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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Reading 2 Charlton 0

This was surely the game that has the R word written all over it. Not that the management change had given us any hope for the future, just that even a game against mid-table Premiership debutants is nowadays beyond us. Even having a new man in charge, which sometimes serves to raise the spirits, seems to have had no positive effect whatsoever. Steve Sidwell must be smiling to himself right now that he didn't make the switch in the summer.

A promoted team laying comfortably in mid-table with the worst defensive record ( apart from us that is) and we can't even get a consolation goal. This was the point, of course, where we started to lose all comparison with last season games ( who do you compare Reading with ?) and perhaps it's the moment when we lost touch with a lot of things. Belief, being one.

Is the realisation creeping in? Or perhaps it's the rain in Spain drowning my spirits.

But after glancing at the table yesterday and maybe it was the old-fashioned format but I found that it reminded me of the Lawrence years when we were always struggling at the bottom. A definite change in the mind-set has come about I suppose, for its becoming frighteningly obvious that unless something changes on the pitch pretty soon we are rapidly becoming this years "Sunderland".

Talking of things on the pitch, we were in for another surprise with an attacking 4-4-2, with 2 wingers, Rommedahl and Thomas and the 2 Bents up front and with no sign anywhere of Jimmy-Floyd, although a thigh strain is given as the reason. Two youngsters were on the bench, Nathan Ashton and Lloyd Sam along with Hughes and Ambrose.

And if there were rumours of bust-ups before Mondays sacking, they continued here with El Karkouri and Andy Reid arguing who should take a 9th minute free-kick. Reids' size won the day and from the free-kick Marcus Bent's header is tipped over by the keeper.

Our first first display was termed "disjointed" by Reed and apart from a spirited opening and a couple of chances at the death, it seems that the only symmetrical thing about our play was conceding 18 minutes in and 18 minutes from the end. Both Marcus Bent and Jerry Thomas were withdrawn after "ineffective" performances and even the frustrated Rommedahl gets himself booked.

As for the goals, a 6ft Korean giant named Koran Seol Ki-Hyeon scored the first goal from a free header and we never looked back. Andy Reid's international teammate Kevin Doyle made it 2-0 18 minutes from time and once again its international teammates kick us in the teeth. Seems its always ex-players or international teammates that do for us.

Our own Inspector Sands calls us crap and the worst display since the 1-6 to Leeds three years ago. The bbc are far too kind and for them we are simply lethargic. The independent calls us timid and small and reckons we could have been 4 or 5 goals down by half-time.
The guardian cum observer simply says we were outplayed and quotes the understating Coppell as saying "that we were a little ahead in every department".
And just to spell it out for you in case you missed it the telegraph explains that the "only logical conclusion to draw from this match is that they are going down."

And if possible the dailysmail is even more depressing, telling us that Darren B looks like a man waiting for the January window to open and sees a lack of spirit and capitulation from the whole team while reminding us that "Charlton failed to compete in midfield, with the toothless pairing of lightweight Matt Holland and portly Andy Reid repeatedly surrendering the ball". I think I'll end here.

So 2 goals against, 3 bookings but thanks to the eventual defeats of Watford and Sheff. Utd we are still only one point adrift. But one last another annoying thing for you: Lawrenson got it spot on. An easy home win 2-0.

Charlton: Carson; Young, Hreidarsson, El Karkouri, Fortune; Rommedahl, Holland, Reid, Thomas (Ambrose 57); M Bent (Sam 79), D Bent.
Subs (not used): Andersen, Ashton, Hughes.
Booked: Fortune 44 (foul on Seol), Rommedahl 58 (foul on Sidwell), Hreidarsson 84 (foul on Murty)

Reading: Hahnemann; Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Ingimarsson; Little (Gunnarsson 88), Harper, Sidwell, Hunt, Doyle (Lita 75), Seol (Oster 88).
Subs (not used): Federici, Bikey.
Goals: Seol 18, Doyle 72
Referee: G Poll
Attendance: 24,093

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