Southampton away. What was the score? Won 1-0
Coming out of the ground alongside Addicks with grins as long as the Solent, we agreed the game will make a swift entry into the top 5 of Charlton away days. Pards agreed and no doubt our view was helped by the fact that I was there alongside my son, whose shouts of Yippee-i-a, Yippee-i-o would melt even the most pessimestic of Addicks hearts.
The game started well and was very open, with both teams looking to attack without the use of a hopeful punt. I think Semedo was unfortunate, impulsive but still unfortunate. The ref was so fussy that a red card was obvious after an innocuous looking tackle in the middle of the park but after 30 minutes he should have been aware as we were that Keith Hill had just been given a new toy - his whistle.
Towards the end of the half we looked ok but a 0-0 was then probably as much as we could have hoped. Oh no, we came out 2nd half kicking into our end packed with more than 2,500 Addicks, sandwiched between Saints fans making for a good atmosphere and played the home side of the park with a man short.
I have heard so much about the technical ability of Pardew's side and to finally get to see it was a joy. The way we moved the ball about quickly, using the full width of the pitch was exquisite. Thomas was superb running with the ball at every opportunity. Zheng too, always looking to attack the retreating Saints. Sam was a great outlet and ran himself into the ground. And the masterful Reidy pushed and probed and inspired those around him deserving the captain's armband that he kept pushing back up his left arm.
With Weaver looking far more dominant in his box the four in front of him were organised and first rate. There was a towering performance by Sodje, dominant in both boxes and bringing the best out of Jon Fortune. I like Basey a lot and Mills was, well Mills and can we box those roly poly's at the end and sell them in the club shop for Christmas?
I was asking for Big Chris to be replaced by Varney and probably explains why my coaching career ended at U11's. To be honest I think he struggled as the lone striker but he exemplified our spirit using his last drops of energy to power Varney's delicious cross into the net in injury time. I have not screamed like that for a very long time and have gained a very husky voice for my efforts.
What was telling was how the three subs, Moot2kil, Varney and Ambrose came on with instructions to go for the win. Each one of them hunted the ball down and ran at the ragged Saints defence, not one inkling of them looking to waste time or heading for the corner flag. It made you proud.
The thing that will stay with me for a very long time though was how the players reacted at the final whistle. The players and fans bonded as one as we opening celebrated in front of one and another. Such spontaneity and open joy on the faces shows the true, and old, Addick spirit that Pards has ingrained in this group of fine young men.
Finally my son's favourite player reached godly portions on late Saturday afternoon. With Big Chris lying under a sea of seahawk blue bodies, young Yassin ran fully 30 yards to hurdle the advertising boards and join the celebrating Addicks. We were in row E and with longer fingernails I could have touched the young Frenchman. It was a wonderful sign of exuberance and the memories of the day will keep both a happy 7-year old and a 41-year old in sweet dreams for many weeks to come.Who else was at St Mary's: Addicks Championship Diary
; Drinking During the Game
; Sporting Life
.What Pards' said: "I thought that fortune favoured the brave and we were so brave out there today. That is a massive win which I thought we richly deserved."A bottle of fizzy pop for:
Sam Sodje. To be honest it could have been given to any one of 10 players, they were all awesome but Sodje gave us much needed steel and aerial threat in both boxes.