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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Coventry 1 Charlton 1

The refusal of "a stonewall penalty", a glorious missed chance late-on by Iwelumo and a goal 6 minutes from time from an Maltese mosquito denied the Addicks the three points at Coventry. After Watfords home draw with Blackpool, the two points dropped would have taken us to top spot in the table but there's no comments, as yet, on Monica's feelings about that. No doubt he's pleased and maybe it's not such a bad thing. We need to be in the top 2 in May and not in September. Early leaders tend to fade and we don't want that.
Overall a point seems to be good thing to take home as the telegraph highlights a wobbly Addicks defence with a couple of Bougherra mistakes and defines the goal as "Mifsud was on hand to bring relief to the home fans, though, when he showed rather more hunger than the Charlton defence in chasing an Adebola flick before firing home."
And there's more realism from the posh murdoch with "Fortune and company were living dangerously" an "erroneously denied" penalty and the glaring miss at the end by Iwelumo when "faced with just Marshall, headed the ball wide when scoring appeared the simpler option". Complete with the usual player scores, we didn't get MOM, the mosquito did.
The reporter from the sportinglife appears to have watched another game with comments like "The hosts dominated", the equaliser was "the very least Iain Dowie's team deserved after being the better side for much of the game" but he did appear to be there when Iwelumo missed a "golden opportunity".
And if we don't top the table at least we appear first in the independents roundup.
Back at home, Pards is understandably upset with the game and says "we shot ourselves in the foot" with poor defending - where have we heard that before - but gives us some tactical fizzy pop hints with: "We need to learn the discipline of winning away in this division; there are certain tricks and traits that you need and we didn't explore them today," before laying on the line the real reason for our tiredness at the end of the game; "We had the journey from hell getting up here yesterday and it took us seven hours"
Better sort that out before the long trip to Hull on Tuesday, then..
The Addicks: Weaver; Mills, Bougherra, Fortune, Powell; Sam (Holland 81), Semedo, Zheng, Reid; Iwelumo, Varney (McLeod 66).
Subs (not used): Randolph, Sodje, Holland, Todorov.
Goals: Sam 15
Booked: Semedo 50 (foul on Tabb), Mills 81 (foul on Mifsud)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Don't Wait Up, Mrs Monica.....

Sorry, wrong Monica. But it has to be said that, bearing in mind the recent result at Sainburys, which was better than sex apparently, the Coventry manager will probably exchange a bit of weekend nooky with the missus in order to put one over the Addicks today, so to speak. It seems there's nothing better in Dowie's books than proving a point and although he's says he's forgotten everything about his very short tenure at the Valley, frankly, we don't believe him.
But after Coventry's unexpected win at Old Trafford on Wednesday there seems to be a few nerves around the Addicks this morning with very few people predicting a win in todays game and a draw against an jubilant Coventry seems to be the best result we can expect.
But Pards will not be taking too much notice of Wednesdays result against a youth side, or even of Monica's past record as a Head Coach at the Valley, he's after points and solving a problem away from home. We've suffered a bit on our travels especially against Stoke and Colchester and we needed a 5 man midfield against Palarse to keep them out. Will he be tempted to use a five man buffer again to stop Coventry?
As far as results are concerned, we arrive in Coventry with exactly the same record away from home as Dowie has in his own Ricoh stadium, a win, a draw and a defeat and more interesting than their win in Manchester was their last home game, a 0-3 defeat against Bristol City two weeks ago.
Pards will know that Coventry created a host of chances in that game and had 10 shots on target but failed to score and Bristol had their Brazilian goalkeeper Adriano Basso to thank for keeping their opponents at bay. All three midfielders Stephen Hughes, Michael Doyle and Jay Taff had good chances saved by the Brazilian. Coventry also earned themselves 5 yellow cards in the process which goes some way to explaining their style. After 7 games they have collected the most yellows 15, in the Division along with bottom club Sheffield Wednesday.
So it'll be a tough game and there's bound to be adjustments to the team that played Leicester to cope with Coventry's style. Pardew will have noticed that Coventry are very poor first half performers, especially at home, where they have failed to score in the first 45 in all three games and gone in to half-time tea losing on two occasions. And in the three games they have only scored a total of three goals. Not really what you would call promotion form and Pardew is probably alone in silently hoping to get something from the game.
Anyway, while our gaffer has already stated that he is looking to the first 10 games as a pointer to our progress, a helpful guide via the Fink Tank in this mornings posh murdoch gives a long term Fizzy Pop view with a nice little table showing their end-of-season predictions and there we are in 2nd place behind our apparent real challengers, West Brom.
Coventry, you will notice, are nowhere....

Friday, September 28, 2007

Preview - Coventry (away)

So its back to the fizzies after a dismal showing full of 'missed opportunities' in the Cup-For-Everybodies-Reserves. However, we've forgotten all that now and back in the real world of competitions that matter two successive home 2-0 victories last week has taken Pards to 2nd spot in the table. All we have to do now is keep our nerve in what will undoubtedly by the Addicks toughest test of the season so far tomorrow against the team managed by our ex, Monica.
We've all have our troubles with ex's and Pardew is about to suffer the attempted comeuppance of one of our Boards rare mistakes.
So what about Coventry? After 34 years, a life-time in football, in the top-flight whatever it was called back then the inevitable happened in 2001 when Gordon Stachan took them down to Tier two. And there they've been ever since. They're now on their ninth manager since that relegation, 6 years ago, and he's someone we know all about, Iain Dowie.
Not Again!
And another team we're sh** against, 8-10 down after spending just 14 seasons together.

The Opponents
Oh, Dear - Manure 0 Skyblues 2
Forgetting what the hell happened on Wednesday, which highlights the maxim that fizzy teams can beat anyone on their day, what's their fizzy pop form like? After being top of the table at the beginning of the September and Monica winning the August Manager of the Month, as always with those awards things have all gone rather downhill since then. An unbeaten August was followed by two heavy defeats, at home to Bristol City 0-3 and away at Ipswich 1-4 and have only been relieved by a sexy 1-1 draw at Sainburys and they have now slipped to 8th win 11 points.
So who gets the goals? Super-Sub Michael Mosquito Mifsud from Malta is top goal-getter with 3 although to Monica's embarrassment he's achieved that without having started a fizzy pop game. And like all good teams they have nine players that have scored this season among them the experienced 32 year old Dele Adebola all the way from Nigeria, currently stuck on two goals and youngster Leon Best also with two.

Who Are Yorr?
Beating your old employer=Better Than Sex..
Dowie's response after the 1-1 draw at Sainburys 10 days ago was very predictable and he described his side's late equaliser against the club who successfully sued him for breach of contract as "better than sex".
So he'll be up for another sexy afternoon and with home advantage he'll probably be out to hit us for 6 this time.
A settled midfield trio of ex-Addicks Stephen Hughes, Dublin-born Micheal Doyle, and Jay Tabb the irish-man from Tooting will try to swamp midfield. They're a strong outfit that may be tired after the exertions of beating Manure on Wednesday but will be equally encouraged by the 2-0 victory.
Up front we'll probably see Adebola partner the wee mosquito Mifsud after his two goals at Old Trafford.
Their last game against Ipswich saw a team made up of: Konstantopoulos; Borrowdale, De Zeeuw, Hall, Osbourne; Tabb, Hughes, Doyle, Cairo; Best, Adebola.
The Addicks
Same Again?
The two home wins last week saw Pards play the same team each time and as we know he appreciates a settled team it would be no surprise if he decides to pick exactly the same team for tomorrow.

The three main contentions with that would mean Danny Mills remaining at full-back despite the return to fitness of Yassin Moutaouakil, the continuance of Lloyd Sam on the right although he seemed to fade badly last Saturday and keeping the same strike partnership of Iwelumo and Varney.
As far as right-back is concerned, Danny Mills seems tailor made for a visit to Coventry and Pards will not want to upset a defence that has kept two clean sheets in a row.

Iwelumo is looking good up front, lots of intelligence football and goals as well and Luke Varney does stretch defences with good running down the wide channels that, with apologies to little Bent, we haven't seen done so well since another little 'un, Paul Williams, back in the Division One days. So Pards will play them both and somehow keep Todorov happy with a place on the bench. McLeod, after missing his chance on Tuesday will be left out.

And the midfield. I think Lloyd Sam will be 'rested' and that we'll play Reid, Semedo, ZiZi and Ambrose.

So the team: Weaver; Mills, Bougherra, Fortune, Powell; Reid, Semedo, ZiZi, Ambrose; Iwelumo and Varney.

What Does Pards Say?
No Izzy Then..
After Izale McLeod's disappointing game on Tuesday, which apparently extended his goal drought to eight matches, Pardew is reported to be far from happy with the striker, who on the plus-side has won a couple of penalties during some lively cameo appearances.
"He's the type of striker who misses chances. I've watched him enough to know that. But he takes on some very difficult chances. But it's not the chances he misses which bothered me. Some of his build-up play and touches are a bit sloppy but he will get better. He's come up two levels and he needs to adjust."

2-1 Home Win...
I never did going to Coventry and I can't see Monica allowing his players to lose tomorrow. A unfortunate 2-1 home win.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hey, Andy! Why not take a rest.

So what's all this resting of players malarkey? Anybody work for a manager who said to you, "Nelse, fancy a day off? There's nothing on tomorrow, get yourself a days rest and I'll get somebody to cover for you." Ever happen to you? No, I thought not.
So what is it about running about a pitch for an hour and a half, maybe twice a week that's so tiring and what the hell are they gonna be like in March or April. Totally shagged out presumably.
You know what I talking about, this League Cup Carling thing. Pards gives all bar poor old Magic a night off - what's he done to upset Pards we don't know - but being the smart boy we know he is, Pards deflects all questions by saying that Chrissie Powell is not gonna play because he celebrates too much. Obviously a subtle warning to Magic to enjoy our next win a bit more.
So are we supposed to care about this latest defeat? Are we supposed to pretend that it's not important to lose against Luton, the same as we do when the Reserves lose. Why don't they just tell everyone its a Reserve Competition and have done with it. You Big Boys from Tier 1 and 2; you can only play a maximum of 3 players that have ever appeared in the first team, and that would be the end of it. It's becoming a second string cup anyway or why bother pretending it is what it isn't.
So anyway, the Addicks can clearly see the purpose of the Tier 2 Cup and make 10 changes to the team against little old Luton, while our next opponents Coventry made just 5 changes against a Manure team last night that made no less than 11 changes from their last game. Its no wonder then that Coventry won 2-0 as they were only up against a guy called Nani and a lot of reserves.
But it was nice of them to play it a day after our own game so that Pards could nip up there and have a brief shufti.
And to make Pards' job all the easier, Monica, in the excitement of getting a result at the Theatre, laid all his cards on the table for our man to see. 'Cause as you would expect the six players that Monica retained from the defeat against Ipswich are his key players and that saves Pards waiting till the reviews come out tomorrow to find out who they are.
So to confirm Monica's key assets that played both games, they are; full-backs Osbourne and Borrowdale, midfielders Stephen Hughes, Jay Tabb, and Michael Doyle and striker Best. Irish internationals Tabb and Dublin born Doyle are sure to be old mates of our 'ittle irish fella and he'll no doubt be warning the gaffer about all their tricks.
As for the forward line is young Leon Best the best or will it be experienced 32 year old ex-Birmingham Dele Adebola up front. Best it was that scored an own-goal and missed a penalty in Southampton's semi-final Play-off defeat last season against Derby. No wonder he was transferred during the summer, but don't tell Monica. Maybe he'll let him take any penalties.
And Monica's also got a similar problem to Pards in central defence. Does he go on with the experienced duo of De Zeeuw and Marcus Hall after letting in 4 against Ipswich or use Ward and Turner after their heroics in Manchester.
But like Luton Town, who cares. Just tell the team, Pards, that Mr Dowie will be sort of very determined to get his team performing this weekend. After a 1-1 at Sainburys that he must have enjoyed, Monica will not want to see his new team defeated by Mr Murray's new boy, especially at home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Luton 3 Charlton 1 AET (League Cup)

2-1 or 3-1 it doesn't really matter, our games in the Tier 2 cup have thankfully come to an end with a 3-1 defeat to little old Luton. With 6 goals conceded in the last two games they were getting to be a trial anyway as far as the defence was concerned even if they were useful in giving some squad players some time on the pitch. But with the next round starting to get a bit serious with lots of Premier boys around that little experience was looking to end soon anyway.
Players given a runabout yesterday included Matt Holland and Osei Sanfoka both playing their first games of the season after rather long-term injuries and Yassin Moutaouakil was also returning from injury after missing 4 games.
More worrying perhaps, was that in the absence of Iwelumo and Varney (70th minute sub for Racon), Izale McLeod was given a starting role for the 4th time, and for the first time this season was not substituted and played all 120 minutes but has still failed to get on the scoresheet and appears to have missed at least a couple of good chances, while over at Cardiff one of the men he has replaced, one Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, scored his second of the season in their 4-2 demolition of WBA. And its only September.
Back to Kenilworth Road, highlighting all our missed chances, we apparently had only 7 shots on target compared to their 11 and only 4 corners to their 12.
There's a meagre report on sportinglife where the reporter seems to have gone home at half-time while the telegraph also sent a hack to join the small crowd of 4534 at Kenilworth Road. The official cafc site tells it as it was and there's also a good report on the game from the other end at lutontown. The posh_murdoch also turned up - seems the press box was more crowded than the stands - and talks of the 'missed opportunities' by the away side.
And lastly, what does Pards have to say.
"I thought in the end Luton were slightly the better side but we still had some massive chances to win it. It was always going to be difficult making so many changes but the work rate and discipline of the team I thought was very good.
There were a few individual inconsistencies but I can suffer that and we will learn from them. I took the opportunity to rest some of the senior players and told the chairman and board of directors what I would be doing. I can't fault the players whose application was strong and in the end we were undone by a good little team in Luton."
And perhaps most significant, his last remark appears to be - "Nobody would remember it if we reached the quarter finals and finished eighth in the league.”
The Addicks: Randolph; Moutaouakil, McCarthy, Bougherra, Sankofa; Sinclair, Racon (Varney 70), Holland, Ambrose (Fortune 106); Todorov (Arter 86), McLeod.
Subs (not used): Weaver, A Thomas.
Goals: Sinclair 3
Booked: McLeod 105 (foul on Robinson)
Attendance: 4534

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Preview - Luton (League Cup)

League Cup, Third Round and another easy tie, or so it would seem. Despite Luton's heroics in the last round beating Sunderland 3-0, Pards is determined to concentrate on the Fizzies and is therefore going for the second string, or so he tells us.

Not Good!

And once again, and its getting quite boring, another team that we usually lost to. The current score, in League games anyway, is 22-29 to them.

The Opponents
Good at Home

After their relegation from the Fizzies last season - which they said goodbye to with a 5-0 hammering at home from Sunderland - they've done rather well at home.
Home wins against Port Vale 2-1, Gillingham 3-1, and Hartlepool 2-1 have only been spoiled by a defeat against Jekyll and Hyde Bristol Rovers who can't win at home and can't lose away.
As for the League Cup, after beating Dagenham and Redbridge away 2-1 in the First Round they then surprised everyone and beat Sunderland 3-0 at home in the last round.
Another thing to watch out for is, unlike the Addicks who are 6th from bottom in that little league, is their very good record in the first half of games. They're third best in their League during first half play but 4th worst in 2nd. So they start well and then fade away which is the complete opposite to the Addicks. A game of two halves then.

Who Are Yorr?
Chris Perry?
A famous name is 38 year old Paul Furlong who cost Chelsea 2.3M in 1994 and played in the Premiership for them for a couple of years. A summer signing he played up front on his own last weekend when with home advantage Luton played a 4-5-1 but he's their top goalscorer with 5 goals this season. Another new signing is one player that we'll all remember - Chris Perry. He's now 34 and was released by West Brom during the summer.

The Addicks
Second String
Randolph will perform between the sticks and we should see the return of Yassin Moutaouakil to right-back, but after Pards refusal to allow Chrissie Powell yet another midweek game, we could see Osei Sanfoka play his first game of the year. With Sammy Sodje cup-tied, the two centre-backs are any two from Bougherra, Fortune and McCarthy.
Matty Holland will probably enjoy his first game of the season in midfield after his injury with saturdays MOM Jose Semedo and Andy Reid both being given a rest. Therry Racon will also be pushing for a start as his last game was the last round tie against Stockport. And we could see Darren Ambrose playing after only performing a substitute role against both Norwich and Leicester last week.
With Danny Mills surging down the wing at every opportunity last Saturday, Lloyd Sam seemed to have a problem of where to go and was eventually withdrawn, but its possible that with Moutaouakil's return, Pards may want to see if Sam plays better with the Frenchman behind him.
And similar to Stockport Todorov will probably partner McLeod up front although with Luton's tendency to play a 4-5-1 even in home games we could see a lone striker.
So prediction is Randolph; Moutaouakil, McCarthy, Fortune, Sanfoka; Sam, Racon, Holland, ZiZi, Ambrose; Todorov
What Does Pards Say?
Chrissie Punished for Celebrating..
"Our priority is promotion so I need to protect this team, Chris Powell, for example, has played three games in a week - and he wastes extra energy milking all the applause that he gets - so he won't play on Tuesday. I will give the squad players an opportunity against Luton. Players like Matt Holland, Yassin Moutaouakil and Svetoslav Todorov are itching to play, so the first-team knows that it must continue to play well.”

We don't care
With everyone being rested a 2-1 defeat is very likely to see the end of our League Cup campaign.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Preview - Norwich (home)

After 5 fizzy pop games against teams that we usually lose to, on Tuesday we at last play a team that we always beat. There's only a handful of teams that we've played more times than Norwich City and the score at the moment stands at an easy looking 30-20 with 16 draws.
So where are they in the table at the moment? 13th spot with 7 points but only 1 goal from their two away games at Preston 0-0 on the opening day and they then lost 2-1 at Hull - Hulls only win in three home games. They also struggled to get a 1-1 draw at Tier Four team Rochdale in the League Cup 2nd round, going through on penalties.
They've got a few old favorites including 38 year old Dion Dublin, back where he started playing after playing at 8 other clubs and still wearing his favorite number 9 but now at centre-half ( sorry, 60's terminology) and apparently enjoying his last ever season. In similar vein, and beside Dublin in central defence is ex-Spurs man Gary Doherty who used to play striker for Republic of Ireland. So Reidie'll know all about him. Another player back where he started - must be Delia's cooking that brings 'em back - is midfielder from Mile End Darel Russell, their biggest signing, from Stoke during the summer for £410k.
Then there's the wandering Darren Huckerby somewhere in midfield and now also with his eighth club. And they've also given a home to Luke Chadwick, apparently the ugliest footballers around, now on on his 7th club. That's him over on the left wearing number 11.
And then there's Chris Iwelumo's old mate from Colchester Jamie Cureton in attack and last season fizzy pop top goalscorer if I remember right.
Of the Addicks, Iwelumo and Todorov limped off injured on Saturday so its possible that with Pardews' favoured 4-4-2 we may see Varney and McLeod start the game.
And it'll be no surprise to anyone to see changes made in defence. Step forward Sammy Sodje and guessing wildly Magic Bougherra. Full-backs will be the same in Mills and Chrissie Powell so with Weaver in goal that just leaves the midfield.
With, surprisingly, Darren Ambrose as the only player apart from Weaver who has played every minute of our 5 games, it's a cert that he'll start. Semedo will fill in at the back so that just leaves 2 places left.
Any two from Reid, ZiZi or Thomas would seem to be the choice and as it's inconceivable that Reid will sit on the bench it would seem to be who Pardew needs most. The buzzy ZiZi or the wing-wonder Thomas.
And a prediction? A clean sheet and a boring routine 2-0 home win to get us to 11 points.

Abuse From the Fans?

Starved of the written word, another match report has miraculously surfaced over at theguardian and its worth a read if only to see Kevin's post-match comments.
Seems he noticed the abuse that the guy behind me always gave him and after leaving us he's enjoying life again and was overjoyed at scoring against us. He's still got "a lot of love for Charlton and the management" and he added, "It would have been nice to get the winner, too. That would have made my year."
Shock horror. The little
But I guess that that explains very well the difference between a player, even one of 11 years, and a fan. He says that "I've got a lot of friends in that team" and he obviously enjoyed the feeling of scoring against them.
Ex-players! Of course they want to score against their mates from their old team, they're only human even Kevin Lisbie. To them its a job and a game of football and its only the fans with their bizarre belief in life-long loyalty that get all upset.
And should the fact that he celebrated the goal upset us? No, not really, perhaps more ridiculous is the kissing-of-the-shirt by some players but nevertheless we should appreciate the altitude of Chris Iwelumo who talks of respect and said that he wouldn't celebrate a goal in front of his old fans. Shame he didn't get the chance to show us.
But I don't think I'm alone when I say good luck to you, Kevin. Glad you're enjoying football again. Just don't score at the Valley in the return.
Now that I've gone all sensitive, I've noticed other words that appear in the report, like "fortuitously" that caught my eye. Why is it that I always get the idea that they don't like us at the Guardian. After being last years Premier joke, now its fortuitous that we reach 5th place. Poor 'ittle Colchester struggling to build a new 10,000 (?) seat stadium while Big Charlton with their Parachute money can't even beat 10 men. And just to twist the knife, they ignore Andy Reid and ZiZi and give MOM to Mark Yeates who played less than an hour and was so good that he was sacrificed when they went down to 10 men.
I guess its another example of the reality of life, some people like you and others don't. And these Guardian boys, unlike Kevin Lisbie, don't like us. But, unlike Kevin, they have a more obvious way of showing it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Colchester 2 Charlton 2

A second fight-back from a 0-2 deficit this season after only 5 games saw us get a point from Layer Road where so many lost last season. The Divisions leading goalscorers helped themselves to a 2 goal lead with goals in the 32th and 38th minutes, the second scored of course by Kev...
With the Addicks first first-half goal of the fizzy pop season scored by Todorov in stoppage time - after 225 minutes of trying - for the second game running Jerry Thomas was then sacrificed - this time at half-time - and Andy Reid was brought on.
And as always our second half performance improved, with according to most observers, the turning point being a 55 minute thorough-ball from Reid, from his own half, that split the Colchester defence and ended up with Iwelumo being upended when clear on goal. The defender was send-off and that was the end of Colchester's hopes of victory.
Todorov then 'hobbled off' on 72 minutes with Lloyd Sam coming on, and this time it was our Chinaman making his name up front with the important goal. ZiZi promptly scored the equaliser from close range in the next minute after a pass from Luke Varney who had replaced a injuried Iwelumo in the 68 minute.
Rob Maul in the posh murdoch gives MOM to Andy Reid, and anyone who saw him play for the Irish on Wednesday wouldn't be surprised with that. And there's no surprise either at 5' 8" Lisbie's 'excellent header' in a crowded goalmouth from a corner. Bring on Sam Sodje. There's also the famous player scores with Ambrose, ZiZi, Reid and Iwelumo all getting a top mark of 7.
In the sportinglife there's a few comments from both managers regarding the sending-off and the effect it had on the game. At home the cafc site remarks on our 'Jekyll and Hyde tendencies' while away the Colchester site obviously sees things slightly differently.
And then there's the beebs few words to round off the reports.
Frequently our only mention in some papers now is to be included in match round-ups and so it is in the telegraph although in the Guardian/Observer they don't even bother with that.
So we move into 5th spot with two home games in a week to confirm our hopes of success this season. But its still early days and perhaps worth noting that the two clubs in the two promotion spots last season after 5 games were Cardiff and Norwich who finished up 13th and 16th...
Of more concern to Pards will be the fact that we have conceded 9 goals in the last 5 games, so it'll be a surprise if he doesn't make a change to his defence come Tuesday against 13th placed Norwich who managed a 1-0 home win over Palarse yesterday but in comparison to high-scoring Colchester have only managed 1 goal away from home so far this season.
The Addicks: Weaver; Mills, McCarthy, Fortune, Powell; J Thomas (Reid 46), Semedo, Zheng, Ambrose; Todorov (Sam 72), Iwelumo (Varney 68).
Subs (not used): Randolph, Racon.
Goals: Todorov 45, Zheng 73

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Predictions for Today.....

So far 5 people have put their heads on the block and made a prediction for today and every single of them has opted for an Addicks victory against 'ittle old Colchester and who can blame them. Three wins in a row and everyones obviously full of confidence that we'll get another 3 points.

Jack, our man from the West, thinks its gonna be a 4-4-2 layout at Layer Road and sees a 3-1 win, while Killer, thinking that we always do well there, like everyone forgets the bad times and has lost track of the two defeats in the League 0-3 and 0-2 that he played in, but remembers the 3-2 League Cup win in August 1978 where he scored, and sees another win, 2-1 this time.
newyorkaddick also goes for a 2-1 win, with a 4-5-1 lone striker formation, with Iwelumo and hot-shot Ambrose on the scoresheet.
WynGrant predicts a 3-2 win while Pedro45 predicts a 4-4-2 and another 3-1 win.
So that's 5 predictions so far and 5 wins. Nobody it seems is having nightmares at the thought of meeting a resurgant Kevin Lisbie although most people seem to think he'll score. But will he celebrate? Is he going to enjoy sticking that ball away today?
Well, Colchester old-boy Chris Iwelumo says, if he scores it'll be nice, but he's not going to celebrate, "just to show his respects" and just to emphasize the Addicks strengths in attack he outlined the attributes of the three other strikers in an article yesterday claiming that all four are very different.
It requires a certain knowledge of current footballing terminology but his summing-up is very concise for a footballer and contains no umms, you knows or other irritations: "Izale McLeod's very strong in the air, he's fast and gets in behind, Luke Varney plays on the shoulder but also likes coming to feet, and Toddy's just that man that floats in there, scores goals and comes to feet."
There only remained to find out similar details for Chris himself and thus it was that I came across this blog with the title 'Todos temen ir a Layer Road' . Skipping the tedium that its all in Spanish, it does reveal the disturbing fact that last season going to 'ittle Colchester was feared by everyone. Written in January 2007 it tells the story of the first few months of newcomers Colchester introduction to the fizzies. Two opening defeats at home and promotion chasing Derby County came calling at Layer Road in the third home game of the season expecting another easy 3 points.
The result - a 4-3 home victory for Colchester that was followed by an impressive sequence of 9 successive home wins......Beware Pards...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Preview - Colchester (away)

Its now time for a frightening prospect. A game against a striker on top of his form always puts the wind up a defender. Is it any of them foreign johnnies that we can't spell, an up-and-coming youngster or one of them experienced old hands with thousands of games behind them. No, in fact its none of those, for we're up against a player that refuses to be labelled, because it's................Kevin Lisbie!!
With 2 goals from three games, he's Colchesters joint leading goalscorer along with old man Sheringham. Leading goalscorer, its many a year since Kev could call himself that, but to my mind he'll be the key to Saturdays game.

Not Good!
We continue in the Fizzies with our 5th game against teams with whom we have a bad history although with Colchester we do have a couple of cup wins against them to even things up. At far as the League is concerned we've only spent two seasons in the same Division, 1974/75 and 1980/81 and both were Addicks promotion seasons so the acquaintance didn't last long. In 1974 we won 4-1 at the Valley and lost 3-0 away and in 1980 we managed to somehow lose both games, 1-2 at the Valley and 0-2 at Layer Road. So only one win in our 4 League games against the U's.

The Opponents
With a 2-2 draw against Barnsley and a 2-3 defeat against Burnley, Colchester have not started off too well at home although they have scored 4 goals. An opening day 2-2 draw at Sheff Uoo and a 3-0 win at Preston means that their away form is much better and they are currently in 14th position with 5 points. But with their total of 9 goals in only 4 games they are the Divisions leading goalscorers with 7 players sharing the goals. The Addicks, in comparison have only scored 6 times.
They also have something of a settled side with eight players having started all 4 League games so far with our Kev having started in 3 of them. The Addicks only have half that number, 4 players, that have started every game - Weaver, Semedo, Reid and Ambrose.

Who Are Yorr?
Sheringham and Co.
Apart from Sheringham and our Kev there's probably nobody here you've ever heard about, except for old-boy Kemal Izzet and Cameroon full-back George Elokobi. After playing in one of those behind-closed-doors games on Tuesday against West Ham, in which they drew 2-2 after being 2 goals ahead, we could see the return of 'experienced craftsman' midfielder Kevin Watson after an Achilles problem in the early part of the season. Watson will be well-known to both Pards and Parkinson as Pardew, when boss at Reading, signed him from Rotherham and then Parks signed him from Reading when boss at Colchester. Perhaps they'll understand why Colchester boss Geraint Williams is so anxious to get him back on the pitch and no doubt they'll both be pleased if he continues on the sidelines.
Their Hungarian international centre-back Bela Balogh also played the first half of the game but its seems unlikely that either will start tomorrow so soon after injury.

The Addicks
Same Eleven?
After our first away win since January at Sainburys, and despite having Magic and Varney available after their injuries, it's very possible that Pardew may settle on exactly the same team tomorrow.

With the unusual tactic at Palarse of inspiring the team with the suggestion that they should win it for the Chairman, we played a 4-5-1 and only changed it to a 4-4-2 for the last half-hour with Todorov taking over from Thomas. It gave us our first clean sheet after letting in 6 goals in 3 fizzy games and facing the Leagues highest goalscorers Pards could decide to continue with the formation.

Against Palarse the team was: Weaver; Mills, Fortune,McCarthy,Powell; Thomas , Semedo, ZiZi, Ambrose, Reid; Iwelumo.
Subs: Randolph, Racon, Sam, Todorov, McLeod.

After the clean sheet it would be a surprise if the defence was changed although Ben Thatcher is apparently fit again. Jon Fortune, according to reports, played a blinder at Palarse and with his knowledge of Lisbie after so many years together has to start. The signing of Sam Sodje and the return of Magic Bougherra will please Pards but to my mind he'll wait and see how last weeks central-defensive pairing perform before changing anything for a second successive away game.

With Chris Iwelumo returning to his old club, he does look certain to start after his performance last time out although, similar to the knowledge Fortune has of Lisbie, so the Colchester manager Geraint Williams does say that "we know all about him (Iwelumo) here and we'll be looking to keep him quiet."

Because of that perhaps Pardew will surprise everyone and put fit-again Luke Varney up front and if its a 4-4-2 then maybe he would but he's not a player for a single striker role especially after injury so its surely the bench for him at the moment. So the only question is; will Pards want to keep Todorov happy or will he continue play with the 4-5-1.

For me its 4-5-1 with ZiZi, Reid, Semedo, shot-happy Ambrose ( the man with the most shots apparently) and Thomas.

So the team? Exactly the same as at Palarse: Weaver; Mills, Fortune,McCarthy,Powell; Thomas , Semedo, ZiZi, Ambrose, Reid; Iwelumo

What Does Pards Say?
Kev's a Fantastic Person.

Commenting on the lose of Darren Bent, Pards had this to say on Thursday; "I had to bring in fresh strikers to liven the place up after losing Darren [Bent]. Kevin probably wouldn't have started, and injuries have really held him back. He's a fantastic person and a great player but injuries have always been his handicap and if he can steer clear of them he will be a big success for Colchester. He is a good signing for them. I have a lot of respect for him, but he was here for a long time and sometimes it's just time to move on, and I think that was true for Kevin"

But perhaps more relevant are his remarks about Colchester: "Colchester had the second best home record in the league last year, so it is a tough game for us. We are mindful of the environment that awaits us, it is a tight little ground and the crowd are in your face, but we will be buoyed by a good following of our own and it will be like a cup tie atmosphere".
And Pards obviously knows that, in the Cup, we are unbeaten against Colchester.

A Win 2-1
Can't see another clean sheet, especially with Colchesters' scoring record this season, and while Pedro45 sees a comfortable 3-1 win, its down to a single goal victory for me, a 2-1 win to the Addicks with Thomas and Reid getting the goals.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Looking Forward to Saturday....

It's been rumoured that every member of our defence was instructed to take home last weekend every Kevin Lisbie goalscoring-video in existence and to study it in detail.
Regrettably, its not known who it was that then asked "but what do we do after breakfast on the Saturday", but several players were overheard thanking the management for giving them the weekend off. Well, jokes apart, old-boy Kevin will be keen to show the Addicks exactly what we are missing by letting him go after all those years.
The big question on everybodys lips is of course - Will he score on Saturday?
We need to take a look at Colchester's form to get a clue. Their last game was a 2-3 home defeat on September 1st against Burnley with Kevin scoring the U's first goal and to counter his eternal substitute reputation, he played the entire 90 minutes. He also scored a carbon copy goal in the previous weeks 3-0 win at Preston and played 80 minutes before being substituted. So 2 goals in 3 games, a quite astounding turnaround for a player that scored a massive 16 times in 12 long years with the Addicks.
And the key to Kevins goals seem to be a fullback called George. With all his old mates at Dulwich, Pards may well know who we're talking about, for one of the few foreigners on Colchester's books, is the 21 year-old left-back from Cameroon 'Big' George Elokobi, who played a season at Dulwich Hamlet back in 2002/03 and has recently been linked with a move to Celtic. Elokobi, at 6ft and over 13 stone, is a big boy and is renowned for his surges down the left flank and provided both the crosses for Kev to score his two goals this season.
So Pardew get that sorted. Mills to stop left-wing crosses and we'll all go home happy, although the thought I've just had of the possibility of our wee irish fella up against a 13 stone giant doesn't rest easy on the mind.
Anyway, another player that the Addicks will be familiar with is the brother of Muzzy, Kemal Izzet, who was in the Addicks ranks for 3 years from 1998 to 2001 but who then moved to Colchester and like Kev has appeared to have settled in well 'cause he's now made more than 200 appearances for the U's.
Another player who will be looking forward to the visit to Layer Road is our current reserve team manager Mark Kinsella. After several months of on-off transfer talk Kinsella finally moved to the Valley in 1996 after playing 180 times Colchester for the U's between 1989/96.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Missing You........

Something I read on frankies site a few days ago has stuck in my mind and just won't go away. Attracted by the lateral thinking that FV uses to see the world, he does get read by all sorts of people, some of whom, it seems, are not entirely in agreement with us Addicks.
So there was our Frank swooning along with a piece called "Still Lovin' It Down Here" when an alien from another world seems to have dropped in unannounced and while most people would quietly and politely use the exit, this person decided to make a statement before leaving.
And in common with my feelings towards any ignorant gatecrasher, his altitude continues to bug me. His passing comment was that we should "Enjoy your games safe in the knowledge that your team is not missed."
Now don't get me wrong. I'm always willing to listen and ever keen to learn and understand every point of view but this one, despite its eloquent prose, has me a bit stumped. "Enjoy your games" I can understand, its the bit about not being missed that disturbs me.
Geez, that's something that never ever occurred to me. Reflecting that perhaps the guy is mistaken, and he doesn't sound too bright to me, then is it possible that there's a multitude of miserable football fans throughout the world that are actually pining for us and praying for our early return. Remember, we didn't get voted the best fans in the UK for nothing.
Is it possible that West Ham, Chelski, the Arse etc, were actually missing us?
Now I do remember that pleasant Mr Hughes saying, back in April, that we couldn't expect any favours from him and he was true to his word with a 4-1 hammering but other people have been more accommodating. Remember Curbs and his 4-0 surrender and Martin Jol's miserable face as he walked off at the Valley.
They've all done what they could, Mr Jol again being more than generous with his readies and even Arsene Wenger giving us Song for the second half of the season.
In fact, its all nonsense. When did any football fan miss another one from another team, unless he's a Palarse fan, although with a name like Lewis anything's possible. No, Mr Alien, being missed is for lovers and sweethearts and doesn't belong in the Addicks footballing vocabulary.
For us - and forgive me if I have to explain it 'cause it seems that you didn't understand where you are - its called change and as everyone knows change happens and to an Addicks mentality its all water off a ducks back. And you'll also be pleased to know that we've got someone called Pardew who understands all one needs to know about the words 'change' and 'happen'.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Getting Stuck In!!

So Monday morning after the euphoria of a derby win over the useless buggers from Croydon.
And probably the most pleasing thing about the whole game has been the various reports of something called Passion. And passion shown from everyone, players, the boss and the fans. Our stonemuse saw it all and, apart from the feelings shown, uses a phase that they don't know in the "other League" - getting stuck in - can't remember any of last years players ever earning that accolade.
The inspector was also in the attendence and appears to have rounded off a superb weekend by meeting Andy Reid down the pub!
Anyway, 4 of them fizzy games played and a couple of cup games and where are we. Twelve goals scored in the 6 games, and spread out amongst 8 players with a healthy 5 scored by the strikers and the other 7 by the midfield/defence!
During the dark depths of last season it took us until November 4th ( eg nearly three months ) to score 12 and only 3 players had managed to find the net ( Darren had got 8 and the other two you can guess 'cause they've both left ). And so busy were the midfield doing other things that it took 17 games before a midfielder scored, whereas already we have Reid, Ambrose, ZiZi and Sam on the scoresheet as well as a defender, Paddy Mc.
But so far Pards, there's one little niggle. We still haven't scored in the first half in all them fizzy games and how we gonna strike fear in them other teams if we piss about in the first half sussing things out?
Its all very well your half-time team talk to sort things out and then changing things around for the second half. But when are we gonna hit teams from the off, scare a few people. We gotta practise for next season and OK, we did score in the first half against Stockport but the shock was just too much and we then conceded 3 quick goals!
And not only that but, of the five points we have dropped against Scunthorpe and Stoke we were in front in both games but failed to hold on to a lead and there's only one other team in the Division that has thrown away so many points and no, I don't know who they are.
But on the plus side, it also seems there's only one team so far in the fizzies that's come from behind in an game and went on to win it and that'll be us. Well, sorry, make that 2 as Dowie's Sky Blues have done the very same thing late on Saturday against Preston after being booed off at half-time.
That sounds a bit familiar. Maybe Pards has passed his strategies on to Monica...or has our old boss Dowie learnt a few lessons from his time at the Valley..?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Palarse 0 Charlton 1

Its such a sweet scoreline to cast your eyes upon that I'm going to write it again - Crystal Palarse 0 Charlton Athletic 1 - and I'm even going to put it in bold and give it some colour. There, doesn't that look nice.
So our first away win of the fizzy season and where better to start than against that awful lot from Sainburys. After our win at Portsmouth in January, this was only our second away win in 22 months and as a consequence it appears to have been a bit unexpected.
A return to our first 4-5-1 of the season, with Todorov rested until the second half, saw an added bonus in our first clean sheet of the League, in a game that Pards was keen to see a bit of tightening-up after Tuesday 4-3 nightmare, for him anyway.
As noted yesterday, we're not too good at local derbies against this lot and some reports do tend to see a bit of a smash-and-grab victory in the 1-0 scoreline. But we don't care and as predicted, Toddy scored our only goal, in the 74th minute after having been on the pitch for only 7 minutes. And Weaver proved more able than his Argentinian counterpart by earning the points with one, or was it two, tremendous saves at the death.
Paul Rowan in the posh murdoch gives his player scores and assigns MOM to ZiZi and sees Charlton start to dominate after Reid was moved into the centre early in the second half, although he clearly wasn't wholly impressed with the game, calling the players "lethargic" and giving almost the entire Palarse team a score of 5 out of 10. The writer is obviously used to the more heady atmosphere of the Prem and he puts the knife in by adding that "Charlton took the lead with a scrappy goal befitting the circumstances" and puts the blame on the Palarse keeper.
The teamtalk page doesn't usually get very excited either and their report helped to calm us down as well with a "But for all the Addicks' neat passing, they offered little in the way of goalmouth action with Jose Semedo and Darren Ambrose resorting to weak long-range efforts."

The dailymail adds to the gossip and tells us that "There was a truce of sorts yesterday with Charlton's directors agreeing to sit in the same VIP box as their Palace opposite numbers, including owner Jordan, the man who outrageously described Charlton's fans as imbeciles." but then points out that "it is difficult to argue against the belief of Pardew that Charlton were the dominant side. They certainly created more chances but appear to be a team lacking the finishing power they will need if they are to finish this campaign either with automatic promotion straight back to the Premier League or a play-off place" and "Chris Iwelumo was guilty of a horrible miss, sidefooting wastefully wide in front of goal from Zheng Zhi's cut-back."

Meanwhile, there's Conrad Leach in the independent, a bit more used to fizzy-football perhaps than Mr Rowan, and with an insight into the lack of 'full-throttle' football that Pards seems to have given us, "I don't think we're that sort of team," said Pardew, "I miss it a bit, to be honest."

On tiscali there's a few helpful quotes from Pards and on cafc Pards lets us know that he thought that Racon "was outstanding in his first game in the Championship". And if you care how the others got on, the telegraph has its usual fizzy round-up.

And if you really want to see how the other lot suffered, and see a few stats, you can read their biased report here in which they make the absurd claim that the match could have gone either way. Ha, but it didn't did it.

On the player front, Danny Mills made his reappearance as number 44 - must be his age - and a keen fan is obviously inspector sands. And after all the pre-season talk about our little irish fella not lasting the season, there he is having played every single minute, in the fizzies anyway, along with Ambrose and Weaver.

The Addicks: Weaver; Mills, Fortune, McCarthy, Powell; Thomas (Todorov 67), Semedo (Racon 71), Zheng, Ambrose, Reid; Iwelumo (McLeod 90).
Subs (not used): Randolph, Sam.
Goals: Todorov 74
Booked: Ambrose 81