Charlton Athletic 1 - Tranmere Rovers 1.
First the positives.
I left the Valley this evening feeling quite passionate about what I had just witnessed.
I'd got my Charlton mojo back.
The first half today was as dire as anything I have witnessed at the Valley, or indeed, anywhere else while watching Charlton.
Our team were clueless and mistakes were rife across all areas of the pitch.
Tranmere took the lead after a terrible Francis error let Enoch Showunmi in on goal to score easily.
I've tried to blank out that first half but if I check back on my texts and tweets I can recall Elliott nearly throwing the ball into his own net and late on, Paul Benson heading over the bar.
Despite what the television highlights might show, what was really going on was the most appalling 'tactics' I've seen in ages by an opposing team.
Tranmere came expecting a draw, or possibly a win if they fluked a goal to defend.
They began time wasting with less than TEN minutes of the first half having been played, falling to the floor theatrically and killing the game whenever possible.
Their way of playing can be labelled quite easily.
If they are your team, you'd say they are perhaps wily, professional or adept at gamesmanship.
For everybody else it's known as cheating.
How long does it take to perform a goal kick, throw in or free kick?
If you play for Tranmere, you could easily take up nearly a minute for each of these.
The players had obviously been instructed to get the multi ball system cancelled by the referee. They walked away from balls thrown to them, then picked up a second ball ensuring there were 2 balls on the pitch. This happened so often our inept referee was eventually forced to act in their favour.
At half time, I was very close to heading home.
As ever, some misguided feelings of loyalty / stupidity kicked in and I remained in a rather glum East stand.
The second period was much better from a Charlton perspective.
Most of the game was played in the Tranmere half but there was a general feeling we were playing not only against the Tranmere divers but also Ray Charles and David Blunkett wearing the officials uniforms.
Blunkett (in front of the East stand), had managed to perfect a 'Hoxton fin' style ridiculous haircut but found it impossible to notice regular pushes in the back or on one memorable occassion, an elbow in the rear of Alan Mac's head, despite it occurring only a few feet in front of him.
Charlton reached parity through a rocket style free kick from big Mig Llera.
It seemed to change direction on the way into the back of the net but it was always going in, regardless of the attentions of the Tranmere defenders.
I guessed only one team were going to push on and win it at that stage. Charlton had the momentum and the sparse crowd woke up.
We'd not factored in the time wasting and crud officials though.
It sounds like the moaning of a disgruntled supporter who only sees what he wants to see but on another day, Charlton would have had two penalties, possibly three.
Challenges, (or attempted shirt removal in one case and a handball in another) that most certainly would have been given as a foul elsewhere on the pitch were waved away by our hapless man in black.
In truth, it really shouldn't have mattered though as there was one moment, with only a couple of minutes left to play, where the game should have been put to bed.
An in swinging cross from the right, managed to elude three on rushing Charlton players who all seemed to be just the thickness of their boot leather from the glancing touch over the line.
I witnessed a Tranmere defender crossing himself and glancing to the heavens such was their good fortune.
So, a point is gained but it really should have been 3 based on our second half performance, or zero based on our first.
The announced attendance of 14,015 is nowhere near the number of people who actually put their bum on a seat. Those who did come along hopefully don't feel as downbeat as they did after Tuesday.
Have they seen enough to bring them back next week?
Time will tell.
A Casual Rating.
Tranmere should be ashamed of themselves.
They have zoomed to the top of my most hated teams list.
I've never really had a 'list' before so the piece of paper only has one name on it but you get my point.
Tranmere Rovers. What a bunch of cheats.
Miguel Llera is claiming the Lacoste polo after today's game. He was fairly solid at the back, (he did lose possession in a rather dangerous position once but everything is relative - he only did it once!).
He's been spending match days elsewhere lately so it was great to see him come back and cap his performance with a goal.
I've seen Mig more times lately in Sainsbury's on the peninsula than I have on the Valley pitch.
Welcome back Mig.
What. A. Load. Of. Rubbish.
A charitable 1/10 for his 'performance'.