Charlton Athletic 0 Southampton 0

Last updated : 13 September 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Charlton were looking to continue their excellent home form, after a pre-international break mauling at the hands of Manchester City, while Southampton have endured, rather than enjoyed their season to date, in the headlines as a result of matters off, not on the pitch.

With a paltry away support, caused by the game's broadcast on television and its Monday night kick-off, the visitors would have been forgiven for sitting back, shutting up shop and hoping to emerge with a precious away point.

To their credit, they made most of the running during an abysmal first half, in which neither side came close to playing to their full potential.

James Beattie launched the visitors' first shot on target, a minute before the break, while Dennis Rommedahl surged to the Southampton byline three times, and selected the wrong option on each occasion.

There was, quite simply, nothing else of note upon which to comment. Double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes had received a huge ovation from the crowd when she was presented with a Charlton shirt on the pitch before kick-off, and nothing that happened during the following 45 minutes came close to generating a similar response. Deservedly so.

Steve Wigley had his men out early for the second half, indulging in a series of energetic passing games, more commonly seen as part of a pre-match warm-up.

It was, it must be said, entirely in keeping with the nature of affairs. If ever there was a game that needed to draw a line under proceedings and start all over again, this was surely it.

Charlton, having enjoyed a half-time break of more traditional length, emerged to play the same uncertain, nervous football they had produced all evening.

Just before the hour mark, Kevin Lisbie's header went straight into the arms of Antti Niemi, and that represented their best effort of the night, as the contest looked set to degenerate further into a battle for set-pieces.

Minutes later, only the extraordinary reflexes of Charlton keeper Dean Kiely denied the visitors an opener, as he parried Rory Delap's thumping drive as it emerged from a crowd of players. That, after an hour, a save was the high point of the encounter told its own story.

Looking to inject some much needed pace, Alan Curbishley replaced the lack-lustre Francis Jeffers with Jonatan Johansson, before curiously, swapping Rommedahl for Talal El Karkouri, robbing the game of its swiftest pair of feet.

With a dreary predictability, the game petered out, having never truly come to life in the first place.

Never at any stage did any sort of rhythm or flow show itself, and even the briefest of post-match highlights packages would have needed substantial padding.

Southampton might go away happy with a point, Charlton less so, but neither of them will be left feeling as disgruntled as the people who paid to watch it.

Charlton: Kiely, Young, Perry, Fortune, Hreidarsson, Murphy, Euell, Kishishev (Hughes 58), Rommedahl (El Karkouri 75), Lisbie, Jeffers (Johansson 67). Subs Not Used: Andersen, Konchesky.

Southampton: Niemi, Kenton (Nilsson 73), Lundekvam, Jakobsson, Le Saux, Fernandes (Crouch 84), Prutton, Delap, Anders Svensson, Beattie, Phillips. Subs Not Used: Smith, Higginbotham, Best.

Booked: Prutton.

Att: 24,263.

Ref: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).