05 April 2014

Charlton 0 Reading 1

The man next to me came back for the second half with a cup of coffee. He was still drinking it at the end of the game. He must really like bitter dregs. Oh, I'm so depressed I can't even do the obvious joke.

Reading's goal keeper could have done the same. Damn it, he could have have a three-course meal in the second half, so little did he have to do. There was an occasional attack, but he'd always have had time to excuse himself, wipe any grease from his fingers, and deal with it, before returning to the table. No cold soup or soggy dessert for him!

He wasn't much busier in the first half, although Charlton were better. Another truly excellent performance from Diego Poyet; to be unwontedly pretentious for a moment, watching him play is one of those times when football becomes an aesthetic experience. It's so sad he'll inevitably be leaving in the summer, come what may. I hope he goes to a club that plays nice football. There are rumours that West Ham want him. If Fat Sam gets his hands on him, I may cry.

But it was a familiar story. Despite being the better team, Charlton didn't create any real chances. You could blame Simon Church, who looked dispirited from the start, or you could blame the decision to play him as a lone striker, a role that doesn't suit him at all.

Reading came out stronger in the second half. In the battle of managers-who-look-like-management-consultants Nigel Adkins won. He'd no doubt done his research and knew what to do. In any case, the recipe for beating Charlton at the Valley is simple: let them have all the possession they want; wait for a mistake; score a goal; relax; don't forget to tip the waiter. I've a terrible feeling that even Gary Johnson will be able to work that one out. And he'd never be mistaken for a management consultant. Which is perhaps the nicest thing I've ever said about anyone.

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