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City 0 Charlton 0

I didn't expect a draw from this encounter, but if it was going to end with honours even it was certainly odds on that the scoreline would be 0-0.

It wasn't a particularly nervy relegation encounter - with both sides afraid of the loss, but it struck that there was a lack of conviction when it mattered which highlights a little why both sides are where they are in the table.

We started very brightly, forcing a succession of corners in the opening minutes before Charlton had settled, but as has been constant all season we don't look remotely threatening from set pieces - and it even led to Barton being jettisoned in favour of Michael Ball yesterday.

First half we were much the stronger side, with the loose 4-3-3 formation working well - we looked quite fluid when going forward, and the key players were interchangeable. Particularly impressive I thought was Stephen Ireland who worked closely with Emile Mpenza and created one or two half chances. Charlton were ineffectual during this period and too often for them, the threat of Darren Bent wasn't utilised well enough.

The second half, I thought we were not as sharp or committed as in the first half, and too often (particularly the midfield trio) chose the wrong option or seemed to panic and lose possession when a little patience would have been better served. Both Ball and Onouha were not in the game as much from an attacking perspective.

We did have a couple of scares ourselves as Charlton played with a little more adventure - hoping to catch us on the counter, although Dunne and Distin were again excellent. And they should have scored when Zheng was played through by Bent for a one on one with Isaksson. Although the pass was slightly behind him, a needless first touch allowed Onouha to get back and make the interception.

Depending on results elsewhere today, a point probably suited both sides then and despite stretching our scoreless home record even further, we now move to Fulham on Monday where a win will see us hit the 40 point mark - and maybe see us looking towards the top half of the table over the finak handful of games.

Reaction:
"We had the lion's share of possession for the first 75
minutes but you have to learn lessons in this game, Reading came here last month
and, in a very similar kind of game, scored two late goals and went away with
the points.
"We have learned a little bit from that, so, while we couldn't
win the game, we made sure we didn't lose it.
"While our first priority is to
stay in this league, with the matches we have left we are looking to finish as
high as we possibly can.
"We know it is not going to be easy, but there are a
lot of teams in a compact group and you are better off finishing top of the
compact group than at the bottom."
-Stuart Pearce.
"I feel a few teams around us will be starting to feel a bit
nervous now.
"I know there are matches to be played tomorrow (Saturday) and
the fans of those clubs will be apprehensive about their teams and that can
spread to the pitch.
"Everyone associated with Charlton Athletic will see the
work we have put in which has given us this opportunity.
"Regardless of
results tomorrow, our destiny is in our own hands because we still have
Sheffield United to play at home.
"I don't think we could have asked for any
more than that two months ago."
-Alan Pardew.
Reports:

With two Chinese players on the pitch yesterday, espnstar.com had a reporter cover their every move and provided a minute by minute breakdown of all the action.
Soccer365
The Times
Addicks Diary