I had a feeling that yesterday was likely to feel a bit like after the Lord Mayor's show. A stellar performance in South Yorkshire a week ago that will rightly be hailed as one of the games of the season, if, or when we win promotion, followed by a dreadful showing on Tuesday night in the Paint Pot, albeit with a much changed team. I actually feel that what happened against Brentford was just as significant as what happened at Sheffield United. At least the forced inclusion of six first teamers for a meaningless cup competition will not prove our undoing in terms of injuries or suspensions, but nobody will have been happy with the nature of the performance.
And so to yesterday. The antics of Fon-Williams time wasting took me straight back to the corresponding fixture last season, when the whole Tranmere team had obviously been instructed to waste time right from the very first whistle. It wasn't as bad as that yesterday, but how the Tranmere keeper did not end up with a yellow card is beyond me. Give Rovers manager Parry his due, he had done his homework. He came with a game plan to go tight on the marking, and hustle the midfield out of any rhythm, and hit on the break. His team stuck to it, and they deserved the draw.
Robbed of the ability to play fluent passing football, Charlton were having a bad day at the office, particularly in the first half. No one player shone, but starting Kermogant showed just how powerful he is in the air throughout a match. I don't believe he lost a single aerial encounter, but unfortunately his team mates, and Wright-Philips in particular, couldn't read where the ball was going to end up. Some focus on that next week at Sparrows lane methinks.
Green was the other starter, in place of Wagstaff, who eventually replaced him anyway two thirds in. He did not have a good game, but in fairness it would be unreasonable to single any one player out as having a bad game, as none of them really rose to the occasion yesterday. Much like Arsene Wenger I did not see who the penalty winner was, but I am told it was Wright-Philips. The real winner was Jackson though. Tranmere pulled out every trick in the book to disrupt the captain from his job, and it must have been a full three minutes of pantomime deviancy before he cooly wrong footed the keeper and slid the ball home for the equaliser.
It was probably just about what Charlton deserved for the second half performance where they at last put Rovers under some concerted pressure, and could have gone on to win it. That would have been unfair on Tranmere, in the same way that losing to a heavily deflected shot from McGurk via Solly would have been an unjust way to lose our undefeated league record. Even when not playing well, we are picking up points, and that is the best Charlton can take out of yesterday.