Phoenix Sports 2 Charlton U23s 1

Charlton fell at the first hurdle in this season’s Kent Senior Cup, crashing to a 2-1 defeat to Phoenix Sports at the Mayplace Ground on Wednesday evening.

Two goals in the space of one minute early in the second half put pay to the Addicks involvement in the competition in the second-round encounter after the visitors had the lead before the break from the penalty spot.

The home side were the first to register an effort on target on a freezing night in Barnehurst.

Jeff Duah-Kessie adjusted well to send a decent enough volley towards goal, but it was a routine save for stopper Nathan Harness early on as the Addicks began to take control of the game.

Charles Clayden saw a well-struck effort just clear the crossbar from outside the box in the 16th minutes before Wilberforce Ocran shaved the left-hand upright with a low shot.

Just before the half-hour mark, there would be a bizarre exchange of penalties which ultimately saw the Addicks take and maintain the lead.

First, Josh Davison was chopped down inside the box in clear view of everyone inside the ground, only for the referee to award a corner instead, much to the disbelief of the visitors’ bench. But as the corner was delivered the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot, presumably for some pushing in the box, although it appeared harsh. Ultimately, however, Charlton had the penalty that they should have been awarded and Junior Quitirna stepped up to power his spot-kick into the top right corner.

Five minutes later, another corner resulted in another penalty awarded, this time at the other end as the home side were presented with a chance to draw level. Again, the decision seemed half with nothing more than the usual set-tos in the box on show.

Nevertheless, Ben Allen stepped up to the penalty spot but could not capitalise – his tame effort was saved well by Harness as he dived to his right to keep it out.

The Addicks continued to look in control after the break. Davison saw a shot cleared off the line having rounded the keeper six minutes after the restart but, moments later, Phoenix turned the game completely on its head with two goals in a minute.

First, Lauris Chin finished drawing his side level, before a cross from the right was converted at the far post by Duah-Kessie who cushioned a volley home.

Charlton’s youngsters still had 30 minutes left to turn it back around in their favour, but the quick-fire double left then shell-shocked as they struggled to regain their authority.

Indeed, the hosts came close to a third with 20 minutes left when Harness made another superb save to keep out Allen’s close-range shot at his near post.

At the other end, substitute Kareen Isiaka wasted a good opportunity to level when he failed to connect with a free header on 75 minutes, but the Addicks just could not carve out any further opportunities on a frustrating evening in Barnehurst.

Charlton U23s: Harness, Yao, French, Keefe (Buhari 78), Aidoo, Powell (Isiaka 71), Quitirna, Odoh, Clayden, Ocran, Davison.

Subs (not used): Harvey, Allsopp, Gavin.

Booked: Powell 56 (simulation), Odoh 89 (foul)

Goal: Quitirna (pen) 26

Referee: Ben Atkinson

Attendance: 220

Photo: Tom West