Tuesday evening’s EFL Cup defeat at Milton Keynes will have to go down as a lesson learned for Charlton’s young side, according to assistant caretaker boss Johnnie Jackson.
First-half goals from Dylan Asonganyi and Ryan Watson, which both came from Addicks errors, along with an own-goal by Dillon Phillips midway through the second-period saw the League Two outfit emerge on top from the first-round tie.
19-year-old Jo Cummings was guilty of a misplaced header that lead to the opening goal inside six minutes. The Addicks then lost possession again in their own half, with the defence then standing off as Watson took aim from outside the area.
The side, managed by Jackson and u23s boss Jason Euell for the evening, did improve after the interval but the damage had already been done.
“I think the young lads worked really hard but ultimately inexperience has undone them,” explained former midfielder Jackson.
“At the start they showed them too much respect, maybe a little bit of stage fright. We found ourselves two down within fifteen minutes – poor goals – and we gave ourselves too much to do.
“They took on board what we said to them at half-time, which was a few harsh words. I think they tried to put it into practice in the second-half and for large parts of it dominated. It’s a big learning curve for them because this is senior football. A lot of them it was their first taste. It’s a tough one for them.
“A pat on the back for their efforts but that’s all you get. You get a pat on the back and you’re out the cup. Some of them might not get an opportunity for a while. They have to learn from it. We’re pleased with their efforts, but lots to do.”
The South Londoners handed out five debuts at Stadium MK, with a further two players making their first senior starts for the club – an indication of the small and inexperienced nature of the squad at this moment in time.
“Circumstances have forced our hand somewhat with the size of the squad and with the injuries we’ve got,” admitted Jackson, who hung up his playing boots at the end of last season.
“We can’t afford any more at the moment. It would have been a big risk for us to put any more of our senior lads out and risk losing them for Saturday and have to go to Accrington with an even more depleted team. That was the risk that we took. It hasn’t paid off, we’re out of the cup.
“We wanted to win, we wanted to go through. I think the next round would have been a good game for us because we might have had some of our lads coming back from injury that needed minutes in that one and we’re not going to get that opportunity now. We’ve missed that but it was a chance we had to take, we felt.”
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