U18 PLAY-OFF REPORT | Charlton 5 Sheffield United 1

Sheff U cele

A stunning Friday night performance saw Charlton’s U18s thrash Sheffield United at The Valley to progress to the Professional Development League 2 national play-off final.

The young Addicks - coached by former captain Jason Pearce - hit five goals in the first half and, after the break, managed the game superbly to see the match out comfortably.

They will now take on either Barnsley or Millwall for the right to be crowned as national champions, a title the club last won in 2018.

The young Addicks made a rip-roaring start in SE7, racing into a three-goal lead inside 21 minutes.

Only 10 of those minutes had elapsed when the opener arrived. Daniel Kanu escaped on the left and a combination of Karoy Anderson and United’s George Dickinson deflected his teasing cross in at the near post.

Though there may have been a touch of fortune about the opener, the second goal oozed nothing but quality. A sequence of 10 passes concluded with the ball landing at the feet of prolific striker Patrick Casey and he confidently picked out the bottom corner with his left foot from 20 yards.

Not content with a two-goal lead, Charlton made it three four minutes later. This time it was Kanu when he picked up possession midway inside the Blades' half in a central position. He aimed at goal and his low drive was deflected into the net for three.

Sheffield United were shellshocked but the reduced the deficit on 36 minutes when full-back Mehki Haughton-Parris steered home a low cross from close range.

The reprieve was only brief, however, as five minutes later the Addicks restored their three-goal cushion. Nathan Asiimwe released skipper Anderson on the right and he picked out Ryan Huke, who took a touch before slamming home from 10 yards out.

The best goal of the night was yet to come and that arrived via the boot of Casey. Toby Bower floated a high ball into the box and, back pedalling, Casey met it full on the volley, and also on the turn, with his strike flying into the corner.

It was a beautiful finish from the Irishman and he almost had his hat-trick on the hour-mark, but his goalbound strike - which came at the end of another stunning team move - was hacked off the line by Blades defender Sai Sachdev.

Huke was next to go close for the Addicks as they hunted down a sixth goal, but he was denied from a tight angle by visiting stopper Luke Faxon, and on 70 minutes Kanu shot over from a tight angle.

10 minutes from time, Huke saw a deft flick hacked off the line by Dickinson and, in the remaining minutes, the Addicks saw things out to seal their 5-1 success.

Charlton U18s: Kone; Asiimwe, Mitchell, Laqeretabua (Hobden 90), Bower; Kedwell, Anderson (c), Huke; Rylah (Myers 88), Casey (Enslin 86), Kanu (Mbick 90) 

Subs (not used): Sadler

Goals: Anderson 10, Casey 17, 44, Kanu 21, Huke 41

Sheffield United U18s: Faxon, Sachdev (Ciccarelli 87), Haughton-Parris, Dickinson, Waldron, Drake, Aston, Staniland (c), Blacker, Peck (Ly 84), Clarke

Subs (not used): Yam, Blaize, Christie-Cranie

Goals: Haughton-Parris 36

Booked: Staniland 79 (foul on Anderson)

Attendance: 397

Read Time: 3 mins