the riverbed were exposed.
St Alfege Advent Windows
The advent calendar with a difference returns next month: St Alfege Advent Windows. The format will probably be familiar to you by now – participating windows decorate a window that is opened on each day in December, all the way up to Christmas Eve. I hear there are still spaces available for anyone that would like to give it a go. You do need to live in the parish of St Alfege, though. More details here.
Halstow Craft Fair
There will be two floors of cakes, gifts, cards, soaps, pottery and more at the Halstow Craft Fair on Saturday afternoon between 12-4pm. And when I say more, what I really mean is “calendars” because I will be there with lots of my Greenwich and Thames calendars so do come and say “hi”. In fact, feel free to do more than say “hi” and buy a calendar, too. If you can’t make it, you may like to know that my 2014 calendar is now in stock at SBS Printing in Greenwich South Street, the Firepower museum gift shop in the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, and also at the Woolwich Coffee Lounge (but you need to ask for it at the counter). Full list of stockists here. As we’ve just had bonfire night, here’s a photo of some fireworks that appears in the calendar.
Over on the peninsula, news has emerged that Hong King based Knight Dragon has bought out its former partner Quintain and is now in sole charge of Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration. Darryl at 853 has more on that and there’s a lively comment thread below.
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
Also on the peninsula, the top male tennis players in the world are battling it out at the O2 to win the end of season ATP World Tour Finals. It’s the fifth time the tournament has been staged at North Greenwich and despite the absence of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray because of injury, the venue has still been packed out for its afternoon and evening sessions. And since I mentioned Andy Murray, it does give me a chance to share this photo of the very moment he won Wimbledon. Great celebrations from the spectators who watched on the big screen in General Gordon Square, Woolwich.
The tennis concludes on Monday – this is the place to check for any last minute tickets.
And talking of sport, and therefore fitness, I just heard that the new outdoor gym at the Caletock Estate in East Greenwich will be officially opened next Tuesday. If you are involved in any community events coming up, don’t forget you can add them all for free to the Greenwich.co.uk What’s On section.
And that’s it for this week…
Birmingham City 0 Charlton 1 (Stephens 56).
When diminutive referee Scott Mathieson ordered three added minutes at the end of this tense, scrappy game, an unmistakeable frisson of deja-vu caused hairs to stand up on necks in the away end of this pleasantly scruffy old ground.
Squirming anxiously behind the goal, 855 travelling fans had gone through this before. Twice in fact last season when Birmingham City salvaged 1-1 draws with last gasp equalisers in both league games. To concede once could be dismissed as misfortune; to lapse a second time just has to be carelessness; but a third added time disaster was not only unthinkable but unendurable. City substitute Peter Lovenkrands clearly sympathised because, in a hectic conclusion, he ended Charlton’s agony by blasting a six-yard sitter wildly over the bar.So it was uncomfortably close at the end but the Addicks held on to this second successive 1-0 victory away from home.
Depleted by injuries to Richard Wood and Yann Kermorgant during last week’s clash with Wigan, Chris Powell reacted with his usual resourcefulness. Bringing in the admirable Dorian Dervite and the invaluable experience of Johnnie Jackson, he changed his formation to a counter-punching 4-5-1 and was rewarded by impressive stubbornness from every member of his resilient side. This fourth consecutive clean sheet was built on defensive solidity, which began up front with the tireless endeavour of Simon Church, ran down the spine of the team and was supported at the back by the flawless goalkeeping of Ben Hamer.
This was, it should be said, no desperate backs-to-the wall feat of resistance. Hustling and harassing all over the pitch, the Addicks soaked up everything City had to offer, sapped their resolve, then polished them off with an opportunistic 56th minute goal of their own. Masterminded by their streetwise manager, this was the text-book away performance.
Entertainment was admittedly in short supply, particularly during a sterile first half, in the drab course of which the visitors created the better chances. As early as the second minute, Jackson’s close range header was repelled by Darren Randolph’s face; Church glanced Jackson’s precise cross wide; Church exploited Kyle Bartley’s slip to set an opening for Jackson to drag a shot wide. It was hardly one-way traffic but the best the Blues could offer was Lee Novak’s rasping drive which Hamer saved brilliantly at full length. Novak’s foul on Hamer ruled out Dan Burn’s “scoring” header.
Nine minutes after the break, the visitors stepped up the pace and lowered the boom on their weakening hosts. Tricky left winger Cameron Stewart had already shown a willingness to cut inside right back Paul Caddis to let fly right-footed. His first effort was painfully blocked by Burn but his sights were set. A second drive brought Randolph down to save awkwardly at his right post, Jackson nibbled at the rebound, Randolph parried gamely but sent the ball spinning towards the far post, where Stephens was waiting to tap into an empty net. In sublime form recently, the stylish midfielder had added an overdue goal to yet another masterful contribution in Charlton’s cause.
Laboured and predictable in their intention to batter the Addicks into submission, City aimed everything at Nicola Zigic’s lofty head but Dervite and a rock-like Michael Morrison dealt capably with the crude aerial assault. Alongside their resolute centre backs, stalwart full backs Lawrie Wilson and Rhoys Wiggins snuffed out wide men Chris Burke and Demarai Gray, with Bradley Pritchard improving on an erratic first half to do his usual indefatigable bit on every blade of grass available to him. Jordan Cousins continued to belie his extreme youth and Stewart is combining his defensive duties with attacking menace on the left flank. So solid was this Charlton crew that Powell’s first and only substitution was the 90th minute replacement of an understandably weary Jackson by Jordan Cook. From start to finish, this remarkably plucky team were a credit to their boss. And it was no surprise that they did it again. This lot would go through walls for him.
Birmingham: Randolph, Caddis, Bartley, Burn, Robinson, Burke, Reilly, Adeyemi, Gray (Lovenkrands 62), Novak ( Ferguson 62), Zigic. Not used: Doyle, Mullins, Lee, Shinnie, Brown.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Pritchard, Stephens, Cousins, Jackson (Cook 90), Stewart, Church. Not used: Alnwick, Hughes, Evina, Sordell, Harriott, Lennon.
Referee: Scott Mathieson. Att: 14,070.
In a new feature on Greenwich.co.uk, I’ll round up some of the interesting content that’s appeared on the site over the past week and elsewhere on the web.
IKEA in SE10?
News emerged early in the week that the Swedish giant IKEA are eyeing up the Sainsbury’s and old Comet on the peninsula. Sainsbury’s already has plans to move to Charlton but would the popular flat-pack furniture store prove too popular for the already busy roads? There were mixed opinions in the debate that followed.
Greenwich Park sadly lost four trees in the storms of Sunday night and it was closed for most of Monday while Royal Parks assessed the damage. The howling winds and driving rain was a big change from a few days earlier when the park was looking stunning in the autumn sunshine. I posted up a set of autumn pictures from the park and I also got lucky when I found some beautiful parakeets who were happy to pose for my camera.
New schedule for foot tunnel works
A new Friends group for the Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels was established recently under the acronym FOGWOFT. The new group, chaired by Mary Mills, has had a meeting with the council and released details of a new timetable for the works that need to take place in the river crossing to be finally, hopefully, completed. The full press release from the group is here.
Also on the forum, discussion has continued in a long running thread about the impact of the changes that will happen for train passengers on the Greenwich line after 2014. If you’re not up to speed yet, do take a look.
Many of you will have a copy of my 2013 Royal Greenwich calendar and I enjoyed it doing it so much last year, I thought I would do it all over and again – and this year I have TWO calendars! My Royal Greenwich 2014 calendar features photos from around the borough and features the Cutty Sark, the Thames Barrier, the Old Royal Naval College, the King’s Troop, jousting at Eltham Palace and lots more. It costs £6 to buy online and is also available at:
More stockists coming soon! My other calendar for 2014 is all about the beautiful ships and boats to be found on the Thames and features a lovely picture of a tall ship passing the Old Royal Naval College with fireworks overhead.
Charlton Athletic match reports
Kevin Nolan continues his superb match reports for the site and this week he covered the Addicks’ nil-nil draw at home against Wigan Athletic.
“This earnestly contested stalemate featured Charlton’s third consecutive clean sheet, an achievement which eluded them during their first ten league games. With a paltry total of nine goals so far, only three of them scored at The Valley, it’s just as well they’ve defiantly clamped down at the other end. Their spirit might be bruised but remains unbroken.” Click here to see the full report. We’re still trying to find a CAFC-loving business to sponsor Kevin’s columns and an intriguing suggestion for some fan-funding appeared in the comments section on that report.
The Court of Appeal ruled this week that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt did not have power to implement cuts at Lewisham Hospital in south-east London. Greenwich Council’s cabinet member for Health, Cllr John Fahy, welcomed the news in a tweet: “Good news about the Appeal Court decision on Lewisham Hospital. Well done to the hard work of campaigners. Time to look to the future.”
As this is the first of these weekly round ups, I will take the minor liberty of going back slightly further than a week to recommend a look at this recent set of pictures I posted with photos from inside the glorious Woolwich Granada building - now owned by the ChristFaith Tabernacle church - and also some great images from the Heritage Centre showing how it looked when it opened over 70 years ago.
What’s On in Greenwich
The Greenwich Series – a live event at the Greenwich Tavern where interesting speakers get five to ten minutes to tell their story – returns on Monday, as it does on the first Monday of every month. There’s more details here and you can keep an eye on more upcoming events on our What’s On page. If you’re involved in a local community event, why not add the details.
And that’s it for this week!
Charlton 0 Wigan Athletic 0.
Kevin Nolan reports from The Valley.
This earnestly contested stalemate featured Charlton’s third consecutive clean sheet, an achievement which eluded them during their first ten league games. With a paltry total of nine goals so far, only three of them scored at The Valley, it’s just as well they’ve defiantly clamped down at the other end. Their spirit might be bruised but remains unbroken.
Boosted by the return of Yann Kermorgant, the Addicks probably looked to this fixture for a change in attacking emphasis. Unfortunately, their wretched luck continued, as the Big Yann limped off after just 35 minutes, with a recurrence of his ankle injury. He had started brightly by dominating in the air, screaming blue merde over every decision as usual and generally exuding that air of bristling menace so clearly lacking in his absence.
Kermorgant’s departure significantly altered Charlton’s approach to this important game. Though Marvin Sordell proved a capable deputy, their priority became corporate solidarity and defensive discipline, with an eye to catching their visitors on the break. To a man, each player did his bit in securing a point which might prove invaluable. If you can’t win, make damn sure you don’t lose, so they say; it’s their five draws that currently keep Charlton off the bottom of the Championship table.
While the hatches were being battened down following the early disruption, nobody was more prominent than Dale Stephens, who has come into his own with a series of fine performances recently. He took this game by the scruff of its neck and inspired his teammates to increased effort. His stylish ability to break up the opposition’s play, then turn defence into attack with authoritative passing, was vital to Charlton’s re-adjustment during their brief period of vulnerability. Stephens’ blistering drive, following hardworking Simon Church’s lay-off early in the second half, would have been a worthy winner. From my angle, it seemed destined for the top left corner but instead shaved the woodwork.
Singling out Stephens for mention in no way diminishes worthy contributions elsewhere. Centre backs Michael Morrison and Richard Wood were immense in keeping Grant Holt under control and consigning the highly touted Nick Powell (playing in the hole behind Holt, if my astute tactical eye served me right) to the margins. Holt pushed, shoved and out-moaned Kermorgant but got nowhere; gifted Manchester United loanee Powell supplied the miss of the match by blasting a six-yard sitter wildly over the bar just past the hour. Right back Lawrie Wilson, meanwhile, put James McLean in his pocket, finding time also to make several marauding runs down the right flank.
Providing his customary sturdy support to Stephens and a slightly subdued Jordan Cousins, Bradley Pritchard won’t appreciate being reminded that he was responsible for squandering Charlton’s best chance. Intelligently tracking the inroads made by Rhoys Wiggins’ perceptive pass to Cameron Stewart, he was perfectly placed to meet the flying winger’s precise cutback but haplessly shovelled a left-footed shot over the bar from the edge of the penalty area. Before the interval, Wood nodded Stephens’s outswinging corner down inside the left post but young goalkeeper Lee Nicholls scooped the ball away.
Improving Wigan had the better of the second half and were desperately unlucky not to take the lead when Chris McCann’s fierce header sent McLean’s corner thudding against the bar. Ben Watson blasted a good chance wide, while James McArthur ended a series of ricochets by doing likewise. McLean’s deflected effort flew into the sidenet and it was becoming hectic around Ben Hamer’s goal by the time substitute Callum McManaman’s sliced shot wasted the Latics’ last opportunity.
The depth of Chris Powell’s squad had already been further depleted by the inconvenient 57th minute loss of Wood to injury. His replacement Dorian Dervite, not for the first time, plugged the gap superbly but the list of available personnel gets thinner.
The boss’s talent for imaginative re-deployment of his assets will immediately be tested by next Saturday’s awkward trip to Birmingham City. His patience knows no bounds, his grace under pressure seems unshakeable. He’s going to need both qualities in keeping Charlton’s heads above water. They’re in safe hands.
PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS HERE! SPONSOR REQUIRED FOR CHARLTON ATHLETIC MATCH REPORTS – email email@example.com
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Wood (Dervite 57), Wiggins, Pritchard, Stephens, Cousins (Jackson 84), Stewart, Church, Kermorgant (Sordell 35). Not used: Pope, Hughes, Evina, Green. Booked: Pritchard.
Wigan: Nicholls, Boyce, Rogne, Barnett, Perch, McArthur, Watson (Espinoza 72), McLean (McManaman 65), McCann, Powell, Holt (Fortune 75). Not used: Shotton, Gomez, Beausejour, Crainey.
Referee: S. Martin. Att: 23,600 (775 visiting).
A spectacular 1930s cinema in Woolwich is being restored to its full pomp and splendour after being taken over by the ChristFaith Tabernacle Church.
The former Granada Theatre in Woolwich’s Powis Street opened on Apri 20th, 1937 in the heyday of cinema building. Stars of the day, Glenda Farrell and Claude Hulbert, opened the theatre – part of legendary Sidney Bernstein’s Granada group – and the first movie shown was “Good Morning Boys” starring Will Hay.
The architects behind the 2434-seater theatre were Cecil Masey, who also co-designed New Wimbledon Theatre, and New Zealander Reginald Uren who was also responsible for groundbreaking Hornsey Town Hall.
The theatre’s stunning interior with its gothic sensibilities, designed by the Russian theatrical director and designer, Theodore Komisarjevsky, saw it labelled as the “most romantic theatre ever built”. Its beauty was confirmed when it later became one of only two cinemas in the Granada chain to become Grade-II listed, the other being in Tooting.
Notable design features included a Grand Staircase with medieval figures on the wall, a Hall of Mirrors, extravagant chandeliers, a cafe on the foyer balcony and a stunning auditorium with gothic styling.
In the decades after its opening, the venue also played host to some musical acts that went on to become superstars, including Buddy Holly (1958) and Roy Orbison and the Beatles (1963).
By the 1960s, it went the way of many cinemas and introduced bingo for part of the week and eventually the housewives’ favourite game supplanted movies altogether and it become a full time Gala bingo hall. The attractive Hall of Mirrors even served as a casino for a time.
It continued hosting bingo, as Granada and then as Gala Bingo, until new owners took it over in 2011 and since then they have set about returning the building to its former glory and have named it the “Ebenezer Building”.
The vast interior has been extensively cleaned, new carpets have been laid that are sympathetic to the original design and new light fittings have been especially commissioned to match the original 1930s lights, many of which are still in place. Many of the original internal doors are also still in tact and where new doors were needed, the church has gone back to the same company that made them in 1937 to get new matching doors.
A Mighty Wurlitzer organ was a major attraction at the theatre when it opened – often played by famous organist Reginald Dixon – but Woolwich Granada’s organ was sold off years ago and is currently at a hall in Tywyn, Wales, but the CFT Church say they are working to get the original organ back.
Its original billing in 1937 as the “most romantic theatre ever built” is a title it can now accurately live up to as a marriage venue licence has been issued and the church recently hosted its second wedding.
The theatre is at the corner of Powis Street and stands opposite Woolwich’s former Odeon theatre which is also now a church.
A new life as a church is entirely in keeping with the original design. In a brochure produced at the time of the theatre’s opening, Theodore Komisarjevsky explained that he designed the building in the style of a cathedral:
“I selected the Italian Gothic style, used mostly in churches, to decorate the interior of the Granada Woolwich,” he wrote.
“Houses of worship were not intended to be like cold dismal drill halls or mortuaries. They were not meant to depress people. Churches were designed for ‘religious shows’ which has the same origin as the shows of Secular theatre. The aim of ecclesiastical architecture was to attract people, to offer them not only rows of pews in which to say their prayers but romantic relaxation and artistic pleasure amid surrounds of hope, colourful beauty and harmony.”
The black and white photos below come from a promotional booklet produced at the time of the theatre’s opening. A copy of the booklet is kept at the Greenwich Heritage Centre and these photos are used with their kind permission.
Now, a look at the building as it is today:
At the top of the Grand Staircase are the medieval figures on the wall. Turn left to enter the Hall of Mirrors. A cafe was originally on this balcony area and the church hopes to set up a new cafe near the entrance.
With the interior once again wowing visitors, the London-based church say they are now about to embark on improvements to the exterior, in consultation with heritage consultants and local planners.
Local ward councillor, John Fahy, commented: “I’m delighted to see the old Granada Theatre building rising up once more to embrace this new cathedral in the most splendid of surroundings. This magnificent building is a joy to behold and as Woolwich renews its spirit of hope and opportunity, this building will play a significant role for the whole community.”
You might also be interested in this article about the Greenwich Granada
Blackburn Rovers 0 Charlton 1 (Church 7).
Kevin Nolan reports from Ewood Park.
A devilishly timed thunderstorm of biblical dimensions descended on homely old Ewood Park in almost the exact minute that referee Kevin Wright’s final whistle ended six interminable added minutes and spared increasingly haggard Charlton prolonged agony.
In mere seconds everyone was drenched to the skin by stair-rod rainfall, not that a small pocket of intrepid travelling fans so much as noticed. They were far too busy celebrating a magnificent performance and a priceless result against the odds. A mere spot of inclement weather was unlikely to dampen their ardour. Apres le deluge there were three precious, sorely needed points to savour.
Those same fans would cheerfully admit that their heroes had spent the closing stages of this epic victory pinned firmly inside their own half. Defending their 7th minute lead as if their lives depended on the result, they had long since tossed style to the winds and unapologetically resorted to clearing their lines anywhere and anyhow. It was hair-raising stuff but it distorted what, in many important respects, was an admirable away display. For make no mistake, Charlton deserved to win this gruelling game.
Boosted by Simon Church’s excellently constructed goal, the Addicks organised themselves solidly, counterattacked intelligently and gave at least as good as they got until Rovers’ sheer pressure told. That recent dip in form, which included spiritless concessions to Millwall and Burnley were forgotten as this latest of three vastly improved performances revitalised their prospects. The welcome returns from injury on Saturday of skipper Johnnie Jackson and Yann Kermorgant, who announced his 68th minute arrival with an audacious (and only narrowly wide) effort from the centre circle, contributed to the new feel-good factor.
Church’s matchwinner warrants special attention. The initial momentum was provided by Dale Stephens’ firm recovery tackle on Josh King and as defence was quickly turned into offence, by the midfielder’s brilliantly chipped pass to the goalscorer. Expert chest control provided the time and space Church needed to adjust his shape before slotting calmly past the advancing Jake Kean.
Up front for Rovers, meanwhile, prolific Jordan Rhodes had been warmly favoured over Church to open the scoring. It was clearly vital to the buoyant visitors’ chances of retaining their lead that the Championship’s hottest marksman was kept under control. Outstanding centre backs Michael Morrison and Richard Wood were coping impressively until Rhodes was picked out by Leon Best’s pass. A velvety touch set up a venomous volley which was heading inside the right post but was spectacularly touched aside, at full length, by Ben Hamer. A glancing header into Hamer’s arms, followed by a wild effort shovelled over the bar from close range, were the best Rhodes could manage later on. Thanks to the vigilance of Morrison and Wood, this was one of his quieter afternoons but he remains a striker of rare quality. Blackburn’s dependence on him was aptly underlined by the dreadful mess made by Best of converting a point blank chance after Hamer’s inconclusive punch.
Just as important to Charlton’s success was the burgeoning midfield partnership of Stephens and rookie Jordan Cousins. The older player’s ability has never been in doubt; his skill in keeping the ball moving with short or long passing is complemented by a ferrety, foot-in knack of stealing possession, a fierce shot and underrated strength in the air.
Cousins has stepped up from Development Squad football to the Championship with nerveless authority. An eye for the correct pass fits in neatly with precocious decision making. He can shoot accurately and also does his bit with his napper. The kid would be wise to hone his trade with Charlton. No sense in disappearing into some Premiership cul-de-sac.
Deliberate if ponderous in their build-up play, Rovers were driven to distraction by the tireless hustling of their determined visitors. Rarely given time on the ball as Bradley Pritchard joined Stephens and Cousins in a ball-hunting trio, they also came up against full backs of the highest quality in Lawrie Wilson and Rhoys Wiggins, back in the form which marked him out as the Championship’s best left back. All in all, there’s the makings of a useful side capable of climbing the table. With not a bean to spend and beset by injuries to key players, Chris Powell is proving a wizard of improvisation. Even the torrential rain couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. It’s clear he has the dressing room. All we need to do now is convince the few stubborn dissenters that he is the best -indeed only- man for the job. Then we’ll all be on the same page together.
Blackburn: Kean, Kane, Cairney, Lowe, Spurr, Kilgallon, Marshall (Campbell 84), Lowe, Dann, King (Judge 77), Best (Williamson 66), Rhodes. Not used: Eastwood, Taylor, Marrow, Morris. Booked: Dann, Kane.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Wood, Wiggins, Pritchard, Stephens, Cousins, Stewart (Evina 75), Church (Jackson 77), Sordell (Kermorgant 68). Not used: Alnwick, Dervite, Green, Gower.
Referee: Kevin Wright. Att: 13,915.
N.B. All things must pass. So it’s with regret and gratitude that I part company with Maybridge Consultants, generous sponsors of my reports during the last two seasons. They have been good friends but have ceased to trade. They seemed sincere when assuring me that their decision had nothing to do with me and I choose to believe them. I have to admit, though, that there’s a bit of the Jonah about me.
The top and bottom of it anyway, as my old pal Johnny Yarnton used to say, is that I’m seeking a new sponsor to keep me going. This website is run very much as a one-man band enterprise by an affable, touchingly altruistic chap called Rob Powell, who struggles to pay me.
Is there any chance that out there somewhere is an understanding entrepreneur who ius willing to get involved? Enquiries should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and will all be acknowledged.
Might be embarrassing if there are no takers but there you go…I found out a long time ago that there are times when you can’t please any of the people any of the time. Meanwhile, the reports will continue until I start falling asleep over the half-time soup. Kevin Nolan.
Charlton 0 Blackpool 0.
Kevin Nolan reports from The Valley.
Though lacking the pizazz of the midweek barnburner which rattled Notts Forest, there was still something tangible for Charlton to savour after this dour stalemate against promotion seekers Blackpool.
Not least among its merits was the point that kept their nose above the Championship’s relegation waters. That temporary edge provides psychological relief, as did their first clean sheet of an already troubled season.
Both plus points were achieved by a threadbare squad, deprived of five potential starters, but fully committed to papering over the cracks. It’s almost possible now to forget the miserable capitulations to Millwall and Burnley. Almost but not quite. But his selection problems might usefully be borne in mind by the minority of theoreticians routinely second-guessing Chris Powell and regularly rhubarbing for his removal. Tactically switched-on thinkers, every one of them. And privy, of course, to everything that goes on inside Sparrows Lane.
Charlton’s chances this term will depend rather less on formulaic systems than on sheer heart and ability – that is until football is turned over to dust-dry analysts to be mulled over by cost-conscious accountants. If and when that day arrives, you can keep it -or, better yet, stick it down that tactical “hole” they go on about. And chuck the “diamond” after it. Some of us are still coming to terms with the “W” formation
The heart and ability Charlton need has been epitomised recently by 19 year-old Academy graduate Jordan Cousins. Asked to step up from the Development Squad to plug gaps in a dwindling squad, the tall, athletically-built kid has responded magnificently. He followed an outstanding midweek contribution with another man-of-the-match performance on Saturday. As one appreciative fan was overheard to remark, “he’s a proper footballer”. He’s certainly one opponents find difficult to bully off the ball. That’s an important quality the likes of Callum Harriott would do well to emulate.
Partnered unselfishly by a revitalised Dale Stephens, Cousins dominated central midfield under the frustrated gaze of self-styled “Guvnor” Paul Ince, an expert better qualified than most to evaluate the youngster’s dynamic all-round qualities.
Neither Stephens nor Cousins shied away from the uglier requirements of tackling, covering or, in Stephens’ case especially, lending last ditch support to redoubtable defenders Michael Morrison and Richard Wood in the Addicks’ penalty area. That last ditch boot or head which lustily cleared its lines when all hands were called to the pumps frequently belonged to Cousins but even more often to Stephens.
While hardly a spinetingler, this honest-to-goodness game was no scoreless bore. Chances were few, defences remained largely in control but there were moments when a flash of inspiration -or more likely a lapse in concentration- might have settled the issue.
For the Seasiders, savvy old pro Ricardo Fuller needed constant supervision. It was his meaty header from one of Jack Robinson’s huge throws near the end of a cagey first half, which forced an excellent, full stretch save from Ben Hamer.
“Before you could say Jack Robinson” was, by the way, a meaningless boast in this bloke’s case. That seemingly endless delay as he laboriously crisscrossed the field prior to heaving the ball into Charlton’s penalty area meant you could namecheck his entire family tree while waiting for play to resume. Stick a time limit on throw-ins and “Jack” might have heaved the ball back in play before we realised his surname was “Robinson.” Just an idle thought.
Carrying most of Blackpool’s threat, meanwhile, was Ince’s son Thomas, a much coveted 21-year old in no need of nepotism from this dad. Dangerous if allowed to hit his stride, he was handled with authority by Rhoys Wiggins but popped up with a chance to steal the points in the closing moments. Gifted clear sight of goal by a misplaced header from Lawrie Wilson, the normally accurate sharpshooter dragged an unconvincing low drive harmlessly wide of the left post.
Ince Jr’s miss effectively confirmed the scoreless stand-off, an outcome Cousins had earlier placed in doubt with a 25-yard rasper which Matt Gilks smuggled around an upright. Unhibited shooting is another of his assets. A useful goal or two would come in handy.
Teetering nervously one place and one point above the bottom three, the Addicks will use the international break to assess their parlous position and work on the walking wounded. On Saturday, Powell was down to the bare bones in naming an 18-man squad, his lack of options obvious to all but his remorseless detractors. Skint as he is, he might have grasped the irony that Blackpool, having presumably sold their soul, are sponsored by Wonga, those compassionate champions of the financially oppressed underdog. He could do with a bob or two himself but that ain’t the way to go. Got Faust into more trouble than he baragined for.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Wood, Wiggins, Gower (Pritchard 57), Cousins, Stephens, Harriott, Sordell (Pigott 86), Church (Stewart 76). Not used: Alnwick, Hughes, Evina, Dervite.
Blackpool: Gilks, Broadfoot, Cathcart, MacKenzie, Robinson, Basham, Osbourne (Gosling 74), Ince, Bishop, Dobbie (Barkhuizen 83), Fuller (Davies 79). Not used: Orr, Chopra, Grant, Martinez.
Referee: Keith Hill (spot-on all afternoon). Att: 15,487.
Kevin Nolan’s Match Report is brought to you in association with Maybridge – the CIS Tax Refund Specialists, 294 Burnt Ash Hill, London, SE12 0QD.
Charlton 1 (Sordell 58) Notts Forest 1 (Reid 2).
Kevin Nolan reports from The Valley.
This cocklewarming performance by resurgent Charlton swept away the gloom enveloping The Valley, following three dispiriting defeats. More composed finishing might even have improved the mood further but recovery sometimes starts with the smallest of steps. We’ll know more when Blackpool hit town on Saturday.
For the time being, the Addicks are entitled to savour a hugely encouraging evening, one they began disastrously by surrendering a potentially morale-destroying goal after just two minutes.
It seemed obvious, even to the tactically naive, that with the winklepicking left foot of Andy Reid in Forest’s line-up, the concession of needless free kicks in Charlton’s defensive third should be kept to a minimum. No doubt Chris Powell had drummed home this message but the exuberance of youth betrayed Jordan Cousins, who carelessly nudged Reid in contesting an innocuous ball near the right touchline. The Irish visionary promptly used the opportunity to swing over a deceptively swirling delivery, which embarrassed a poorly positioned Ben Hamer on its way into the top left corner of his net.
If Cousins was crestfallen, it didn’t show. He buckled down immediately with a magnificent contribution to Charlton’s recovery. Not 20 until March, he showed the confidence, not to mention the swagger, of a seasoned pro. There’s the body language of Steven Gerrard about him, with his ability to pass accurately short or long, a willingness to shoulder personal responsibility and based on the late drive which unluckily rattled the woodwork, power in his shooting boots. This kid’s on his way up so let’s enjoy him while we can.
Alongside Cousins, Dale Stephens continued his steady return to form, while full backs Rhoys Wiggins and Lawrie Wilson were rampaging raiders along the flanks. They were the stand-out quartet but every member of this depleted side earned credit for digging down into reserves of pride to deliver for a boss who, God knows, deserves no less.
But, oh, those missed chances! In the first half alone, the profigacy began with Wiggins’ deflected cross looping up conveniently for Simon Church, who headed awkwardly down into the turf and allowed Karl Darlow time to gratefully turn the effort over the bar; Church’s challenge for a Mark Gower centre made space for Stephens’ powder puff tap into Darlow’s arms; Church then made a mess of converting the rebound after Darlow superbly parried Stephens’ rocket, with Stephens’ follow-up attempt shaving an upright.
All through an exciting first half, the Addicks were driven on by a solidly supportive crowd, at the heart of which the North Stand stayed fanatically committed. The ball was either sucked or blown towards Forest’s goal and, three minutes after the break, the sideline heroes were rewarded by an overdue equaliser.
Charlton’s early build-up was, frankly, inelegant, with Callum Harriott’s wildly miscued shot whistling untouched in the direction of the far touchline. Staying alert to its possibilities, Wilson kept the move alive by retrieving the loose ball to square intelligently for Marvin Sordell to shoot home on the turn.
Clearly unwilling to settle for a useful draw, Charlton hunted down their rattled visitors. Harriott’s raking low cross barely eluded a sliding Richard Wood at the far post, Sordell twisted sharply to shoot narrowly wide, before Cousins’ ferocious effort almost uprooted a post, following Stephens’ inswinging corner. It was one-way traffic with Forest struggling to survive and lucky to do so.
Church’s limping withdrawal at least allowed young Joe Pigott to shake off the unwarranted criticism which marred his full league debut against Millwall and show character with a spirited cameo. And there was still time for Cousins to crown a stirring display by sliding in fearlessly to block Chris Cohen’s point-blank “sure thing.”
If Forest have been largely ignored in this account, they will be consoled by the addition of a valuable point to their promotion push. And I hope they won’t mind me calling them “Notts Forest”, a liberty for which some outraged Trentsider put me in my place last season (that was actually fine by me because I quite like living in London). Apparently it’s “Nottingham Forest”, “pronounced “Nott-num Forest”. It’s OK to call the other team “Notts County” but not “Nottingham” or even “Nott-num County”. I’m getting a bit bogged down by apostrophes so talk among yourselves while I disentangle myself.
Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, I remember. No offence, pal, but cobblers. Everyone in the country calls “Notts Forest” ” Notts Forest”. I mean, we don’t go around calling ourselves “Charlt-un” Athletic”, do we? Well, we do sometimes but only among ourselves. Notts Forest. Slips off the tongue. With or without apostrophes.
Gosh, I hope I haven’t gone too far. That bloke was really annoyed and we’ve got to play them away yet. It’s only our little joke, mate.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Wood, Wiggins, Gower (Hughes 74), Stephens, Cousins, Harriott (Dervite 90), Church (Pigott 78), Sordell. Not used: Alnwick, Evina, Cook, Stewart.
Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Collins, Hobbs, Lansbury, Chalobah (Harding 55), Cohen, Mackie, Reid, Blackstock (Henderson 70), Derbyshire (Cox 55). Not used: DeVries, Halford, Jara, Abdoun.
Referee: Fred Graham. Att: 15,587.
Kevin Nolan’s Match Report is brought to you in association with Maybridge – the CIS Tax Refund Specialists, 294 Burnt Ash Hill, London, SE12 0QD.
Burnley 3 (Ings 37, Vokes 67,87) Charlton 0.
Kevin Nolan reports from Turf Moor.
This comment hardly qualifies as blinding insight but the early season signs are that Charlton are already knee-deep in a relegation quicksand. In fact, make that hip-deep and sinking fast. And that’s not a panicky overstatement by any means.
The manner of this abject capitulation to buoyant Burnley, as much as the not unexpected defeat itself, sent shivers of apprehension through the 313 dogged loyalists who followed them up to Lancashire. Those were their natural reactions to an apparent absence of ability and a much more obvious lack of fighting spirit, the same qualities which made them so hard to beat on the road last season. They were sent packing by opponents who chewed them up before spitting out the remains. The Clarets scarcely broke sweat in dealing with such flimsy pretenders.
Let’s do try to be fair, though. The Addicks didn’t actually manage too badly for over a half hour but were beaten in the instant Danny Ings expertly swept his side in front on 37 minutes. Their chronic inability to keep a clean sheet meant that the goalless draw which was clearly the extent of their ambition was now beyond them. They could have played all day and on through Wakes Week without scoring themselves. As soon as Burnley went in front, all bets were off.
Not much had been seen of Ings during the opening half hour. A fine block by Dorian Dervite had snuffed out his only chance and the game was pottering anonymously along, much to the visitors’ satisfaction, until he popped up in precisely the right place at exactly the right time to open the scoring. Timing his run to the far post as the impressive Kieran Trippier outwitted Rhoys Wiggins on the Clarets’ right flank, Ings made routine work of converting the full back’s low, hard-driven cross. It was a lesson in cold-blooded finishing, which was lost on the inept visitors. In the first half, they managed only a limply wide shot from Dale Stephens and a wicked free kick from Wiggins which Tom Heaton bravely collected under pressure from Simon Church. They didn’t do much better in the second period so we’ll draw a veil over their puny efforts.
Operating in Ings’ shadow, meanwhile, Sam Vokes had wasted an early chance, glancing another of Trippier’s sweet centres wide when scoring seemed an easier option. Like his strike partner, he bided his time before extinguishing Charlton’s faint hopes with an excellent second goal. Played through by Dean Marney’s astute pass inside Lawrie Wilson, he drew Ben Hamer from his line, then smoothly lifted a deft chip over the keeper into the right corner. Earlier this season, the Addicks had pulled back a two-goal deficit at Barnsley: the chances of a repetition were minimal. There’s a smell of defeat hanging over them right now.
Full of themselves, Burnley were winning as they pleased. Ings’ clever header from Ben Mee’s left wing cross beat Hamer but smacked against the bar and it was left to Vokes to add a final flourish to their victory with three minutes left. Meeting Junior Stanislav’s waist-high corner on the volley, he gave Hamer no chance from 10 yards. Ings and Vokes, between them, have accounted for 12 of Burnley’s 17 league goals this season.
It’s recommended, of course, to search for positives in the bleakest of situations but on this occasion, you’d be reaching to find even one. Even the late substitute appearance of Yann Kermorgant seemed to backfire or was it imagination that the all-important striker limped through the closing moments? With skipper Johnnie Jackson ruled out pre-kickoff and Chris Solly already a mysterious long-term absentee, Chris Powell could do without further worry concerning Kermorgant’s immediate prospects.
High flyers Nottingham Forest and Blackpool are due this week at The Valley prior to the international break, neither of them opposition you’d choose to face while out of form. Defeats by that formidable duo could see the sands closing over Charlton’s head. And once you go under, it’s one helluva job to reach the surface again.
It’s a bit early to be using a word like crisis. So what should we call it -a blip? Face facts. It looks like a crisis, feels like a crisis, sounds like a crisis. Chances are it’s a crisis.
Kevin Nolan’s Match Report is brought to you in association with Maybridge – the CIS Tax Refund Specialists, 294 Burnt Ash Hill, London, SE12 0QD.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Kightly (Stanislav 60), Marney, Arfield (Treacy 85), Jones (Edgar 90), Ings, Vokes. Not used: Cisak, Lafferty, O’Neill, Stock. Booked: Marney.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Pritchard (Harriott 46), Stephens, Cousins, Gower (Sordell 68), Stewart (Kermorgant 83), Church. Not used: Alnwick, Evina, Wood, Hughes. Booked: Wilson.
Referee: D. Coote. Att: 10,645.