A dominant second-half performance earned Charltons U23s all three points against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday afternoon
After going behind in the first-half, Kareem Isiaka’s equaliser drew the Addicks level before the break. And although the visitors missed a number of good opportunities in the second half, Ben Dempsey finally bagged his side’s second to earn victory on the Surrey border.
15 minutes were on the clock by the time the first shot of the afternoon was registered – a tame effort from Eagles striker Giovanni McGregor straight at Nathan Harness – but it was the Addicks who had the lions’ share of possession in the early exchanges
Charlton’s first real opening saw a good Ben Dempsey swing an excellent ball in towards the back post where Junior Quitirna lay in wait, but the midfielder could not get his shot away when the defender failed to clear.
At the other end, Palace were gifted an opportunity to take the lead on 19 minutes when Charles Clayden was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. Brandon Aveiro stepped up to the penalty spot, but Nathan Harness got down brilliantly to keep his effort out.
However, that seemed to spark something in the hosts who then enjoyed a strong period of play. Aveiro wasted another chance by dragging a shot wide with just the keeper to beat, but the Eagles did, eventually, get their goal in the 23rd minute. A cross from the left-hand side was met by Rob Street on the edge of the six-yard box and the home side were ahead.
Their celebrations would not last long, however, as it would take the Addicks just three minutes to draw level.
Some great build-up play resulted in Johl Powell scooping the ball into the danger area where Isiaka was on hand to head home and restore parity.
Harness was beginning to build-up a running battle with Aveiro, keeping him out once again with a fine save at his near post as the action began to open up, while Sam Keefe bulleted a header just wide from a Dempsey free-kick and Junior Quitirna narrowly off target with a decent effort from just outside the box.
Charlton got out of the traps quickly after the restart and could have taken the lead with two excellent opportunities in quick succession. First, Isiaka fired wide from a good position in the box, before Dempsey’s shot sailed over the bar after he had raced into the box to find himself with just the keeper to beat.
At the other end, the hosts very nearly regained their lead with a huge slice of luck. Brandon Pierrick’s woeful effort from six yards was somehow heading well wide, but ricocheted back off of Keefe and the ball bounced back off the crossbar, much to the relief of Jason Euell’s side.
The 67th minute saw the Addicks string together a fine passing move which resulted in Powell fizzing in a dangerous ball from the right which almost found the unmarked Quitirna at the far post, but he could not get the connection he wanted as another golden chance went begging.
Charlton were beginning to dominate proceedings and finally made their breakthrough with 17 minutes remaining. Pouncing on a poor touch from a defender midway in the Palace half, the skipper nicked the ball and bounded towards the box before dispatching a firm effort into the bottom left-hand corner to give the Addicks a deserved lead.
The visitors could have had a third when Isiaka raced through on goal one-on-one with 10 minutes left, but a heavy touch let him down, allowing the keeper to race out and make the last-ditch save.
The Addicks looked comfortable for the remainder of the game, but there was one scare at the death when Giovanni McGregor fired wide from close range.
As it was, Euell’s youngsters hung on for what was a deserved three points on the Surrey border.
Charlton U23s: Harness, Vennings, Keefe, Mingi, Stevenson, Quitirna (Odoh 76), Dempsey, Powell, Clayden, Isiaka (Allsopp 90), Davison (Ocran 68).
Subs (not used): Harvey, French.
Booked: Dempsey 22 (foul), Vennings 27 (foul on Watson)
Goals: Isiaka 23, Dempsey 73
(Photos: Tom West)