Charlton 0 Plymouth Argyle 1 (Jephcott 60)
Some things don't change. It's standard operational procedure for Charlton to leave the FA Cup by the nearest exit and at the first available opportunity. As a League One Club these days, they duly lived down to expectations and were dispatched one round before the eventual winners join the competition.
"Am I disappointed I'm out of the Cup?", mused Lee Bowyer. "Not really, not in a disrespectful way because I love the Cup but the league is more important to me." Of course you do and of course it is, Lee, goes without saying. So perhaps best not say it.
Mercifully locked out of The Valley, Charlton's fans were at least toasty-warm in their living rooms as the "drama" unfolded though at a tenner a time, Valley Pass saw them coming. And while this latest surrender was as docile as any in recent memory, most of them will forever link this spectacularly trivial football result with the very weekend America surfaced from a four-year coma and flushed that tangerine-tinged twerp down the White House toilet, defiantly screaming "let them drink bleach!" as he gurgled past the U-bend.
At a deserted Valley, meanwhile, a deceptively strong-looking Charlton side was going through the motions of battling unchanged Plymouth for a place in the second round hat and a chance to draw one of the big boys (among which they themselves were numbered not so long ago) in the third round proper. "Battling" is possibly a fanciful description of their contribution to a largely tedious yawn which frankly tried the patience of its on-the-spot witnesses, denied as they were the comforts of home and hearth.
At the ground, consolation was found in the knowledge that the tie would be resolved on the day by penalties if the scores were level after 90 minutes. On the hour mark, Argyle made that eventuality unnecessary by surprising their complacent hosts with a decent enough goal. While hardly the work of genius, rhapsodised by the visitors' club press which bandied words such as "fabulous" and "fantastic" in describing it, it wasn't half bad. A quickfire combination from Danny Mayor and Byron Moore set up Luke Jephcott to "delightfully dink" from close range over league debutant Ashley Maynard-Brewer. It was enough to reward the visitors' "super display", which to the more churlish of us was more a case of Argyle's dross being marginally less dreary than the Addicks' dross.
One of two full debutants (Marcus Maddison being the other) Maynard-Brewer emerged with credit from an otherwise mundane occasion. His alert save at Ryan Hardie's feet after Ryan Inniss slipped up staved off the Westcountrymen before Jephcott struck. The young Australian's work was neat and unfussy. The eagerly awaited Maddison, on the other hand, left as many questions as answers. One impressive second half burst produced a sharp cutback which eluded an onrushing posse of colleagues but there was little else of note. The first full weekend of November 2020 won't be remembered, though, for this minor league encounter in the first round of a great competition robbed of relevance and, despite pious cant to the contrary, the respect it deserves.
It will go down instead as the time the world scraped Donald Trump off the sole of its shoe and threw him - shoe and all - into history's garbage can. Meanwhile finding room for most of his ghastly family. So you pay your money and you take your choice. What's worth recalling about this pivotal weekend? The sobering realisation that even the 2021 FA Cup semi- finals will not feature Charlton for the 73rd successive season? Or the more cheerful certainty that at last Trump - the pimple on the world's posterior - has finally been lanced?
Charlton: Maynard-Brewer, Matthews, Barker, Inniss, Purrington, Forster-Caskey (Maatsen 84), Williams, Morgan, Levitt, Maddison (Vennings 64), Aneke (Washington 64).Not used: Amos, Pratley, Wiredu, Henry.
Referee: Neil Hair.