Chuks Aneke hit a first-half hat-trick on his return to action as the U23s beat Swansea City in the Premier League Cup on Saturday.
The forward has been out of the first-team picture since picking up an injury in early November, but impressed in the cup tie in Wales by helping his side get into a 4-1 lead before being replaced at half-time.
Just five minutes were on the clock when he hit his first, powering into the left-hand side of the box, easily brushing aside the attentions of a defender before slotting home from six yards.
However, the home side were level in the 14th in fortuitous circumstances. A routine pass-back to goalkeeper Joseph Osaghe was followed by Liam Cullen who blocked the keepers’ boot out, leaving the ball to bounce back and trickle in from a tight angle.
Despite the setback, it was the Addicks who remained in control and Johl Powell restored the advantage just before the half-hour mark, cutting in from the right and firing low into the far corner.
Four minutes later, Aneke bagged his second, staying strong just outside the box before carving out space for himself and placing an excellent finish into the bottom corner to make it 3-1.
It was not long before three became four and it was Aneke doing the damage again. A counter-attack saw Abraham Odoh play the ball into the path of Charlton’s number 10 and, in similar fashion to his first, he outstripped his nearest defender to cut in from the left and placed a finish into the net from six yards.
The game was all-but won by half-time with Jason Euell’s young side in a commanding position with a three-goal cushion, although Swans frontman Cullen would find the net again on 65 minutes, but it was not enough to worry the Addicks who held on for the Group A points.
The victory moves Charlton into second place in the group, a point behind leaders Reading, who have played one game less.
Charlton U23s: Osaghae, Powell, Keefe, Stevenson, Yao, Vennings, Quitirna, Wiredu (Maloney 77), Clayden, Odoh (Ocran 88), Aneke (Isiaka 46).
Subs (not used): Watkins.
Goals: Aneke 5, 32, 37, Powell 28
Valley Pass subscribers can watch highlights from the game in the video below...