Charlton kept up there high flying start as we beat second placed Watford by the single goal to put us on level points with them. Another home game & another home win! The Valley really is becoming a fortress this season with our 4th home win of the season after Yoni Buyens 3rd minute penalty enough to take all 3 points.
My day started with drinks and food in Greenwich nearby the Cutty Sark with friends before the game before heading to The Valley for the match. The last time we played Watford was obviously very recent in our last home game of last season where two strikes from Harriott & one from Jackson secured a 3-1 win and our survival. This time Watford are high flying in the league and in Troy Deeney have one of the best strikers in the league as we know from his stunning strike last season. But I did think although their great start to the season and the top scorers in the league to match...This was surely a good time to play Watford as it was the first game for manager Oscar Garcia surely feeling the pressure of kicking on from where the last manager left them in second position.
The teams entered the field and the Charlton team was unchanged from the team that drew away to Brighton despite the news that Gudmundsson was a doubt prior to kick off. The key players from Watford's team was Ikechi Anya fresh from his goal against world champions Germany in the week & obviously the goal scoring threat of Troy Deeney up front. Our team was
The Game started with a bang as within the second minute of the game a powerful run forward from Jordan Cousins then led to him playing a lovely weighted through ball to Vetokele he took it in his stride and Watford keeper Gomes rushed out and brought the striker down to which referee Madley pointed staright to the spot! Up steps Mr Cool Yoni Buyens.......And here is the result of the penalty....
And BOOOOOM The Addicks take the lead very early on! Buyens again comes up with the goods from the spot with a very cool penalty sending Gomes the wrong way. Watford did moan about the penalty but if Gomes is going to go in like that he needs to at least touch the ball which he didn't do Vetokele's pace again causing trouble! 1-0
What a time to score so early on! But would this see us sit back on our lead or push on for more? Well the answer to how the game would pan out was answered very quickly as literally a minute later saw Deeney's curling shot rebound off the post and luckily away from goal, unlucky from the Watford Hit man and a big wake up call to us so quickly after we took the lead.
The pressure kept coming as a few minutes later Watford won a free kick just on the edge of the box but the lively Lewis McGugan saw his effort go over the bar. Watford kept coming next was another effort from Deeney a fierce low drive which was really well saved from Henderson. Unfortunately Charlton were forced into an sub as Gudmundsson who was a doubt before the game had to be replaced by Wilson this not too much of a blow as Wilson has been unlucky not to be involved as much this season.
As the half progressed it was the same story Watford kept bombarding the Charlton goal, another great safe from Henderson as this time Anya saw his fierce effort tipped round the post, from the resulting corner Ekstrand header again tested Henderson in the goal but again he came out on top. In the space of the last 5 minutes of the half Watford saw three players go into the referees book who was very quick to blow his whistle on many occasions & very card happy. The game reached half time with the score at 1-0
Despite all of the Watford pressure we defended very well Bikey & Ben Haim putting in some vital clearances and tackles and Henderson pulling off some great saves. Watford were really moving the ball around well and although some decent efforts they lacked the final touch.
The second half started and saw a change for Watford Hoban being replaced by Ighalo a man who we would see fall to the ground very easily during the second half. Charlton started the second half stronger forcing an early corner which resulted in an acrobatic effort from Bikey but not troubling Gomes. Back came the Watford pressure the pace of Anya was causing problems at the back and Rhoys Wiggins picked up a booking for a foul on him the resulting free kick saw Ekstrand's effort fail to trouble Henderson.
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On 55 minutes Peeters felt the need to change it up and brought off Tucudean & brought on Moussa changing the formation to 4-5-1 and allowing more men to cope with Watford's impressive midfield. The sub gave Charlton a bit of momentum with Moussa then spraying the ball wide to Wilson his cross picked out Vetokele but it was just a bit high for him and his header failed to trouble Gomes. Watford then made another sub bringing on Lloyd Dyer for Vydra, Dyer was the man who had publicly fallen out with former boss Sannino and was one of the factors to him being sacked a few weeks ago.
It was really turning into edge of your seat action for us Charlton fans as Watfords pressure again mounted and after losing our lead so late in our last game to Brighton - fans were anxious not to repeat that again today.Watford did think they had equalised only for the linesman's flag to deny them after Dyer had strayed offside. Henderson was at his best he palmed away a fierce long range effort and then Lloyd Dyer was played through and with just Henderson to beat from a tight angle Henderson rushed out and made himself big & performed a vital stop to prevent a near certain goal.
Could we hold out for the 3 points? The fourth official put up 6 minutes of added on time and Charlton dug deep and defended really well & could have increased the lead on the break but both times Moussas poor final ball let us down. But we managed to hold on, a great tackle from the ever so solid Solly on Abdi in the box ensuring The Addicks 100% home record and a impressive 1-0 result against a tough Watford side. Final score 1-0
What a relief!!!! They really had the nerves jangling there for that second half, Watford proved there a great side but it was great to see our defence stand strong and especially Henderson having a great game. Here's a little bit about each player.
|Igor Tunnell Jump|
Henderson - My man of the match, best game he's had at the club some brilliant saves especially to deny Dyer and was very quickly off his line and made himself big.
Solly- Chris had the tough task of marking McGugan had although early on he got beat a few times from the Watford winger Solly grew into the game and made some crunching tackles and some vital interceptions especially late on to deny Abdi
Bikey - Beeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaasssssssttttttttt! Another powerful display from Bikey one we have come to expect from the big man. Strong tackling and heading away any danger as usual and done a great job of keeping Deeney from getting in any real dangerous positions.
Ben Haim - Early calls for a penalty after he had appeared to foul Deeney in the box were waved away from the referee and probably rightly so as Deeney did go to ground quite easily and he was in a good position too. He again formed a good partnership with Bikey and dug deep for the 3 points.
Wiggins - An improved performance from Rhoys from what has been a poor start to the season from him, I think he coped well with the pace of Anya and then Ighalo and defended well.
Gudmundsson - The gamble didn't pay off and he was replaced after 28 minutes. Shame but it didn't look too bad.
Buyens - Another solid display from Yoni and another fine penalty from him.
Jackson - Thought Jacko struggled with the pace and power of the Watford midfield and struggled to find his way in the game. But again he didn't make any mistakes and made a few pivotal clearances.
Cousins - A real energetic display from Jordan was up and down the pitch for the full 90 minutes and he set up Vetokele for the winining penalty with a fine through ball.
Vetokele - Great performance again from Igor his pace really causes problems for the opposition and his surging run won the penalty.
Tucudean - A disappointing performance from George saw him replaced again by Moussa, A shame after he had showed glimpses of what he can do lately but failed to show that yesterday.
Wilson - Came on and done well got forward well at times and helped defend well with Solly.
Moussa- A Jekyll and Hyde performance from Franck started really well especially on the break and quick one touch passing but then towards the end he made the wrong decision on the break a few times which could have seen us increase the lead. But I'd say its mostly down to him not having as much game time at the moment, does look promising though.
Harriott - Really looks like he's still lacking in confidence , made a good run late on only for his tame shot to go straight at Gomes.
Home Fans - Wasn't too much of an atmosphere from the Charlton faithful mainly due to us all on the edge of our seats all game. The 10th minute saw the crowd rise to their feet to applaud a late great David Whyte, Whyte was one of my heroes growing up, I first started coming in 94 & Whyte was the main man back then with some memorable goals. Was nice to see nearly the whole stadium applaud and sing his song too hopefully his family were there and saw how he was much loved down at The Valley such a shame to see him pass away so young. DAVID WHYTE WHYTE WHYTE.
Away Fans - Great to see The Jimmy Seed Stand full always adds to a better atmosphere at the game. Their fans were loud in patches but were left frustrated from there teams failure to score the equaliser. A lot of the Watford fans did join in with the minutes applause so thank you to them nice touch. Although there song of "Your grounds too big for you" did make me laugh this is the club that used to host one of the worst stands in English football which included some of the old Wembley seats with no backs to them.. this has since been knocked down and now they have 3 sides to their ground(soon to be 4 again ).
Moment of the match - Henderson's stop to keep out Dyer for me stood out, Dyer was bearing down on goal I really thought here we go 1-1 but he made a crucial stop and kept the clean sheet.
Overall really really really pleased with Charlton at the moment we learnt from our mistakes of conceding a late goal in our previous game and we really dug in well and defended brilliantly. We wernt at our best going forward but that again was due to playing against a good Watford side who i'm sure will be up there come the end of the season.But great to see even when we are not at our best we can still grind out results which we have failed to do in previous seasons. Peeters made the right subs at the right time especially when he brought Moussa on to a 5 man midfield to match Watford helped us gain more of a foot hold in the game.
We now push onto Wolves on Tuesday who have started life back in The Championship well & are lying in 3rd position. So not going to be an easy game but we have proved this season that were a match for any side especially at The Valley so again we look forward to the game.
COME ON YOU REDS!