U23S REPORT | Charlton 3 Colchester United 1

Charlton’s U23s earned a fourth consecutive league victory with a 3-1 win over Colchester United at Sparrows Lane on Thursday afternoon.

The Addicks made a good start on what was an extremely windy afternoon in New Eltham with the blustery conditions certainly playing its part throughout. Even the dugouts on the side of the pitch struggled, blowing over on more than one occasion!

Just seven minutes were on the clock when the hosts took the lead. Dan Birch’s bursts towards the box saw the right-back square for an unmarked Reeco Hackett-Fairchild who had plenty of time to pick his spot and dispatch the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

Colchester, who were shooting into the wind in the first half, could barely get out of their own half which was just as much to do with the Addicks’ pressure as the conditions and they soon found themselves further behind with Alfie Doughty doubling the lead.

A ball into the far post was brought down and he smartly swivelled at the byline and finished from the tightest of angles.

Charlton were pretty much camped in the Us’ half in the first 45 and it came as no surprise when Albie Morgan added a third four minutes before the break, wrong-footing the keeper with a low, drilled shot from the edge of the box which nestled in the back of the net.

The second half signalled the Addicks’ turn to face the wind and it proved difficult to move the ball forwards from the back, just as Colchester found in the first period.

10 minutes after the restart, the visitors pulled one back through substitute Ken Charles who’s well struck drive from just outside the box caught the wind and swerved just inside the post.

Despite the handicap of the weather, Charlton did still look dangerous in attack and Doughty was so close to bagging a brace when he raced into the left-hand side of the box and beat the keeper with a neat finish using the outside of his boot, only to see the ball come bouncing back off the crossbar.

The Addicks were handed a further handicap with 20 minutes remaining when Dan Birch was shown a straight red card. Following an altercation which appeared to have been sparked by a Colchester player stamping on Wilberforce Ocran, the defender’s reaction was punished and Jason Euell’s boys were forced to see out the game with 10 men.

It mattered not, however, as despite one or two scares late on, Charlton’s two-goal cushion would remain intact with all three points going the way of Euell’s side.

Charlton U23s: Maynard-Brewer, Birch, Bowry, Cummings, Scott, Maloney, Odoh, Morgan, Doughty, Ocran (Keefe 77), Hackett-Fairchild (Isiaka 89).

Subs (not used): Newcombe, Vennings, Clayden.

Booked: Morgan 77 (foul)

Sent off: Birch 69 (violent conduct)

Goals: Hackett-Fairchild 7, Doughty 15, Morgan 41

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