Tys and Earnie add to woeful Charlton’s troubles..

Charlton Athletic – 0
Nottingham Forest – 2

The dawning of the Billy Davies era was met with three points in a, how can I put this, ‘workmanlike’ performance from the mighty Reds (playing in black, of course) against a very low-on-confidence looking Charlton side who look good value for the relegation they seem to be uncontrollably spiraling towards.

Aside from the stand housing the away fans, The Valley is an impressive arena, aside from the lack of undersoil heating which threatened to see the game called off due to the sub-zero conditions which claimed a number of victims in the football league programme.  A decent sized crowd turned up too, supplemented of course by a cracking following from Nottingham.

We started with a minute’s applause, for recently deceased Charlton players – the compere also included former-Forest goalkeeper Chic Thomson in his list of names, which was a nice touch and very well received by the Forest fans.  Speaking of Chic Thomson, Forest have released details for his funeral and memorial service, which Reds fans are invited to.

Billy Davies decided to stick with the formula that undid Manchester City, including keeping Perch in midfield (who of course was injured during that game, prompting switching Cohen to midfield and putting Wilson in at left back).  Clearly whatever worked so well at City wasn’t on show here, as Forest were largely shapeless and a little devoid in ideas.

If Deon Burton were more confident (and less shite) then he would’ve done better than putting an early chance into the side netting.  Smithy was a little hesitant in coming out to block him when he was put through shortly after, but once there he did well.  After this initial concern, the game descended into a fairly tiresome game of head tennis and hoof ball from both sides.  Neither particularly adept at keeping hold of the ball.

Charlton started to compose themselves and start to assert some authority on the game – both Perchy and Chambers putting in excellent blocks to prevent goalscoring opportunities for the Home side – and, bizarrely, fashioned a counter-attack which also gave us the lead.  Matt Thornhill crossed to Anderson, he cut it back across to find Tyson on hand to stab the ball into the goal to give us a very unexpected lead – and jubilation in the stand for Forest fans!

Charlton hit back on the offensive, but the resulting shot from Shelvey wasn’t enough to beat Smith, who saved with two hands.  No sooner had we breathed a sigh of relief, it seemed that Earnie had doubled our lead!  He burst clear of Hudson and motored through to a one on one with Rob ‘Fatty’ Elliott in the Charlton goal, deftly putting the ball past him and into the net, sending the traveling Reds into raptures.

Again the home side attacked, culminating in a good volleyed chance which Smith did well to tip around the post.  The first half ended basically with us being a bit nonplussed, we hadn’t played particularly well – but had taken chances particularly well, and whilst there were undoubtedly defensive wobbles, we had held firm when necessary – and Smithy had made a few decent saves too.

Tyson was withdrawn at half time for Arron Davies, apparently due to injury – Forest sticking with the 4-5-1 formation that had seemed rather shapeless in the first half.  As with the first half, the second half started with the home side attacking and looking dangerous – although Forest dealt with them with a great deal more composure, and did craft some opportunities going forward too.  

Davies did well on the left and put in a great cross to the far side for Anderson, whose first time hit from six yards out missed the goal (by some margin!!) and found Davies again on the wing, the next cross was less dangerous, and possession was back with the home side.  They had quite a bit of possession, but you could see why they’re struggling – and, indeed, empathise to a degree.

They were bereft of confidence so that even when chances were created they were invariably missed – confounded by a much more assured looking Forest defensive unit putting in a number of blocks and tackles to make the task of breaking down their visitors all the more tricky.  Garner was introduced for the hardworking Earnshaw to give Forest a different dimension up front.

He won a couple of freekicks but struggled to get massive involvement, Charlton continued to press and drew further good work from the Forest defence, and Smithy had another cracking save to make – but ultimately with home fans streaming from the ground, it was increasingly looking – despite the ludicrous five minutes of injury time the referee added – that Charlton were never going to hit the net.

At the final whistle the away end erupted, it was good to see Billy Davies come right over to acknowledge the visiting fans (he had had a few chants during the game, which is also nice), as well as making a point of congratulating each of the players whilst still out on the pitch – and the reception he got from the traveling Reds was a good one.

With the unmentionables game being called off, it at least keeps a certain former player of ours away from the headlines (well, I bet it doesn’t!), and it also puts us within two points of ’em!

This was a good game for Billy Davies to take charge.  Those of our support who simply respond to results will be appeased and his reign starts on a high note – but so many of the problems in our squad were on show today, and will give him a good insight into what he needs to tackle.  Which has to be a good thing.  The remainder of January promises to be very interesting as a result.

Half time at The Valley..

Two nil is marginally flattering, but who cares? Tyson bundled the first in, Earnie with another delicious chip. Charlton had caused early wobbles in defence, and our midfield was largely bypassed early doors with a series of hoofs.. But well, happy regardless!

Forest fans in good voice and numbers, despite it being absolutely freezing! Not heard from the sizeable home crowd aside from the minutes applause at the start (which very graciously referenced Chic Thomson), and booing off their team at half time.

Probably won’t post a full time report til Im back in Nottingham. You Reds!