Charlton's U23s began their Premier League Cup Group A campaign with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Swansea City at Princes Park on Friday afternoon.
An entertaining game saw the Swans take a first-half lead, before Josh Davison levelled for the hosts. But despite having a second-half penalty saved, it was the visitors who took the points from the first game of this season's competition.
After a somewhat scrappy opening, the visitors took the lead with 15 minutes gone – Josh Thomas drilling a shot into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the box.
The Addicks went in search of an immediate reaction and came close when Josh Davison forced keeper Lewis Webb into a smart save at the near post on 19 minutes. The stopper was called into action again shortly after, first making a similar save from Junior Quitirna, before tipping over Charles Clayden’s piledriver from the resulting corner.
It had been a good reaction from the home side and they bagged a deserved equaliser just before the half-hour mark. Joh Powell sent another test towards Webb with a good strike from outside the box. The keeper got down well to keep it out, but did not count on Davison, who was on hand to fire home the rebound from close range.
After the break, the action swung one way and the other with both sides warming the hands of the goalkeepers with decent efforts from distance. With 58 minutes on the clock, Charlton came inches away from taking the lead when Webb spilled a free-kick delivery into the box. With the ball falling to Davison 12 yards out, he had the goal at his mercy, but was only denied by the slightest of touches from a desperate Swans defender, which took it just over the bar.
Swansea were presented with a golden opportunity to go back ahead just after the hour mark when Sam Keefe brought down a visiting forward following a dangerous cross from the right. Simon Pauley stepped up to take it, but Nathan Harness dived the way to keep it out of the bottom right-hand corner to keep the scores level.
At the other end, the Addicks again came so close to taking the lead when Albie Morgan’s free-kick was tipped onto the post by Webb and that would prove to be a turning point, as the visitors found themselves ahead shortly after.
With 21 minutes remaining, some sloppy play on the halfway-line allowed sub Ali Al-Hamadi to burst forwards and lay the ball on a plate for Mason Jones-Thomas, who tapped home from close range.
Charlton went in search for another equaliser and threw bodies forward late on. Substitute Kareem Isiaka had the ball nicked off his foot just as he was about to pull the trigger when through on goal, while a number of good balls into the box just could not find that all-important touch, leaving the Addicks frustrated.
Jason Euell's side will go in search of their first group victory when the Premier League Cup continues with a trip to Colchester United on November 7th.
Charlton U23s: Harness, Yao, Keefe, Mingi (Odoh 85), Vega, Morgan, Dempsey, Powell, Clayden (Isiaka 78), Quitirna, Davison (Ocran 78).
Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Vennings..
Goal: Davison 28
(Photos: Kyle Andrews and Tom West)