Saturday, 4 April 2009

Southampton 2 v Charlton Athletic 3

Finally, after seven long and painful months, Charlton Athletic have recorded an away win in the Championship. It's Phil Parkinson's third league win in 22 attempts. That it came against the side with the poorest home record in the division, and who face Administration this week, won't matter a jot and neither will the three points in the scheme of things.

It was a roller-coaster of a game in front of a full house at St Mary's as Saints fans rallied to the cause and took full advantage of the £15 admission prices. Charlton lined up in expected fashion with Sam in on the right for Ambrose (Elliot, Youga, Hudson, Ward, Butterfield, Bailey, Zheng Zhi, Racon, Sam, Shelvey and Kandol) and they started very brightly. In a blistering opening 15 minutes we took the lead through a Shelvey finish having latched onto a long ball from Elliot which Kandol may have touched on. The Addicks were buzzing in midfield and Mark Hudson and Tresor Kandol both went close with headers before Eddie McGoldrick equalised for Saints after seventeen minutes.

The home crowd were loud on CAFCTV and you feared the worst after Tresor Kandol's lazy penalty was saved by Kelvin Davis. The referee was playing to the crowd as well and we were fortunate to get in at the break on even terms as Rob Elliot was forced into two good saves.

We started the second half brightly and were pressing for the second before Therry Racon curled home an instinctive shot from 20 yards. Kandol was booked for kicking the ball away and Holland was introduced for Zheng Zhi before Nicky Bailey scored a third which put Charlton out-of-reach of a poor Southampton side. There was time for Shelvey to be carded for time-wasting and Ambrose to be introduced for Sam before Bradley Wright-Phillips scored with six minutes remaining to give Charlton fans palpitations. We survived two late penalty appeals and four minutes of extra time before the final whistle.

Perhaps this win will finally spark a few decent performances before the end of the season. Most of our players are playing for moves away from the Valley, so a match-winning performance is long overdue. It also means we can't be relegated by Birmingham City at the Valley next week which is a big plus for me.

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