The opening game of a new season should be played on a brilliant summers day on an immaculate sward of green baize. Courtesy of Paddy Powell we had the latter, and for most of the first half the former, but the rain that had been threatening for most of the day finally arrived to add to the sweat of honest, and for the most part limited endeavour of the twenty two on the pitch. In fairness, the limited ability applied far more to Bournemouth than Charlton, who occasionally looked like they had only just met for the first time, which of course is largely true, but compared to Bournemouth they looked a far more cohesive unit, and occasionally could muster a threat that the visitors were unable to manage at any time in the match.
There were exceptions to the honest but limited toil of course, most notably Reid who tormented the Bournemouth defence to breaking point, Sodje the grateful recipient of yet another teasing run and cross that cut the opposition open allowing a straightforward tap in to a much leaner striker than last term. Martin on for the last fifteen was well worth the wait, and the arrival of the Ipswich man in place of a tiring Wagstaff produced a cameo which in flashes showed the difference in class between honest labour and artistry that we have not seen at the Valley for some time. This was best encapsulated by some of the most skillful and impudent keep ball as you are ever likely to see this season at the Valley, the architects being Reid and Martin, who having bamboozled three defenders with chips and back heels let the ball out of the trap to McCormack, who was so surprised to see it emerge that he almost lost it on the edge of the Bournemouth box.
At the other end of the scale, the sending off of Semedo seemed harsh given that both players had gone sliding in for a 50:50 ball. Yes the studs were showing from both players, but it could just as eaily have been our favourite Portugeezer that was injured. It was after this incident that to me referee Hegley panicked and lost control of the game, fortunately to the detriment of both teams in equal measure. A win and three points on the board is good, but let's not fool ourselves that this was a good performance. It was disjointed at times, industrial in others, and against a better team than Bournemouth we would probably have come unstuck. The team is what it is, a work in the making, and oh yes, we really do need a predatory striker.