Sunday, 14 September 2014

Charlton Athletic 1 v 0 Watford

Saturday 13th September 2014
Football League Championship
The Valley, Charlton
Admission: Season Ticket
Programme: £3.00
Attendance: 17,268 (3,199 away)
Match Rating: 2

After three Saturdays, or almost a month, without a Charlton home game, it was with considerable excitement that I headed to the Valley today, given Charlton's excellent start to the season, with today's visitors relatively local, whose fans would fill up the away end, and who have also started the season strongly.

Since beating Derby at home on 19th August, Charlton drew their two subsequent away games, a goal three minutes into added on time securing a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield, and then a goal conceded three minutes to added on time meaning Charlton had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Brighton. In between these matches, Derby gained a measure of revenge for their league defeat by winning 1-1 at Pride Park in the League Cup. Charlton went into this game in sixth place, three points behind second placed Watford. They have won all three of their home games so far, and won one and lost the other of their away games. Somewhat surprisingly given their strong start to the season, they had a new manager in the dugout today, former Brighton manager Oscar Garcia taking over from Guiseppe Sannino.

On a muggy afternoon, this game had an electric start, with Charlton earning a penalty kick inside the first two minutes. August's player of the month, Igor Vetokele, ran onto a forward ball from Jordan Cousins and as he tried to take the ball around the former Spurs keeper, Heurelho Gomes, he was brought down, earning Gomes a yellow card. Yoni Buyens struck the ball low to the left, sending Gomes the other way. That was as good as it got for the home side, as Watford had some good chances during the rest of the half, the pick of which saw Troy Deeney curling a shot against the outside of the post, although Charlton looked fairly comfortable in possession.

Into the second half and both teams played good possession football, although as the half wore on, Watford looked increasingly threatening, although once again Charlton's defensive partnership of Tal Ben Haim and particularly Andre Bikey looked extremely solid, and even when Watford found a way through, Stephen Henderson pulled off some smart saves. On 77 minutes, Watford thought they had equalised, when Troy Deeney slotted into the net after Lloyd Dyer's deflected shot had hit the post, but the linesman had raised his flag for offside. With Watford pressing hard for an equaliser, Charlton had a couple of chances on the break, and as the game entered extra time, they tried to keep the ball close to the corner flags but all too easily surrendered possession, inviting Watford to pour forward. Charlton just about hung on for the win though, a win which they earned through their resolute defence, although Watford could certainly count themselves extremely unfortunate to have not gotten anything from this game. Charlton rose to fifth in the table following this result, whilst Watford dropped to fourth.

Video highlights of this game can be viewed here

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