Charlton were looking for their first win in four games and their first away win of the season against Southend United at Roots Hall. Having won eight of their last ten games against the Shrimpers, Charlton would have gone into the match feeling confident, boosted further by the loan signings of West Ham youngster Josh Cullen and Northern Ireland international Jamie Ward from Nottingham Forest in the week. Additionally, the return to the bench of Tarique Fosu would have given fans more reason for excitement. Fosu could bring the creative spark that has been missing for Charlton often in the early parts of this season.
Charlton are aiming for promotion and the last man to achieve the feat for them as manager, Chris Powell, took charge of Southend United against his old club. Powell named an unchanged side from the previous weekend which saw them impress and run out 1-0 winners away at Bristol Rovers.
The game started slowly, with the Addicks having the better of the opening half. Nicky Ajose, given a chance from the start by Bowyer, went close with a volley but couldn’t find the back of the net in what was the best chance of the first half.
The play picked up after the two sides returned for the second half and it took just over 10 minutes for Charlton to capitalise on their good play and score. Great work and strength from Karlan Grant saw him steal possession from Charlton academy graduate and former Inter Milan academy player, Michael Turner, before squaring the ball for Lyle Taylor who tapped it home from the six-yard box.
Charlton have struggled to keep the lead this season, having scored first in three of their first five games but only winning one. Today was to be no different, and it took the Essex side only three minutes to equalise, a good move finished by Theo Robinson for his second goal of the season. Almost in a parallel to the Shrewsbury game, where Charlton blew the lead before scoring a late header to win, Krystian Bielik headed home in the 87th minute, right in front of the delighted travelling Charlton fans. Bielik has impressed since joining on loan from Arsenal and having previously been used by Bowyer at centre back, slotted in nicely at CDM for today’s game.
What was an outstanding result for Charlton was overshadowed in injury time when Tarique Fosu reacted poorly to John White’s tackle on him, head-butting a Southend player, causing an 18-man brawl. Resultantly, Fosu was sent off alongside Southend’s Michael Kightly and goalkeeper Mark Oxley. Southend, having used all their substitutes, got the man who had made the assist for their goal, Ben Coker step up in goal. It’s always exciting to see an outfield player in goal and memories of Felipe Melo, John Terry and Harry Kane spring to mind when thinking of this topic. Unfortunately for any neutrals, Coker wasn’t tested and Charlton saw out the game to win 2-1. Caretaker manager Lee Bowyer described the victory as “Deserved” and assistant Johnnie Jackson said it was “The best day of his coaching career”, a strong message even if his coaching career is still in it’s early stages.
Fosu will have to sit out the next few games after only just returning, but with first teamers Pearce and Vetokele getting more match minutes on their return from injury and the two loan signings coming in, things are looking up for Charlton. They would hope to continue the winning ways next week at home to Wycombe. Charlton shaded the game, but Southend can draw some positives from the result as they too look to go to the playoffs this season.
Charlton Player Ratings
Dillon Phillips – 6
Chris Solly – 6
Jason Pearce – 6.5
Patrick Bauer – 6
Krystian Bielik – 8
Lewis Page – 7.5
Josh Cullen – 6
Darren Pratley – 5.5
Nicky Ajose – 6
Lyle Taylor – 6.5
Karlan Grant – 7
Tarique Fosu (56) – 2
George Lapslie (71) – 6
Igor Vetokele (85) – N/A
There was a solid crowd of 7923 at Roots Hall with a strong contingent of travelling Charlton fans. Charlton aren’t particularly known for bringing large numbers for away games, but with Southend being one of the closest contests this season, 1000+ made the journey and were in excellent voices, helped by the result.
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