Second-half double downs Charlton at Reading

Alfie May on the ball

Reading 2 Charlton 0

Two second-half goals from Femi Azeez gave Reading the win on Saturday afternoon, as the Addicks fell to a 2-0 loss at the Select Car Leasing Stadium in Nathan Jones’ first game in charge.

Charlton were hoping for a new manager bounce, and their start will have encouraged the boss. In the fourth minute, after a foul on Alfie May by Amadou Mbengue, Conor Coventry’s free-kick from the left was flicked over by Lewis Wing with Freddie Ladapo lurking.

For the first ten minutes the away side had it mostly their own way, but after that the Royals grew into the game. In the 11th minute, Wing’s corner from the left came straight back to him, and he took a touch before arrowing a shot towards the near post. It took a smart stop from Harry Isted, on his return to the side, to tip it over.

Midway through the first half came a 90-second passage which could have changed the game. First, Reading had a decent shout for a penalty after the ball struck the arm of Terell Thomas in the six-yard box following a Charlie Savage corner.

Just over a minute later, Savage was involved again as he sent an excellent ball over the top of the Addicks defence for Sam Smith. The striker opted to strike it first time, on the volley but it was kept out by Isted again, who punched clear at the second attempt.

Despite the evident tension in such a big game, it was a lively first half, and in the 32nd minute it was the Addicks’ turn to go close. Conor Coventry won the ball in midfield and laid it off to Louie Watson, who slid it in behind for May. Just as the striker looked set to score, a wonderful challenge from Tyler Bindon kept the game level.

Five minutes later, Isted was called into action again when Thomas was caught in possession by Smith and the striker shot with his left foot from a tight angle. It was an impressive first half for the goalkeeper.

Perhaps the closest either team came in the first period was an opportunity for Freddie Ladapo in the 41st minute. A heavy touch from Clinton Mola was pounced upon by Tennai Watson, who played a one-two with Tyreeq Bakinson before feeding Ladapo. The big striker showed excellent composure to cut inside onto his left, but his shot was deflected just wide.

A topsy-turvy half finished goalless, but the action would continue into the second period. Just after the hour mark, the Addicks had an excellent chance to break the deadlock from a free-kick after Louie Watson was fouled by Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan. Coventry’s free kick found Bakinson unmarked at the back post, but from the corner of the six-yard box, the midfielder mishit his shot and it went harmlessly wide.

It would come back to bite Charlton almost immediately, as the Royals took the lead five minutes later. Mbengue’s long throws had looked dangerous all afternoon, and this time the home side would reap the rewards. With the ball thrown in from the right, Bakinson got his head to it but could not clear. It fell kindly for Azeez, who hit a left-foot shot into Isted’s top corner and raced away to celebrate.

Ten minutes later Reading would double their advantage with a near carbon copy. Mbengue’s throw came again from the right, and was this time flicked on by Bindon. Tennai Watson tried to clear but his header only went as far as Azeez, who rifled a stunning volley from 16 yards into the same top corner he had found with his last effort. In the space of ten minutes, the game had gone from being on a knife edge to being pretty much over.

The Addicks were not going to go down without a fight, however, and very nearly pulled one back in the 78th minute. A through ball from Bakinson was missed by Bindon, and substitute Daniel Kanu beat Andy Yiadom for pace to get in behind, but his shot was kept out by the legs of former Charlton goalkeeper David Button.

It was not to be for the Addicks today, and Nathan Jones will now turn his attentions to the game against Lincoln City on Tuesday.

Charlton: Isted; Thomas, Jones, Gillesphey (Edmonds-Green 46); T Watson, Bakinson, Coventry (Camará 79), L Watson (Campbell 80), Edun; Ladapo (Kanu 67), May

Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Ramsay, Anderson

Booked: Edun 64 (foul on Mbengue)

Reading: Button; Yiadom (Abrefa 88), Mbengue, Bindon, Mola (Dorsett 60); Wing, Savage (Craig 88), Knibbs; Azeez (Elliott 88), Ehibhatiomhan (Mukairu 78), Smith

Subs (not used): Wareham, Pereira

Goals: Azeez 66, 75

Booked: Savage 85 (foul on Camará)

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 14,554 (2,963 from Charlton)

Read Time: 4 mins