Wednesday, 24 November 2010

More lows than highs at the Valley

Charlton press the Bristol Rovers goalmouth
A spell down in London for work purposes provided the opportunity for a bit of League One football research. My preference would have been to accompany my friend Kevin Scully on Leyton Orient's trip to Peterborough (which ended 2-2). But with the costs of that trip looking a little high, and needing to be up early the next morning, I opted for another visit to the Valley, this time to see second-placed Charlton Athletic take on Bristol Rovers. It's certainly an impressive ground for this level of football. Indeed my first visit there a few years ago was when the Addicks were in the Premier League and managed by Alan Curbishley. That day they were facing a Portsmouth side under the tutelage of Harry Redknapp. How times and fortunes change.

This time that game didn't really match up to the venue. But a cold night and some plodding progress (or lack of it) on the pitch was enlivened by the passion and banter of a seat high and behind the goal at the home end. It's safe to say CUFC don't have much time for Millwall, as if you needed telling! Anyway, Charlton had more of the first half, though it was hard to see how anyone was going to achieve a breakthrough. Rovers' Wayne Brown finally broke the deadlock on 63 minutes, blasting the Southwest visitors into the lead with an assist from Ben Swallow. Had Bristol held on, it would have been their first win at the Valley since 1958, the year that I was born. But it was not to be. Charlton's Paul Benson eagerly took the chance provided for him by Kyel Reid to make it 1-1 thirteen minutes from time. And that's how the score remained. An enjoyable if less-than-scintillating evening.

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