Southend United battled for over an hour with 10 men as they held Charlton to a 1-1 draw at The Valley following Dru Yearwood’s sending off.
Blues had gone in front midway through the first-half when Stephen Humphrys took aim from 25-yards and saw his deflected effort find the top corner.
Five minutes later though and Southend were reduced to 10 men after Dru Yearwood was shown a straight red card for a foul on Jonny Williams inside the centre-circle.
Southend fought their way through to half-time but were soon level when Ben Reeves’ flick-on found the back of the net on the hour-mark.
Charlton desperately pushed for a winner as Blues stood firm and Southend almost stole all three points with Michael Klass having two glorious chances to win it late on.
Both sides though had to settle for a point after Blues saw out six additional minutes with Chris Powell no doubt seeing this as a massive point gained ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Doncaster.
The Southend players looked exhausted as the full-time whistle blew after a gargantuan effort in the second-half and they’ll travel to The Keepmoat in buoyant mood.
Blues boss Chris Powell was making his return to The Valley where he made over 250 appearances and was manager for three years, and he made just the one change to his Southend side that lost to Bristol Rovers with Michael Kightly coming in for Michael Turner.
The Addicks too were coming off a defeat but they had the brighter start of the two sides, going close when Chris Solly cut the ball back to Tariqe Fosu who blazed over from 10-yards out to the delight of the travelling Blues fans behind the goal.
After the early scare, Southend settled and they had a couple of good opportunities with Kightly cutting onto his left before firing over moments before Stephen Humphrys found space wide on the left but couldn’t pull the trigger in time to test Dillon Phillips.
Humphrys though would find his shooting boots midway through the first-half, after riding a couple of challenges the striker let fly from 25-yards, seeing his effort take a wicked deflection off Naby Sarr and nestle in the top corner to give the visitors the lead.
Southend’s delight at going in front quickly turned into frustration as they were reduced to 10 men five minutes after taking the lead as Dru Yearwood was shown a straight red card for a foul on Jonny Williams inside the centre-circle.
Yearwood had been warned by referee Simon Hooper prior to his sending off following two challenges which went without a card, but the referee showed no hesitation in sending the teenager off, although he may feel hard done by as he slipped before going in for the tackle.
Blues, therefore, had over an hour left to play a man light, but they navigated their way to half-time with little trouble. If anything, Southend could have doubled their lead with a Sam Mantom free-kick going close before some miscommunication at the back almost let Humphrys in for a second.
Charlton brought on January signing and former Gillingham player Josh Parker at the interval and they quickly set about finding an equaliser, swinging in cross after cross into the Blues penalty area with little to no reward.
Eventually, though the home side would find the perfect ball into the penalty area as Southend’s resilience was broken on the hour mark when Mark Marshall’s whipped cross was glanced into the back of the net by Ben Reeves to level it up at 1-1.
All the momentum was now with Charlton and only a couple of superb saves from Nathan Bishop prevented the Addicks going in front – first tipping Krystian Bielik’s long-range effort away before making an even better save to prevent Parker heading in from the resulting corner.
Southend’s backs were very much against the wall as the home side continued to search for a winner and the rear-guard action was starting to take its toll with Blues players looking visibly exhausted as the minutes wore on.
But Southend, against all the odds, almost nicked a miraculous victory in the dying moments of the game. Michael Klass, on his 20th birthday, came on and went close twice in quick succession, shooting wide from a narrow-angle before forcing a reaction save from Phillips from inside the box.
Six minutes of added time were shown and backed by over 1,400 Blues fans, Powell’s side withstood the Charlton onslaught, grabbing a precious point on the road before heading to Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night.
Charlton Athletic XI: Phillips, Bielik, Marshall (Lapslie 90’), Fosu, Reeves (Hackett-Fairchild 81’), Vetokele, Purrington (Parker 46’), Solly (C), Williams, Sarr, Cullen. Subs Not Used: Maxwell, Dijksteel, Pratley, Stevenson
Blues XI: Bishop, Bwomono, Kightly (McLaughlin 64’), Dieng, Cox, Yearwood, Mantom (C), Moore, Humphrys (Klass 85’), Hart (Turner 70’), White. Subs Not Used: Smith, Lennon, Kelman, Hutchinson
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistants: Scott Ledger & Neil Davies
Fourth Official: Lee Swabey
Charlton Athletic: Ben Reeves 60’
Southend United: Stephen Humphrys 22’
Charlton Athletic: Ben Reeves 40’, Josh Cullen 53’, Krystian Bielik 83’
Southend United: Timothee Dieng 32’, Michael Kightly 43’
Charlton Athletic: None
Southend United: Dru Yearwood 27’
Attendance: 12,389 (1,463 Away)