Writer: SFC Forever
Date:Wednesday March 23 2011
St Mary's Stadium
Tues 22nd March
Southampton visited the Valley with high hopes after winning four games on the trot. Charlton on the other hand were in the middle of a long run without a win. Both sides needed a win to further their chances of achieving their goals for the season.
Saints started with the same starting eleven that had beaten Sheffield Wednesday in the previous game. They began on the back foot as the Addicks were full of running from the off.
The Saints defence looked strong and assured and gradually the team got more of a foothold in the game. Often scrappy to begin with, the game was a mixture of misdirected passes and occasionally moments of skill.
The first real moment of note came after a Racon foul on Chamberlain. Harding sent in a good cross and Lambert nodded the ball on to Fonte who sent the ball goalwards only to see Llera clear off the line.
From the corner Charlton broke with speed and looked dangerous until Nouble wasted the opportunity to send in a cross by hitting the ball tamely behind the goal.
The game was now more open but with many passes going astray neither side could take advantage of any openings found.
On the half hour a Lambert free-kick nearly found it's way through but a diving Rob Elliot managed to turn it away top safety.
Dean Hammond headed over a cross from Harding on the left before Adam Lallana went down for the second time in a couple of minutes. After being checked over he was removed and replaced with Dany N'Guessan.
Bad news for Saints as Adm has been our leading player for a long time and if out for any length of time will be sorely missed.
Whilst Saints were re-organsing themselves and getting used to losing their star, Charlton so nearly caught them cold. Racon snuck into the box and his cross shot across Davis was hacked clear by the alert Harding.
N'Guessan still had time to fashion a chance for Barnard which was deflected for a corner. The corner was cleared and the referee blew to bring the first half to a close. HT 0-0.
The second half began in much the same way as the first with Charlton starting well. After a bright move Wrigh-Phillips was caught offside. Petulantly he kicked the ball away and got booked for his troubles.
Though the game was still fairly scrappy at times Saints began to look the more likely to score. Barnard was blocked by a Bessone interception before the Addicks fashioned a chance for Nouble but he shot wide.
Just before the hour Saints suffered a second blow when Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken off after being injured. Guly came o0n in his place as Saints strove for the opening goal.
Lambert had a shot well saved by Elliot and then Barnard also had a fine effort saved by the Charlton keeper. Guly then forced a corner which ended with him taking another straight after.
Guly sent in a curling cross which was met by Radhi Jaidi whose firm low shot flew into the right corner of the Charlton goal to give the jubilant Saints team the lead.
Charlton then sent Ecclestone on for Wagstaff as they searched for an equaliser in the 72nd minute. The substitution seemed to add impetus to the Charlton attacks and for a while they looked more dangerous.
First defender Llera headed wide and then he diverted a cross with his outstretched leg which cannoned off the cross-bar and bounced out to safety.
Forte's pace then nearly caused a costly mix-up but the keeper recovered quickly enough to get to Dailly's poor back header and gather it safely.
So close to disaster but almost immediately Charlton struck at the other end. Parrett crossed into the Saints box and there was Wright-Phillips unmarked with time to prod the ball past Kelvin Davis for the leveller.
Two minutes later Lambert picked out N'Guessan who fired the ball into the Charlton net for what looked the winner but the linesman flagged for offside. Incorrectly it looked as we saw the replay.
4 Minutes were added but Saints couldn't find a way through and the game ended disappointingly all square. FT 1-1.
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Date:Wednesday March 23 2011
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