Kevin Nolan’s Valley View: Charlton Athletic 2-2 West Bromwich Albion

Kevin Nolan's Valley View

Saturday saw West Bromwich Albion back in SE7 for the second time in a week. KEVIN NOLAN reports from the first Championship game at The Valley since new owners East Street Investments completed their takeover.

Nursing a strong sense of entitlement, West Bromwich Albion returned to the Midlands clutching the point which, along with Leeds United’s home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday, moved them back on top of the Championship. They departed convinced they had somehow been robbed of all three.

The Baggies had been marginally the better team. They had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and had managed more attempts on goal. Slaven Bilic’s experienced side also dominated a couple of other important statistics; they committed 14 fouls to 10 by Charlton, while picking up six of the eight yellow cards issued by referee Jarred Gillet. Recipient himself of one of those cautions, Hal Robson-Kanu pointed out plaintively that Charlton “had been very physical throughout.” They certainly absorbed some crude buffeting. Occasionally gave a little bit back, more power to their elbows..

Bilic was not similarly deluded. His tribute to the still sorely depleted Addicks was generous. “Charlton fought and competed and ran until the end. They never gave up. But we had many chances to score the third. That was disappointing.” It was not Bilic’s place to add that Charlton’s crucial result was achieved with the assistance of three recent academy graduates; so consider this a salute to fledglings Ben Dempsey, Josh Davison and Alfie Doughty, who stood up to be counted as Albion dished out the rough stuff.

Early action

Roared on by a bumper crowd – their second largest of the season – Charlton might have grabbed a first minute lead if Conor Gallagher had returned Sam Johnstone’s errant clearance with slightly more accuracy. The young loanee’s low shot whistled inches the wrong side of a post. At the other end, Dillon Phillips was forced down low to his left to scramble Kenneth Zohore’s bouncing header to safety. It was the Danish forward’s enterprise which won the Baggies an early lead.

Alertly closing Tom Lockyer down as the defender spurned the opportunity to clear his lines in favour of playing out from the back, Zohore anticipated his move back towards goal and neatly relieved him of possession on the right touchline. Bearing down on a wrongfooted defence, the rangy striker’s first effort was bravely charged down by Deji Oshilaja but he made no mistake as the rebound sat up kindly for him.

Away end antics

Heads dropped only briefly because the Addicks were level again six minutes later. Their recovery was begun by impressive league debutant Andre Green, whose persistence earned a corner on the left. The setpiece was delayed as those scamps behind the away goal refused to return the ball. How we chuckled as they larked about and how the hilarity increased as Gallagher’s short corner routine with Doughty improved the angle for a soaring cross which Naby Sarr effortlessly headed down for Davison to calmly nod in his first senior goal from five yards. By now they were in stitches in the Jimmy Seed stand. Bless ’em, the little rascals. They certainly know how to have fun.

A minute after the break, they were chortling again as their heroes regained the lead. In space to the right, Matt Phillips supplied a hard-driven low centre which Robson-Kanu, getting the better of Lockyer at the near post, flicked home off Sarr. For the fourth time in their two-game, eight-goal league saga, the ex-Throstles led the battling Addicks. And yet again, they proved unable to retain their lead.

No own goal

Albion’s excessive testosterone was almost inevitably their undoing. A crude push in the back of substitute Jonny Williams – one of three returning patients from long-term injury – conceded a free kick which Gallagher fed out to Doughty, who crossed from the left touchline. Timing his leap perfectly to outjump Kyle Bartley, Lockyer powered an unstoppable header past Johnstone, with assistance from the right post. Any nonsense about the keeper being debited with an own goal should be treated as pedantic piffle. Lockyer emulated Davison in notching his first goal for the Addicks because no keeper was about to save that header.

We can also dismiss all that meaningless debate concerning what you “deserve” from a football game. You deserve nothing. What you GET is what the final scoreline gives you. It’s the only statistic that matters. There’s nothing else to discuss. If you  fail to grasp that concept, you’re doomed to frequent disappointment. It’s football, not a morality play.

Charlton: Phillips, Matthews, Lockyer, Oshilaja (Williams 62), Sarr, Pratley, Dempsey (Forster-Caskey 62), Doughty, Gallagher, Green, Davison (Hemed 74). Not used: Maynard-Brewer, Purrington, Pearce, Morgan. Booked: Locker, Green.

WBA: Johnstone, Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend, Livermore Sawyers, Phillips (Edwards 86), Robson-Kanu (Austin 73), Pereira, Zohore (Diangana 73). Not used: Bond, Krovinovic, Brunt, Hegazi. Booked: Robson-Kanu, Ajayi,Phillips, Pereira, Sawyers, Diangana.

Referee: Jarred Gillet.  Att: 19,270 (3,154 visiting).


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Concert in aid of Greenwich Winter Night Shelter at St Thomas’ Church

Greenwich Winter Night Shelter concert poster

St Thomas’ Church in Charlton will host a concert in aid of the Greenwich Winter Night Shelter on Sunday January 26th, featuring ‘popular classics for cello, voice and piano’.

The Winter Night Shelter provides dinner, safe overnight accommodation and breakfast to homeless people over the winter months from mid-November to end March in seven venues across Greenwich borough, including St. Thomas’. You can read our report about the group’s work from last year here.


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Wassail away next weekend: Morris, music, cider and more in East Greenwich Pleasaunce

Thanks to RICH SYLVESTER for getting in touch about a community event taking place next weekend.

Welcome the New Year with a “Wassail” in East Greenwich Pleasaunce on Sunday 12 January 1.00-3.00pm. This is our 6th (or maybe 7th) Annual Celebration of the Fruit Trees and Community Orchard – with Music, Dance and Cider. Meet at Pistachios Cafe

Line up: Greenwich Morris Men – Morrigan (4 part harmonies) – and Halstow Community Choir

Plus – D.I.Y. Tent: ‘Make some Wassail Bling’

Plus: Local Cider – Get a little mulled!

You can find a Facebook event here.

Contact organiser Richstories123 [at] gmail.com – if you want a spot to perform/spoken word, sing or dance in a ‘Wassail’- style.

Address: East Greenwich Pleasaunce, Chevening Rd, London SE10.


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
– NEW! Become a monthly supporter at presspatron.com/charltonchampion
Advertise your business with us from just £9.80/per week