A stunning strike from a player that hasn't scored all season somehow said it all on Tuesday and settled the game at Turf Moor. We were supposed to bounce straight back after a disappointing loss at home to Preston but it didn't happen. It was obviously going to be a night when the result was more important than the performance but it appears that we got it all wrong and ended up with just an improved performance, which at least appears to have satisfied Pardew. Indeed he failed to spot much difference between Tuesday and our win over Sheffield Uoo.
Perhaps we should be worried by that but in this League there's just no time to reflect on anything as tomorrow we travel to Ipswich.
And after two defeats in a row, one would think that the worst possible place to go now would be that little town in East Anglia. Because, with only one defeat in 18 games at Portman Rd this season - 1-2 against Watford on Feb 9th - they clearly have the best home record in the fizzies.
But, optimistic as ever, hope is not lost as they are currently suffering their worst run in the League this season without a win in 4 games and endured their biggest defeat of all on Tuesday by 1-4 at happy cup semi-finalists, Barnsley. Manager Jim Magilton was not a happy bunny and is reported to have read the riot act after the game.
With their 54 goals, 4th most in the fizzies and one more than the Addicks, they are clearly not shy in front of goal and have currently three players on 11 goals, the Spaniard from Galicia, Pablo Counago, the tall, 6' 3" strapping giant from Galway Alan Lee and the Irishman from Birkenhead, Jon Walters. However, injuries have hit Magilton and he'll unfortunately, depending on your point of view, be without Walters with a knee injury and probably winger Danny Haynes as well.
But clearly there's one player who will enjoy tomorrow, Matt Holland. Making his first return to Portman Rd since he joined Charlton in the summer of 2003. He made a total of 259 appearances for Ipswich in the six years 1997-2003, with an amazing run of 223 consecutive games and showed an unusual sense of loyalty when he even rejected a move to Premiership Aston Villa to try to get Ipswich back into the Premier after relegation in 2002.
We also have another Ipswich ex in our 9 goal Darren Ambrose. Starting his career at Portland Rd, he had two years there 2001/03 playing 30 games before Bobby Robson signed him for Newcastle.
So, in compliance with the law of the ex - even though it failed to galvanize Andy Gray on Tuesday - starting with Holland and Ambrose is a must, and there's only the decision as to which 9 to add to the team and then decide on the correct formation.
4-5-1 Pards. Don't know how many times we have to say it, but clearly its time once again for a 5 man midfield. Semedo, Holland and Ambrose please, and pick your one for the lone job up front. Leroy it is then.
The defence picks itself, or rather we know who playing, Weaver, Halford, Sodje, McCarthy, Thatcher so that just leaves the wide man to choose. And with Sinclair apparently not 'fitting-in', Lee Cook suffering low conditioning, and Lloyd Sam indisposed, that just leaves Jerry Thomas on the left.
So Weaver; Halford, Sodje, McCarthy, Thatcher; Ambrose, ZiZi, Semedo, Holland, Thomas; Lita.
Prediction. With only 4 wins in the last 19 games and only 6 teams getting less points than we have in the last 8, its a bit hard to see beyond another defeat at Fortress Portland Rd. But, this is football and strange things have been knew to happen, even with the Addicks.
If its going to happen, a winning run that is, it has to begin now and with Holland keen to impress at his old home and the law of the ex in operation its an Darren Ambrose goal for a 1-0 victory....
At least that's what the missus thinks. Me? I think I'll settle for a point.