PREMIER LEAGUE CUP REPORT | AFC Wimbledon U23 0 Charlton U23 0

Olly Groome reports from Moatside

Charlton’s U23s shared a goalless draw with AFC Wimbledon at Merstham on Sunday afternoon, but it was not enough to secure their place in the last 16 of the Premier League Cup. 

Only a win would do for the Addicks as Jason Pearce got an important 60 minutes of football under his belt, taking his place in defence for his first runout in a Charlton shirt since being injured in December’s trip to Bradford City. 

After a tight opening period, Charlton did not enjoy their first foray forward until the 15th minute when Louis Yamfam crossed well from the right, but Brandon Hanlan, recently recalled from his loan spell at Bromley, could not get enough on his header which was caught by Dons stopper Josef Bursik. 

Seven minutes later, a glorious chance fell to Karlan Ahearne-Grant who raced onto a defence-splitting pass to find himself one-on-one. The striker, however, fired wide of the post.

By the half-hour mark, the Addicks were beginning to get on top and came close to the opener on 35 minutes when Ahearne-Grant pulled the ball back to Matt Carter from the byline, but the midfielder diverted his shot wide from 10 yards. 

Charlton knew they needed to find a goal if they were going to advance in the competition and came close early on after the restart when Hanlan forced Bursik into a good save with his header from a free-kick delivery. 

And shortly after, he came close again from Doughty’s wicked left-wing cross, which fizzed across the six-yard box a little too quickly for the striker who could not find the desired connection. 

Another chance came and went without the Addicks capitalising when George Lapslie skied over from 12 yards after being teed up by Hanlan, and they were very nearly made to pay seconds later when Callum Phillips missed a gilt-edged chance for the hosts at the other end, shooting wide from close range with the goal at his mercy. 

Jayden Antwi was next to waste an opportunity when he prodded wide from a great postion eight yards out, while Ahearne-Grant drew an excellent save from Bursik with a powerful effort from 25 yards. 

The Addicks continued to push and push but were ultimately left frustrated as the Dons’ defence stood firm, meaning it will be Middlesborough who take second place in Group F to advance. 

Charlton U23s: Brown; Barnes (Maloney 87), Pearce (Yao 62), Bowry, Doughty; Carter (Willis 79), Dijksteel, Lapslie; Ahearne-Grant, Hanlan, Yamfam.

Subs (not used): Beeney, Millar.

Booked: Barnes 37 (foul on Antwi), Yao 90+4 (handball)

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