Lyle Taylor’s goal help to sink his former side AFC Wimbledon as Charlton came out on top in a game that played out with ten men apiece for an hour at The Valley.
Charlton’s Naby Sarr was shown a red card before a minute had even been played, although Mitchell Pinnock’s dismissal after half-an-hour levelled the sides up once again.
Taylor finally broke the deadlock for the home side in the second-half, with Mark Marshall adding gloss to the score-line in the closing stages in rain swept South East London.
Charlton end the day still in League One’s top six, but AFC Wimbledon drop to rock-bottom of the table, with new boss Wally Downes still searching for his first victory.
The contest boiled over inside the opening minute, despite the wintery conditions at The Valley. Sarr flew into a challenge on Wimbledon’s Tennai Watson, with referee Trevor Kettle consulting his assistant before producing a straight red-card after just 57 seconds – although replays show the decision to be harsh.
Despite the numerical advantage, it was the hosts who dominated possession in the first-half – with Downes’ side happy to sit off and soak up the Addicks’ pressure.
Charlton’s build-up play was patient throughout the period. Tariqe Fosu cut-in before firing over from inside the area for the first real chance after fourteen minutes.
The Addicks sliced the Dons’ back-line open soon after, with Joe Aribo squaring for Taylor inside the box. The striker, who made the switch from AFC Wimbledon to The Valley in the summer, saw his effort charged down.
Tom Soares, who once had a loan-spell at Charlton, lifted a shot over from the edge of the area on a rare foray forward for the visitors – before Kettle’s red-card made its second appearance of the half.
Pinnock, who had already been booked for a late challenge in the middle of the park, was shown a second-yellow for simulation after going down on the edge of the Charlton area just beyond the half-hour mark.
The now even-handed game became cagey as we approached the break but the Addicks had a big chance shortly after the interval.
Fosu rolled a corner into the path of Taylor, who laid it off for Ben Reeves, only for the former Milton Keynes man to side-foot over from inside the eighteen-yard box.
Joe McDonnell in the Wombles’ goal did well to beat Taylor to a deep cross from Reeves, with the loose ball falling to Joe Aribo, who could only volley the difficult chance wide.
The home side’s pressure eventually paid off just before the hour-mark. Ajose found space down the left before delivering an enticing low-ball, with Taylor nipping in ahead of former Charlton trainee Terell Thomas to poke home his fourteenth goal of the campaign.
Ajose could have extended the Addicks’ lead after latching onto Reeves’ long-ball, but McDonnell raced off his line to beat the striker to the ball, before Taylor then curled over from the edge of the box after Ajose did well to pressurise a clearance.
The Wombles started to try and ease their way back into it as we entered the final ten minutes but were unable to make the most of a succession of corners in-front of the visiting supporters – but any hope of a comeback were extinguished with four minutes left.
Bielik saw Marshall in space on the right, with the winger collecting the ball and drilling a glorious finish across the face of goal and in at the far-post to seal the three points for Lee Bowyer’s side.
Pictures: Paul Edwards and Keith Gillard
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