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Season 2002-03 
Match Report 2002-03 - Charlton Athletic (a) 

This report is brought to you by Ginsters


Saturday 15th March 2003, 3.00pm

Venue: The Valley

Conditions: Clear blue skies, spring well on the way....


Charlton Athletic 0 - 2 Newcastle United


33 mins Bellamy fouled. Dunn gives penalty. Shearer batters it home. Press Association call it "controversial". Clowns. 1-0

Half time:  Charlton 0 Newcastle 1

49 mins A close-in effort from Solano, who drifted in unmarked towards the far post as Bellamy centred from the left after racing in the box after a headed 1/2 with Shearer. The Peruvian and the Welshman celebrated in front of the ranks of Newcastle fans, with the former pointing towards the latter as being more deserving of the applause.  2-0

Full time:  Charlton 0 Newcastle 2

We Said

Sir Bobby enthused:

"Man U and Arsenal have stronger squads but we've caught up with them. I'm very happy with my squad. I still think Arsenal will win it. I don't think we can win it but it's close and we're making progress.

"The two teams above us would have to slip up - if they don't slip up we can't win it.

"We've got a lot better since last year when we finished fourth. We know where we are, we know where we want to be and they are just ahead of us.

"But the quality of the squad and our younger players is getting better.

"You look at Speed Shearer, Given, Solano - they give us experience and the rest are just 21, 22, 23. Just look at Bramble, Dyer, Woodgate and JJ. Rest and relaxation is very important - we try to get them home (from Europe) as quickly as we can.

"It didn't help that it took us four-and-a-half hours from City Airport to our hotel. We could have driven down quicker. We look at their tiredness, we look at those looking weary and we get the right response from the players.

"We have good motivation and we've got good character in the team - and we've got that pace. You can have ability but pace plus ability is essential."

They Said

Alan Curbishley said:

"When you play against the top sides you want to do much better and to do that you need to get your nose in front.

"The ref had to make a couple of major decisions in the first 50 minutes and they all went against us.

"The two penalty decisions were both quite similar in some respects. Bellamy was running through - he knows he can't be tackled or touched - he's in a very dangerous area. And Jason Euell's not sure if he's touched him or if Mark Fish's touched him or if anyone's touched him - in the second half we were a little bit shy of going near him...

"Then Jonatan Johansson's gone in to the box with two Newcastle players chasing him. Both decisions, the referee was behind the play.

"In my opinion, he should have either given them both or not give them at all. Obviously we've come out the wrong end of it because he's given one and not the other. So we're very disappointed. When you're playing against the bigger teams you need things to go for you. But I don't want to take anything away from Newcastle because once they got in front they were the stronger side and with the week they've had..."

"Once it was 2-0 it was very difficult for us, they've got great pace and they can really hit teams on the break. It was the prefect opportunity for Newcastle to go on and hurt us even more - thankfully they didn't.

"We tried to get ourselves back into the game and fashioned a couple of half chances but it wasn't going to happen.

"It was a big game for everybody. People have been talking about us and saying some nice things about us and we were really looking forward to it. Newcastle coming to town is one of the big games of the season, but it was always going to be tough."

"Our biggest problem today was that Mark Fish has been struggling all week with a bit of a knock and Rufus has been out for almost a month and he's not yet one hundred per cent. And with Bellamy and Shearer around, you need them both. We didn't cope with them too well today."

"It was a cheap booking that he (Young) gave away - there was no need for him to do it and that left him playing on a knife edge. And with people like Bellamy around, and Shearer was getting involved as he always does, one more tackle from Luke and it could've been a problem. That's why he came off because we didn't want to end up with ten men.

"But we're in a sad state of affairs if you can make two tackles and you're off in the Premiership. Perhaps I should give Mr Dunn a bit of credit."

"The nice thing for Newcastle is that no-one's taken notice of them but they've crept right into the frame with eight games to go. They have to be taken seriously: they've got a squad capable of winning the title.

"The combination of Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy was too good for us. We came up against Thierry Henry last week and Bellamy poses the same problems.

"Newcastle will always be a threat when they have someone like him about."

Keeper Dean Kiely said:

"The penalty was really disappointing because the lads didn't think there was a great deal in it. I think with Newcastle having played during the week we knew we'd have to come out of the traps and work really hard and I think we did that.

"But none of the big decisions in the game went for us and for all our hard work and endeavour there was no real reward at the end of it."

"It's fair to say that you know where the ball's going, but Shearer strikes them so true and so well that they find the bottom corner and it's very difficult to save. You have to give him credit for that.

"But we live to fight another day and the bigger picture is that we're doing okay - in the grand scheme of things we're going in the right direction.

"For us it's about progression. We want to progress and get better and keep raising the standards and if we do that we've got a chance and that's what we've got our eye on at the moment."

Match Stats

Bobby still remains undefeated in games post-Europe and we have finally posted a victory South of the Thames - our first since November 1997 at Palace. It was our first top-flight win over Charlton at The Valley since the 1955-56 season.

And that London record just gets better and better - since breaking the sequence last December at Highbury of 29 games without a victory within the M25, we've won 3 of the next 7 (Spurs twice, Charlton) and drawn at West Ham, sampling only defeat at Arsenal twice (one in FAC) and Chelsea. 

And after a poor first half of the season, our away points tally is starting to turn round:

1993/94: 31 points from 21 matches (9 wins, 4 draws, 8 defeats)
1994/95: 24 points from 21 matches (6 wins, 6 draws, 9 defeats)
1995/96: 26 points from 19 matches (7 wins, 5 draws, 7 defeats)
1996/97: 26 points from 19 matches (6 wins, 8 draws, 5 defeats)
1997/98: 15 points from 19 matches (3 wins, 6 draws, 10 defeats)
1998/99: 19 points from 19 matches (4 wins, 7 draws, 8 defeats)
1999/00: 17 points from 19 matches (4 wins, 5 draws, 10 defeats)
2000/01: 17 points from 19 matches (4 wins, 5 draws, 10 defeats)
2001/02: 32 points from 19 matches (9 wins, 5 draws, 5 defeats)

2002/03: 18 points from 15 matches (5 wins, 3 draws, 7 defeats)***

*** current season - in progress.

Alan Shearer
went clear third in the list of United goal-getters with his 144th Newcastle goal and joined Peter Beardsley on 108 league goals. The penalty that he smashed in to open the scoring was our 600th Premiership goal, fittingly on Al's 200th league appearance for the club.

Craig Bellamy was in electrifying form on his 150th career league start (71 Norwich, 33 Coventry, 46 Newcastle.) All told, with sub appearances his league stats read 54 goals from 167 appearances.) 

Shay Given kept his 12th Premiership clean sheet of the season from 30 starts - the best total in the league.

We've now scored 22 league goals away from home to this season - 2 more than Man Utd.


Straight to the point. Charlton weren't robbed, weren't cheated and didn't miss out on anything, despite what the sycophants at ITV and papers such as the Observer might have you believe. Trust us on this - we know cheating, after all we'd had a masterclass in Milan a few days previously.....

Craig Bellamy was brought down in the Charlton penalty area by a combination of two players, a leg wrapped around his own and a hand on his groin that appeared to be ascertaining whether he'd been circumcised. TV replays were frozen at the point of contact which confirmed both of the above. 

And what people seem to have forgotten is that the round white thing that this is meant to be all about was almost out of shot - Euell may claim he played the ball, but it wasn't the one that the other 21 players were using....

While we're on the subject of this penalty award, it's interesting that nobody in the media mentioned the prolonged moaning from Euell in the direction of referee Dunn and more pertinently Bellamy while Shearer settled himself - had that been Bellamy he'd no doubt be facing another disrepute charge, but Euell was permitted to snarl and threaten our lad as he pleased.

Fast forward to the Viana booking, for a justifiable complaint to Dunn that we weren't given a free kick when Young plainly whacked Bellamy. Just ridiculous.

And before we move on to the laughable Charlton penalty claims let's talk about the second half one that didn't get given, when Bellamy was dragged off his feet.

As an impressionable young channel 4 viewer, I seem to recall that when the Arkansas Rednecks met the Detroit Spinners in that accursed gridiron game they tried to foist on us, when a little bloke running with the ball got caught, a big bruiser lifted him up to halt his forward momentum - I think they called it being sacked, but whatever it was that's what happened to Bellamy. Result? Not a flicker from Dunn.

On to the less-than-valiant Charlton players, and number of them appeared to have been watching telly during the week, noting the rolling and tumbling antics of Inter Milan - or maybe they found a rerun of "World of Sport" on some obscure cable network and sat through cliff diving from Acapulco (plus an ITV 7 from Ayr and tag team action from Burnley.)

Whatever they were watching, they should have spent some time in training working on their dismounts, as they were clearly under-prepared despite seeming to base most of their game plan on this play. Scott Parker squirmed his way into the Newcastle box but then tumbled in the manner of Devon Loch, to the derision of the adjacent toon fans.

Laughably inept, as was Dunn for not booking him for this amateurish cheating.

Flared nostrils a-plenty in the home ranks though, as a sense of injustice spread and they didn't have too long to wait until the next farcical attempt at gaining a spot kick. This time it was the Finn Johansson, who appropriately enough offered up a tumble infused with the spirit of a Winter Olympian. That's more Eddie the Eagle or Joanne Conway than a champion of the slopes though.  

As for us, this was almost a re-run of the Leeds victory, but with added essence of Woodgate. A sunny day, a good-natured toon crowd fresh from midweek European exploits and a home team who never really got out of the blocks.

We started slowly, gradually built up more of a head of steam and then scored just at the right time. The second half was then rendered meaningless after we kicked on and snatched a pivotal second within five minutes of the restart.

Thereafter we went through our subs, squandered some decent chances when running towards the toon fans and found whopping great gaps in the home ranks thanks to the pace, power and precision of our passing.

The difference between the two teams was plain to see, and while the home side continue to be industrious and workmanlike, there's an absence of flair and pace. We on the other had are in the fortunate position of now looking less like caving to the sort of pressure teams like Charlton put on us, and in this game having Bellamy back to some sort of form - he could probably do with scoring a goal having not managed one since January, but while he conjures up runs and assists like he did today it's a side issue.

Last word to SkySports on their Man of the Match Bellamy - "Temperamental, fiery, frequently mouthy but when he's on form like this you have to acknowledge another telling fact - he's simply one hell of a footballer."

Couldn't have put it better me'sel.


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