The history books will show that we lost this game 4-0 and were clearly the weaker side. This is not exactly what happened, but despite how well we played at times in the second half I never, really, believed we would do anything other than lose after e'd conceded in the 8th minute.
To be honest, I never thought we'd do anything other than lose as soon as the draw was done. You see the Premier League clubs have just so much more quality, and this will always be enough to overcome a third division side if both the manager and the players are committed to winning the game.
In our time in the Premier League we had some poor results against lower division sides, but that was when we were fighting for our survival (or thought we were) and didn't have the same comittment to the cups as those teams that believed they were safe had.
Fulham have, despite many Charlton fans saying otherwise, become an established Premier League club. They have 'survived' longer than we did, and they have gone a lot further in cup competitions than we did. Sure, they have had more money injected into their team than we had, but the result is that they are better than we were six years ago, and they are much, much better than we are now.
Fulham, from the top down, we're taking this game seriously, and that meant that the was very little chance of us getting anything from the fixture.
In fact the game payed out exactly as I expected. Fulham carved out a goal from a great defence splitting pass, and they they sat back and allowed us to pay while not being in much trouble. In the second half we raised our game and looked like we were going to score and they did the same and almost immediately they scored what was sure to be the winner.
I'm not critising our payers, I think we'd played well and at times looked like we were as good as Fulham, but the main difference between us and them was that they had that little bit of extra quality thought their side. They also passed the ball around without giving it away, something that we are getting better and better at, but we have a little way to go before we can compete with an established Premier League side.
Strangely enough my dad and I were talking about the possible outcomes on the way to the game - both this result and the rest of the season and I pretty much decided that I wanted us to lose. I know that might sound silly, but I was concerned of what would happen if we drew an even bigger away fixture in the 4th or 5th round and the player's focus cost us a few results in the meantime. Worse was the worry that if we had a big game at Old Trafford or Anfield and lost there the hangover might cost is so many points that we might be struggling to finish second, and the playoffs are something of a lottery as we know.
So my favourite outcome, despite hating Fulham, was for us to give a food account of ourselves and lose by one goal, maybe two, and believe that we could have won had we hae a lit of luck, a different refereeing decision etc.
In the end the 4-0 did, probably, flatter Fulham, but I can't help wondering what would have happened if they'd needed to beat us 5-0 to avoid relegation. We will never know, but it was a great day out with both my Dad and other Charlton fans, and to cap it all off when the Skipper threw his armband into the crown my Dad caught it.
Today my Dad flys off to Tenerife for six and a half weeks, so he is going to miss a few games. If I was offered five points clear of second, and seven points clear of third when he comes back I'd rip their arm off. That would mean that. Have eight fewer games for the pack to catch us, and we will have played three of those teams along the way.
For now I think the players and the fans did us credit, and we still have a lot to be thankful for this season, and I believe that we are going to have a lot to celebrate come May.
Up the Addicks!