Second Spot was earned but Not Tested
Our second position had been earned but not tested until last night against a Wigan Athletic side who tore into Karl Robinson`s high flying side and brushed them aside without coming out of second gear.
Who was to blame for this performance? It is easy to point a finger, but in this instance it would be unfair to single out the culprit, so my vote goes to both. The manager for not seeing beyond the problem he created and allowing it to continue well into the second half. The team must share equal blame for not playing at the pace they can and giving the opposition far too much respect.
We are better than the display the Addicks offered the supporters who have stuck by the team throughout these past three seasons. Expectation were high. The Addicks have surprised many critics by staging an early charge to the summit of the division one. But many must be thinking! Have the reds peaked too early. Is the league position held presently merely false, and now that we have tasted defeat, will the Addicks side show its true value and slide down the division.
Harsh as this might sound, but the reality for a display such as this against a better side has spelled disaster. I`m not going to make many excuses for what I and all who were there witnessed. But I will say this in my defence! Karl Robinson must have known that we were unprepared for this game against a stronger and more physical side who used bullying tactics and some very unprofessional conduct to influence the referee in every way possible.
That brings me to the lack of gamesmanship: A huge part of football in the modern game. Yet time and time again we see this being abused and in many cases used as an advantage. Teams who know they have the players that can perform at any level really have no need to stage unprofessional antics. This spoils the game and causes unnecessary stoppages which agitates the crowd who have come to see a football match and not players pretending they have been Pollack`s.
Tuesday night`s football had a basin full of these antics. Our players where constantly on the receiving end. Take Ricky Holmes as an example. He was booked for a foul where he received his fourth yellow one short of a ban. Yet an identical challenge went unpunished which all around me saw far more bookable. This sort of inconstancy by the referee gives teams a licence to exploit the games rules which the Latics did with real conviction.
A good side and they played us of the park between the play acting. We could easily have gone into the lead when a moment of real intent had the Addicks attacking the Latics penalty area where Magennis was unlucky not to have opened the scoring. The ball cannoned of the bar back into play were the simplest of tap in was needed, but Magennis put his effort wide. It was from then onwards we had the problem in competing and paid the price for not showing enough class.
We have been humiliated and embarrassed at home where many thought the Valley could be a fortress. It is early days and the season is long. A good lesson has been learned from this defeat. We have done well so far in spite of having players not yet fit. We go to Gillingham Saturday with a sold out away end. They are languishing at the foot of division one and probably not relishing playing the Addicks. Last season we struggled against the Kent side finishing 1-1. A possible banana skin, maybe. I`m banking on us stepping up the ante. For I`m sure Robinson would not want to be humiliated two games in a row especially by a bottom club. Come on you Reds get back on the winning trail.