Photos by Ben Peters
By Louis Mendez
Charlton earned a 2-0 pre-season win over League Two Crawley Town – but it came at a cost as they lost two key men to injury.
Goals either side of the interval from Joe Aribo and Karlan Grant, coupled with Dillon Phillips’ first-half penalty save, saw the Addicks run out comfortable winners at East Grinstead Town’s East Court ground.
But talismanic winger Tariqe Fosu and summer signing Lyle Taylor both limped out of the action – a major dent in Lee Bowyer’s already small squad, who start their League One campaign at Sunderland in just fourteen days.
The Addicks broke the deadlock after just eight minutes. Grant, playing against the side he spent the second-half of last season on-loan with, burst down the left-hand side before his cross was turned behind for a corner. Aribo met Jake Forster-Caskey’s delivery with a header that looped in at the far-post, with the midfielder claiming his first goal of pre-season.
Dillon Phillips had to save smartly at his near-stick minutes after as a deep cross floated over Chris Solly’s head and was poked towards goal by Crawley trialist Andy Driver.
Aribo nearly doubled his tally for the afternoon but saw his placed effort touched behind by Crawley goalkeeper Glenn Morris, with Lewis Page volleying the resultant corner off-target.
Summer acquisition Taylor had a shot blocked from the edge of the area after controlling a long-ball over the top superbly, before the hosts were given the chance to level up the contest.
Page was harshly adjudged to have felled Town forward Ollie Palmer in the box, but justice was served as Phillips dived full-stretch to his right to palm Josh Payne’s spot-kick around the post.
Lee Bowyer was then dealt a blow as winger Tariqe Fosu, who was badly missed when side-lined last season, was forced off after picking up an injury – youngster Alfie Doughty came on in his place.
The lively Grant flashed a ball across the face of the Crawley goal but nobody was there in white to turn it home, with the Addicks settling for a slender one goal advantage at the interval.
The hosts made ten changes at the break but Bowyer, who had left senior players like Josh Magennis and Nicky Ajose at home, chose to stick with the eleven that ended the first-period.
Chances were at a premium at the start of the second-half –Taylor unable managed to get his head on the end of Solly’s centre just before the hour mark.
The former AFC Wimbledon man then sliced a shot wide from the edge of the box, but the Charlton lead was doubled moments later.
Grant latched onto a loose back-pass by Dannie Burman and lifted the ball over the advancing substitute stopper Yusuf Mersin.
But the South Londoners’ joy was short-lived as they soon lost another key man to injury – Taylor limping off after hurting his foot whilst battling to win the ball at a corner.
The depleted Addicks held on to their victory – and they return to pre-season action on Tuesday evening as Premier League outfit Brighton and Hove Albion visit The Valley.
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