Who could have seen this coming? The day when fans had arranged a protest in front of the West Stand, the Addicks made a statement of their own by putting on a show not seen since the Hull City game in August. The protest, although peaceful, saw at least 700 hundred plus expressing their feelings on how the club is being run. The club, in a moment of madness, had arranged for a family fun day for obvious reasons, but very sensibly decided to cancel, and besides the weather was appalling. However, the action in the front of the Valley`s main stand did not mar the team`s performance that many in the Valley thought they would never see again. The past weeks and months have been the most trying in the history of Charlton. All the controversy on and off the pitch has infuriated many fans to stage this protest against our present owners. This must have been sweet blessings to see their team put on a show of superiority against a very good Sheffield Wednesday side who themselves were riding high in the division.
Why has this happened? We could analyse this turn of events for many days, even weeks and probably still not be totally in awe why after being negative, hopeless and gutless the team suddenly played like a side that to the neutral would suggest they were in trouble. It has not been easy being an Addicks fan.
Recently it could be said there were times when the situation was depressing. Sitting in the North Stand and not really comprehending in what I was seeing, I had premonitions of yesterday`s players gracing our pitch, and for one moment of flash back could see the likes of Hunt, Hales and Flannigan strutting their stuff giving us a performance to savour.
Talking of prolific goal scorers that in the past have served us well. There is some talk that former favourite of the Addicks Yann Kermorgant is being eyed up by Charlton on loan from Bournemouth. It would be a player most welcomed back to the fold by many Addicks supporters who were incensed when he went to the Seasiders at the time when the Addicks were in dire straits and needed a proven goal scorer. While with the Addicks Yann had 89 experiences and scored 29 goals. We have not had anyone who can match this tally since.
All the protest and emotions aside. We have a near perfect performance to write about. The game everyone thought would be a cricket score was anything but. The Addicks started brightly enough. The injuries to Cousin`s and Watt meant that a reshuffle to the team was necessary. Sarr partnered Bauer in the back four, which meant Aluo Diarra was moved to central midfield at the foot of the diamond shape used by Fraye which worked well against Wednesday. This shape also had Jackson on the left, Ba on the right and Gudmondsson behind the front pairing of Reza and Makienok.
The formation and players used in those areas had me doubting the strategy employed by Fraye, but then our last outings nothing worked so why not. We came out of the blocks with intent and never looked back. Gudmondsson received some stick in previous game was back at the form he showed earlier in the campaign. His hunger was clear to see and he gave the Owls defence no time to settle. Ba has come under scrutiny as well had a faultless game and best he played for the Addicks. Time and time again he picked up passes from Diarra and strode forward at pace into gaps in the owls defence which allowed Gudmondsson, Fox and Solly to get forward and make clean passes for Reza and Makienok.
We lost Solly, who was replaced by the young Tariq Holmes-Dennis. Fresh legs and a hunger to impress. The young Tariq`s first touch enabled him to get into space causing the Owls to back pedalling. The Addicks were growing in confidence with every clean delivery. Gudmondsson was the provider. He whipped a ball into the six yard area which was met inch perfect by the captain Jackson to convert a powerful header home from close range. This is the second time Jackson opened scoring. Last time against Fulham. From the first goal the Addicks never looked like losing this one. Brilliant play throughout the team was met by another goal, this time from the Great Dane Makienok. The move was simple and clinically finished by Makienok. Gudmundsson`s run was not checked which allowed him to pick out the Great Dane who was able to sweep the ball home at close range.
The Valley was in shock. Two goals up and not so much as a response from the Owls! Someone pinch me please! The Wednesday side must have felt like we had for so many games. In fact, 12 to be precise. The thought of us getting another was something very distant indeed. If everyone in the Valley thought two goals had us all in awe, then we did something really unusual-we added a third. It was Reza who converted the number three. His contribution was priceless. He never stopped running and deserved to be on the score sheet for all his efforts.
However, the Owls did manage a consolation goal courtesy of Sarr slipping at a crucial time. But nothing could dampen the atmosphere in the Valley that over 16,000 fans had the pleasure to be part off. Apart from the mistakes that Katrien Meire had made that had the supporters so incensed, I do hope she would not see this one win as an employment vote of confidence for Fraye. It would be a serious mistake to use this game as a platform to install this person on a permanent basis. The fans have made a point. The sensible thing for her to do is to listen and act accordingly. Hiding behind a glass panel will not get the respect of anyone who loves this club. Talk to the fans and who knows, she might be pleasantly surprised.