Cole has Charlton smiling

Charlton Athletic 2 Southampton 1
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Alan Curbishley was determined to ensure Charlton's season, which had promised so much, did not end in disappointment. He would have left The Valley a happy man after this end-of-term victory.

Alan Curbishley was determined to ensure Charlton's season, which had promised so much, did not end in disappointment. He would have left The Valley a happy man after this end-of-term victory.

The Addicks had looked good for a European place after a promising start to the campaign, only to fall away since the turn of the year. But goals from Jason Euell and the substitute Carlton Cole either side of half-time were enough to see off Southampton's challenge and secure their best finish in the Premier League - seventh place - although David Prutton's well-worked goal with 26 minutes left ensured a tense finish to a roller-coaster season.

Both teams took their time to settle, and Southampton were forced into a change after 13 minutes when midfielder Anders Svensson hobbled off to be replaced by Chris Baird.

Euell made space for himself on the corner of the Saints' area after 25 minutes, but rushed his shot wide.Stephen Crainey was quick off his line to block Bartlett's snap-shot from just inside the box, but he could do little to prevent Charlton taking the lead after 36 minutes. Shaun Bartlett nodded a through-ball to Paolo Di Canio, whose delicate flick fell perfectly for Euell, who made no mistake from 12 yards.

South African striker Bartlett was then just off target with a shot on the turn, only for hesitancy in the Addicks defence almost to cost an equaliser.

Matt Holland fired over before Di Canio fell holding his ribs after chasing a long ball. He had to be helped from the field in what could be his farewell appearance and was replaced by Cole. It was the on-loan Chelsea man who made it 2-0 eight minutes after the restart, latching on to Holland's brilliant deep pass and drilling home from six yards.

To their credit, the visitors tried to impose themselves on the match, with little riding on the outcome. They pulled a goal back after 64 minutes as Brett Ormerod's clever step-over let Prutton smash in from close range.

Southampton saw plenty of possession in the closing stages, but were not able to find a decisive pass as Charlton's back-line held firm.

Charlton Athletic 2
Euell 36, Cole 53

Southampton 1
Prutton 64

Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 26,614

Comments