A Cup replay that seemed meaningless at the time and meaningless it has turned out to be. The illusion of actually winning a game has proved to be just that - an illusion. And so our winless League run continues, eighteen League games now without a win, and even that was thanks to an own-goal by Volz of Ipswich.
And as we gift four goals to Sheffield Wednesday, a team that had previously only managed 15 in 13 home games and before we arrived were the fizzies lowest scorers bar Southampton and Doncaster, we can now only expect the worst. We've 7 points adrift of the team above us, Southampton, another club seemingly determined to sink another league or two, while the safety of 21st position is now 8 points distance and we are handicaped by an inferior goal difference that is growing to alarming proportions and is, of course, higher than all the rest.
Its always dangerous for a manager to predict events and Parky has proved that sticking your head out to deflect a current problem can leave you with nowhere to hide when your prediction that one win would clearly lead to several proves a bit of a clanger. His subsequent anger towards the players means that they'll all spent Sunday sitting at home instead of doing extra training when it's a bit of in-your-face that is surely needed if only to find out who's got the guts to carry on. Lets hope that Parks, Kinsella and Chapple have instead sent Sunday afternoon sitting around a table figuring out where we go from here.
Searching for precedents, yes, we've been here before and its not over till its over but back in those days Lennie was in charge and we had players that knew how to fight. Was it 1987 when we had only one win in the first 3 months of the year but then managed 4 wins and 14 points in the last 5 weeks to earn a place in the Play-Offs. We were dead and buried then and coming from behind to win the Play-Off final was testimony to the fighting spirit that Lennie had installed. And we had a striker worthy of the name - Jim Melrose.
But sadly to say we would appear to be entering a new era for Charlton Athletic football club. Past games have proved beyond doubt that these players don't belong in this League. A first win at the Valley for Barnsley in 21 games and 78 years of trying and only a second for Coventry in 15 attempts. A first Bristol City win at the Valley for 30 years. The list goes on. Some hurt more than others such as a first League derby win for Palarse in 8 games. And we've given teams the chance to break more records - the first point for Plymouth after going behind, the first win for Wednesday after going behind. We've lost 5 times after going in front; the worst in the fizzies along with fellow strugglers Watford.
So as we obviously don't belong in this League we'll have to find another one more suited to the players that we have. Tier Three, for want of a better name, is nothing new to us. By my reckoning we've already spent 14 years there, the last being a one season stop in 80-81.
But if you're looking for some reassurances, rest assured that others have trodden this path before us. More recently Leicester, relegated last May, are determined to get back at the first attempt and are leading the race and are 7 points clear of third placed Millwall. Perhaps we shouldn't be comparing ourselves with teams of the size of Leeds, Wednesday or Forest but they have all experienced the same demise and sadly all took some time finding a cure.
Leeds are now in their second season in Tier 3 and struggling in ninth, Sheffield Wednesday were there for two years before getting back in 2005 via the Play-Offs and Forest had 3 years there before finally getting back after securing second place and an automatic spot in May 2008.
As for the present, we can take comfort, perhaps, in our next fizzy opponents Palarse's 1-4 home defeat to Ipswich and can only hope that Parky uses next Saturdays meaningless Cup game, unless you're thinking of the money, to find eleven players that are ready to provide at least a fighting spirit for the final 18 games.