Kevin Nolan’s Valley View: Charlton Athletic 2-2 Hull City

Kevin Nolan's Valley View

Another last-minute goal went the wrong way at The Valley on Friday night. KEVIN NOLAN picks through what went wrong…

Now hovering perilously above the Championship’s relegation basement, Charlton again – yet again! – conceded a vital added time goal which cost them an opportunity to distance themselves from the maelstrom beneath them. And inevitably, they yielded in front of the Jimmy Seed Stand housing the away supporters. The familiar tableau of stricken Addicks falling to their knees while jubilant opponents celebrate wildly with delirious travelling fans is wearing thin. It’s time to change the dynamic.

It might help to consider a few pertinent statistics derived from 12 home games. Charlton have had 14 goals scored against them, of which no fewer than 11 have been registered in the second half at the away end. They’re impressively solid when defending the home goal. Only Stoke, Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday have succeeded in scoring before the home supporters, which means nine other teams have failed to turn the trick in front of the Covered End.

So what can we conclude from these figures? Well, they call into question Charlton’s rigid practice for attacking the visitors’ goal in the first half. Are we meant to assume they win every toss and have their choice of ends? Or is there an unspoken understanding among teams that the hosts get to choose on a turnabout basis?

On too many occasions this season, the Addicks have been called upon to defend a lead with their backs to the away end. And too often they have failed miserably to see the job through to the bitter end. Seven times now they have been caught – on the last two occasions in added time. The squandered points would already have all but secured their place in next season’s Championship. Perhaps they would offer stiffer resistance if the defence – and Dillon Phillips in particular – had a raucous Covered End ranged behind them. There’s a psychological edge to be among friends.

Friday’s hammer-blow was inflicted with the last touch of a see-saw game. Hull were throwing the kitchen sink at their fast unravelling hosts as five minutes of added time extended into a sixth minute. Unwisely, Ben Purrington, who had been drafted into the starting line-up only because Alfie Doughty reported sick, capped an indifferent contribution by committing a needless foul near the halfway line. With every available Tiger crowding the penalty area, goalkeeper George Long hurried forward to send a free kick soaring into the penalty area; Jason Pearce headed clear to playmaker Kamil Grosicki, who controlled neatly, stepped on to his right foot and crossed precisely from the left flank. Leaving Purrington earthbound at the far post, Keane Lewis-Potter directed a clever header inside the right post which Phillips, despite his frantic efforts to save, could only help over the line. The sickening setback was tougher to absorb with Tuesday’s heartbreak still fresh in Valley minds.

Defend the Covered End

There’s no point in speculating, of course, whether the Addicks – and Phillips – would have fared better at the home end but maybe there’s no harm in finding out. The Potters, the Swans and the Owls would confirm it’s harder to score down there.
Setting out in an improvised 3-5-2 formation, meanwhile, Charlton shaded an uneventful first half, from which they emerged a goal to the good. Chances had been few for both sides when Conor Gallagher, having assumed setpiece responsibility, delivered a wind-assisted right wing corner which cleared a congested goal area before being powerfully headed past Long by Darren Pratley. Skipper Eric Lichaj’s ill-starred complaint that he’d been fouled rather than overpowered by Pratley fell on referee Andy Davies’ resolutely deaf ears.

Required to protect their lead in front of the notorious away end, Charlton survived for only two minutes before it was cancelled out. Very much his side’s creative heartbeat, Grosicki found space to send over a dipping ball which Pearce and his defensive colleagues, in fear of an own goal, left untouched as it made its way to the far post. November’s Championship player of the month Jarrod Bowen gleefully bashed the Tigers’ first equaliser into a gaping net.

City’s equality lasted only a couple of minutes before Charlton forged in front again with an outstanding ensemble goal. Starting a flowing move in his own half, Naby Sarr offloaded neatly to Albie Morgan, whose measured pass sent Jonathan Leko running directly at the left side of Hull’s defence. Making mugs of both Reece Burke and Callum Elder, the mercurial WBA loanee ghosted past them and hammered over a low cross which left Sarr, who had alertly followed his initial pass forward, the simple task of finishing from a yard out.

With the second half approaching an apparently happy conclusion, Bowyer’s embattled side seemed to done enough to draw a line under their two-month slump. Phillips played his part with two shap saves from Bowen and Lichaj but otherwise there was little cause for concern which ignored, of course, Charlton’s quite extraordinary inability to see things through to the final whistle. They might possibly find it an easier proposition if they were defending the Covered End. Just saying like…

Charlton: Phillips, Matthews, Lockyer, Pearce, Sarr, Purrington, Pratley, Gallagher, Morgan (Oshilaja 67), Bonne (Taylor 80), Leko. Not used: Maynard-Brewer, Ledley, Solly, Vennings. Booked: Matthews, Leko.

Hull: Long, Lichaj, De Wis, Burke, Batty (Bowler 46), Eaves (Honeyman 76), Irvine, Da Silva Lopez, Bowen, Grosicki, Elder (Lewis-Potter 64). Not used: Ingram, Tafazolli, Kingsley, Pennington. Booked: Irvine, Da Silva Lopez.

Referee: Andy Davies. Attendance: 14,447 (624 visiting).

Last chance to have your say about parking in Charlton

parking sign
The consultation into parking restrictions in Charlton closes on Monday

It’s been a while coming – but if you’re in the affected area and haven’t responded, Monday is your last chance to respond to Greenwich Council’s consultation into introducing parking controls in most of SE7.

Strictly speaking, most of Charlton is already in a controlled parking zone (CPZ) – but only streets close to Charlton and Westcombe Park stations are covered by parking permits. This consultation asks (in the vaguest of ways) whether you would like to see permit parking in your street.

Parking controls in the area go back to 2000, when the whole area was in a CPZ for the Millennium Dome, although that area was quickly shrunk after the Dome closed and the current parking regime was introduced in 2007.

Since then, things have changed somewhat – neighbours of the new Synergy development on Victoria Way have complained about contractors parking up in their area while the expansion of the Bugsby’s Way retail strip has led to more rat-running and more parking. Some streets have been blighted, others remain blissfully unaffected.

Meanwhile, crowds at Charlton Athletic have dipped, but are on their way back up – and the club’s current position in the Championship means more night matches, at times when permit controls do not apply. (Streets south of Charlton Park, which often take the brunt of matchday parking, are not part of this consultation.)

The area being surveyed

It’s worth pointing out that some of the streets worst affected are right next to roads that already have permit controls – as the council warns, any expansion of permits could push problems into neighbouring streets. (And then another consultation a decade later.) The £100 annual cost of a basic parking permit will also be a consideration – will the extra funds improve the notoriously poor enforcement of existing parking controls?

Your own circumstances will no doubt dictate how you respond, but it is worth considering other people when you respond – those in other streets, and those who simply want to cross the road without having to peer out from between other people’s cars.

The website link appears to have been up and down during the consultation – part of the problem appears to be the council expecting people to type in a full address from the consultation sheet (including “https://”) because it is not listed on its consultation website. Try clicking here to have your say.


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Stone Foundries: Police desk and 1,200 homes planned for Charlton Riverside redevelopment

Stone Foundries location

A police desk is among the plans for 1,200 homes to be revealed to local people on Friday by the developer seeking to transform the Stone Foundries industrial site off Woolwich Road.

Montreaux, which bought the site earlier this year, promises “retail, workspace, community, leisure and social infrastructure” along with the new housing. It is the fifth development to come forward for Charlton Riverside.

More details have now emerged about the scheme. It says about 420 homes (35%) will be “affordable” – there is no detail yet on how affordable this will actually be as these are down to negotiations with the council and City Hall. Greenwich Council’s local plan states that developers must provide “at least 35% affordable housing” (our italics).

The police desk is an eye-opening offer. With government cuts forcing the closure of nearly all of Greenwich borough’s police stations, Charlton has lost its nearest police stations in Greenwich and Woolwich and is now served by Plumstead and Lewisham. (An even more local police front counter for many, at Westcombe Park station in Combedale Road, Greenwich, closed about two decades ago.)

However, officers are close by, even if largely out of sight – they parade at Warspite Road, just outside the Charlton Riverside area. In other parts of London, local councils have stepped in to try to keep a visible police presence in communities – just how this developer-funded offer works out remains to be seen. After all, will there even be enough police to staff it?

Montreaux is also promising a “large, open green space” and will “support upgrades to the area’s transport system to avoid congestion” – again, just how much this will be above what the council will demand anyway remains to be seen.

Steve Lawn, Montreaux’s project lead, says: “We are very excited to regenerate this underused site and bring new life and employment to an overlooked area of Charlton. At the same time, we will integrate the area’s heritage into our scheme and provide a better home for the existing businesses who wish to remain.”

The firm also quotes Mark Ager, whose Flower Skills company is based on the Stone site. “Montreaux has listened to us throughout this process and we are delighted we will be staying on in the regenerated scheme, as part of a more diverse and vibrant business community,” he says.

Greenwich Council deputy leader David Gardner is among those who have seen the proposals. He says they are “far too dense and high“.

The exhibition will be held at The Valley on Friday 13 December from 2pm to 7.30pm (coinciding with the home match against Hull City) and from noon to 4pm on Sunday 14 December.


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