Gibbs Nets Late Winner as U18s Beat Charlton
Thursday, 21st Mar 2019 16:10
Schoolboy Liam Gibbs struck in injury time to see Town’s U18s to a 2-1 victory over Charlton Athletic at Playford Road, Zak Brown (pictured) having given the young Blues the lead in the third minute before Tashae Andall-Gibbons equalised for the Addicks in time added-on at the end of the first half.
The Blues, managed by Adem Atay and Kieron Dyer and second in the Professional Development League Two South table, went ahead with the game’s first chance.
Tommy Hughes sent over a corner from the right and Zak Brown headed through a crowd of players and into the corner of the net past unsighted Addicks keeper Joe Asaghae.
The visitors, an older and physically stronger side than the Blues, although featuring four trialists, began to see most of the ball but without threatening until the 10th minute when James Venning blasted a 25-yard freekick well over.
On 17 Tyreece Simpson hit a low effort just wide from the edge of the box, then two minutes later Venning shot over from another freekick at the other end.
Charlton continued to press for an equaliser and in the 24th minute Luke Hirst turned a cross from the left wide, although the referee inexplicably awarded a corner.
Just before the half hour mark Charles Clayden shot wide from distance for the Addicks with the visitors having had the better of the game’s chances, albeit without forcing Blues keeper Jake Alley into a serious save.
Luca Vega looped a header to Osaghae on 38 after a Henderson effort had been blocked, then three minutes later Allan Viral got round the outside of his full-back but was unable to cut the ball across the area.
In injury time the Addicks deservedly levelled when Andall-Gibbons was allowed to cut in from the left before smashing a shot to Alley’s right and into the net.
The young Blues had been unable to build on their early lead with Charlton having looked the more dangerous team throughout the rest of the first half - aside from Simpson’s strike - and they might well have been on terms earlier than their injury-time goal.
Town swapped Viral and Dylan Ruffles for schoolboys Ben Wyss and Alfie Cutbush ahead of the start of the second half.
On 50 Brown shot over from an angle on the right, then six minutes later the South Londoners spurned a great opportunity to go in front.
Skipper Billy French’s effort was kept out by Alley, who couldn’t keep hold of the ball, but with the keeper out of his goal Sam Keefe lifted his attempt at goal over the bar from 10 yards.
Nick Okoro shot straight at Alley from distance after some sloppy play by the Blues on 63, then on 71 sub Richard Kesey hit a low shot from the edge of the box which gave Alley little trouble.
The Town goal lived a charmed life in the 75th minute when the visitors had three bites at the cherry.
First Hirst’s strike from a tight angle on the right struck the post and ran across goal to sub Kasim Aidoo, whose effort was blocked on the line by Wyss. The ball ran out to Venning and Alley got across to his left to save.
It was Town’s turn to threaten moments later. Hughes hit a shot from the edge of the box which Osaghae pushed out to his left. Gibbs got to the loose ball but the keeper claimed his low cross ahead of Brown.
Hirst looped a shot over for the visitors on 79 then, three minutes later, a Simpson strike for Town deflected wide off a Charlton boot. From the corner, the ball fell loose to Vega iin space but the defender’s shot flew over off an Addicks player.
Town were increasingly looking the more likely scorers and sub Cutbush hooked the ball wide in the aftermath of another corner.
A minute from time, Simpson’s powerful deflected strike was blocked on the line, by a Charlton hand according to the Town players but the referee waved away their protests.
However, in injury time the Blues scored the winning goal they’d been threatening during the final 10 minutes or so.
Hughes’s freekick from midway inside the Charlton half on the left was knocked back across goal by Simpson and Gibbs tapped home at the post to win it for Town, much to the frustration of the Charlton keeper in particular.
There was no time for the visitors to hit back before the referee’s whistle confirmed another three points for the young Blues, who close the gap to leaders Cardiff to just one point, although with the Bluebirds having a game in hand.
The Addicks will feel they ought to have had the game won before conceding Town’s late winner having had the better chances in the first half and in the earlier part of the second when they went close on a number of occasions.
But the Blues finished the game the stronger of the two teams and took their chance when it mattered.
U18s: Alley, Viral (Wyss 46), T Smith, Baker, Henderson, Vega, Ruffles (Cutbush 46), Hughes (c), Z Brown (Reed 66), Gibbs, Simpson. Unused: Egan, Fehrenbach.
Charlton: Osagae, Barton, Kirunda, Chic (Allsopp 68), French (c), Keefe, Okoro (Kesey 68), Andall Gibbons, Hirst, Venning, Clayden (Aidoo 73). Unused: Harvey, Moore.
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