Charlton returned to League One with a bang on Saturday afternoon, brushing aside Crewe Alexandra 2-0 at Alexandra Stadium.
Alfie Doughty opened the scoring on 24 minutes after displaying his pace to get away from his man and slot home before debutant Conor Washington doubled the Londoners’ lead with a clever finish before the break.
Lee Bowyer made two changes to the side that knocked Swindon Town out of the Carabao Cup last weekend with Washington coming in to make his first professional start for the Addicks while Alex Gilbey and Charlie Barker were also handed their League debuts for Charlton.
The hosts got the league season away and fired their first warning shot within the opening minute when the ball came the way of Perry Ng whose shot flashed just above Ben Amos’ goal.
What then followed was a rather cagey period of play with both sides struggling to retain possession and failing to find a pass that would unlock either defence.
On seven minutes, Charlton had two fine opportunities to take the lead, both involving summer signing Washington. The striker initially looked to have worked his way through the hosts’ defence only for Will Jaaskelainen to read the ball well and smother it. Washington then displayed his pace moments later to carve out an opportunity on the wing but his cross evaded the Charlton bodies occupying the box.
Washington again saw another chance well saved by the Finn on 18 minutes, when Gilbey’s initial effort inside the box was blocked but found the path of the striker who was just unable to best the ‘keeper.
Charlton looked the better side and took the lead through Doughty brilliantly on 24 minutes. An inch-perfect cutting ball through the middle of the park out wide from Gilbey found the winger who was able to chase down and cut inside before firing low and beyond the stretching Jaaskelainen.
Charlie Kirk then looked to find an equaliser for the Railwaymen soon after when his curling effort was once again too high to trouble Amos.
Ng then had a glorious opportunity to pull Crewe level when the ball fell to him inside the box from a corner which troubled the visitors’ defence but the skipper was unable to keep his vicious shot on target.
But, two minutes from the break, Washington doubled the Addicks’ lead when he was able to get on the end of an improvised looping headed pass from Deji Oshilaja and volley into the net to give Bowyer’s side some breathing space.
After the break Charlton, very nearly bagged a third when Jake Forster-Caskey’s seemingly speculative effort took a wicked deflection forcing a good save in the end from Jaaskelainen.
Crewe slowly began to find some threatening impetus 10 minutes into the second half, Mikael Mandron and Kirk both causing problems for the Addicks.
Amos was then called into action when Mandron rose highest to power a header at goa,l but the Addicks' number 13 made a fine reaction save at full stretch to tip the effort over the bar.
Jonny Williams was then introduced for George Lapslie on the hour mark as Bowyer looked to force a third goal.
Crewe continued to show their threat down the wings, carving out a number of dangerous crosses but failing to find that killer touch to bring them back into the game.
Once again, Bowyer made an attacking change with Washington making way for Chuks Aneke ten minutes from time.
The hosts will be frustrated that they failed to score on 81 minutes when Mandron let fly from the edge of the box only to see the brilliant effort denied by the crossbar.
Charlton continued to threaten with Macauley Bonne, Williams and Aneke linking well. Up the other end Crewe continued to search for a goal, displaying some slick counter-attacking football.
The Addicks kept a clean sheet, though, to ensure all three points and a fine start to their 2020/21 League One campaign.
Crewe Alexandra: Jaaskelainen, Ng, Beckles, Offord, Pickering, Murphy (Ainly 62), Wintle, Finney (Lundstram 74), Dale (Zanzala 74), Mandron, Kirk
Subs (Not Used): Richards, Lancashire, Sass-Davies, Johnson
Charlton: Amos; Lapslie (Williams 60), Barker, Oshilaja, Purrington; Pratley (c), Forster-Caskey, Gilbey; Doughty (Morgan 90+3), Bonne, Washington (Aneke 74)
Subs (Not Used): Maynard-Brewer, Vennings, Levitt, Oztumer
Goals: Doughty 24, Washington 43
Booked: Amos (tIme-wasting 71), Doughty (Foul on Pickering 80)
Referee: G Salisbury
Attendance: 0 (Behind Closed Doors)