Middlesbrough 3 Charlton Athletic 1
Another day, another defeat. Our 14th game without a win. Middlesbrough proved as anticipated too good, but less anticipated was that for a period anyway, we weren’t quite a bad as many thought.
In fact in the latter stages of the 1st half around when JBG stole an excellent equaliser we sounded as if we played with good purpose and intent, driven forward by skipper Johnnie Jackson, on for the unfortunately injured Milos Veljkovic.
At the break, like many I was pleasantly surprised. By the time I’d put my half time cup of tea in the washing up bowl, normal service had been resumed.
Poor defending especially at set pieces, the lack of squad depth, not helped by injuries to Wiggins and Harriott in Friday’s training (how does that happen?) and an anemic attack, all yet to get the benefit of any new manager bounce.
Some would say today was a little bit of a free-hit, which I can understand, but I am still of the belief that every game in this division can go either way but only if teams possess good tactical organization, heart and a goalscorer. Sadly we don’t possess either.
The lack of goalscorer and the tactical organization is something we have gotten used to, and has not been addressed since Luzon took over from Peeters. The lack of heart is something new though.
The players seem fractured and demoralized, and 3 months without a win can do that to you, but so can an unhappy and alienated camp lacking in leadership.
Kyle Andrews, one of the 240 loyal souls up at The Riverside, said that only a very persistent effort from Johnnie Jackson convinced some of the players at the final whistle to walk over to the visiting fans to acknowledge their support. Luzon, Ben Haim and Onyewu among those who saw it fit to head straight down the tunnel.
And that is what we are dealing with. The heart not only being ripped out of the club, but it’s lying on the ground hardly beating.
Elsewhere in The Championship: Chris Powell’s Huddersfield won at Millwall despite playing almost the entire 2nd half with 10 men, Forest got some good old fashioned new manager bounce winning at Brighton and Rotherham had a fine home win over Ipswich. Wigan lost at home to Bournemouth, Kermorgant on the scoresheet and Blackpool were thrashed 4-0 at Norwich.