Goals from Brendan Wiredu and Kenneth Yao ensured Charlton’s U23s came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Sparrows Lane on Wednesday afternoon.
The young Addicks looked to return to winning ways after a run of three straight defeats when the Eagles arrived at a misty Sparrows Lane. The Addicks had beaten Crystal Palace 2-1 back in October last year and would have been hoping for a similar result this time out.
Palace were the first to get a sniff at goal, Jason Lokilo picking up the ball and letting shooting from distance, but dragging his shot wide of Ben Amos’ post – the keeper getting his first runout since undergoing finger surgery.
With six minutes played, the Addicks began to venture into some dangerous areas but found themselves shut out by a stern Palace backline.
Two minutes later Palace forced an opener. Lokilo’s cross was met by James Daly who managed to get the telling touch to force it over the line.
On 12 minutes, Lewis Page, who was also getting his first minutes in search of a return to fitness, made an early exit from the game with a hamstring complaint, being replaced by Charles Clayden. A frustrating moment for a man who has struggled with more than his fair share of injuries.
The goal had sharpened the Addicks up somewhat defensively, but they were still struggling to get forward with any meaningful purpose, finding themselves limited to direct balls which were snapped up by former Charlton stopper, Stephen Henderson.
With 32 minutes played the hosts had a glaring opportunity to draw level, the substitute Clayden working into the box before forcing a parry from Henderson which dropped to Kareem Isiaka, but the ‘keeper did well to recover and smother the follow-up attempt.
Charlton carved out a handful of chances as the half came to a close but Palace saw the opening 45 out to have the advantage at the break.
After the interval, the Addicks looked a more positive outfit and Junior Quitirna spurned a great chance on the 50-minute mark when he blasted over from the edge of the area.
But just a moment later, Wiredu found the net to level things up. A ball in from the right was met by Wiredu who, with an improvised flick, managed to divert the ball beyond Henderson.
With the wind in their sails, the hosts searched for a goal to put their noses in front, almost doing just that when Clayden arrived at the back stick to meet a cross, only to see his first time effort crash off the outside of the post.
With over an hour played, Wiredu could have snatched his second when the ball dropped to him inside the area but he managed to drag his effort wide of the far post.
With a sense that they could force a second goal, Jason Euell opted to bring on Wilberforce Ocran to replace Kareem Isiaka.
Despite the change up top, it was a defender who would put the Addicks ahead when Yao arrived at the far post to chest the ball into the back of the net to turn the game on its head.
Not wanting to rest on the single goal advantage, Charlton probed for a third as Palace began to get frustrated having squandered their lead.
Abraham Odoh could well have made it 3-1 with just over 10 minutes left to play when he was set through by Toby Stevenson, but Henderson made himself big and was able to deny the Addicks a chance of some breathing space.
Amos was then called into action with under four minutes left to play, getting down low to deny Giovanni McGregor the chance to snatch an equaliser.
But despite the late chance, the Eagles failed to find a way back into the game as Charlton saw the game out at 2-1.
The result leaves Euell’s youngsters in third place in Professional Development League 2 – South, one point behind Millwall in second, but with a game in hand.
Charlton U23s: Amos, Yao, Page (Clayden 12), Powell, Keefe, Stevenson, Vennings, Quitirna, Isiaka (Ocran 63), Wiredu (Maloney 74), Odoh
Subs (Not Used): Osaghae
Goals: Wiredu 51, Yao 69
Booked: Powell (90 coming together with Palace player)
Crystal Palace U23s: Henderson (Webber 90), Rich-Baghuelou, Hobbs (Jessup 45’), Mensah, Mitchell (Trialist 45’), Trialist, McGregor, Kirby, Lokilo, Daly
Subs (Not Used): Woodman, Ajayi
Goal: Daly 8
Photo: Charlton Athletic