EVERYTHING that had been lacking from Southend United was back in abundance at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

Blues headed to the Valley on the back of two successive home defeats, the second of which saw them produce a sub-standard showing when losing 2-1 to lowly Bristol Rovers.

But, at the weekend, the Shrimpers showed passion, fight, determination and a willingness to work. And that, more than anything else, saw them rewarded with a hard fought 1-1 draw.

Football can at times be over-complicated with tactical analysis and in-depth debates on team selection.

However, against a Charlton side pushing for promotion, Blues almost went back to basics in a bid to rediscover their best form. The Shrimpers allowed their hosts little time on the ball and seemed far more positive in their approach.

When losing the successive home games, Southend sat off their opponents and allowed them to dictate proceedings.

But that was certainly not the case at the weekend as the Shrimpers showed the pride manager Chris Powell had been calling for.

Powell was back at his former club and was greeted warmly by the Charlton Athletic supporters before the game got underway.

However, once the match started, Blues – in simple terms – just looked far more up for the fight.

Lining up with a diamond shape midfield, Southend looked strong and Michael Kightly looked bright playing in an attacking midfield role behind the two strikers.

The Shrimpers were posing problems and broke the deadlock when Stephen Humphrys bagged his third goal in four games since signing. Humphrys’ goals have been a welcome addition for Blues but the joy was short-lived for his latest strike as, just five minutes later, the visitors were reduced to 10 men as Dru Yearwood received the first red card of his career.

In his defence, the young midfielder seemed to slip before clattering into Jonny Williams.

But it was understandable why referee Simon Hooper opted to dismiss the midfielder and it was also indicative of the way things have been going for the talented teenager.

Yearwood burst onto the scene last season and received plenty of praise and plaudits for his performances. However, football is often far from straight forward and things have not gone quite so well for the 18-year-old this term.

The midfielder missed the start of the campaign with a hamstring problem and has found it tough going ever since.

Yearwood has struggled to find his best form and Saturday’s red card will see him miss Blues’ next three matches.

But it remains important to remember Yearwood is still at the very start of his career.

And, despite the fanfare which greeted his arrival last term, he remains an 18-year-old with little more than 50 games to his name at the very start of his career.

Ups and downs are what football is all about and, despite the recent difficulties, Yearwood remains a bright prospect for Blues.

However, right now, he is being usurped in that category by goalkeeper Nathan Bishop.

The teenage shot-stopper has long been highly rated by the coaches at Roots Hall and, right now, he is showing just why.

The custodian has taken his opportunity between the sticks with both hands and produced a man of the match performance at the Valley.

Without wanting to get carried away or heap too much pressure on his shoulders, Bishop’s emergence brings backs memories of former Blues goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.

But the challenge for Bishop and the Blues is to now build on Saturday’s spirited showing.

But, as has often been the case this season, those hopes could be hindered by the long list of unavailable players.

Blues were without 12 of their squad at the weekend and Yearwood will now be joining them on the sidelines.

Left-back Sam Hart also had to be substituted with a knee injury in the second half on Saturday, leaving Powell incredibly short of options. However, Saturday showed that whoever the opposition and whoever may be fit, spirit and heart can take a team a long way.

Those battling qualities pleased the Shrimpers’ impressive travelling support of more than 1, 400 fans.

But that effort and endeavour must become the norm if Blues are to perform more consistently and enjoy a pleasing end to the season.