Charlton Athletic 1- Exeter 3.
Sometimes I bloomin hate Charlton Athletic.
Earlier this week, I had warning that some inspectors were coming into school to observe and make judgements.
I planned myself to within an inch of perfection and needless to say, things went well.
Why is it that Charlton Athletic don't ever seem to pull it off when under the spotlight?
Leaving our appalling record in front of the television cameras to one side, Charlton always seem to make a complete horlicks of it when a 'special' effort has been made to get the supporters out in numbers.
Just off the top of my head, I can recall various events I have been a part of, (and travelled home disappointed), including 'Operation Riverside', 'Operation Ewood', something up at Nottingham Forest involving yellow, an 'Operation Craven' at Fulham, and even a special request by Alan P****w to get us up to Blackpool.
The team failed each and every time, (quite spectacularly at Blackburn and Blackpool).
In fairness, the team did win when we all went up to Port Vale in 1997/98 season but since then it's been a series off let downs.
Today, the club made a fantastic gesture by making every seat not held by a Season Ticket holder available for just five pounds.
A bumper crowd, approaching 25,000 have now been reminded exactly why nearly half of them don't come very often.
I really shouldn't have been surprised.
This was just an 'Operation Valley' without the stupid foam fingers and commemorative naff tee shirts.
Baring in mind the added numbers, the crowd today was really subdued.
Admittedly, the fare on the pitch was unlikely to get people bouncing but there was nothing approaching a 12th man today.
It was good to see the Valley more or less full, - something I really didn't think I'd see again until we are fortunate enough to be witnessing second tier football regularly.
The first half was fairly featureless.
Charlton could and probably should have scored twice but Ecclestone missed his chances when they were presented to him.
Over a half time natter, we decided that not enough had been shown to entice those missing fans back.
If only we'd known it was about to get far, far worse.
Firstly, Liam Sercombe was left with the freedom of South London to score.
Then Doherty made an absolute shambles of a backwards header to provide John O'Flynn with the easiest goal of his career and later Elliott gave away a penalty to make the score 3-0.
Bradley Wright, Wright, Wright, (Phillips) scored a spectacular goal which proved to be a consolation for those Addicks who hadn't already sneaked out to catch an early train.
It could have all been so different.
Charlton had chance after chance that came to nothing, hit the crossbar twice, witnessed the opposition goalkeeper handle the ball outside his area twice, (yet somehow the confused East stand lino couldn't see the misdemeanors of the fella in day glow yellow), had a penalty shout denied that was at least as strong as many we have seen given this season and finally from our angle, the penalty challenge by Elliot was made a good yard outside the area.
Typical bloomin Charlton eh?
A Casual Rating
A missed opportunity by Chris Powell's side.
Very few of those who turned up for a fiver will have been enticed back to 'hardcore' status. They'll probably have made the decision they can live without all the expense and hassle until the team are back in the Championship, whenever that may be.
The Lacoste polo is going to the new owners who have made a good impression on me so far.
They've brought back the big screen and made a fantastic effort to get bums on seats.
Gary Doherty will be wearing the Primark novelty slogan tee shirt of shame this week.
Did he attempt to pass it back using his (not insubstantial) nose?
Whatever he used, it certainly was a load of old pony and the turning point of the game.
Still, nobody ever said following Charlton Athletic was easy.
If we wanted the easy option we'd all have joined the glory boys supporting the Sky endorsed big 4 while commenting on 'our' team after watching every game from the sofa.
Those of us who aren't the Johnny come lately's who were in for a fiver will all be back for more next time.
Here's hoping for a better result.