Not my words but those of Channel 5 ‘Football League tonight’ commentator Paul Walker to describe Alan Judge. That, after Charlton Athletic had been walloped 3-0 by a resurgent Brentford team for whom the Irishman, as last weekend, was chief destroyer. With two assists and a goal that sent Charlton to another defeat (and saw their head coach Luzon his job at full time), it’s no wonder that clubs such as Swansea City and Bournemouth are rumoured to be interested in a player who is very much our man of the moment.
Those present at The Valley witnessed, the first fifteen minutes aside, as dominant a performance from Brentford as one could hope for away from home. Being quite honest, Charlton had more than enough chances to have taken an insurmountable lead during an opening spell that saw them cut us open like a hot knife through a Swiss cheese.
Simon Makienok, coming over like a cross between Max Zorin and Andy Carroll, won’t enjoy watching the play back of that one. Thankfully, rather than a goal hungry Bond villain, we were looking at somebody with the finishing skills and positional awareness of Nick Proschwitz. And having failed to take their opportunities, Charlton paid the ultimate price.
The first for the Bees came via the head of John Swift. That man Judge sending over an inch perfect cross from the right which the on loan Chelsea midfielder made no mistake with. It was all made to look far too easy thanks to the precision of the delivery and the technique used to connect. But better was still to come.
Alan McCormack, but for a couple of inches, would have had a contender for goal of the season. Running onto a pass from Marco Djuricin, he hit it first time from 25 yards, only to see it rebound off the underside of the stanchion. It had the away crowd on their feet, cheering a certain goal as Stephen Henderson was left flapping at air. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but if the first half saw Brentford end on top and with a slender lead, things continued to accelerate in the second.
Judge turned from provide to poacher, curling a beauty past Henderson from the corner of the box for 2-0 to send Bees fans bonkers. It was a finish to rival the best of any he has scored and will only highlight further the talent this man has. Judge has always been quality but the step up in his game this season, when all around have struggled at times, only gives more evidence as to why the likes of Bournemouth and Swansea are being linked with him.
I love Lee Carsley’s approach. Rather than sit on 2-0, Brentford carried on pushing. Lasse Vibe made it three, becoming another beneficiary of Judge’s perfect delivery. DHL could learn a lot from this man, such was the quality. Picking up the cross-field ball, Vibe beat Henderson at his near post from just inside the box to wrap things up with minutes left on the clock.
“Not even Brentford could cock it up from here” said one terrace wag and, sure enough, we didn’t. At one point it looked as though Harlee might even have made it four, coming close with his head from a dead ball.
Judge will, rightly, get the headlines but what pleased me so much was the all round team performance. Nico Yennaris looked assured at right back whilst Jake Bidwell continued to probe down the left. Ryan Woods’ vision and passing looks like he will be another with the potential to play at a higher level whilst Alan McCormack bossed the midfield.
Even David Button had one of his ‘heart in mouth’ sweeper moments that saw him break out of goal to round not one but two Charlton players before playing it out. Rush of blood to the head or just further evidence of the confidence sweeping through this team?
Nine points, 7 (seven) goals scored, just one against and two clean sheets from our last three games show that whatever had been bothering the camp (don’t start…) now seems a distant memory. Lee Carsley has the players enjoying their football and, as importantly, so are the fans.
The goals were stunning, as was the vast majority of the performance. Even the Beesplayer team hit all the right notes – but then any commentary which includes a denouncement of Mexican waves and supporter bands will only ever meet with approval.
Great comms, as ever, from Mark Burridge
I feel for Charlton, genuinely. Nobody likes to see a team in this predicament and I’d thoroughly recommend a read of the Charltonaesthetic blog, to give a beautifully worded account of things from their perspective. If this page is the cheap knock off, then ‘aesthetic’ is very much the Bayeux tapestry of football wordsmithery (is that even a word?)
“A disgraced Luzon crabs in and out of his hiding cave like an insidious Megadrive villain….. As the crowd stand and boo the decision, a collective consciousness drops and we realise we’re all embroiled in the Roland Prison Experiment. Left in charge, how far out of control will Luzon’s radical decisions spiral? What lengths will fans go to protecting fellow inmates Charlton from further harm? It’s a dastardly scheme for sure.”
That’s a talent in writing I can only admire, so please do go and enjoy the full article.
The players were in jubilant mood on social media after the game, most of who were bigging up Alan. Yes, he deserves every plaudit but so do all the others.
Harlee, Tarks, Lasse and the rest of you. Thanks for a great day out and reminding us just how good this team can be
Now, if we could just do the same on Friday night…..