68% of the possession and no goals and a defeat.
That stat alone gives an indication as to how happy Norwich were to sit back and defend their lead on Saturday. To be fair, they came without their two big stars and they did a job on us and went home with all three points and a clean sheet. That's why they are where they are.
We have managed many results like that of Norwich in the last fifteen seasons and for that reason we need to accept it and move on.
Having won three of our last five games and having lost to the two sides that came down with us, and finished above us last season (both that have been able to spend a lot more money than we have) we can be pleased with our current form.
The disappointment is that we needed to beat Norwich with four games to go to climb up to be level on points with the team in second - especially as both they and Millwall lost while Swindon drew. I know Leeds have had a terrible run, and both Millwall and Swindon seem to be feeling the pressure with a defeat and a draw in recent weeks, but the time for us to pick up the points we needed was December, January and February. That was when our season hit the buffers, and to expect us to win at Southampton and at home to Norwich , as well as Colchester and Leeds tells us all we need to know about when our automatic promotion slipped away.
I'm not saying we can't still finish second, and we can, but realistically we should have entered the run of games against that quartet with five or six points cushion on the team in third if we really wanted a good chance of automatic promotion.
We now need Millwall and Swindon to drop three and one points respectively and we need to beat Leeds by six goals and match their other results to take second. We also need to beat Exeter and Oldham away, no mean feat either.
We can beat Leeds and that will make it interesting in the last game (assuming we match the three sides results when we go to Exeter). That is not strictly true as Millwall and Swindon play each other on the last day of the season, so they can't both fail to win, but if either of them draw one of their next two games it will still be possible at Oldham - all be it unlikely by that point.
It does remind me, slightly, of 1998, but our run into the end of that season was fantastic.
Swindon have Wycombe(A), Brentford(H) and Millwall(A) - They need to drop one point
Millwal have Orient(H), Tranmere(A) and Swindon(H) - They need to drop three points
Leeds have MK Dons(H), Charlton(A) and Bristol Rovers(H) - They need to drop one point and lose at The Valley
We have Exeter(A), Leeds(H) and Oldham (A) - We, realistically, need to win them all
The more I look at these fixtures, the more I believe that we can still make it. Orient and Tranmere are fighting for their lives; Wycombe are desperate for points; MK Dons and Bristol Rovers have shown the form this season to snatch a draw at Elland Road.
The real question is "Can we win our three remaining games?"
We will know soon enough.
Up the Addicks!