There's two ways of looking at Mondays defeat and the subseqent drop to fourth place. One is to feel sorry for ourselves and imagine that we need a bit of a reality check. We're Division Three, playing badly and desperately need promotion in May if we want to avoid selling everybody decent during the summer. We've slipped to fourth with 15 games left and the writing on the wall is beginning to become clear. And to remember that I said a few months ago that we haven't always managed to get out of this place at the first attempt.
The other option is probably the more difficult. And with the signing of another left-sided player on loan, Parky has made it clear that we are going to fight. Having a quiet conversation with Chris Solly perhaps on the need for patience and reminding him that, at 19, he is still third choice left-back. And we can only hope that Parky has spent the rest of the week practising marking at corners and set-pieces with every one of the team and has knocked a few heads together after identifying who's been at fault in the past few games.
So is the team resigned to its fate or are they going to fight like Parky? We're getting very close to playing must-win games and we'll soon find out the Addicks mettle and its up to Parky now to choose a team that'll do just that. Next up is a little team from Yeovil begging for a defeat and with only 3 wins in their last 15. Newcomers to League football after winning the Conference in 2003, Yeovil were then promoted to League One two years later after being Champions of League Two in 2005 but then even made the League One Play-offs in 2007.
Maybe you'll recognise the bloke above because its 34 year old ex-Welling Terry Skiverton who's been Yeovil player-manager since february last year and he took them to a respectable 17th last season.
Down to 14th after Wednesday's defeat to Colchester, the Glovers currently have the 20th best (or worst) away record in Tier Three with only 2 wins on the road; at Bristol in October (!) and last time out a healthy 4-1 tonking of lowly Wycombe. And only one win (Wycombe) and one draw (Hartlepool) to show from their last 5 away games.
The last time we played them they had 5 wins from their first 16 games, and now its only 3 wins (two against Wycombe and the other in the local derby at home to Exeter) in the last 15.
Maybe its because of Skiverton's London contacts but Yeovil seems to be Spurs' preferred loaning ground with three youngsters at Huish Park at the turn of the year before Obika surprisely upped and moved to the spanners. The other two are number 13, 18 year old Ryan Mason on 6 goals ( but not on the teamsheet on Wednesday) and they also have another 18 year old in defender Steven Caulker. They also have McCarthy, Jones, Davies and MacDonald on loan which meant a total of 5 loanees in the team against Colchester.
Top scorer is Jonathan Obika on 7 goals but the Spurs man has ended his loan spell at Yeovil and is now at the spanners so we'll probably see more of him in March.
The youngest player to score a hat-trick for his previous club Ipswich is number 14, 23 year old Dean Bowditch and he has 6 goals from 14 games since joining Yeovil at the start of the season.
Whats Their Secret?
Yeovil are better when playing teams on their own level and have only had 3 wins against top half opposition ( beating Brentford 2-0 (h) in September, Carlisle 3-1 (h) in October and Bristol 2-1 (a) in October) but have drawn at both MK and Millwall but they are one of only two teams to lose to the Gills in the last 14 games. The Addicks, meanwhile, have the fifth best record against teams in the bottom half with only one defeat (Orient).
And despite Leeds' defeat on Wednesday the Lilywhites joined the Addicks as joint leaders of the half-time league but as for the opposition there's sadly only two teams, Exeter and Wycombe ( oddly the only teams that Yeovil have beaten in their last 15 games ) have been losing more times than Yeovil at half-time. And don't dismiss the significance of a half-time lead - only 3 teams have managed to win twice after overcoming a deficit at the interval (Norwich, the spanners and MK) and Yeovil are one of 12 that have still not won after going in behind.
The fourth, and last, of the teams never to have played at the Valley in a League fixture are this weeks visitors. The other three - Wycombe, Hartlepool and Mk Dons - were all beaten.
Against Yeovil we've only had a total of three games played, 2 cup and 1 League with one win each and 1 draw, with both teams scoring 4 times. Both cup games have been at the Valley with us winning the first 3-2 in 2005 in the FA Cup but then losing 0-1 last season in the League Cup when the likely duo of Bouazza and Varney ( now at Blackpool and Sheff Wednesday) were Pardews strike force - no wonder we didn't score then.
The one draw was back in November, 1-1 in atrocious conditions at Huish Park with Sammy Sodje being red-carded on 28 minutes for pulling down Ryan Mason when free on goal. Mooney was sacrified straight away for Llera but Sammy's younger brother came on at half-time for Racon and changed the game with a 25 yard screamer just after half-time.
What Are They Saying?
Parky after Swindons goal two weeks ago, reflecting on Amankwaah's opening goal as the right-back turned home a deflected cross from the right-hand side, "The lads are an honest bunch but whoever is marking Amankwaah has got to do better in that particular situation. We will look at it again. We conceded from the second phase at a set-play against Walsall. We've got to be stronger as set-plays are so important, but over the season we've generally been good."
And after centre-half Elliott had scored with a volley to put Bristol ahead in the 14th minute, Parky had to admit "How someone can be left in six yards of space in your 18-yard box from a corner is beyond belief."
Terry Skiverton after the Colchester game had this to say, "the energy, the tempo and the levels of commitment I've got no complaints with. I'm proud of the players and I appreciate the amount of effort they are putting in. A bit more quality in that final third and maybe we can start punishing teams like we seem to get punished ourselves. I think the supporters can go away happy, obviously they'll be disappointed, but they'll know that the players have tried their hearts out for their club."
As even the official site now admits the opposition have now scored first in the last 5 games with sloppy marking at set-pieces the reason for several goals. So will Parky respond by changing the formation, for a home game, or change the personnel?
The new loanee signing, Johnny Jackson, although not offically confirmed, seems sure to start if the reported rumours are correct and given the timing of the move it can only mean that immediate cover for Basey is in Parky's mind.
As for the rest of the team there were precious few positives coming out of the Bristol game except that we kept going till the end of the game even with only 10 men after Mooney was injured. So will Parky presevere with the two Sam's, Sodje and Lloyd, Racon and Burton or will he insist on changes.
This is the team that I can see:
Elliot; Richardson, Dailly, Llera, Jackson; Wagstaff, Bailey, Spring, Shelvey, Reid; Burton.
The key could be whether or not we can at long last stop a team scoring. The Addicks are without a clean sheet in 11 games now, since Southend, which was the very time that Deon last scored from open play, but we are against a team that have failed to score in three of their last 4 games.
The good thing is that we can expect to score as the Addicks have scored in 16 of their last 17 games and Yeovil have only have 3 clean sheets in their last 20, but then again have only failed to score themselves three times since we last played them.
They will come to defend so will it be a goalless draw perhaps? Or 1-0 to the Addicks. Personally I prefer the latter.