Charlton Athletic 2 Cardiff City 2
Championship, April 21sth 2009, The Valley, south London.
Phew! This was a nail-biting game alright! Even though Charlton were already relegated from the Championship and had nothing much to play for, Cardiff failed to match their high-flyong league position and had to battle through a very tense 90 minutes, and only managed to a point at the death.
Through the turnstiles with the whole place painted in a sea of red.
Stand against the Spring sky. It was a lovely day!
There was a lot of empty seats around the ground as fans decide to give their already-relegated team a miss.
In an attempt to stir up passions, a video of Charlton legend Keith Peacock predicting great times for the club was played over the video screens before the game and at half time.
Cardiff City rising over the Valley. There was a big City turn out for the game.
I like Charlton's ground.
Rebuilt in the 90s, it hasn't got any of the sterility of many modern grounds, and the huge cantilevered stands look great.
Cardiff started brightly in the first twenty minutes, silencing an already unhappy set of home fans.
It's no fun sitting out the last games of the season when you're already for the drop, especially when you're facing a cruel teasing from the visiting fans, blasting out songs like, "We're off to Wembley - you're off to Shrewsbury" and, "We'll never play you again."
City fans in fine voice.
Charlton slowly fought their way back into the game and put together some good moves that belied their league position. Mind you, Cardiff were pretty awful too.
City under pressure.
Charlton went 1-0 ahead in the 35th minute, thanks to a Jonjo Shelvey close range shot. The goal woke up the home fans who cheekily taunted us, "We're gonna win 6-0."
We had a great view. Despite the masses of empty seats, the official attendance was somehow registered as being well over 19,000 which raised a few eyebrows.
Cardiff piled on the pressure in the second half
Despite Cardiff's overwhelming superiority in possession, we seemed unable to get the ball in the net. This was proving to be a very frustrating game.
Charlton conceded a host of free kicks around their penalty area, but no City player seemed capable of converting the chance.
Moments later, a Charlton break away saw Bailey make it 2-0, with a shot slammed in to the bottom left corner.
The home crowd went wild while City fans wondered what the fuck was going on. Two down with ten minutes to go was not what we were expecting.
Thankfully, City's response was swift, with a wonder run by Burke grabbing a goal back just two minutes later.
From then on, it was City all the way, with a rejuvenated attack piling on the pressure.
Unbelievably, Gyepes smashed the ball home to level the score in the last minute. The City crowd went mad!
The last few moments saw City go all out for the winner.
Full time and a relieved Cardiff crowd applaud the players.
A final song before we left.
The empty stadium.
Main entrance to Charlton's stadium.
Charlton: Charlton: Elliot; Butterfield, Youga, Hudson, Ward; Sam (Spring 69), Racon, Zheng, Shelvey (Holland 83), Bailey; Burton (Kandol 60).
Goals: Shelvey 35, Bailey 80
Booked: Butterfield 51, Zheng 60, Bailey 74.
Cardiff:Heaton; Comminges, Kennedy, Gyepes, R Johnson (Purse 90); McCormack, Rae, Ledley, Parry (E Johnson 83); Bothroyd, Chopra (Burke 57).
Booked: Bothroyd 32 (handball), Ledley 45 (dissent).
Goals: Burke 82, Gyepes 90
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