Because of work, I cannot get to Charlton home games during the week. Yesterday, for me, was the first time I had seen the team play since Boxing Day, and a number of things struck me, not least that the crowd is beginning to turn against Parkinson, after a fourth poor display since the enforced winter break. It is some time since I have heard a chant of "You don't know what you're doing", but even before it came rolling off the Covered End, people around me were individually shouting it at the back of Parkinson's head, as he stoically ignored it some six rows in front of me.
The immediate cause of the ire was the double substitution of Reid and Sam, for McKenzie and Wagstaff. I don't understand this, and I know I am in the minority here, but Reid has been a bench warmer at Sheffield United this season, and almost certainly isn't match fit. Sam had battled with Bakayogo, the Tranmere left back, who was every bit as fast as himself, with limited success. Even when we were on fire at the start of the season, Sam usually got substituted with twenty minutes left on the clock, so as far as I am concerned, this was a like for like substitution, and in the time he was on, Wagstaff certainly had more joy against the understandably tiring Tranmere left back, who eventually got sent off for a lunging late tackle when Wagstaff had got away from him yet again. Unfortunately it was so late in the game, it had no meaningful bearing on the match.
As for the match itself, there was a curious desperation about the way we played, personified for me by Bailey, who had a very poor game, goal aside. His passing was overly ambitious, and easily intercepted on too many occasions by the Tranmere midfield. He wasn't the only one to forget the twin truths, that the game is best played when in simple form, and on the grass. Mooney also had a game to forget, but is it really helpful or necessary to boo him?
I am hoping that with the next three games being away from home, the team won't feel as pressurised as they seemed to yesterday, a situation not helped by the increasingly restless home crowd. As for automatic promotion, well yesterday was a blow, but not a fatal one, unless of course we all decide to self inflict it.