By coincidence, a year ago today Charlton played Birmingham at the Valley. Kermorgant gave us the lead before Brum agonisingly equalised in the dying moments of stoppage time. As I commented at the time, it was an almighty kick in the teeth and was a draw that felt like a defeat. 12 months on and Birmingham inflict a defeat upon us that should have at least been a draw. Charlton had two thirds of the possession, almost twice as many shots on or off target and yet somehow we lost. Another defeat. When your luck is down you invariably loose. Simple logic, really.
I say 'somehow we lost' but of course the reason we done so was two moments in which we defended very badly. Simple logic, really. Our defense undone twice by a shockingly average Birmingham who offered nothing but left with 3 points. Fair play to them. We need to learn how to win ugly.
What a shame that the impressive Diego Poyet will remember his home league debut with a demoralising defeat. Of the new faces, Reza looked sharp and clever and Astrit showed some vision and silky touches, although he looks woefully short of pace. Hope then, even if it may be clutching at straws. The new faces will need to integrate quickly if they are to help us survive. Perhaps the result would have been different with Wiggins and Solly. In the case of the latter, I'm praying this persistent knee injury does not turn him into the new Kelly Youga!
I'll leave my thoughts about Thuram-Ulien to one side for now, whilst hoping Hamer is back very, very soon.
Powell is under real pressure now. I can't love the man more but even I can't defend some of his tactic. Why was Sordell allowed to stay on the pitch for so long (moreover, I wouldn't even include him in our squad)? Why leave it so late to make changes? Why also compromise the encouraging progression of Cousins by forcing him out of position on the right?
But you would be wrong if you blamed Powell entirely for yet another defeat. The problems run much deeper. Powell has been asked to manage new players he will have almost certainly had no say in bringing in and that can never be a good thing, whilst he has lost key players he could rely on. Include in this the uncertainty caused by the lack of contracts to key players and the manager and you can begin to understand where it is going so wrong. No question, Powell has been dealt a real bum deal from Mr. Duchatelet.
Charlton's fortunes are slipping fast. It's incredibly hard to scratch around for positives at the moment. When Mr. Duchatelet took control of our club he had a wonderful opportunity to give us a much needed shot in the arm. In my opinion, for now at least, we appear in a far weaker position on the pitch than when he arrived and our chances of staying up look very slim. There may be a long term strategy that will bear fruit, but I can't believe it involves accepting a return to League One.
Worryingly only Blackpool's form is worse than ours now, and even they sit 10 points clear of us.
Oh, and one last thing whilst I'm having a moan. Who's stupid idea was it to play the highlights of last weeks heartbreaking Wigan defeat on the big screen 10 mins before kick-off? Hardly inspirational stuff, was it? Even if, like me, you avoided watching, the unusually loud PA commentary ensured a distracting conversation with the blokes around you was impossible. If this is part of Duchatelet's 'new and improved matchday experience' then I can offer him some feedback he should listen to; it was shit.
I don't want to be reminded of failure, I want to be reminded of what it takes to be 'Charlton'. Give me Johnny Robinson wheeling away in delight after scoring against Man U any day.