U16s crowned cup champions

U16s celebrate cup win

Charlton’s U16s were crowned Premier League Professional Development League Cup champions at The Valley on Tuesday night after beating Bristol City in a penalty shootout. 

A hat-trick from Emmanuel Sol-Loza looked to have won the game for the young Addicks, only for the Robins to level proceedings at 3-3 in the 12th minute of second-half stoppage time. 

The teams could not be separated in extra-time, meaning that the tie had to be settled on spot-kicks, with Charlton scoring all five of theirs and goalkeeper Finley Woodham making a decisive save to win the final.

Kieran Culleton's side started brightly in SE7 and they broke the deadlock on 16 minutes when Sol-Loza cut inside from the left side of the penalty before picking out the bottom corner with a low strike. 

It was a deserved opener for the young Addicks and they doubled their advantage just four minutes later when Sol-Loza tucked home a loose ball from close range after a Bradley Tagoe strike could only be parried. 

The hosts dominated for the remainder of the first half but City did half the deficit on 38 minutes when Harry Hogg diverted a cross from the left into the net. 

The Robins levelled on 52 minutes through a good strike from Luke Skinner but Charlton were back in front moments later when, from a short corner, Sol-Loza headed home a deep cross at the far post.

The trophy looked to be the Addicks’ but in the dying moments of second-half stoppage time, Bristol City hit back again. 

A cross from the right was headed back across goal and Addicks skipper Jack Belton inadvertently diverted the ball into his own net. 

Despite a normal-time victory being snatched away from Charlton at the last, they did not let their heads drop going into two 10-minute periods of extra-time. 

As legs tired, neither team could find another goal in the additional periods, meaning that the final headed for penalties. 

Belton, Reuben Reid, Marley Dawkins and Tate Elliott all scored from 12 yards for Charlton, as they made it four perfect penalties. Addicks goalkeeper Finley Woodham saved from City’s Victor Akinbo, as they missed one of their four. 

That gave Ellis McMillan the chance to win the final for the  youngAddicks and he duly delivered, firing the ball into the bottom corner to win Charlton some silverware on a memorable night at The Valley.

Charlton: Woodham, Valentine (Olatunji 61), Davis (Gokah 80+5), Belton (c), Elliott, Dawkins, Tagoe (Reid 61), Amoah, Sol-Loza (Cooley 75), McMillan, Lee-Burnham

Sub (not used): Spencer

Goals: Sol-Loza 16, 20, 56

Attendance: 564

Charlton fans can support the academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club’s academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.

Click here for more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member. 

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