YOU CAN never take anything for granted with Saints at the moment.

Just as you think they have got over their inconsistencies, they chuck in a performance like this one.

When you expect goals and attractive flowing football, you see the weekend's game against Charlton.

It's just all so frustrating.

There is a decent team there, but why it only comes only in fits and spurts is a mystery.

We know because we have seen this season some of the football Saints can play is terrific to watch.

They can create and take chances almost at will at times.

But their inconsistency is really going to cost them dear if they are not careful.

Against Charlton, you thought they might just be in line for a bit of luck.

They probably should have been at least one or maybe a couple behind after the opening half an hour.

Somehow they had managed to hang on and keep it goalless ... and then Charlton go and have a man sent off.

Everybody assumed that with the way football goes, it was just going to be Saints' day.

And with two thirds of the game to play with a man advantage at home, they would put another three points on the board.

Assuming anything with Saints this season is a big mistake, though, and so it proved.

They not only didn't win, but didn't even get a point.

And frankly they didn't deserve one either.

They say it can be harder to play against ten men sometimes, but it's only harder if you make it that way.

Saints seemed determined to do just that.

Their passing was sloppy and over elaborate at times.

They didn't get any width at all.

Charlton, as you would expect for a team down to ten, stayed compact as a unit. So if you're playing against that, you have to try and move them around.

If you don't, you need something special to happen.

In truth, it was fairly comfortable for Charlton.

Saints' lack of width played right into their hands and, on the odd occasion they did get the ball out wide, the delivery was generally nothing short of appaling.

It was such a disappointing afternoon because of what a great chance it was to keep the decent recent run going.

You just can't pass up these opportunities.

Incredibly, Saints allowed Sam Sodje three headers at goal from set-pieces in the opening stages, two of which he missed the target with and the other bounced up and rebounded away off the underside of the bar.

Chris Iwelumo came close and both Kelvin Davis and Nicky Weaver had to make a couple of saves before what should have been a pivotal moment in the match.

On 36 minutes Jose Semodo tripped Jhon Viafara and was shown a second yellow card.

It was probably fair but referee Keith Hill had made a rod for his own back by brandishing his card early on.

By this stage, Saints had already changed things tactically with Viafara moving to the centre of midfield and Christian Dailly going the other way to centre half.

As the game wore on, though, its effect was patchy as, with no holding player in the centre of midfield, Inigo Idiakez's ability to get forward and be a playmaker lessened and one creative channel was nullified.

Viafara did come close to giving Saints a half-time lead with an outstretched leg diverting the ball on to the roof of the net before Saints created their best chance.

Bradley Wright-Phillips laid the ball in to Stern John, whose effort from inside the area may have taken a slight deflection but still went wide from a good position.

The second half was not great viewing for Saints fans as their team struggled to come to grips with what they needed to do.

Even with ten men, Charlton looked the better team and the more likely to create.

All Saints could manage of any note was an Idiakez free-kick which was saved by Weaver.

However, as frustrating as it was, Saints would at least get another point on the board and take something out of the game.

But in the end they didn't even manage that. Deep into injury time, sub Luke Varney broke away down the right and was allowed to get in a terrific cross to the far post.

There was Iwelumo who slammed home a header to make Saints' misery complete.

It went to show, you really can't bank on anything at St Mary's at the moment.