Rhoys Wiggins outlined the hoped for scenario for today's game against Reading in the programme: 'If we can keep it tight for 60 or 70 minutes then you can give it a real push in the last 20 and, hopefully, win the game like we did at Forest and Leeds. That's what we're aiming for at the moment.'
Unfortunately, it was Reading who kept it tight and then scored a second half goal to emerge 1-0 victors. As Steve from Petts Wood remarked, 'How often have we seen a goal scored against us on a fast counter attack like that.' Charlton have lost seven games by a margin of 1-0 this season and won six by the same margin. With Barnsley drawing we remain two points ahead of them, although Yeovil and Millwall won. Tuesday's game against Barnsley is a real six pointer, although we seem to be winning on Tuesdays at the moment.
The first half was even between the two sides with neither posing a real threat. Certainly Charlton didn't with Simon Church up front. We were playing some neat, passing football but never looked like scoring. Reading stepped up a gear after the break and looked increasingly like scoring. José Riga tried to change things around by a series of substitutions, but they did not have the desired effect. He set us up for a draw and the strategy didn't work. Possession was 53-47 in favour of Charlton and our pass completion rate has been improving.
Yet again Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Diego Poyet for his intelligent passes and the way in which he anchored the midfield. Ben Hamer made a good save from Danny Guthrie's free kick on 62 minutes and then had to be alert to deny McCleary after he evaded a challenge from Morrison. He had no chance for the goal. Morrison dealt with Pogrebynak well and picked up a rather harsh yellow card. Dervite brought the ball out from the back well and was generally solid. Wilson was solid defensively and looked at times as if he might create something. Wiggins controlled Drenthe well and picked up a rather harsh yellow card. Harriott put in a couple of good balls when there was no one there to connect with them, but other efforts were woeful. Ajdarevic started well and got past Reading a number of time, although to no eventual effect. As the game wore on, his recent bout of 'flu affected him and he had to be withdrawn, looking very disconsolate. Jackson tried his best and it's a shame he wasn't available after his substitution for what could have been a promising free kick. Cousins was energetic as always. He had a half chance on 21 minutes when he got past Gorkas, but his shot went straight to the keeper. Church couldn't be faulted for his work rate, but he was isolated up front and had problems with the two man mountain centre backs. On the train before the match I heard two Reading fans trying to work out when he had scored for them. Reza has difficulty doing the simple things like making a decent pass. Petrucci looked lightweight and some fans blamed him for an error leading to the goal. Obika came on too late to make a difference.
There were plenty of candidates for the Hiss of the Match, including Reading charm merchant Gunter and Danny Williams for his haircut. However, Rescue Cat Reg has awarded it to referee Andrew Madley who seemed less concerned about the fouls and diving antics of Reading than giving out yellow cards to the home side.