Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Charlton Athletic 1 v 0 Den Bosch

Tuesday 27th July 2011
Pre-season Friendly
The Valley, Charlton
Programme: £
Match Rating: 2

A long overdue return to The Valley this evening to see how the team I support, Charlton Athletic, is shaping up for the new season. Reading, of the Championship, were originally scheduled to be the friendly opponents this evening, however as the League Cup First Round drew the exact same fixture to be played in early August, and so FC Den Bosch, from the Netherlands, were late replacements to fulfil the fixture.

Tonight’s fixture was given a little extra edge as some silverware would be up for grabs, as a trophy, The People’s Cup, was donated by Den Bosch fans to be awarded to tonight’s winners, in recognition of similar turbulent paths both clubs have experienced over the years, both clubs being saved from extinction to a large degree by efforts of the fans.

It has been quite a hectic summer for Charlton, with no fewer than 13 new signings made, with the same number leaving the club. Indeed, tonight’s starting line-up – which presumably will closely resemble the starting line-up for when then league season starts – features seven players who have been signed up in this close season. Den Bosch currently play in the Eerste Divisie, the second tier of football in the Netherlands, where they have played since 2005 when they were relegated from the top flight. Last season they finished eighth and so qualified for the end of season promotion play-offs, but were knocked out in the second round. They have already played two other English sides this summer, drawing 2-2 with Hartlepool on neutral territory in the Netherlands before losing 1-3 at home to Ipswich Town..

Unfortunately, this was a typical friendly game, certainly throughout the first half, with lots of short passing and a very low tempo with very little urgency. The game was quite balanced though, with both sides fashioning some reasonable chances, mostly from long-range though, and it was little surprise that the scoreline was goalless at half-time.

The second half was slightly more entertaining, and Charlton had much more possession and chances, hitting the woodwork three times and sandwiched in the middle was the game’s only goal on 76 minutes, but what a terrific goal it was. Johnnie Jackson played a long ball down the touchline, which Bradley Wright-Phillips took towards goal, and with the Den Bosch keeper coming out to close the angle down, Wright-Phillips lobbed him perfectly to find the net via the inside of the far post. That goal proved sufficient for Charlton to lift the cup, with Den Bosch barely threatening for the rest of the game. So, a low-key friendly evening where the entertainment was extremely limited, although amongst the plus points were Danny Green, Paul Hayes and Dale Stephens in particularly catching the eye amongst Charlton’s new signings. Credit also to the Den Bosch fans, who had a small but very vocal following of 136, and credit to them for raising money to give to a local Charlton charity. 

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