Charlton 4 Exeter City 1
The Addicks made it two home wins from two under Michael Appleton on Tuesday night, as they claimed a 4-1 victory over Exeter City.
It was a fairly even start to the game, but by the 19th minute, with Charlton already having shown more first-half intent than they did on Saturday, the home side had the ball in the net.
Louie Watson, who had an excellent game, played a perfect ball over the top to Chuks Aneke. The striker, making first start since his return from injury, showed excellent composure to slide the ball under the onrushing Viljami Sinisalo, but would have been disappointed to see the referee's assistant raise his flag.
It was a first half of tight margins, none more so than when the Grecians went ahead five minutes later with a near-identical move. Reece Cole picked up the ball in midfield and sent a pass over the top for James Scott, who opened up his body and beat Ashley Maynard-Brewer at his near post. This time the flag would not go up and Exeter were ahead.
But the Addicks responded well and were nearly level in the 38th minute. Louie Watson was the architect again, taking the ball from a short corner and playing into the box to Michael Hector. The defender turned well and sent a powerful shot just wide of Sinisalo’s left post.
Charlton kept pressing and found their well-deserved equaliser on the stroke of half-time. From his own half, Hector fired an inch-perfect pass into Alfie May, who was playing a slightly deeper role. May turned and dinked a cross to the back post for Aneke, whose header crashed against the bar. Quickest to react was Corey Blackett-Taylor, who turned it in from six yards to claim his third goal of the season.
Much as they did at the weekend, the Addicks came out for the second period with renewed intent, and twenty minutes into the half they would have the chance to go ahead from the spot.
Tennai Watson played a one-two with Bodan Tedić and dinked in a cross. Jack Fitzwater got to the ball first but was only able to head it back in the direction of Charlton’s right back, who got to the ball ahead of Yanic Wildschut and was brought down by the Suriname international.
The ball would be placed on the spot by Aneke, who stepped up only to see his effort saved onto the post by Sinisalo. But, just as he did in the first half, the striker saw his effort off the woodwork turned in on the rebound, this time by May.
Three minutes later May was in the thick of the action again. With the ball in the centre circle, he was taken out by a poor challenge from Will Aimson, and referee David Rock had no option but to dismiss the Grecians’ skipper.
With the man advantage, the Addicks were able to assert themselves even more, and so it was no surprise to see them make sure of all three points with ten minutes of normal time remaining. Tennai Watson played the ball up to Louie Watson in the area, where the midfielder had it taken off his toe by Zak Jules. Waiting for the ricochet was substitute Miles Leaburn, who crashed the ball beyond Sinisalo before the Finnish goalkeeper even saw it.
Charlton were not done though. In the 86th minute, Blackett-Taylor beat Pierce Sweeney with a trademark bit of skill down the left and coolly rounded the goalkeeper. With the goal at his mercy, the winger opted instead to pull it back, where the ball made its way to May. The striker made no mistake, firing into the top corner to complete the job.
It was a very satisfying night for Appleton, whose side will now begin preparations for Saturday’s home game against Blackpool.
Charlton: Maynard-Brewer; T Watson (Asiimwe 80), Hector, Jones, Thomas; Dobson (c) (C Campbell 87), L Watson (Fraser 80); Tedić (T Campbell 80), Blackett-Taylor, May; Aneke (Leaburn 68),
Sub (not used): Molyneux, Ness
Goals: Blackett-Taylor 45, May 65, Leaburn 79, May 86
Booked: Tedić 45+3 (foul on Jules)
Exeter City: Sinisalo; Aimson (c), Fitzwater (Sweeney 72), Hartridge; Kite (Aitchison 66), Carroll, Cole, Jules; Harper (Wildschut 58), Scott (Taylor 72), Mitchell
Subs (not used): Cox, Woods, Richards
Goal: Scott 23
Assist: Cole 23
Sent-off: Aimson 67 (foul on May)
Attendance: 11,575 (741 away)
Referee: David Rock