Millwall 0-0 Charlton ~ Match Musings

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So, for reasons unknown (surely Millwall in the playoff position didn’t achieve this), we find ourselves managing to “sell out” a home tie at the Den. Of course, these nullified days a sell-out comprises of circa 18,000 people inside a 20,000 stadium but oh hum, let’s not split hairs over that fact but I will split hairs over the reason why it was a sell-out.

Fucking Charlton? Since when did an obscure no mark football team suddenly become the must go to game at Millwall? Their Fred Scuttle type fans are a parody of what an average fan should be like, they have no concept of rivalry and absolutely no concept of how ridiculous they are.

I am not tarring all Charlton fans with the same brush, the gods above know that we are more often than not on the receiving end of this particular trait, but in the majority, it is unequivocal, that your average Charlton fan is simply one chromosome away from a full bodied, nailed on, shoulder biting, snot licking, dribbling boss eyed cretin whose only aspiration is to own a non-sharpening pencil, a narrow lined note book and a copy of Nicholas Whittaker’s Platform Souls: The Trainspotter as Twentieth Century Hero.

Arriving in their light blue single decker ‘specials’, their rucksacks bulging with packed lunches, Capri sun drinks and red and white, hand knitted scarves, they epitomise the complete opposite of a Millwall supporter and yet we are, according to geographical reference books, from the same part of London. You try and figure it out because I can’t.

Me and MrsB arrived early to a) secure a parking space and b) get to our seats before the ticket twonks arrived, c) get a copy of CBL mag, still only two quid, before it sold out and it was so refreshing to see the happy, smiling faces of the Jimmy Mizen volunteers handing out the light blue wrist bands to carry on the sterling work that the Mizen family have tirelessly carried out since the tragic loss of their son. The reception that they received was second to none and it was pretty humbling for all to see the dignified way in which this lovely family continue to bang the drum for their (and Rob Knox’s family) cause . Well done to all concerned.

Onto the football now and with the Lions pushing hard to cement their playoff aspirations (who would of thought I would be writing that statement in December back in September!), and to increase the now impressive 12 games undefeated run of games.

The excellent win at Wolves in mid-week has catapulted the Lions into the periphery of a lot more people and as such suddenly finds us as one of the teams to beat.

Mr Jackett had a slight issue with selection as he still has to do without Henderson and Trotter and now Henry who are populating the treatment room so choices are being limited but the depth (alright, I concede it is not that deep) of players available to step in, is helping the Millwall cause no end.

So we had Forde in goal, Adam Smith, Shittu, Beevers and Lowry as the back four in defence, Taylor, Abdou, Wright and Feeney in the midfield leaving Keogh and Wood as our striking pair.

So, with ticket twonks still wandering aimlessly around holding outstretched arms with coloured pieces of cardboard in them staring gormlessly at the packed out seats, referee Whitestone got the game started and we went straight at them, Feeney, dancing down the right, moving inside and hitting a low effort wide of the post rubber stamped our intentions straight away.

Charlton also quickly set the stall out and it was soon apparent that their only game plan was to stop us. The ref was very lenient indeed (actually a good thing really) but he was at times overly lenient with some of the fouls they were committing. Hulse in particular was no shrinking violet in front of Big Danny Shittu and the pair of them clashed on a regular basis throughout the game.

We endeavoured, I think, is the best way to describe it, we huffed and puffed against a well drilled defensive side that harboured no real ambition in attack, favouring the time honoured tradition of not conceding therefore not losing strategy.

We were clearly the superior side and we did create a fair few chances throughout the first half, Taylor getting on the end of a decent Feeney cross (of which there weren’t really enough, Feeney was getting down the line but the final ball was rarely decent) but his header missed the target and then again found himself in a decent position but he sort of miss hit his shot and it went wide again.

Feeney had another shot after good work from Keogh out wide set him up but again the target was missed. Wright then had a chance to strike from distance but his shot was also more threatening to the corner flag than the goal but he redeemed himself soon after with a delightful dipping volley that had Hamer in the Charlton goal scrambling backwards but the ball fell agonisingly onto the top of the net instead of into it.

Feeney again was the benefactor of some excellent play by Keogh but again the winger was once again profligate with the ball, firing his shot way over the begging goal.

We finished the half as strongly as we started and when the ball fell kindly to Abdou just outside the box it was the industrious midfielder’s chance to shine in front of goal but as we have come to expect from the work horse, his finishing is not really his forte and the ball skewed off his foot and well wide of the goal.

All in all a good dominant half of football from the Lions but sadly no end product.

The second half saw much the same as the first with the added exception that Charlton went even deeper into defend at all costs mode. We had a decent shout for a penalty early on as the beleaguered Charlton defence were forced into desperate measures as Cort clearly used his arm to block a Taylor effort but referee Whitestone just waved the appeals away.

It was Taylor again who had the next effort but it went far too wide and then Hamer made a decent save from a direct shot from Wood that had power but was really to direct, giving the ‘keeper every chance to stop it.

Again it was all endeavours and no end product but Charlton were resolute in the defence strategy and we battered them but again the goal just did not materialise. Adam Smith really showed his attacking flair as clearly he must have been bored rigid by lack of action and he looked astonishingly quick and accurate with his attacking play, it’s a side to him that we have seen glimpses of but against a team that want to sit back, he looked total quality as an attacking wing back.

Mr Jackett introduced N’Guessan into the fray with about twenty minutes left, taking off Feeney who had sort of disappeared and he got straight down to business down the left flank replicating his move with Lowry against Leeds but Lowry’s ball in was fielded to Abdou and yet again we knew before foot had struck ball that our midfield dynamo would not be threatening the goal with his shot.

We kept the pressure on full steam looking for a chink in the visitors somewhat stoic armoury and when Keogh danced himself into a bit of space just outside the box and let fly with a blistering drive it looked like the goal was on its way but a tremendous save from Hamer saw the ball tipped over the bar for a corner.

Then we watched as Wright floated over one of our numerous corners that was met with N’Guessan’s firm header and with the ‘keeper finally beaten we watched in abject misery as the ball was blocked on the line and booted away to safety by defender Solly to keep the score at 0-0.

Smith, marauding his way deep into the Charlton half had a fierce drive that went inches wide and then we had another huge shout for a penalty as Cort again used his hand to control the ball but in truth it was a shout out of desperation born out of frustration that referee Whitestone again ignored.

The game fizzled out after this and the 0-0 score line seemed to be the greatest feat the visitors had ever wished for judging by the players and fans reaction at the final whistle. Perhaps it shows how good we really are and how far we have progressed is that a visiting team feel holding us to a nil all draw is the highlight of their season.

The players left to a decent ovation as the more discerning fan, of which there were many, realised that the unbeaten run was now 13 games, we are still in a strong position regarding a play-off berth and with just a tad more luck in front of goal this would have been a well-deserved victory judged on the sheer dominance we had mustered.

No point in dwelling too much on this very minor blip, the juggernaut continues its journey next week at Ipswich Town, home of the six fingered idiots and maybe our old mate Baldy will come out to play again.

"When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff". - (Julius Caesar Act III, Scene II).
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    great post as ever mate