05 December 2009

Charlton 1 Southend 0

After recent performances, I went to this game with guarded optimism. There could be another big win in prospect against a mid-table team. But Semedo would be missing, and his presence in front of the defence is an often overlooked factor in Charlton's best performances. On the other hand, Frazer Richardson was back, and his developing partnership with Lloyd Sam could prove decisive.

It was a bright game throughout, with Southend looking lively and positive - playing better than their position in the table would suggest. It took a while for Charlton to get into the game but after 25 minutes Deon Burton scored the only goal. The game continued open and even until half-time, with both goalkeepers making impressive saves.

After the interval, Richardson was replaced by Omozusi. He presumably wasn't fully fit, and his linking with Sam wasn't working. In fact Charlton had played more attacks down the left than the right. Charlton's play became much more defensive. I've seen it suggested this was because of uncertainty about the referee, and he was - all so typically of the division - inconsistent, so the Charlton players may have feared yellow cards. Semedo should be an important part of such play, and the defence were called upon to make some desperate blocks and clearances. But they did it. It's one of the big differences this season that even when things aren't going well, the defence holds out. I think Racon also benefits personally from Semedo's presence; he had a noticeably poor game. (And was booked. He must be close to a suspension.)

So, for various reasons most of the second half was worrying, but the win was achieved without any real scares. The last ten minutes or so saw Charlton comfortable again, as Southend appeared to lose breath and conviction.

Other results went well. Leeds dropped two points so we closed the gap on them. Millwall and Palace both lost 3-0. And Chelsea lost.

The next home game is Millwall. In recent games the North Stand's favourite chant has been "We hate Millwall". They're building up for it. It's going to be a bit intense.

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