George Jones reports from the DGS Marine Stadium

Charlton’s U23s got their Premier League Cup campaign back on track by earning a 3-1 victory against Fulham at the DGS Marine Stadium on Monday night.

Josh Umerah bagged a double – with one goal coming in each half – and Joe Aribo also scored as the Addicks deservedly got themselves three goals in front inside 48 minutes.

Fulham pulled one back through Cauley Woodrow’s penalty but the impressive Addicks were full value for their victory on a freezing night in Eltham. 

Charlton created the game’s opening chance inside the first minute when George Lapslie won a free-kick on the right flank. Aribo flighted the ball into the box and Umerah glanced a header into the arms of visiting stopper Marek Rodak.

They came close again on seven minutes when Archie Edwards saw a strike deflected inches wide of the target, having been teed up by Mikhail Kennedy, and Brandon Hanlan then raced through on goal, only to be snuffed out by two Fulham defenders.

Charlton should have taken the lead on 16 minutes. Aribo did brilliantly to escape the attentions of two men in white, he then slipped in Umerah, who cut back to Ba and the Frenchman’s close-range strike was hacked off the line.

At the other end, Jozabed poked harmlessly over the bar from distance, in what was the visitors’ first attempt on goal on the half-hour mark.

The Addicks grabbed the lead three minutes later. It began with a vital interception from Dan Bowry; he then combined with Aribo to break through Fulham’s midfield before the latter slipped in Umerah. The burly forward made no mistake with his finish.

It was a deserved opener for Jason Euell’s side but they were almost pegged back immediately when Joshua Walker burst through on goal for the Cottagers. Thankfully, though, his strike sailed over the crossbar. 

Charlton made the most of their let-off as they quickly made it 2-0. A delicious Umerah cross just missed Hanlan and Kennedy in the middle but, after recycling possession at the far post, Edwards then found Aribo, who tucked the ball into the corner, having cut inside of his man.

The Addicks held a two-goal advantage at the break and they only had to wait three minutes to add to it after the restart. Hanlan picked up possession inside the box but was upended by Adetayo Edun, giving referee Anthony Serrano no option other than to point to the point.

Umerah put the ball down and stroked home from 12 yards for his second of the game.

Having gone three behind, the visitors began to enjoy a lot of possession and they were given a spot-kick of their own 20 minutes from time.

Mitov was second to the ball in a 50/50 challenge with Walker and Woodrow stepped up to confidently dispatch the penalty.

El-Hadji Ba stung the palms of Rodak and Aribo then curled narrowly wide as the Addicks looked to make it four on 80 minutes.

Umerah came close to grabbing his hat-trick a minute from time but, having cut in from the byline, Rodak made an excellent close-range save.

That proved to be the final chance of the match as Euell’s Addicks move onto four points in Premier League Cup Group F.

Charlton U23s: Mitov, Lapslie, Dijksteel, Bowry, Edwards, Ba, Charles-Cook, Aribo, Kennedy (c), Hanlan, Umerah.

Subs (not used): Beeney, Barnes, Millar, Yamfam, Ahearne-Grant.

Goals: Umerah 33 (pen) 48, Aribo 38

Booked: Umerah 10, Charles-Cook 20, Lapslie 68, Mitov 70, Edwards 76, Kennedy 81

Fulham U23s: Rodak, Fossey, Edun, Tunnicliffe, Davies, Kavanagh (c), Chrstensen, Adeniran, Woodrow, Jozabed (Smile 55), Walker.

Subs (not used): Ashby-Hammond, Smile, De La Torre, Dolan.

Goal: Woodrow (pen) 71

Booked: Kavanagh 15, Walker 20, Woodrow 73

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