Saturday's loss was made all the harder to take by the results elsewhere. On Friday I was postulating about the assistance we might gain from Derby County. They did manage a draw with Sunderland which at least kept the Mackem's a little closer, but it was victories from Reading and Birmingham that really drove the knife in. Reading's injury time winner (a game that featured Liam Rosenior in the starting line up) away at Middlesbrough gave them their first points of the year and ended an eight game losing streak. It was also their first away win of the season a feat we'll have to match pretty soon if we're going to pull our selves out of the fire. More shocking was Birmingham City's 4-1 win over a Spurs side that might have been suffering an extended hangover from their Carling Cup win celebrations. Likewise Middlesbrough had played 120 minutes against Sheffield United in the F.A. Cup on Wednesday night. It seems we're just not getting those sort of breaks this season, though arguably it might just be we're not taking the ones we do get.
All this means we're six points adrift of Reading in 18th place and you could hardly blame those clubs above us from writing us off along with Derby. We really do need to put in a good run of results very soon. The countdown to survival is pretty clear. With ten games to play we need around 21 points to stay up. An average of 2.1 points a game is not impossible but when you consider we've averaged 0.68 a game so far the brutal truth starts to hit home. Realistically we're relying on other teams slipping up. Thankfully Bolton lost on Sunday to leave them only above Reading by goal difference, and Newcastle seem to be doing all they can to make life difficult for themselves.