Not that easy

Glad that one is over. We made it far harder than we should have done ... and if Nicky Bailey hadn't made a terrific header off the line after 30 minutes, it may actually have been a different story.

A changed squad, but the player that was out was unexpected - Jose Semedo. Still not sure of the reason why, but I hope it is nothing serious ... he is my player of the season so far.

Surely it cannot have been solely due to the absence of Semedo, but we played a very different game today ... none of the passing joys that we have seen recently. There were times, especially for the 15 minutes before our 2nd goal, when I had a real concern.

Excellent first goal from Bailey ... and just at the right time four minutes before the break ... the half-time lead was justified.

Izzy scored only his second goal for us a few minutes before the end of the 2nd half ... which helped me relax at last ... until Exeter scored in stoppage time! It was that type of day, we never looked fully convincing.

But ... going into October, we are now one of the only two unbeaten teams in the country. Has that ever happened before in October? I guess that makes it odds-on for a draw next week ... a result that I would definitely accept at this moment.

Elliott - apart from one dangerous drop of the ball in his area, no real concerns. In fact, looking back, he was not forced to do too much. Some excellent catches from corners.
Richardson - not one of his best games. Defending and distribution were areas for concern today. He will want to forget this game.
Youga - improving every game. After a shaky start to the season, he is a different player. Now getting the confidence to take players on and attack. Developing a good partnership with Nicky Bailey.
Bailey - my man of the match. The defensive header and goal were already enough, but gave a good captain's performance once again.
Llera - passing not as accurate as it has been this season, but overall ok. Did not get his 5th booking.
Shelvey - fully committed to the cause. Not as good a display as the last couple of games, but still way above the level of this division. We will see better this season.
Racon - not as good without his normal partner, Jose was definitely missed by his midfield. Still a fairly solid performance.
Burton - strong player and on another day would have scored.
Sam - caused Exeter a lot of concern. Very lively and is definitely maturing into a first-class team player.
Spring - pleasing display. I was concerned that he was playing but he did not let us down.
Dailly - confident and experienced. I've said it before and will say it again - so pleased he is part of our team.

McLeod (for Burton) - easily taken goal, but will do his confidence no end of good.
Wagstaff (for Racon) - not long enough to make an impression.
Sodje (for Shelvey) - strong header away as soon as he got on the pitch, but too brief to provide any comment.

Interesting fact, my mate who is one of the chief stewards in the East Stand mentioned before the game that Exeter had brought about 600 fans, 300 of which are actually exiles based in London.

And Nicky Bailey scored our 3,000th home goal ... I'm pleased it was him.

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Safe for another season

Well done to the board.

..... and you heard it here first ;-)

Back in mid-June, my thoughts were '.. even if takeover rumours are true (although personally I think that if anything happens it will be some form of investment rather than full takeover).'

Of course it is clear that this is the position because the parties that had been in talks did not bring enough to the table.

Once again, the board has shown their wonderful commitment to Charlton Athetic and they can only be applauded for that.

And those that have stepped down from the board have been rewarded with VP positions.

Thanks enormously to all those involved ... let's hope we now achieve promotion so that their commitment shows some return.

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I so wish I had been there ... sitting in a hotel room listening to that game was not good. Even the commentators were reporting on how bad the set of officials were ... 2 disallowed goals, one dead-cert penalty refused, and 3 yellows. It sounded like he had no control and was incredibly biased ... as were the linesmen.

But ... we drew ... and we are still top ... and under the circumstances in which the game was played, i.e. rubbish officials, dirty opposition, and the Pards factor, we came out with a creditable draw.

Last season, and the one before, we would have folded in a game like this ... the team has an inner strength that has not been there before.

And Parky ... must have been a good half-time talk ... AND he refused to shake Pardew's hand at the end ... good for him!

The atmosphere on Charlton Life was red-hot so god knows what it was like at the Valley!

I'm glad this game is over ... there were too many underlying feelings for this to be a normal game ... and I am sure it permeated throughout the ground and got to the players as well ... so well done to all of them for keeping us top.

And perversely it may not be a bad thing to have dropped a couple of points ... undue pressure grows when trying to keep up a winning run ... and they know they could have won.

Well, it's past midnight here so will check some email and get to bed.

Oh, and before I forget, if any of you get over to Hong Kong check into the Grand Hyatt and ask for a room overlooking the harbour ... I have a panoramic view of the harbour, Kowloon, and Victoria Peak ... incredible backdrop for my Charlton 'viewing' today.

Come on you reds! I'm proud of you!!!

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Supporters Trust Update

The 2nd meeting will be held next week on 15th September starting at 7.30 pm, venue is the Conservative Club in Charlton Church Lane.

I am still not convinced of the validity of this but have an open mind so look forward to hearing the results.

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend as I will be in Hong Kong, leaving tomorrow afternoon and not getting back until 19th. It's a great pity as it is always best to hear these things first-hand, so I encourage as many of you as possible to attend and subsequently feed back reports on the various blogs, Charlton Life, etc., to those of us who could not attend.

It is extremely important that we get this decision right as it could have potental implications for years to come.


Hopefully my wireless network will work in my hotel in Hong Kong on Saturday night and I can listen to the Saints game on CAFC Player.

Logic tells me there is no way we should lose this game but, increasingly, it looks like a potential banana skin the closer we get to it ... that's the trouble with the last few years, it's hard to believe we can actually keep winning!

But ultimately both head and heart say we will win, so I'm going for 3-1 to us ... Shelvey to score the first and show us his golf-swing celebration, Burton the second, and Llera with a magnificent headed goal from a corner, Lambert to respond for the Saints at 2-0.

I also miss the Norwich game as I only get back that day ... bloody annoying as it is always one of my favourite awaydays. Looks like we will have good support there, and perhaps we can win this time ... my last trip to Carrow Road was on St Georges Day a couple of years ago ... brilliant day out only let down by the team!

Come on you Reds!

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Six out of six!

Well would you believe it! Not the fact that we have won six on the trot but the fact that a team came to the Valley to attack and win.

Kudos to Brentford ... they wanted it as much as us and were in our half more in the first half than any other team so far ... and they are not a bad team for this level ... the best we have faced so far.

So it was a good test with so many tough games coming up.

Whenever the ball was in the air we seemed to be playing their game plan but once it got on the floor, it was again a total Charlton passing game ... perhaps best exemplified by the 2nd great goal.

At times our passing was sublime ... and we haven't had much chance to see that for some time!

So, six out of six, with plus 12 goal difference and only three conceded ... and I am enjoying every minute!

Further good news this morning as Jonjo signed a one-year extension to his contract ... he is now with us (potentially) until 2012 ... good stuff Jonjo!

As to player ratings, it was another excellent team display:

Elliott - not that much to do but made a superb instinct save in the 2nd half at a crucial time.

Richardson - good game again, made some superb crosses from one wing to the other and excellent passes up the line, building a good relationship with Sam.

Youga - probably his best game this season, very impressive and strong at times.

Dailly - very pleased he plays for us, his experience shows through.

Llera - can see him becoming a Charlton legend if he keeps this up and stays long enough. Excellent long-ball passing ability.

Sam - going from strength to strength since substituted and Wagstaff scored at the Valley. If he had played all 90 minutes, would have been my man of the match. Fantastic goal after one of the best passing movements of the game.

Semedo - wonderful display controlling the midfield, good in attacking and defensive moves. My man of the match.

Racon - committed and confident. Important factor in creating what may be the best, or close to the best, midfield outside the Premiership.

Shelvey - never stopped running and determined to score today. Unfortunately did not happen but the next goal is coming soon.

Bailey - yet again a terrific display, we all knew how important it was that we kept him. Might well be the most important factor in our push for promotion.

Burton - I like him better and better each week. Contributes a lot to the team and general gameplay, and got the goal he deserved.

Wagstaff - confident and full of running.

McLeod - looked good and unfortunate not to have been given a goal.

Parkinson - got it right again!

So ... on to Pardew next week ... so annoying that I will be in Hong Kong but will ensure that I listen to CAFC Player. Those of you that are going ... make sure you give Pardew plenty of stick ... he may be getting it from the Saints fans too!

Oh ... and we got Barnet in the cup ... who knocked out the Spanners in the last round.

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