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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Southampton 0 Charlton 1

Massive. That's how Pardew described it and marks of 10 out of 10 must go to the whole team, as well as Pards, to produce such a performance after such a barren spell. Not the 2-1, without Euell, predicted but a warming return to winning ways at a venue that has never been a welcome sight to the Addicks.
The best report is over at the posh_murdoch. Saints best player was their goalie and MOM went, of course, to Andy Reid. A comedy referee in Keith Hill "handing out cards and fouls for fun" but after the sending-off "Ten-man Charlton wasted time but were still the more dangerous and ambitious team. The Saints were second to every ball and looked flat and disjointed" and a revealing quote from Southampton manager George Burley who "lamented lost chances: “They flooded the midfield and we never got in the game."
Sadly, the man from the telegraph was obviously not at the game as he reports on a pressurized Charlton and a stolen three points.
From the sportinglife it's a "clumsy challenge" that gets Semedo sent off and then elaborates with "Charlton made light of the disadvantage with a spirited performance and just about deserved their victory" and Burley sums it up with "We were over elaborate at times and it did not help when Charlton were reduced to ten men. We had to work even harder and our quality was poor. I'm blaming no one for the goal. Credit to their substitute Varney. It was a great ball of his into the box and there was not much we could do about it."
But perhaps the scale of the performance is higher than we imagined because over on the saints website you can read that we've just terminated a Southampton scoring run that has lasted no less than 31 consecutive games. It seems that they've scored in every game since February 3rd, when they lost to Derby by the same score. And to end their long run, the goal that beat them is praised to the heavens, and is therefore is a joy to read, "And they duly snatched it in the last of three minutes of added time when Luke Varney got in behind sub debutant Andrew Davies. He might have expected to head for the corner flag to protect a precious point. Instead he whipped over a wicked centre and Iwelumo launched himself at the far post to head in from close range."
Strangely, there's no mention anywhere of Pardew's bravery in staying with two wide men when the defensive midfielder, Semedo, was sent off. Perhaps we can be thankful that Racon was not on the bench - although the experience would be useful before Tuesday night - but to retain an attacking formation for a further 40 minutes surely says much for the gaffers style of play, even after three defeats.
And true to form, you've only got to quote Pardew - who admitted that "of all the matches in my managerial career this win has got to be in my top five" - to understand exactly the feelings flowing through all the Addicks veins at the moment, "This was a massive win for us after the three defeats. To go down to 10 men and then go and score the winner in front of your own fans in the last minute does not come any better than that."

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