Charlton’s U17s advanced to the semi-finals of the Premier League Cup in dramatic fashion last Saturday after beating Birmingham City 5-3 in extra-time.
Ryan Huke (pictured), Oliver Hobden, Mack Reilly, Kai Enslin and Patrick Casey were all on the scoresheet as the young Addicks prevailed at the Blues' Trillion Trophy Training Centre.
Reflecting on the tie, Academy Manager Steve Avory said: “We controlled much of the game in difficult, windy conditions. We found ourselves 3-1 up midway through the second-half and then in the last fifteen minutes they got back into it with a penalty to make it 3-2, then 3-3.
"At that point I thought our spirit was dropping, so I felt we needed to get together strongly at the end of the game.
“We went into extra-time very strongly and actually I think what the lads proved is the experience that they’ve gathered throughout the cup competitions this season is crucial in that extra-time period. That's also credit to the sports science department in that respect because the lads looked very fit.”
Avory lauded the individual performances of Zach Mitchell and Toby Bower, both of whom played the entire 120 minutes in the West Midlands.
“I think Zach once again proved what a composed, in-control defender he is,” he said. "I thought Toby was important for us throughout the game, particularly going forward, so I'm very pleased with him.”
Meanwhile, Karoy Anderson’s contribution from the bench also caught Avory’s eye.
“We felt Karoy did need a bit of a break and not necessarily to start the game, but he came on towards the end and I think he was crucial for us in extra-time. I was very pleased with him.
“I thought it was a good all-round team display where we showed good resilience at crucial times but in the end the quality of our football got us through.
“The lads certainly feel they can go all the way and we’re confident likewise.”
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Article by Yannick Stay
Photo: Tom West