Both sides played as though jaded after a hectic Christmas schedule, which was inevitable, and the quality or lack of it on show was no real surprise. What was a surprise was hearing the drummers normally to be found in the Upper North transposed due to a power failure to the Upper West. It was all a little odd, as one whole block of the Upper North appeared to have been almost cleared, but people were still ensconced in it's other sections? A fifteen minute delay to the kick off ensued as itinerant North Standers queued to get into the unfamiliar surroundings of the Upper West.
One benefit of this delay was that even as we were kicking off, news was coming through that Carlisle were already two one up against Sheffield United. If it was all goal action in Cumbria, the opening exchanges at The Valley suggested something far more attritional was about to be served up, and this duly transpired. Powell had promised changes would be made during the holiday period, but hadn't really delivered it, other than in enforced circumstances. Today, however, we got Cort instead of Taylor, and a starting berth for Pritchard instead of Russell whose loan finishes tomorrow anyway. New boy Clarke also made the bench in place of an unhappy Hayes, judging by the tweet he put out before kick off.
The first goal was a header by Morrison from a Green cross when one on one with the Bees goalkeeper. I like the idea of using Morrison as a centre forward on occasions, and it is a tactic that Powell seems to be using with increasing regularity. It usually follows a Charlton corner, and instead of haring back when the move breaks down, it is usually Kermorgant that does the running back leaving Morrison upfront, and causing a fair deal of confusion in the opposition ranks in the process. It worked a treat midway through the first half when he received the ball completely unmarked, and headed over the advancing keeper.
Normlly at one up, I feel nervous that Charlton will sit back and invite a shed load of pressure, and a goal and a draw will result. I didn't feel that today, as Brentford offered little more than token attempts on goal. What attempts there were still caused some erratic behaviour from Hamer who appears to be a little out of sorts, punching when he should catch, advancing when he should be holding ground. There is a school of thought that thinks a new keeper should be recruited in the transfer window just opened, but I suspect it is a temporary (hopefully) loss of form, in much the same way that I think Wright-Phillips is also suffering.
The second goal came from a long kick forward that Green got on the end of whilst playing at left midfield in place of Jackson who had been replaced by Wagstaff. He gathered it well, and cut back inside evading two defenders before calmly slotting the ball into the net. As a game, it was as near to a regulation two nil as it gets, and now we can all look forward to our day trip up the Thames to Fulham on Saturday.