Charlton 4 Reading 0
Four goals took the Addicks to within four points of the playoff spots on Saturday afternoon, as an excellent second half performance saw off Reading in style.
With The Valley attracting its largest crowd since the opening day, the Covered End was in excellent voice at kick-off. Despite this, the first 45 minutes gave both sets of fans little to shout about.
The visitors came closest in the 11th minute when good combination play from Femi Azeez and Lewis Wing gave the latter the chance to shoot from distance. His shot was palmed away by Ashley Maynard-Brewer at his near post.
Both sides struggled to create chances, but the best of the half went to Corey Blackett-Taylor in the 23rd minute. The winger escaped the attentions of Tyler Bindon down the left, but after cutting inside, he scuffed his shot straight at former Addick David Button.
It was a first period defined by shots from range, and it was George Dobson’s turn to go close just after the half-hour mark. In what seemed to be a training-ground routine, Louie Watson laid the ball off to his skipper, but Dobson’s effort did not trouble Button who watched it go by his left post.
Efforts from Bodan Tedić and Chuks Aneke did not come much closer, and it was no surprise to see Michael Appleton switch things up at half time by introducing Tyreece Campbell.
Whatever the boss changed during the break, it didn’t take long for his side to reap the rewards. Ten minutes into the half, Blackett-Taylor got to the byline and stood a perfect cross up to the back post. There was only going to be one winner in the air and, on his return to the side, Aneke rose highest to crash a header home and claim his first league goal of the season.
The Royals responded well and went close through Harvey Knibbs and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan, but with 20 minutes remaining they were stunned by one of the goals of the season so far.
Blackett-Taylor burst down the left and this time elected to play inside to Campbell, who opened up his body and hit a rasping shot towards the near post. Campbell was only nine years old when Button played his last game for the Addicks, but the veteran keeper could do absolutely nothing about the strike, which nestled in his top corner.
Suddenly Charlton were flying, and five minutes later the game was put beyond all doubt. Blackett-Taylor again beat Bindon and crossed from the byline. With Aneke having departed with an injury, it was Alfie May’s turn to get in front of his man and turn in at the near post. The striker was clearly delighted with his eighth goal of the season but was quick to congratulate Blackett-Taylor for his hattrick of assists.
Appleton had his wingers to thank for the win, and in stoppage time Campbell helped add the final touch with a wonderful curling ball in behind Royals’ skipper Nelson Abbey. Running in behind was Miles Leaburn, who made no mistake, dispatching beyond Button.
It was the perfect end to a near perfect day for the Addicks, who will now begin preparations for their visit to Lincoln City on Tuesday.
Charlton: Maynard-Brewer; T Watson (Asiimwe 64), Hector, Jones, Thomas; Dobson, L Watson (Fraser 64); Tedić (T Campbell 46), May, Blackett-Taylor (Camará 78), Aneke (Leaburn 64)
Sub (not used): Walker, Ness
Goals: Aneke 54, T Campbell 69, May 74, Leaburn 90+4
Assists: Blackett-Taylor 54, 69, 74, T Campbell 90+4
Reading: Button; Bindon, Dean (Mola 80), Abbey, Guinness-Walker; Azeez (Elliott 75), Wing, Craig (Savage 80), Knibbs; Smith (Ballard 59), Ehibhatiomhan (Vickers 75)
Subs (not used): Collins, Carson
Attendance: 15,572 (2,518 away)
Referee: Scott Oldham