Millwall 0-0 Charlton ~ Match Musings

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Charlton at home is not, in all honesty the first fixture on anyone’s ‘must go’ list but invariably it seems to bring out a season’s best crowd at the Den for reasons known only to those that turn up to swell the usual 10,000 to around 12,000 Millwall fans and with Charlton unable to sell out their allocation, the 16,000 attendance was probably more than expected for two teams that have relegation fodder stamped all over them.

I am glad though that the Jimmy Mizen Foundation benefits from this abnormal uplift in fans as this game was also Jimmy’s day and we can be a generous bunch when it comes to things like this and a worthy cause it is too. Dignified and humble, the Mizen family epitomise all that is good about human nature and nurture. They consistently show how you can take a catastrophic life changing event and turn it around into something uplifting and they and their team of helpers are truly inspirational.

But, back to the football now and it seemed that we had the proverbial two bald men fighting over a comb scenario as the Lions locked horns with the train spotting anoraks (wow, that is some mixed metaphor, even by my ropey standards) that saw plenty of huffing and puffing but very little in the way of style and substance.

Shorts and tee shirt weather over the Den as well as the two teams strode purposefully out and Mr Holloway had again sent a team out that he believed could do a job for him. Forde in goal, Dunne, Lowry, Williams and Robinson at the back, Onyedinma,(Freddie to the crowd from the off) Upson, Garvan, Woolford and Jackson in midfield with Morison as the target man.

We had the kick off and by now we knew the familiar opening gambit as well as any opposition manager who studies Millwall games, a diagonal ball into the left flank for a header to the oppositions defenders…not exactly the Ruy Lopez chess move but about as obvious…

We didn’t really settle into a pattern and neither did they, it was all a bit frantic and hit and hope at times but that nearly paid off for us around the ten minute mark when Onyedinma nearly capped his full debut with a goal, misfiring a header past the post from a hopeful cross.

We nearly came unstuck five minutes later as we watched our midfield lose possession and the defence lose their shape as Charlton collected the ball and went racing towards goal, they were, at one stage, three-on-two as they bore down on goal, but with better options at Harriott's disposal to his left, the slack jawed winger opted to go alone, shooting tamely at Forde, much to our relief.

It was all scrappy and neither side seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing at times, chances, if any, were at best only half chances, shooting from distance with no real conviction and all a bit bland.

Jackson went closest with a speculative effort that Hamer in the Charlton goal threw his cap on and we again watched in horror as Dunne gifted a chance to Sordell who managed to get a fin on it but Dunne redeemed himself by blocking the effort.

Sordell was again in the swim of it, his dorsal enhanced free kick floated unsurprisingly over the bar and then we had Lowry blocking what looked like a goal bound shot out for a harmless corner kick.

Charlton’s Jackson was just as profligate as our own version, heading harmlessly low for Forde to save when he really should have done better.
Our gilt edged chance followed soon after this. Dunne managed to get a ball into the box for Morison who controlled the ball and hit a shot from about eight yards out but the ball went agonising wide of the target.

Close to half time another shot from distance, this time by Upson, dipped just in front of Hamer and he made a pigs breakfast of the save and more by luck than judgement, the ball span out for a corner.

As the half petered out the only shining light for me was Onyedinma’s performance, fuelled by the enthusiasm of youth he really put some effort in and looks a capable player.

The Anoraks should have gone in front soon after the restart but Harriott guided the ball well wide after a really decent ball in (something we were lacking) and this prompted Mr Holloway to get busy with his substitutes, I have no idea why he does this (why not make the change during the break?) but off went Upson and on came our new emergency loan signing Stefan Maierhofer. Six foot eight inches, the archetypal ‘big front man’ and it wasn’t as disastrous as many foretold. He didn’t look out of place and some of the less than helpful cheers when he made a tackle or passed the ball were a little bit childish and uncalled for.

Five minutes later another sub came on, this time forgotten man McDonald trotted on to replace Jackson so it looked like Mr Holloway was again going shit or bust.

With twenty minutes to go we almost had the opener. A corner from Upson saw the height factor work as Maierhofer was first to the ball but his header pinged just over the bar.

Again Onyedinma was showing signs of promise, running his socks off and generally causing problems for Charlton, it was a shame the rest of the team didn’t spot this as he was starved of the ball for long periods.

Mr Holloway’s last through of the dice was to finally take off a very poor Alan Dunne and replace him with Fredericks and he was soon getting involved, sending over a cross for Morison to flick on but the chance went begging as Maierhofer just failed to get to the ball before it was hoofed clear by a Charlton defender.

Garvan hit a lack lustre free kick as the final act of the day and with the final whistle going soon after; it really was an afternoon of frustration and resignation. Frustrating because we couldn’t beat a very poor Charlton side and resignation because I think deep down we know what is coming.

We are not masters of our own destiny and it is going to be a painful end to the season watching helplessly as we drift into League 1 obscurity. I hope I am wrong, of course I do but I haven’t seen anything to inspire any thoughts other than us slipping down the throat of the Championships basement and through its proverbial arsehole into the waiting lavatory of the wastelands of the third tier of English football.

“It is important that we know where we come from, because if you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.”
Terry Pratchett,
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    I haven’t seen anything to inspire any thoughts other than us slipping down the throat of the Championships basement and through its proverbial arsehole into the waiting lavatory of the wastelands of the third tier of English football.

    I like this bit.
    Quality as always FwF.