Olly Groome report from the DGS Marine Stadium
Mikhail Kennedy bagged a hat-trick as Charlton’s U23s secured a 4-0 victory over Ipswich Town at Greenwich Borough on Monday.
The hosts went into the break with a one-goal lead thanks to Joshua Umerah’s strike before Kennedy helped himself to a 19-minute treble, including a stunning strike from a free-kick to cement Jason Euell’s side’s place at the top of Professional Development League 2 – South.
The Addicks made a bright start and very nearly took the lead on nine minutes after some great work from Aaron Barnes saw the full-back burst into the box before seeing his effort kept out of the bottom corner by Ipswich stopper Michael Crowe.
From the resulting corner, Anfernee Dijksteel rose highest, only to see his header cleared off the line, while Umerah sent a shot skimming narrowly past the left-hand upright from 20 yards shortly after.
The visitors did not see their first opening until the 22nd minute and it came from Dimitar Mitov’s error. The Bulgarian keeper slipped as he went to punt the ball upfield and delivered the ball straight to an Ipswich attacker who fed in Monty Patterson.
Mitov recovered brilliantly, however, rushing out to make a fine save to stop the striker one-on-one.
It was the hosts who were enjoying much the better of the first period, although each attack was met by a resilient Ipswich backline.
Chris Millar’s goalbound shot took a wicked deflection off his teammate Kennedy prior to the Northern Ireland U21 international seeing his shot denied in the box by Luke Woolfenden’s fantastic block after he had brought down Anfernee Dijksteel’s pinpoint cross.
Mitov sprung into action 10 minutes before the break to prevent the Tractor Boys from stealing the lead, making another fine one-on-one save to deny Ben Morris and made yet another brilliant recovery to deny Morris again minutes later.
After spilling an initial shot, Morris looked certain to capitalise on the slip, but the goalkeeper stood firm to keep out the point-blank rebound.
That save proved pivotal as the Addicks went straight down the other end and took the lead in the 38th minute when Umerah pounced on a weak Ipswich backpass before coolly rounding the keeper and finishing into an empty net for his 13th development squad goal of the season.
Charlton made a lightning-quick start to the second half, scoring twice in three minutes to stretch the lead to three.
First, Kennedy netted a quite brilliant goal, taking one touch to turn brilliantly on the edge of the box and firing low into the bottom right-hand corner, before sealing his brace from close range in the 51st minute.
Umerah claimed the assist, driving in a cross from the left for Kennedy to stretch and put the ball into the roof of the net to put Charlton well and truly in the driving seat.
The Addicks continued to impress. Reeco Hackett-Fairchild smacked the woodwork with a good-looking shot from distance and it was not long before a fourth was scored.
Indeed, it came in some style as Kennedy secured his treble. After Regan Charles-Cook was hacked down on the edge of the box, the resulting free-kick saw the ball teed up for the Northern Irishman, who belted an unstoppable shot which flew straight through the wall and past the keeper, nearly bursting the net as it came to a halt.
The victory keeps the young Addicks top of the table with a trip to face Queens Park Rangers next Monday the next test for Euell’s side.
Charlton: Mitov, Lapslie, Barnes, Yao, Bowry, Dijksteel (Simpson 83), Carter, Kennedy, Hackett-Fairchild (Yamfam 67, Millar (Charles-Cook 63), Umerah.
Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Zemura.
Goals: Umerah 38, Kennedy 48, 51, 67
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