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10 February 2013

Charlton 1 Birmingham 1

As is Charlton's way this season, you found yourself wanting Charlton to score, but fearing the consequences if they did. Birmingham were possibly the worst team who've turned up at the Valley this season, and for 86 minutes Charlton - in particular Ricardo Fuller - were creating chance after chance, but never converting. Two main causes, I think: the pitch, after 10 months of continuous rain and a bit of snow, is in the worst state I've ever seen it; and Jack Butland in the Birmingham goal. Apparently he's only 19. Who knows how good he'll turn out to be when he grows up?

But finally the goal came. It was the right kind of goal for the conditions: a cross from Chris Solly headed in by Yann Kermorgant after 87 minutes. I was stupid enough to believe that was enough to win it, but the usual happened. As four minutes of injury time started, Chris Powell made two substitutions, presumably just to waste some time. And a late Birmingham equaliser followed. I don't know if the substitutions were a mistake, but a lot of people thought so. I do know that if he hadn't made those substitutions, there was still every chance of Charlton conceding and if that had happened, he'd have been pilloried for not making them. I believe it's known as a no-win situation.

No-one in yesterday's team wanted to lose that lead. Every one of them will feel gutted about it and will know that it's part of a pattern. Glibly, one could say that they panic now going into the last ten minutes of a game with any kind of lead. But what does that mean? I wish I knew, but even more I wish I was a sports psychologist. You could earn a fortune analysing that kind of team behaviour, and no-one will be able to say you're wrong. In the end, you'll appear to have earned your money, because the team will change its ways and stop throwing away leads. It'll do that anyway, with or without your help, of course, but you'll be on your way to a really well-paid job in Manchester by then.

So, not much of a match report today, but really good careers advice. When you're minted, remember me. Ten per cent of net earnings should be sufficient.

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