Charlton Athletic 0-0 Cardiff City: Match Review

On a day where the Charlton Athletic fans grabbed the headlines with their protest against owner Roland Duchâtelet. The millionaire, who owns multiple football clubs, is under fire from Charlton fans but has insisted that he will not sell the club and says that he has “empathy” for the fans.

The Coalition Against Roland Duchâtelet (CARD) organised a Pinocchio-themed protest, in reference to their feeling that the owner is a liar, printing off thousands of Pinocchio masks, stickers and even beer mats with the famous character’s face on them. The stickers had the words “We want our Charlton back” around them. Outside the ground, music from the Disney film itself was being played.

Most of the match itself was a cagey affair. The first half yielded very few chances, despite being relatively end-to-end. Cardiff looked the more likely to score, with Anthony Pilkington actually finding the net within the first half-hour but having his goal disallowed for offside. This was the first refereeing decision that irked Bluebirds manager, Russell Slade, who said in the post-match press conference:

“We’ve looked at the DVD and you can see the cut of the grass. Pilkington’s onside when he scored.” “When you engineer a perfectly good goal and it’s ruled offside it’s doubly disappointing.”

Joe Ralls got the closest to scoring of anyone in the first half as he blasted the ball from 25 yards, but his shot hit the post. Cardiff had the better half, but Charlton did a very good job of keeping them at bay. The away side will have been disappointed both with their inability to create many clear-cut chances and to put enough of their shots on target to trouble the Addicks’ goalkeeper.

In the second half, Cardiff began to dominate. Early on, Anthony Pilkington found himself in space out wide in the penalty area, but his shot was well saved by Stephen Henderson. Shola Ameobi had a chance to score on the edge of the area, but he curled his shot narrowly wide. In the 56th minute Pilkington had another big chance to score, but his shot from a Malone cross hit the bar.

A few minutes after the hour Reza Ghoochannejhad had Charlton’s biggest chance of the game up until that point as he found himself in space near the goal, but he blazed his shot horribly wide, much to the displeasure of the home fans.

Arsenal loanee Yaya Sanogo came on in the 72nd minute. He did not get into the game as much as he would have hoped but whenever he got the ball he did something with it. Charlton manager José Riga said of him after the game:

“He can play with Simon [Makienok]. As you saw today he was bringing something more, that’s why we were able to put the pressure on Cardiff at the end of the game.”

In the final phase of the game Cardiff brought on more attackers to try to win the game, which left them more open at the back. Charlton began to create more half-chances but were unable to create a truly clear-cut opportunity until Simon Makienok broke free in the penalty area on 89 minutes. He rolled his shot past the goalkeeper but saw his shot cleared off the line. Perhaps if he had put some more power into it he would have scored.

Injury time went on with either side able to score but just before the end of the match Sammy Ameobi, already on a yellow card, foolishly got himself sent off by kicking the ball long after the referee had blown his whistle. He will miss Cardiff’s next game. Russell Slade said he felt that the red card was “soft” and that he was mainly frustrated that he won’t have his players services for the next game.

Both sides will have been disappointed not to win but the home side deserved to be more happy with a point against play-off chasing opposition. Charlton need to start winning games if they want to have any chance of staying up, but this solid point against good opposition may kickstart their season. José Riga said:

“We started well, and grew during the game. The confidence was growing through the team collectively. We ended very well with a lot of opportunities and I think that, even though Cardiff created two good opportunities, we deserved to win this game. Anyway, for me the most important thing is to be able to see a reaction regarding our last game at home.”

Cardiff will have been disappointed to have dropped two points in their attempt to get into the play-off places but results elsewhere mean that they are still only five points off sixth place.