Jason Euell’s Charlton Under 23 side proved too strong for Crewe Alexandra Under 23’s at Gresty Road as the Addicks ran out comfortable 4-1 winners.
Two fantastic Taylor Maloney strikes, plus an Aaron Barnes effort and an own goal from Sam Stubbs sealed the result, with Crewe’s goal being scored by Reeco Hackett-Fairchild putting through his own net.
In truth, the visitors had the better of things for the majority of the afternoon, but it was Crewe who should’ve taken the lead on 15 minutes.
Jordan Bowery was left unmarked at the near post, but he couldn’t direct his header on target from Harry Pickering’s cross, with Owen Dale also unable to force home the loose ball at the back-stick.
Two minutes later though & Charlton set the tone for their attacking play, Brenden Sarpong-Wiredu striking the inside of the post with a cushioned effort from a low cross from the left.
But the goal came moments later, Maloney curling a spectacular 18th minute direct free-kick from 20-yards over the wall & into the top corner.
In the action-packed first quarter, Crewe missed a gilt-edge chance to equalise on the 21 minute mark, Charlie Kirk inexplicably heading against the crossbar from just a yard out after goalkeeper Jason Benney had spilled Bowery’s cross.
But the leveller did come just four minutes later as Kirk’s corner-kick caused chaos in the box, with the ball bouncing around & taking a number of deflections before finding its way into the goal courtesy of Addicks man Hackett-Fairfield.
It looked as though it was going to remain tied at half-time, but Charlton edged themselves ahead in stoppage time thanks to full-back Barnes finding the corner after Crewe failed to clear their lines after a fine Dave Richards save.
The second half belonged to Charlton, but it could’ve been a different story had Owen Dale’s ferocious 20-yard strike just 50 seconds into the second period gone in & not cannoned back off the crossbar.
Richards saved well from Yamian just after the hour mark, but Charlton made the game safe on 71 minutes, the unfortunate Stubbs chesting into his own net after a wicked cross caught the on loan Wigan defender out.
The goal of the game came nine minutes from time, the lively Maloney rifling an unstoppable firecracker from 30-yards that left Richards with no chance to send the Londoners home happy.
Crewe: Richards, Woodcock (Offord), Pickering, Stubbs, Sass-Davies, Grant (Finney), Lundstram, Dale, Kirk, Bowery (Griffiths), Reilly