I don’t usually comment on games I’ve just watched, and I’m risking trespassing on BHaPPY’s territory, but here are five random observations (definitely not properly thought-through thunks) on today’s tonking of a lacklustre Charlton:
1) It was good to see six former Academy players in the matchday squad, even if five of them started on the bench. It may have been largely down to an unusual set of circumstances – a number of injuries combined with Slav’s banishment of a group of assorted ne’er-do-wells from the first-team squad – but it was pleasingly reminiscent of the Mackay/Dyche era, when homegrown talent was given a chance to shine. Nice to see George Byers make his debut, too. Slav doesn’t strike me as the sentimental type, so presumably he feels the player is a serious contender for future appearances.
2) Still on the subject of homegrown players, what did Tommy Hoban do to annoy his teammates in training this week? He was the recipient of far more awkward passes today than any player has a right to receive in a month, let alone a single game.
3) When the teams were read out for the first time at about 2.15, and Juan Carlos Paredes’ name was called, there was an audible exclamation of “Oh, for fuck’s sake!” from somewhere behind me in the Rookery. An understandable reaction, given the Ecuadorian’s recent performances. He looked better going forward today – more decisive – but still made errors that might have been more expensive against a better team; getting caught in possession or out of position. He still feels like a luxury player in this league, rather than an essential selection.
4) Odion Ighalo: what can you say? He’s been getting better with every game, and today was the best I’ve seen him play. He’s developing a fantastic understanding with Troy that was demonstrated in numerous nifty interchanges of passes, and his pace, strength and speed of reaction make him a constant danger. It’s just a shame he didn’t quite manage a hat-trick.
5) Nothing’s ever perfect, and the one thing that spoiled the game for me was that period during the second half when Harry the Hornet started a Mexican wave. I’ve always hated this inane ritual, with its implication that whatever you’re watching isn’t entertaining enough and needs pepping up with some audience participation. It’s a professional football match, not a *&$%ing pantomime, and there are 22 players out there sweating their guts out. Frankly, doing a Mexican wave is a bit insulting to them. It may be that this was a one-off to celebrate Miguel Layun’s (excellent) home debut, in which case I’ll let it slide. God forbid this becomes a regular occurence at the Vic.