28 February 2016
In the days before the game he'd given his account of how he came to leave Charlton. It's the familiar story of misjudgement by Roland and Katrien. This man, they declared, was not good enough. (I'm also still convinced the decision was part of a campaign to force Chris Powell to quit, cheaply, rather than have to be sacked). The folly of that decision firmly bit them on the bum today.
As did later decisions that have left Charlton with wet tissue paper where a defence ought to be. Six, possibly seven, defenders started the game. In the maths of football Stichelbach's Law says the number of possible defensive cockups increases in the following way. If x is the number of defenders, then y, the number of possible confusions, is xx: x to the power of x. Where x=2 , y=4. There's possible confusion but both defenders have a good chance of knowing what they're doing. Where x=3, y=27, more things can go wrong. And so on. But 6 to the power of 6 gives 46,656 ways of getting things wrong, and we saw most of them in the first 45 minutes of the game. Reading's 3-1 lead at half-time was no more than Yann's performance and Charlton's defending deserved.
Charlton looked devastated after the third goal, and I feared another drubbing. But Reading eased off in the second half, and their deficiencies became clearer. Like Charlton, they are weak in defensive midfield play, and gave the ball away too much. The game was almost rescued by the surprisingly effective combination of Makienok and Sanogo, but an injury time goal for Reading gave them the points. It seemed a harsh result after the second half effort, but if you concede four goals at home ...
Strangely, the gap between Charlton and safety didn't increase yesterday, but games are running out. Winnable home games seem particularly scarce, with a stream of highly-placed teams set to visit the Valley. Some bookies now have a price of 1/50 for relegation. Dark, horrible days.