Sometimes you have to grind out results and that's what Charlton did against Southend today, Deon Burton's strike being the difference between the two sides. It wasn't stylish and it wasn't impressive (the game not the strike), but we did just enough to secure the three points. If nothing else it showed that the argument that Semedo doesn't add anything doesn't hold water. This was not a good day for the midfield, especially Racon. Indeed, if it wasn't for the wild inaccuracy of Southend's shooting and a super save by Rob Elliot, it might have been a different story.
We have to avoid giving away unnecessary free kicks. Some of them were the result of diving skills learnt on Southend Pier, but some were our fault, Racon being particularly guilty.
We noted that Deptford Creek was at full tide. At the Rose of Denmark I met Steve from Beckenham who is a reader of this blog.
What stuck me when I arrived at the ground was how heavy the pitch looked. There was even a patch of mud in front of the East Stand. This may have had an impact on the game.
In early play we looked rather disjointed with the visitors better at keeping possession. Too much of the game was being played in our half. Mooney missed a good chance to score. The referee started the match by ignoring all fouls, then started blowing up for everything and began to dish out the yellow cards, Southend eventually ending up with three against our two. One of these cards was given to Malone apparently for taking a free kick too early which meant that he had a second chance to send the ball over.
This happened after we had gone ahead. Sam put in an excellent cross from the right and Burton arrived with a nice turn of pace to score.
If Southend were going to score it would have been from the many opportunities they had from set pieces, but their delivery was not of the best and we stayed solid. When I looked at the stats I was quite surprised to read that we had six shots on target to their three as I honestly can't remember them. Moreover, we had four corners to their three.
Sometimes we need to win ugly to pursue our promotion challenge. A successful side is one that takes the three points without playing very well. Unfortunately Norwich and Colchester (courtesy of Super Kevin Lisbie) both won, but we closed the gap on Leeds by two points.
Our old columnist Olafur Johansson sent a message from Grindavik to ask why the club from the north side of Preston is called Preston North End, but the south side club is called Southend. 'This is very puzzling for an Icelandic person.' Indeed.
Ivy the Terrible did not think there was an outstanding candidate for the Silver Bone but has given it to Rob Elliot for his clean sheet and one superb save with his feet. Sodje had an excellent game, I noticed only one error. As usual Dailly did his job very effectively and it is worrying that he is one yellow card off a suspension. It's unfortunate that Richardson had to be taken off at half time and I hope that the injury is not too serious. He did receive attention for a cut above the eye in the first half. Basey played his part, but he is not yet the finished article. He was worryingly outpaced by one of Southend's wingers down the length of the pitch at one point. Steve from Petts Wood is not impressed by Racon and I have to admit that this was a below par performance with the midfielder committing unnecessary fouls which eventually earned him a yellow card. Bailey was continually taunted by the Southend fans and Steve from Petts Wood thought that perhaps he was trying too hard to impress against his old team. Wagstaff started strongly, but may have tired himself, as he faded later in the game. Sam provided an excellent cross for the goal in the first half, but didn't seem to be that involved, but came into the game more in the second half when his mazy runs left the Shrimpers seemingly stuck in the mud. Mooney was disappointing compared with earlier performances and failed to take a chance to score early in the game. Burton was double marked for much of the game, but this didn't stop him contributing well with some nice flicks to his strike partner, as well as a well taken goal. After he scored he got salaams from the East Stand. Omosuzi came on for the second half and looked perfectly competent, moving forward well. He is likely to get a contract for the rest of the season. Akpo Sodje was greeted by the inevitable chant of 'We've got two Sodjes' but didn't impress as much as in earlier mactches. Spring came on for the last quarter of an hour to steady the ship which is something he is capable of.
Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to the Southend supporters who were obsessed with Nicky Bailey. Accused of being 'one greedy bastard', Juneau does not think that he has a diet of Whiskas at The Valley.
The Specsavers Voucher goes to the East Stand lino who lost his flag.
Crowd rating The crowd of over 17,446 was very quiet at times in the first half, although Nicky Bailey got boisterous support. 6/10