A patchy performance saw Charlton remain unbeaten with a 1-1 draw against Southampton yesterday and stay top of the table. In many ways it was the old cliché of a game of two halves. In the first half Southampton seemed to have worked out to stop us by not allowing Sam and others the space to operate down the wings. They also adopted a very physical style of play with little restraint from the officials who were generally hopeless throughout the game. Although they committed some unnecessary fouls, the Addicks were also suckered into conceding easy free kicks by the Saints.
Phil Parkinson must actually know how to deliver a half time team talk because we were a lot better in the second half. We got our equaliser and in my view, and that of others, the second disallowed goal was perfectly legitimate. But it was not to be and Southampton gained another of their trademark draws which kept them in negative territory. In the match as a whole, I did not think that our midfield, which has been the key to our success, was at its best.
We had a journey down which worked like clockwork, but my heart sank when I saw that it was low tide at Deptford Creek. At the Rose of Denmark we joined Joe the Saint and my son-in-law Andy Candelent, now featuring as a utility player for Harwell Dads.
Elliot had to make a great save early in the game, although the Saints player seemed to be offside. Saints then tried a snap shot and Elliot had to make another save. The opening ten minutes was played at a furious pace. Charlton won a couple of corners, but they were unproductive. Shelvey had a half chance but blasted over.
Charlton won a free kick by the 'D', but the ball came off the wall twice. Good work saw Shelvey win Charlton a corner. Saints won a corner and Elliot missed his punch out, but the ball was cleared. Bailey shot over. Bailey burst through, but his shot went well over.
There was a spell of Keystone cops defending by Charlton who showed signs of the old panic. Saints put in a shot from distance which Elliot got a hand to the ball at the expense of a corner.
With Llera in some difficulty, Saints put together a nice move which left Elliot stranded and the ball in the back of net, courtesy of Lallana. It could not be said to be against the run of play in the first half.
Half time: Addicks 0, Saints 1
Burton powered forward, but should have laid the ball off (not that he had much support) and the move broke down. Saints won a couple of corners in succession. Elliot threw out one of his trademark long balls to Shelvey, the youngster powered down the wing and put in the cross and Burton delivered to make it 1-1.
Bailey gave the ball away in midfield. Charm merchant Trotman committed a foul and served up some afters, but was not even booked. Youga won Charlton a corner, but Bailey blasted over. Racon received a yellow card for an unnecessary foul. Richardson also committed an unnecessary foul and received a yellow.
A Charlton goal from a free kick was ruled offside. Youga received a yellow card for handball. Sagarowski received a yellow card for a foul. Youga burst down the wing and his shot came off the post.
It was all handbags at six paces and Wayne Thomas, who had earlier been caught out for a foul throw, received a yellow card. Sam went down and Elliot also received a knock and required quite prolonged treatment as Randolph limbered up. Elliot was able to continue but Sam limped off and Wagstaffe came on.
Saints made a final substitution in the four minutes of time added on, but by then it was evident that the game was heading for a draw.
Ivy the Terrible was unsure who to award the Silver Bone to as she thought that, while a number of players put in good performances, no one was really outstanding. After consulting Hooch the Pooch who had been listening to the game on his laptop in Long Itchington, the award went to Frazer Richardson. This was a composed and consummately professional performance by the right back who fed other players well. Elliot cannot be blamed for the Saints goal and he did make some good saves, although he was not that much tested by Southampton whose shots tended to go high and wide. Llera had a bit of a mare. Some of his defensive efforts went straight up in the air and if he had been better positioned and flapping less, Saints may not have scored. Dailly showed once again that he is a real professional. Youga made some threatening forays down the wing, one ending in a shot that hit the post, and with a couple of exceptions he defended well. Semedo got a chant from the Covered End and, although he had some purple patches, he was not at his best. Bailey may have been affected by his injury, or by the lack of training during the week, as I felt that he was well below par. Feeding him from corners was tried at least three times but it didn't work. Sam was effectively shut down by the Saints in the first half but came into the game more in the second half until he went off injured when he got a rousing cheer from the Covered End. Racon was the most effective midfield player. Shelvey admitted in the programme that his performances have not been as good as last season and he snatched at too many half chances, but did provide the assist for the goal. Burton had a great work rate and scored the goal, but sometimes looked a bit isolated up front. It might have worth bringing McLeod on for the last ten minutes. Although I have had my doubts about him, I think he does have the qualities of a super sub. Wagstaff was up for it when he came on, but didn't have that much of a chance to contribute.
Hiss of the Match Referee Mr Wright was a model of inconsistency, dealing with some serious fouls with a talking to and then awarding yellow cards for innocuous ones.
Specsavers Voucher goes to the East Stand linesman who was not going to give any decision to Charlton.
Crowd rating The Addickted were in good heart, but some of the chanting at Pardew was overdone. He is a former Charlton player and things didn't work out for him as manager, but he didn't do as much damage as Dowie. I didn't hear any chants for manager of the month Phil Parkinson.