Villa home. What was the score? 3-0
Wow, what a homecoming. I awoke this morning with a smile on my face, a slight head and a hoarse voice. All of which must suggest a fine victory last night (gawd, I do miss that feeling).
So from the beginning. The Bugle was great (if a bit quiet, though it was always busier on a Saturday) - seeing lots of mates and tucking a few pints away. The first 20 minutes I thought we were all over the place. Vassell should have scored and Cole looked very lively in the face of huge barracking from the home fans. Then slowly we started to pass the ball and a cracking cross by the Herminator was wonderfully headed home by Jeffers. Before this the BBC camera's showed that Rommedahl had a good shout for a penalty turned down by, in my opinion, an otherwise decent referee who seemed intent on letting the game flow.
Five minutes later we witnessed a wonderful strikers finish by Jeffers again. How many times have we seen a Charlton player smack that chance into the crowd or dwell on the opportunity too long? The Valley has a potential new hero and the way he celebrated his goals he knows it.
Prior to half time Lisbie was unfortunate with two chances to increase the lead and the team left the pitch with applause ringing in their ears. 15 minutes after the restart Luke Young scored his first ever Addicks goal at an important phase of the match to kill the game off at 3-0.
The Valley crowd were in fine voice now and it was time to relax and watch some exciting runs from Rommedahl and continued good movement from Lisbie and Jeffers before Curbs confused us all by throwing on all three subs in a 10 minute spell - A left sided midfielder/left back for a striker, a centre half for a midfielder and a midfielder for a winger. Um. Carlton Cole was also pulled off by O'Leary to our delight, just a shame that my slant on the chant: "Carlton Cole.... is a roaster, is a roaster," didn't catch on!
Now, conscious that I don't want to be one of those 'armchair' fans who doesn't go every week (I know, because they used to piss me off) I thought that Fortune and Fish had strong games, Fortune pleasing me because he went back to the Rufus school of defending, i.e. when in doubt kick it out. Young gave a very energetic performance and prior to last season I was not his biggest fan. Kiely made a couple of good saves, but got away with a fumble in the first half. Hreidarsson was excellent.
Kish again played his role exceptionally well (scary), Murphy gave the ball away a lot which was worrying although he did get better as the game went on. Euell typically covered every blade of grass, but I would really like to see Holland (when back) paired alongside Murphy in the middle with Euell in a more forward role, but not necessarily as a striker.
Nothing excites a crowd more than an out and out winger hogging the touchline and I really believe Rommedahl will only get better and better as he learns more about the Premiership and his opponents. Lisbie had a good game, but obviously did not improve on his goals to games ratio and that is why the jury is still out 9 years after he made his Charlton debut. And of course Jeffers has a huge chance to be mentioned in the same breath as Hales & Mendonca. No pressure Francis.
Thank you Charlton, it was well worth the journey and it's my birthday today too!
Reports from others that were there: BBC Sport
; Guardian Unlimited
; Wyn Grant