Date: 10th April 2010 at 11:16pm
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Michail Antonio scored his first league goal for Southampton today to help Saints to a narrow victory over Charlton Athetic. The midfielder’s strike came in the 34th minute of a close encounter with another of the league’s top sides.

In a fiercely competetive game Saints proved their mettle against Charlton, sending out a message to the other teams fighting for 6th place. The fight is on and we are fully committed to reaching our goal.

With Radhi Jaidi missing through injury we saw Dan Seaborne deputising. Michail Antonio started on the right and Jason Puncheon began in the middle behing Rickie Lambert. David Connolly came onto the bench alongside Lee Barnard.

Charlton got the game going attacking the Chapel End in their away strip of blue. They nearly got an early sight of goal through Nicky Forster but he was flagged offside.

Saints first chance came when Puncheon made some space for himself before firing over powerfully. On seven minutes Lambert had a shot saved by keeper Darren Randolph low down to his left.

From this save Charlton burst down the other end and had Kelvin Davis to thank for still being level. Charlton opened up the game and a great cross was headed superbly towards our net until a flying one handed save kept the ball out.

In the 15th minute Adam Lallana linked well with Lambert. Finally leading to a shot which was deflected for a corner. Saints continued to push forward and increse the pressure on the Addicks back four. A long period of possession leading to a Morgan Schneiderlin volley which flew past the left post.

Saints delivered the next warning on 26 minutes. Puncheon ran on to a Lambert lay-off and sent a fierce shot towards goal only for it to be turned round for a corner. The pressure continued with the odd Charlton break as Saints searched for the opener.

Finally Saints got their reward for their persistence. A sweeping move with Lambert flicking on for Puncheon saw Jason beat the Addicks defence hands down. He then laid off a perfect pass for Michail Antonio to run on to and smash past the keeper at the near post to give Saints the lead.

Charlton made a rare visit to Saints box but Davis was alert and pushed the ball away for Fonte to clear. Then when Saints attacked with 5 minutes to go they were denied a penalty. Antonio fed Puncheon who was pushed to the ground. Jason took too long to go to ground and the referee waved away the claims by the Saints players as Jason had tried to stay on his feet.

As the half came to an end Charlton tried an attack. This ended up with Saints conceding a corner. Bailey then had another header saved by Kelvin and the ball was cleared. Dean Hammond then went into the referee’s book for a late tackle as the game reached the HT break. HT 1-0.

The second half started with Saints attacking. A short corner was sent to Morgan who passed to Lambert whose header was goalbound until an acrobatic stop on the line from Sam Sodje.

Charlton came back with an attack of their own. An attack was fortuitively helped by Jose Semedo slicing a ball into Bailey’s path. The midfielder took the ball on and let fly with Davis again stopping him with a save at the near post.

The gameswung from end to end as both teams fought for supremacy. Puncheon nearly fed Antonio with another chance but Michail just failed to connect as it went out for a goalkick. Then it was Charlton’s turn to press as they had to quick corners.

then Charlton made two substitutions as they tried to change things around. Forster was subbed with Akpo Sodje and Semedo with David Mooney. Sodje made a first attempt with a soft shot before Saints made their first substitution. Lee Barnard coming on for Antonio.

Saints again pressed forward on 70 minutes and Morgan had a shot blocked. Hammond picked up the loose ball and tried to curl it round the keeper but hit it just wide. Lambert then went close again as the Charlton goal once more survived. Barnard had a shot saved as well before Charlton made their final substitution.

Jonjo Shelvey came on for Kyel Reid as the clock ran down. The final ten minutes was tense as neither team was able to make that one clear chance. Saints made another substitution with Paul Wotton coming on for Morgan as the clock ran down.

Charlton started throwing everything they had at Saints defence as they tried desperately to level. The three minutes extra time ran down with two efforts being blocked and the whistle went for Saints to end up winning 1-0.

Player Ratings

Davis 8
Made a couple of truly fantastic saves.

Otsemobor 5
Very poor display. Keeps going missing though he did make one tremendous tackle near the end. Would have been a four without that.

Fonte 7
Usual display from our ever so dependant Jose.

Seaborne 6
Good at times and then a bit loose at others.

Harding 7
Dan kept going even when it was getting a bit fierce. Not as many attacking moves forward as sometimes but never stopped.

Puncheon 7
Jason was sometimes good and sometimes missing today.

Hammond 6
Dean was booked for a very late tackle. He might have been in more trouble with a stronger referee.

Schneiderlin 7
Morgan did better than in his last game. Almost got on the score sheet for the first time as well.

Lallana 7
Poor first half but better second. Did some good work in the second half.

Antonio 7
Started on the right and made a few runs. Scored his first league goal for Saints.

Lambert 7
Rickie played at times as though he missed Barnard. Usual good flick-ons and lay-offsd. Had a couple of shots saved.

Barnard 6
Worked as he usually does.

Wotton 6
You know what you will get with Paul.

Manager Rating
Alan Pardew surprised us a little with his team selection today. Didn’t lose so have to admit that he got us the points. Maybe he is not yet happy with Seaborne and Otsemobor is giving plenty of causes for concern all by himself. 7

Opponent Rating
Parkinson had his troops ready for this but they just could not beat our keeper. 7

Close Game
Very even game that Charlton deserved something from maybe. Davis being our best rated shows that they did cause a few problems. We should have had a penalty which might have put the game to bed.


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