'It's Blackpool all over again,' commented VOTV editor Rick Everitt as I left the Ricoh Arena after this afternoon's 2-1 defeat by Coventry City, the same score they secured against us at The Valley. What he meant that was that we had once again conceded a late goal. But the fact of the matter was that our performance throughout was not good enough. Coventry worked hard, but were just that: workmanlike.
Charlton remain fourth but are only one point ahead of Saturday's opponents Barnsley who beat Peterborough who are now two points behind the Addicks.
Dujon Sterling had to make a brilliant goal-saving tackle in the 23rd minute when Nicky Ajose was played through.
We used a get out of gaol card in the first half when the Sky Blues could have been awarded a penalty, after a Patrock Bauer foul for which he was booked, indeed we thought it was just inside, but the referee bottled it, perhaps because he had ignored a Coventry foul just beforehand.
Steer was able to tip the ball over from the free kick. Charlton went close six minutes before the break but Lee Burge saved well from Lyle Taylor's shot. Coventry went ahead just before the break, when Hiwula headed past Steer.
Darren Pratley equalised for us on 58 minutes, taking advantage of a flick on from Bauer in a crowded box. We then had ten minutes or so when we looked threatening. Burge gathered Karlan Grant's low cross after the lively Mark Marshall found a way into the box.
However, after this spell of pressure we seemed to settle for the draw. The fact that both centre backs were carrying yellow cards may explain their failure to get a challenge in for the winning Coventry goal on 88 minutes when Bayliss fired past Steer.
Wiser heads around raised the question of whether Lee Bowyer had selected the right system and tactics, but what was revealed once more was the thinness of the squad. Aribo was not available due to a knee injury which looks like it will be longer than two weeks. The lack of a left back was once again apparent, but we were vulnerable on both flanks and generally lacked width.
Karlan Grant was seen undergoing an fitness test before kick off. He had another one at half time and then came on to replace Ajose. The game benefitted from his positional sense, but he was clearly not fully fit. The subsequent substitute who made a difference was Mark Marshall with his energy and ability to get forward. It was his free kick which set up the Charlton goal.
Lyle Taylor could have picked up a red for a challenge towards the end of the game, but after the referee consulted the linesman he got a yellow, his eighth of the season.
In the five minutes of time added on a clash of heads led to a long delay with George Lapslie led off the field with a bandaged head. His second concussion will surely mean he is not available for a couple of games. The Coventry player had to be stretchered off and hopefully he is ok.
Report from Louis Mendez here: Boxing Day defeat
Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer admits that the busy Christmas schedule is taking its toll on his injury ravaged squad: Taking its toll