I joined the 600 other hardy souls yesterday for yet another depressing Charlton performance in the drizzle at Norwich. The area around the ground has changed dramatically since my last visit. The narrow terraced housing alongside the canal/river that lead to the ground has gone, to be replaced by pokey new-build housing and another bland shopping "experience." There's a Weatherspoons too (Queen of the Iceni) which has become very popular with the home fans but over the bridge The Kings and The Ferry Boat have been closed down. Note for next time - stay in town.
The game itself offered some promise in the first half. Both sides looked equally matched and chances at either end were limited. Rob Elliot looked sound in goal and the same team that started against Derby looked like they might the where-with-all to nick a second half winner. Hudson came closest to opening the scorng with a dipping shot that Marshall did very well to get a hand to and push out for a corner. Waghorn was looking to break at every opportunity and I really fancied our chances having got in at the break on level terms.
However, we sunk deeper and deeper second-half as Norwich took increasing control of the match and our forward play seem to break down after Sam or Bouazza touched the ball. The inevitable came on the hour after Lita reacted quickest to a through ball. He took a touch back, turned and hit a low drive which beat Elliot into the corner. Parkinson responded by taking Waghorn off for Burton but the problem wasn't upfront, it was in a midfield that was struggling to contain Norwich and created next to nothing. The match petered out for an easy Norwich win. The text I got from a local work colleague summed it up - "poor."
So where do we go from here? A win against QPR on Boxing Day looks unlikely and Sheffield United looks hopeless. Unfortunately for Phil Parkinson that makes his position untenable in my book but the Board look desperate to avoid spending any money on a new man. You have to say, as well, that this squad of players increasingly look out-of-their-depth in this division irrespective of who's managing us. Perhaps that will be line we're given for sticking with Parkinson to the end of the season and maybe spending what little they will sanction on a new face or two.
Relegation is looking inevitable and maybe this year, for a change, we will be able to concentrate on winning the F A Cup. Despite being easily beaten yesterday, I could see us beating them at the Valley with a little bit of good fortune.