Academy Notes: Zach Mitchell

Charlton Athletic U21 defender Zach Mitchell spoke to Valley Gold for Academy Notes following the recent 2-0 defeat at Barnsley.

The centre-back who signed for Charlton aged 8 started out as a midfielder before switching to a more defensive role and has interchanged between the two positions, adding versatility to his game and allowing him to adapt to different situations. He told Valley Gold:

“Barnsley started aggressively, pressing high up the pitch and locking us deep in our own half. Their intensity out of possession soon resulted in their first goal. An overhit pass from the left flank was met by a deep run, on the edge of the six-yard box. The wing-back then flashed a low ball across the face of goal, greeting a Barnsley foot and subsequently the bottom left-hand corner.

“As the game progressed, we countered their assertiveness with patience and variety in our build-up play. Sporadically, we broke through their endeavour, and a flurry of corners ensued, leading to a close chance at the 15-minute mark when Euan Williams fired narrowly over the bar after a goal-line scramble fell to his feet just outside the six-yard box.

“Barnsley remained positive after their opener and would soon double their lead from a set piece, A corner flicked on creatively by their number 9 at the front post, past a stretched Ahmed Kone between the Charlton sticks.

“The opening exchanges of the second half were dominated by Charlton, and we saw a number of promising attacks but to no avail. Barnsley’s threat dwindled, and the increasing inaction in our half damaged the home side’s confidence.

“Our first real chance of the half came from a corner when the ball fell again to captain Euan Williams, whose powerful shot blazed over the bar and out for a goal kick. Tyreece Campbell was the next to go close to scoring for the Addicks with a penalty shout and went to ground in the box before he could get his shot away. The referee unfortunately waved play on.

“The home side defended valiantly, evident when perhaps our best chance of the game, a weaker footed Sahid Kamara shot was blocked on the line, and as the full-time whistle blew, an echo representative of disappointment for us; 2-0 the final score.

“The hosts prevailed in a game most certainly of two halves. Nevertheless, we look forward to our next game with focus, optimism and excitement.”

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