REPORT | Charlton 1 Cheltenham Town 2

A frustrating afternoon at The Valley saw Charlton fall to a 2-1 defeat against Cheltenham Town.

Matty Blair fired the visitors ahead within the opening six minutes, before the goalscorer turned provider to tee up Taylor Perry for the Robins' second.

Substitute Jonathan Leko halved the deficit on 59 minutes with a well-taken finish on his second Charlton debut, though a leveller ultimately proved elusive.

Manager Nigel Adkins made two changes to his side which defeated Crewe Alexandra 2-0 before the international break as Elliot Lee replaced Conor Washington, while Sam Lavelle earned a Charlton debut at the heart of the Charlton defence.

The Addicks enjoyed the first sight of goal within four minutes through Lee, though the full league debutant saw his drive from distance sail over Scott Flinders’ crossbar.

Craig MacGillivray was called into action moments later to deny Perry’s powerful strike, only to see it fall to the obliging Blair who rifled home an angled drive to put the visitors in the ascendancy.

Charlton’s number one was forced into another stop on 28 minutes, this time thwarting Alfie May’s venomous, low effort after the striker had been picked out by Conor Thomas.

Then came the Robins’ second, with Blair’s delivery from the right flank finding the outstretched Perry, who nipped in to apply the finishing touch from close range.

Adkins upped the ante after the interval, handing Leko a second Addicks debut with Charlie Kirk making way.

Just minutes later Leko was at the forefront of the action after being found by Stockley, who had capitalised on lax concentration from Flinders to cut out the stopper’s sloppy pass. The Birmingham City loanee nutmegged the Robins defender to pick out the onrushing Diallang Jaiyesimi, but the winger blazed over from inside the box.

Callum Wright thought he had added the Robins’ third on 53 minutes after connecting with a centre from the right, only to be denied magnificently by a flying MacGillivray.

Skipper Stockley then thrust himself at Albie Morgan’s cross but headed over under pressure from Flinders, shortly before Washington replaced Jaiyesimi.

Within a minute the Northern Ireland international had latched onto Morgan’s inch-perfect before teeing up Leko, who slotted home with aplomb on his SE7 homecoming to halve the deficit.

Evidently buoyed by his goal, Leko then fired narrowly wide of Flinders’ right upright from range as the Addicks sought parity.

A flurry of chances arrived on 75 minutes as Wright’s header was somehow touched over by May inside the six-yard box, before the ever-threatening Leko sent another snapshot wide from range.

Another new signing entered the fray on 81 minutes as Pape Souaré replaced fellow debutant Lavelle, with Gunter shifting to centre-back.

Stockley soon volleyed over on the turn, before nodding wide from Matthews’ centre in stoppage-time following a period of sustained pressure from Charlton as Adkins’ men rallied for parity, though it never came.

Charlton: MacGillivray; Matthews, Lavelle (Souaré 81), Famewo, Gunter; Jaiyesimi (Washington 58), Watson, Morgan, Kirk (Leko 46); Lee, Stockley (c)

Subs (not used): Harness, Pearce, Dobson, Blackett-Taylor

Goal: Leko 59

Booked: Famewo 87, Stockley 90+3

Cheltenham Town: Flinders; Long, Pollock (Freestone 72), Boyle (c); Blair, Thomas, Chapman, Wright, Hussey; Perry (Sercombe 64), May (Joseph 76)

Subs (not used): Evans, Horton, Bonds, Williams

Goals: Blair 6, Perry 32

Booked: Long 90+3

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 13,790 (511 from Cheltenham)

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