Some days they make you proud
Charlton Athletic 0 Norwich City 1
All a Charlton fan can ever ask for is that they walk away at the final whistle proud knowing that the team gave every of ounce of effort. And climbing Charlton Lane around 5pm yesterday with Norwich's noisy promotion celebrations in the background all around me Addicks fans were having the same conversations.
There will always be the what may have beens, and the sequence of home games in January and February will be ours, Leeds, Swindon have theirs and Millwall's are maybe yet to come but we have turned in two promotion displays this week and as/if I head back to Bermuda I do with a confidence that seemed impossible in February.
Scoring goals wins games and with a solitary goal winning each of our last five it tells us everything we need to know about the difference between us and our rivals. But for Norwich's on loan goalkeeper Frazer Forster playing out of his skin, we would have got a hatful but I wouldn't be a Charlton fan if I couldn't be negative for one second and for me, we still didn't get enough quality into the box. Often Nicky Forster was drawn out to the left to put balls in, where Bailey should have been the provider. Forster by the way was again excellent.
I find it hard to criticise Bailey. Many of his 12 goals have won us points this season but although he is carrying a shoulder injury clearly making him less mobile, he just doesn't appear to have the same mental instinct that he had earlier in the season. Plus he is completely wasted out on the left. In saying that he still produced three of our 9 efforts on goal.
Although Akpo was a vast improvement from Tuesday, we carried a lot more of a threat when Burton's intelligence and link up play joined the game before half-time. One wonders why he didn't start as he appeared to have no after effects of his injury.
Of course Norwich have played better this season, but over the two games with them it has shown us to be the much better side. The 68% possession stat says it all and once they got their goal the Canaries became intent of playing the role of spoilers. For all of Frazer Forster's great saves he was also very proficent in time-wasting. Once they reverse the rule of goalkeeper's being allowed to take a goal kick from either side of the goal the better.
Watching the highlights last night one might blame Randolph for not being more authoritative at the corner for Nelson's goal but otherwise I was glad that he kept his place with Elliot returning to the bench. Again Dailly was awesome in the back four and I would love for us to somehow keep him next season whatever our fate.
Likewise Semedo played like he was a level above everyone else on the field and while I understand Parky's need to throw more goalscoring options up front when he brought Kyel Reid on, Semedo's absence caused our level of tempo to drop and not for the first time this season. If I could have found a POTY vote collector I would have been very torn.
Sadly Semedo nor Racon are going to get us goals but the Frenchman also had an excellent game and the cameo role by Shelvey described perfectly by New York Addick
as a quarterback did produce some our best long forward ball passing all game. I still think Jonjo is going to have a big say in our season.
Defeat then (my first of the season incidentially) but a display to be proud of and thoughts in my head during the drive home were of what can be and not what may have been. Although if only that last ditch free kick would have been better thought out and Randolph got his head to it....
The day started well for my son and I too. He got to probably eat the best pub hot dog I'd ever seen courtesy of the barbeque in The White Swan
, which is under new management. The manager a cross between Roberto Donadoni and Benny from Crossroads and his English wife have made the Village pub unrecognisable from what it used to be and I hope it succeeds. It was a nice setting to have a pint with fellow bloggers
and friends before the game.If I am still in the UK
on Saturday Dave
has promised to join me at Exeter. Keep it going you Reds.Other Bloggers at The Valley
: Drinking During the Game
; New York Addick
; Doctor Kish
; Charlton Casual
; Addicks Diary
; Blackheath Addicted
; And Nothing Else Matters
; Charlton Athletic Online