Writer: Red God
Date:Sunday May 1 2011
30 April 3.00pm
The trip to Southampton for their final game meant victory was essential for Walsall's survival hopes. They received a boost ahead of kick-off when Exeter defeated bitter rivals, Plymouth, in the early kick-off game. Notts County were to succumb to MK Dons after taking an early lead so it turned out to be a good afternoon for the Saddlers.
Charlton restored Rob Elliot - who was celebrating his 25th birthday - to goalkeeping duties, with John Sullivan dropping to the bench. Scott Wagstaff was also amongst the subs.
Charlton started brightly and should have taken an early lead. An inch perfect cross from Eccleston picked out Paul Benson, whose effort struck the foot of the post.
As the game wore on the hosts imposed their quick, direct style on the visitors without posing a serious threat. It was Charlton's chronic inability to defend that was again their undoing. They failed to clear their lines when Richard Taundry delivered a cross from the right, allowing Will Griggs to give Walsall a precious 33rd minute lead. The Addicks have now kept just one clean sheet in their last nineteen league outings.
Charlton barely caused the home fans any jitters in the second period, Benson's header that cleared the bar being their only real effort of note.
At the other end, Elliot made some good saves to keep his team's hopes alive. Twelve minutes from time, he made a breath taking stop to deny Jon Macken. Regretably for Elliot, Julian Gray was the quickest to react and had the simple task of doubling Walsall's lead.
Possibly the brightest event of the afternoon for the visitors was substitute Callum Harriott's performance. The youngster showed enough pace and raw talent to suggest he has a bright future ahead of him.
Charlton: Elliot; Francis, Doherty, Fortune, Bessone; Eccleston, Parrett, Stewart, Racon (Harriott 71); Benson, Wright-Phillips.
Subs (not used): Sullivan, Solly, Llera, McCormack, Wagstaff, Nouble.
Walsall: Walker; Taundry, Williams, Butler, Lancashire; Cook, Laird, Richards, Gray; Grigg (Byfield 74), Macken (Nicholls 82).
Subs (not used): Bevan, Westlake, Smith, Gbarssin, Paterson.
Goal: Grigg 33, Gray 78.
Ref: Geoff Eltrincham (Tyne and Wear).
Att: 5,088 (493 Charlton).
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Date:Sunday May 1 2011
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