Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughReporter on the Road - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Reporter on the Road - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Reporter on the Road

Charlton 3 – 2 Peterborough, League One.

It was my third time back at The Valley, the ground where it all began for me on BBC Final Score two seasons ago. My last visit was a memorable one, after I parted with my hard-earned cash (albeit very little) to have a small wager on the game (it’s difficult not to as there’s a bookie’s stand just inside the Millennium Suite), I found myself a few quid up after predicting the first goal would be scored between the 35th-45th minute. Up pops Adam Lallana for the visitors to slot in on the 42nd minute to put Southampton in front and I’m forced to stifle my celebrations as the press box is surrounded by irate home fans. ThankfullyDeon Burton equalised in that game to stop me feeling so guilty for placing a bet that clearly had doomed the home side!

Well, this next visit to The Valley was to prove just as memorable. In all the games I’ve been reporting from, I had never before seen the referee stretchered off and replaced, but that’s exactly what happened. In fact the stretcher made two appearances, nearly three. As well as the ref tearing his achilles (although I can vouch for the fact he still managed to hobble in to the bar for a post-match drink), loan-defender Federico Bassone was also stretchered off. I suspect he had not fully recovered from his hamstring injury that had been plaguing him prior to kick off.

The stretcher was starting to have a starring role all of its own, but the rivalry between the two sides in their pursuit of promotion via the play-offs sparked a thrilling encounter which saw the man-of-the-match award going elsewhere – Phew! Posh dominated the first 45 minutes. Lee Tomlin was impressive all match and opened the scoring. Had I been dishing out MOTM he would have been recipient. But as it was Charlton fought back from a goal down to win 3-2. Johnnie Jackson’s header set them on their way, Bradley Wright-Phillips made it three goals in three and Pawel Abbott’s deflected volley gave The Addicks the distance they needed. Craig Mackail-Smith’s late strike made it a gripping finale, but a consolation is all it ended up being.

So, an entertaining watch. Five goals, the referee stretchered off and a new page created in Charlton’s history books. New manager Chris Powell unbeaten in his opening four games; he is the first to achieve that feat in the club’s history. Powell’s opposite number Darren Ferguson had also been appointed in the last month, returning to Peterborough after being sacked by Preston in December. He has promised to improve his side’s away form. There were glimmers of hope, but it still remains that when Posh score two, they let three in. They have conceded the most goals in the league and I imagine there will be a lot of time spent defending set-pieces on the training ground. The aerial threat from Charlton always looked likely to provide the killer punch in this tie.

Lynsey Hooper

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