Sunday, 15 March 2015

Charlton Athletic 1 v 3 Blackburn Rovers

Football League Championship
Saturday 14th March 2015
The Valley, Charlton
Admission: Season Ticket
Programme: £3.00
Attendance: 14,888
Match Rating: 2

For my latest installment in following Charlton through a season of high peaks and low troughs, it was with optimism that I headed to The Valley, albeit with little meaningful resting on the games now. Not that that is a bad thing, after seeming to be relentlessly heading towards the relegation zone up until mid February.

After yet another win, coming from behind to win 1-2 at Cardiff last Saturday, after winning 2-1 at home to Nottingham Forest the previous Tuesday, Charlton have won their last three games and five of their last six, and went into today's game in 12th place, and are now closer to the playoffs than the relegation zone, albeit 14 points adrift. Blackburn were in tenth place, on 51 points were 3 points better off than Charlton and have won their last two league games, and drew at Liverpool in the FA Cup. Charlton were looking for some revenge against Blackburn, having lost 2-0 away just before Christmas, and 1-2 at home in the third round of the FA Cup.

On a chilly, overcast afternoon, this turned out to be a very disappointing, lacklustre and sloppy performance from Charlton, who got what they deserved out of this game. Despite starting fairly well, it was the visitors who took the lead on 15 minutes, when Jordan Rhodes latched onto a throw in, evaded the attentions of Tal Ben Haim, before hitting a low shot across the keeper and into the net via the inside of the post. Blackburn doubled their lead three minutes later, when Roger Johnson got in a tangle receiving the pass, Craig Conway dispossessed him, strode forward with the ball before firing low past the keeper. It was to prove Conway's last contribution, as he was immediately substituted with an injury. Charlton almost pulled a goal back on 20 minutes, but Igor Vetokele saw his powerful shot skim the top side of the bar, and although Tony Watt came close a couple of times, overall Blackburn deserved their 0-2 halftime lead.

After the game continued to meander along to a seemingly comfortable away win, Charlton were awarded a penalty on 57 minutes when Vetokele was clattered by the keeper when going up for a header, although surprisingly the keeper was only shown a yellow card despite being the last man and clearly denying a goalscoring opportunity. Yoni Buyens drilled the ball low into the bottom right hand corner of the net for his sixth successful penalty conversion of the season. That did inspire the home side to have their best spell of the game and came close to grabbing an, overall, undeserved equaliser - Vetokele again hitting the crossbar following a header from a Bulot cross, whilst Watt broke clear of the defence but placed his shot just wide of the left hand post. But on 78 minuted, Blackburn restored their two goal lead when Chris Taylor's shot ballooned high into the air and over the defence, allowing Rhodes, in acres of space inside the area to nod the ball home from close range. And that was that, as Blackburn deservedly took home the three points and completed the treble over charl Charlton. After such an impressive recent run, this was a surprisingly poor and sloppy performance from Charlton, in which none of the players impressed, and which hopefully will prove to be a one-off as they prepare to travel to bottom of the table Blackpool in midweek before hosting Reading next Saturday.

Video highlights of this game can be found here

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