REPORT | Charlton 2-1 Southend
by Scott Hatley
Southend-born Jake Forster-Caskey came off the bench to haunt his home-town side, scoring the winner as Charlton beat the Blues 2-1 at the Valley.
The midfielder had only been brought on four minutes earlier and managed to bundle to ball in at the near post as he met a Nathan Byrne cross.
Southend had gone behind early in the game when Ricky Holmes managed to beat Christian Walton from a tight angle in just the sixth minute.
But the Blues equalised quickly when John White scored only his fourth goal of his career five minutes later, heading in a Michael Timlin corner.
Both sides had great chances to score in the second half when Josh Magennis’ header was kept out before a goal-mouth scramble ensued, which was somehow kept out by the visitors.
Stephen McLaughlin then a great chance when left one-on-one with Declan Rudd, failing to get around the goalkeeper to score.
And after Forster-Caskey had given the home side the lead once more, Franck Nouble missed Southend’s best chance to snatch a point in injury time, heading wide from a couple of yards out.
With Millwall drawing away at Gillingham, the defeat at The Valley meant Southend dropped out of the play-off places following back-to-back defeats, and their wait for a win against Charlton continues having not beaten the Addicks since 1996.
Phil Brown made three changes from the midweek defeat to Bolton for the visit to Charlton, all of which were enforced, with Ryan Inniss, Anthony Wordsworth and Nile Ranger all missing out, to be replaced by Anton Ferdinand, John White and Luke Amos.
With the Blues sitting inside the play-off places on goal difference only, they could ill-afford dropping points against a Charlton side who were only four points above the relegation zone.
But with just six minutes on the clock the home side went in front as Ricky Holmes picked up a loose pass in midfield, carrying the ball into the area before beating Christian Walton from a tight angle.
Being cheered on by over 2,500 away fans, Phil Brown’s side responded to going behind in the perfect fashion by equalising less than five minutes later through an unlikely source.
Luke Amos won the visitors a corner which was whipped in to the far post by Michael Timlin, finding the completely unmarked John White who found the bottom corner with his header to equalise.
Southend continued to look the more threatening of the two sides following the equaliser, but were unable to create anything clear in front of goal.
Simon Cox’s dragged shot was the closest they’d come whilst Charlton’s Josh Magennis headed wide from a good position for the home side’s best chance before the break.
The Blues began the second half with a great chance for Theo Robinson who managed to get goal-side and almost squeeze the ball beyond Declan Rudd at his near post.
Charlton then had a glorious chance to retake the lead just before the hour mark after an almighty goal-mouth scramble somehow stayed out of the Blues’ net.
Magennis’ header from a Holmes corner was cleared off the line and proceeded to bounce around the six-yard box, looking destined for the back of the net, only for Walton to somehow come away with the ball.
Seconds later and Southend had their best chance of the half by a distance as Stephen McLaughlin managed to beat the offside trap leaving him one-on-one with Rudd.
The Irishman though wasn’t able to get the ball completely under control, allowing Rudd to push the ball away. McLaughlin then tried to tee up Cox but the Blues striker couldn’t get his shot away.
The game had suddenly sparked into life with a flurry of chances for both sides and Andrew Crofts went close for the Addicks as his cross-shot inside the area narrowly missed the far post.
Jake Forster-Caskey came on for the home side with 20 minutes of the game remaining and he made an immediate impact as he put Charlton back in front just four minutes after his introduction.
The Southend-born midfielder came to haunt his home town club as he stooped in front of his marker to meet a Nathan Byrne cross and sneak the ball in at the near post.
With Millwall equalising against Gillingham at almost the exact same time as the Blues went behind, it was double-despair for Southend who looked to be losing their place in the play-offs.
Their misery was almost rubber-stamped when Magennis had the ball in the back of the net for a third time only for it to be ruled out for offside.
McLaughlin found himself in a good position on the left but failed to really trouble Rudd with his low strike and sub Franck Nouble failed to connect with a Jermaine McGlashan cut back.
In the final couple of minutes of normal time Southend won a free-kick in a central position which McLaughlin managed to get through the Charlton wall but not past Rudd who fumbled it wide.
Southend had four minutes added on to salvage a draw and in the third minute of stoppage time Nouble was picked out again by McGlashan but somehow managed to head wide from two-yards out, leaving Charlton to pick up only their second win in 11 games.
Charlton Athletic XI | Rudd, Bauer, Crofts, Magennis, Holmes (Teixeira 90+1’), Konsa (Forster-Caskey 70’), Pearce, Ulvestad, Solly (C), Byrne, DaSilva. Subs Not Used: Phillips, Chicksen, Jackson, Watt, Botaka
Blues XI | Walton, White (O’Neill 69’), Thompson, Timlin, Cox, McLaughlin, Atkinson, Amos (McGlashan 63’), Demetriou, Robinson (Nouble 75’), Ferdinand (C). Subs Not Used: Bexon, Mooney, Fortune, Hines
Referee: Roger East
Assistants: Michael McDonough & Dan Cook
Fourth Official: Daniel Robathan
Charlton Athletic: Ricky Holmes 6’, Jake Forster-Caskey 74’
Southend United: John White 11’
Charlton Athletic: Jake Forster-Caskey 83’, Andrew Crofts 88’
Southend United: Jason Demetriou 81’