No surprise at the result here, nor frankly, of the performance but the game certainly didn't go the way I expected and the side we put out appeared to fight tooth and nail to protect the lead we took as early as the third minute.
What with all this week's comings and goings, most of the interest was going to focus on what side Chris Powell put out. No surprise that with Ben Alnwick moved to Orient, Thuram started in goal. With Wilson still on a ban, Loic Nego debuted at right back and joined a more familiar defence of Morrison, Wood and Wiggins. The midfield was Jackson, Cousins, Poyet and Ajdarevic, with Sordell starting upfront with Reza Ghoochannejhad getting his first start. The only surprise, and slight disappointment, was that Piotr Parzyszek didn't feature in the eighteen.
I followed the game via Charlton Live, so I can't claim to have an accurate view of the match, although it was probably no worse than the poor sods still subscribing to the lame CAFC Player who were again frustrated by the hopeless Emma. What was clear, was that we took an early lead and Gucci featured fairly strongly early on and managed to fire against the underside of the bar which might have changed the outcome with a whisker more fortune.
Instead, it was an increasingly nervous afternoon and a desperately long second-half as Wigan threw everything at us. They had a goal disallowed for a dubious offside and hit the post and the crossbar. Thuram may have had a helping hand into the keepers jersey but it sounded like he earned his salt today as the busiest Charlton player. As the game wore on, I knew we wouldn't hold out. Millwall were being trounced at home (Saviour Holloway?) and no-one around was winning. Sure enough, with three minutes to go and just after Dervite had come on to shut up shop, we conceded an equaliser. I was also watching the rugby, so decided to shut my i-Pad, not wanting to see the "FFS" and other customary expressions as Wigan got the winner. I watched it come up on the videprinter instead.
For all the disappointment, we obviously fought much harder than I anticipated and did about as well as could have reasonably been expected. Wigan are on a strong run since Rosler took over and we shouldn't forget they are F A Cup holders and were Premier League last year. With all the new faces and the uncertainty of this week, I think there are some positives. We might even have done a fraction better if we hadn't lost Rhoys Wiggins early in the first-half and had to throw Harry Lennon on against Calum McManaman for most of the match.
We look relegation fodder tonight but we only need to finish above three other sides and that should be possible if we can settle the side. There are some obvious things that could be done to aid that but I am not going over all that again because it doesn't look like it's part of the plan.
I will miss several games during the 6 Nations and, for once, I'm not really bothered. If we end up going down, I think I will move to a match-by-match ticketing arrangement for the first time in 36 years. I do feel like my loyalty has been abused in the last few years. Mister Duchatelet's strategy may well bear fruit in the long run but I'm no longer prepared to cough-up in advance and commit to a season of League One matches, especially when suffering what I see as an entirely avoidable relegation. We're all hoping that doesn't happen, of course, but the writing is on the wall.