And so this topsy turvey season continues. It may of course end up going wrong and let's face it the odds are stacked against us. History and previous experience tells us we'll probably miss out on goal difference even if we do get close but it wouldn't be Charlton if it was straight forward or not destined to break your heart !
Frankly it is ridiculous that we are remotely anywhere near a play-off spot let alone be sat in in 5th place. The two teams below us have games in hand but so often it's points on the board that count.
I think that most of us had totally given up after the last two games more as a result of the manner of those defeats as anything else not just the results.
Thankfully Bowyer and the players had other ideas. The manager made 6 changes to the starting eleven and no one could have argued with that.
Clearly it was a much improved and more motivated performance than of late. Can it continue ? Who on earth knows ? We are just as capable of wining all 3 of our remaining games as losing all 3.
Never a dull moment with the Addicks ! Next up Pompey way........anyone care to guess the score on that one !!!
The last time I posted we had just completed a hat-trick of victories playing some scintillating football. This coming from a highly motivated and passionate team. Robinson, his 4-2-3-1 and everything else that came with him all seemingly a distant memory.
Fast forward yesterday and we appear to have reverted to the last days days of the previous manager's reign. As swiftly as we turned things around from the Plymouth game we have moved back to where we started with equal alacrity!
I am perhaps fortunate not to have witness the away games at Rovers and Wimbledon. Neither were good and Wimbledon one could hope was a one off. Indeed, Bowyer was confident that the team would respond in the right way. Sadly, he was let down by nearly every player.
The passing was far too slow and there was no real cutting edge.
This was the bad old days not the good old days with Bowyer playing the Leonard Sachs role. However, the supporting cast were playing a very different tune for our delectation!
We secured 9 points in fine style pretty much against all odds and then in equal measure failed to get more than 1 when another 9 points seemed a pretty likely return.
The path to the play-offs seems even tougher now of course and another two games next week really won't help. We could hardly have picked more testing opposition than Shrewsbury and Portsmouth.
However, this is Charlton and so if we went and won both it oughtn't to be a surprise - expect the unexpected!
Realsitically it not's going to happen and the false dawn has cruelly raised our expectation and in typical Charlton fashion it has been dashed so quickly.
There is little to be optimistic about with the season fading away, no real sign of the takeover being completed, incredibly season ticket prices have risen ( over and above infaltion and certinaly not in line with what we've seen on the pitch for the majority of the season ! ) and the club remains rudderless.
In short, we're in the s**t !
However, history shows us that things can and do turn round and sometimes sooner than we could ever expect to hope. We need to cling on to that hope and perhaps look for inspiration from teams like Bournemouth, Burnley, Brighton and Huddersfield looking set to survive another season at the top table.
We have to hope that the new ownership happens quickly or least in decent time before the start of next season with the manager ( whoever that may be ) suitably backed. Hopefully come kick off in August things will look considerably brighter.
The revival under Lee x 3 Bowyer continued yesterday with a slightly different type of performance from the previous two games.
Rotherham were quick out of the traps and really came at us in the first few minutes and were unlucky not to take the lead when a shot hit the bar. The general feeling was that The Millers would look to get a draw or sneak a win so their aim to try and surprise us somewhat tom come out all guns blazing was a good one.
Losing Fosu so early on was a real blow and he looked to have been withdrawn as much as a precaution as anything and it is to be hoped it is a minor knock. It is testament to the side's current play that it manager to cope so well without him. This is especially trye when his replacement, Kaikai didn't seem to do an awful as far as I could see.
The Addicks slowly imposed themselves on the game and it appeared that we had won a penalty but the referee changed his mind. It looked pretty clear to me but perhaps a Rotherham defender got pushed along the way.
A poor header from one of the Millers' defender let in Zyro and he went on to finsh with some aplomb. A lovely strike!
Shortly after the ineffectual referee who was reluctant to give a yellow card or speak to any player committing a misdemeanor had to leave to the field of play. It wasn't clear if he had an injury and was embarrassed at his poor perfromance !
This gave rise to hope, albeit false as it turned out, that his replacement might offer some protection to our boys from the physical side of the Millers. This wasn't to be and the game bizarrely finshed with us collecting 3 yellows and Rotherham none! Smith in particular can be thankful for that.
The second half saw Charlton really impose themselves on the game. The aforementioned Aribo score two different but equally lovely goals. The first saw him drift into the box to head home unchallenged. In contrast to Zyro's bullet header against Plymouth young Joe almost carressed the ball into the corner of the goal.
Carressed isn't a word you'd use to describe Aribo's second. He powered forward as he broke away and simply smased the ball past the keeper. It was fantastic !
Despite a scrappy consolation for the Millers the lads comfortably saw out the game.
A number of good performances across the team with, for me Konsa, Kaikai and a low key Mavididi not being at their best.
Dasilva looked like someone who'd not player for a while. On the basis of what I've seen so far I think I prefer Page at left back as much as Jay has a lot to offer.
There's little to be critical of, however, if we're looking to improve then we need more imaginative with free kicks. I know we scored from one. A couple of others at least didn't go so well and unless someone is able to hit the top corner from distance they don't go so well.
The dynamic duo continue to work wonders and have in a short space of time really turned things around in almost every respect. There was a bigger home crowd yesterday and the atmosphere cranked up a notch or two as well.
We are now back in the top six and the aim must now be to try and capture 4th place let alone just finish in a play-off spot. Rotherham must fear for their place in that top six as their form since February has been really poor. Added to that teams are queuing up behind them ! Down to 9th place it is so so close !
Lee chose to shuffle the pack yesterday and it didn't change the outcome and neither did the early loss of Fosu. How far have come ? The manager continues to say and do the right things. Long may it continue !
No, not the ex-Norwich loanee ! There's only one Lee and he's been named thrice !
Bowyer contiues to impress with what he says, how he acts and how his team plays. If he can keep this up then I may have to just keep posting pics of him and get one for my bedside cabinet !
The team clearly carried on yesterday from where it left off on Saturday and then some ! Another two early goals settled any possible nerves and the lads went on to add another two.
Despite the oppo not providing the greatest test it must be said that all season we have struggled to put away the most modest opponents. That a Plymouth team that we comfortably beat 2-0 last time out overcame Southend 4-0 is a good indication of how far we've come in a few days.
Unsurprisingly Bowyer named an unchanged starting eleven and they didn't disappoint. It was good to see a resurrgent Reeves score and apprently with his head for the first time. Fosu looked to be on fire and as reported it should and could have been a lot more.
The football and team spirit has moved on a great deal with the players performing with a great deal of self-belief and freedom to express themselves.
It seems likely that barring any injuries Bowyer is set to name the same starting eleven again on Monday. Fresh from completing out first double of the season against the Cobblers we could do the same against the Millers.
Only one win in 5 league games in March sees Rotherham arrive at The Valley in poor form. Should that form continue then they would be in danger of dropping out of the play-off places.
I think a vast majority of us recognised that we had one of the best squads in this division. However, until last week it was lacking organisation and a formation to maximise its potential. Now it seems to be or close to be doing just that.
These last two games have left us wondering what might be. Certainly if we can get into the play-offs then I don't think we need fear any team especially if Wigan and Blackburn take the top two places as seems likely.
I know we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves however, as we know teams that come in to the playoffs on form tend to come through. It would be both astonishing and wonderful if we could do that. A lot of water needs to pass under the bridge before that happens of course.
On Monday the Bowyer bandwagon rolls on and it'll be interesting to see if we can keep it going. Like the last two games it's another must win game and one that could see us return to a play-off spot should we win and Scunthorpe and Plymouth draw. It's hard to see Peterborough losing to Northampton at home.
I think it's fair to say that since I last got out the old laptop to blog things in S.E. 7 have moved on a bit. I haven't bothered for a while as my frustration with Robinson meant I was focused on him and expressed the same views.
I will say before I move on that I always felt he wasn't right for our club and said so upon his appointment. Some have expressed a right man at the wrong time opinion. Not for me. Anyway he is now gone and it's time to look forward.
I had my doubts as to Lee Bowyer as a coach as I felt he lacked experience. The same for Jacko too as both are relative novices in that respect. That is not to say that I felt in the long term they wouldn't come good.
I think they had a problem whilst working for Robinson. Both men owe their opportunity to him and that I guess made it difficult to express a contrary view to the manager's plans. I'm not sure Robinson would have listened anyway.
To date I have to say that as caretaked manager I'm greatly impressed by Bowyer. He has said the right things and conducted himself in a suitable way.
There could be shades of the Curbishly / Gritt partnership when ultimately Richard Murray made Curbs the main man when everyone though it ought to go to Gritt. That, of course, prove to be one of Murray's more astute decisions.
It would be great if the same proves to be the case with Bowyer and I appreciate that Skip turned down the chance. I think he was right to do so.
If a week is a long time in politics then in Charlton related football it's nearly an enterntity ! There was a stark contrast in almost every aspect of the game against Fleetwood and yesterday's versus Plymouth.
The atmosphere for a start so much better and more positive and a feeling that everyone was totally behind the new management team. If this proposed takeover goes through next week it'd be great to see loads of fans returning and for the ground to more full than of late.
The football was so much better as the desire to get the ball forward quicker was blatantly evident. Gone was the tippy-tappy sideways and backwards football the typified our season to date.
The players were committed and showed great desire. Most of them would have been out on their feet at the end. For me, I never felt that a decent Plymouth side would score not even in those dying moments.
The defence was more cohesive and we didn't have a lack of height that we have when Da Silva and Solly play. Therefore, we defended set pieces in particular in a better fashion.
Throughout the season we have seen our players bullied and lacking a physical edge. Not yesterday as we stood up for oursleves. Despite the ref being poor in a way it was good to see him feel he had to speak to Pearce about our approach.
The mood for the afternoon was set early on with Page's wonder strike. How good was that ? I'm opting to overlook his attempt to repeat the feet a few minutes later. Suffice to say it ended up just wide of the goal!
Amos made a superb save before Zyro got the second goal. He pushed the shot onto the post and his reaction in jumping up and giving a huge fist-pump spoke volumes about the spirit in Bowyer's team.
Our second was a superb bullet header from Zyro and we were off up on our feet again celebrating!
I can't fault any player for their performance yesterday. Reeves probably had his best game for us. JFC was full of running and made some great tackles. Pearce and Bauer gave it their all and were superb.
Ajose was a striker reborn and deserved a goal for his efforts. I could go on as there were good displays acroos the whole team.
Clearly Bowyer has had an immediate impact. Remember he was missing the same players as the previous manager plus Konsa and Magennis too. Yet he got a largely 4-4-2 formation to work and involving players like Aribo and Dijksteel who were largely overlooked by Robinson.
The players left the field to a fully deserved standing ovation. Amongst other things I really didn't miss yesterday was the post match huddle and lap of honour. The players and manager acknowledged the crowd and left the field with their minds focused on the next game.
Bowyer has a few nice selection headaches. Anyone who started yesterday will feel aggrieved if they don't start against the Cobblers.
The play-offs remain a possibility and if we can maintain the standard set yesterday then why not ?
If the takeover completes next week then the new dawn really is here and we can all start to look forward and be really positive about the club's future. It'll be a long way back but the hope will be there!
All looking good ahead of tomorrow's pitch inspection. This picture was taken at 2.45pm..................
6 months ago !
In pure football terms Saturday would appear to be a good
time to Wimbledon. In meteorological terms it’s certainly not and it's unlikely
the game will be played.
All the blame can be put on The Beast from The East and this
time, the beast’s not called Roland !
The Dons had a good January but February has not been kind
to them. They’ve played 7 games , winning only 1, losing 5 with one draw. Their
form otherwise has been inconsistent at best and explains why they are towards
the bottom of the league.
Our form has been a little better but not what you’d expect
for a club with our squad and play-off aspirations. The injuries to JDS and Kashi will hardly help our cause but no one other than Robinson apologists would argue that we ought to be in a much better position. That anyone is blind
to his short-comings that are increasingly exposed with each passing game is a
mystery to me. It's not just DHL who are failing to deliver.
Robinson may have improved morale to a degree and be a
slight improvement on the previous recent incumbents ( that's not saying a lot ) but we need someone who’s
tactically astute and can motivate and organise players appropriately. In short, we need
more than a cheerleader !
The manager made a long winded statement ( no, really ! ) praising virtually everyone connected with the club. Unbelievable was the oft repeated word. The same word he used to describe Shrewsbury after he watched them play before setting us up for a right old drubbing last Saturday.
The injury to JDS has implications beyond the mere fact the he won't be available for the next few games. It does mean that when we face Plymouth we won't be able to postpone the game due to having 3 or more international call ups.
That means the unthinkable and not playing Josh Magennis. Robinson will potentially have to think of another way of playing or at the very least try someone else up front. I'm looking forward to seeing how it pans out.
It could be amusing if not effective given that on Saturday he opted to move Aribo to left back on Saturday when JDS went off. There were many options available that were far more appropriate but the manager chose to ignore them all. On that basis replacing the ever-present Magennis should er.......interesting. What masterstroke can he come up with for that one !
Today's aforementioned clarion call was an odd move even for Robinson. Praise on the one hand for all and sundry whilst stating that Bowyer and Jackson don't have much experience in the role. A tough 12 months or so for him but how much has he learned and we're in a much better place.....he's been having lessons from La Meire it seems !
This is new territory for Robinson as he is seemingly getting his excuses in very early. It's not my fault guvnor, honest !
If The Addicks are to scrape into the playoffs we'll need a large percentage of wins from our remaining games. It all seemed highly unlikely before Saturday's potential postponement with further fixture congestion and injury loss. It appears even more unlikely now.
Unless the manager has a footballing road to Damascus moment it's really not going to happen and I wonder, with teams around us hitting form, just how low down the league we will go before season end.
Shrewsbury have been the surprise package in League One this season. Their early dominance in the league has continued despite most folk thinking it might evaporate about half way through the season.
On Saturday in S.E.7 they produced a display that perfectly demonstrated how they got there and why they look set to stay. This is a team that is well drilled, well coached and highly motivated. In fact, on yesterday's evidence they were everything Charlton aren't.
The passing and movement was quick and incisive as opposed to our frequent over elaborate build up play. They never stopped running and pressed and chased every ball.
The Shrews had suffered from an illness bug during the week and also played on Tuesday. To look at the two teams you'd have thought it was the home team that related to.
Post match and Robinson accused the players of not following the game plan. Apparently during the week in training they were told not to forget what they'd been doing all season and not to pass sideways and backwards.
Either the message didn't get through or they didn't listen which brings into question the manager's ability to get the message across or their willingness to listen or perhaps both !
That aside I'm confused as to how you can play without passing sideways or backwards at some stage. One assumes the alternative is to lump the ball forward or simply give it away.
Even before kick off there was a strange twist as having won the toss we opted to kick towards the Covered End. Allegedly we thought the Shrews, like some ancient civilisation, be mesmerised by the slowly setting giant orb in the sky allowing the boys in reds to waltz passed unchallenged to steer the ball into an empty net.
Sadly, they have seen the sun in Shropshire before and this ruse failed as the Salopians went on to dazzle the boys in red who for the most part were left chasing shadows.
The 90 minutes were an object lesson in how to play in manner which Robinson purports to favour but seemingly is unable to deliver for any sustained period of time let alone an entire game.
We had about 5 minutes of good football where Henderson the keeper on loan from United showed why he is such a promising prospect with two or three excellent saves. He was never troubled again.
There were many poor performances and on occasion a total lack of communication. Time and again the ball was lumped upto Magennis who on those times won the ball headed onto to no one was there simply wasn't another player to run on to it.
The manager like the rest of us witnessed this but unlike the us paying spectators felt unmoved to change anything.
Kai Kai again contributed little and to me looks lazy and uninterested. There must be more to him than this.
Marshall again offered nothing and still shows no desire to take on and run at the oppo. He was largely responsible for the penalty as he wasn't in enough space for Solly to pass to in the lead up. The resulting poor penalty kick only served to delay the inevitable.
A quality first goal and poorly defended corner wrapped things after 67 minutes as one knew there was no way back for us.
Thanks to the ongoing inconsistency of teams around us were are still in touching distance of the play-offs. Realistically we oughtn't have a cat in hell's chance of making it but it strangely remains.
However, by the completion of the next three games, all away that hope may have been totally extinguished. At least one can hope that the club will be rid of inept owner by then. We can then look forward to the future. A future that really not see Robinson in the manager's seat as time and again he has shown he doesn't have what it takes to move us forward and out of this league.
I saw my first game back in the sixties when my dad took me along on a very wet and windy day. I recall having to turn my back to the pitch because of it.....shame you can't do that sometimes now !
I sit in the East Stand with my lads who both keep the faith.
I live 75 miles from the Valley having moved away from the area in 1984 but my heart has never left !