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U23s Defeated By Charlton and Still Looking for First Point
Monday, 23rd Sep 2019 21:03 by James Ager

Despite Jordan Roberts netting inside the first minute, Town's U23 side were beaten 3-1 by Charlton at Portman Road on Monday evening, their sixth straight league defeat at the start of the Professional Development League Two South season.

The Blues lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Toto Nsiala alongside Corrie Ndaba at the heart of defence. Widemen Anthony Georgiou and Luke Garbutt were on the right and left side of midfield respectively, with youngsters Idris El Mizouni and Armando Dobra occupying central roles in behind number nine Jordan Roberts.

Charlton included former Town scholar Luca Vega, who left Playford Road and signed a professional contract with the Addicks in the summer, at left-back.

Town made a blistering start and took the lead after just 44 seconds. Georgiou picked up the ball on the halfway line and drove forward before playing a neat pass into the path of Roberts, who hit a low right-foot shot which Charlton keeper Ben Amos got a hand to, however, the ball bounced up and spun over the line and into the net.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession in the next quarter of an hour but without troubling Harry Wright in the Town goal, and the closest either side came to scoring was when Garbutt fired well over from 25 yards out.

On 22 Ryley Scott made a good block in the area, only to see the ball fall kindly for Ben Dempsey who struck a fierce drive from 12 yards out, which Wright got down well to block.

Minutes later, Armando Quitirna Junior cut in from the left but shot straight at the Town keeper from the edge of the box, before Jake Forster-Caskey's right-sided corner kick hit the foot of Wright's near post before being cleared.

Shortly after the half-hour mark, Nsiala picked up a yellow card after tripping Quitirna Junior on the left side of the Town box. The resultant freekick wasn't cleared and Dempsey nodded the ball towards goal, only for Ndaba to head it up and into the roof of the net in his attempt to clear the danger.

Nsiala threw himself in the way of Quitirna Junior's effort after the diminutive winger had got the better of young right-back Connor O'Reilly but on 43 the visitors did take the lead when Adam Matthews's cut-back to the edge of the box was stroked into the bottom corner by Dempsey.

There was still time for the visitors to increase their lead before the interval when, in the second minute of stoppage time, a good ball from right-back Matthews floated over Ndaba and released Josh Davison. The striker took a good first touch before confidently beating Wright with virtually the last kick of the half.

Four minutes after the restart, the lively Dobra cut in from the left and hit a right-foot strike that cannoned off the bar and down, but not across the line.

Within a minute, the Albanian U19 international dispossessed centre-back Sam Keefe and advanced through on goal before attempting to chip Amos, but the keeper got his fingertips to the ball to divert it inches wide of the far post.

On 54 Roberts headed Garbutt's left-wing cross down but straight at Amos from close range, with the Everton loanee then withdrawn shortly after the hour mark in what looked to be a pre-planned change, with Australian Ben Folami making the third appearance of his comeback following a lengthy injury lay-off.

With 20 minutes remaining, the visitors had a golden chance to score a fourth when Forster-Caskey, stepson of former Blues striker Nicky Forster, threaded a fine ball through the middle of the Town defence which Albie Morgan latched onto, but he could only lift the ball over the bar under pressure from O'Reilly.

Gerard Nash's side huffed and puffed but failed to break down a stubborn Charlton defence for a second time. The closest they came was when Folami teed up Georgiou late on but his shot was blocked, before Dobra tamely hit an effort straight at Amos.

Nsiala won most of his aerial battles and will have been pleased to get through 90 minutes. Georgiou and Garbutt were both fairly quiet and the former's set pieces rarely got past the first man, which was disappointing.

Aside from early on, Roberts didn't see too much of the ball but Dobra was a bright spark for Town; regularly driving at the visitors' defence and trying to create chances for himself and his team-mates.

U23s: Wright, O'Reilly (Cotter 75), Clements, Scott (McGavin 62), Nsiala, Ndaba, Georgiou, El Mizouni, Roberts, Dobra, Garbutt (Folami 62). Unused: Egan, Simpson.

Photo: TWTD

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BettyBlue added 22:20 - Sep 23
Lambert out. More complacency at the club.

algarvefan added 22:28 - Sep 23
Let's get Dobra in the first team, really like the lad, gives us something we don't really have.

OxtonBlue added 22:38 - Sep 23
I loved the fact that we had a strong u23s last season as a silver lining to the 1st team cloud. This isnt great as we need confident deputies to be able to step into the first XI but can't hide the fact that I'm delighted the tables have turned this season!!! 👍🏽

budgieplucker added 06:45 - Sep 24
This time last year we were witnessing a much more fluent and attractive style from the U23s and could be excused for thinking this was the template for the style of football to be enforced throughout the club. Now it is easy to diagnose that many of those youngsters have successfully moved into the ranks of the first team squad or currently injured or coming back from injury.

We had several players playing last night with first team experience but despite appearing to have a strong line up looked disjointed. El Miz and Dobs tried very hard to make things happen but sadly just hung on to the ball too long to take on an extra man and getting easily dispossessed. Giorgio and Garbut at times appeared as if they were there playing cameo roles. Toto clearly short of match practice and displaying some of his natural clumsiness. Roberts ploughed a lonely furrough and put in a decent performance and kept going but even at this level lacks a predator
instinct. And oh dear what has ever happened to Corrie Ndaba, this time last year he looked so assured and destined for a first team debut, now he seems to have completely lost his ability to read the game and frequently gets caught and his dustribution nowhere near what it was last year.

As newcomers in an experienced team Scott and O’Reilly did ok. I expected more from McGavin when he came on but in fairness the team wasn’t playing well, this lad has shown some promise but as a holding midfielder on recent performances is way off threatening the first team squad.

Yes a good Charlton side who looked to have several maturer players but this performance was no where near good enough from Town. I really looked forward to go and watch the U23 s last year and seeing good football. This year I may be less enthused, I guess the consolation is seeing the first team doing so well but struggle to understand what needs to be fixed at the club to promote a way of playing that is consistent across the club, I get it that results at this level are not important but players will not improve or flourish if performances are not good.

Linkboy13 added 09:19 - Sep 24
Not to concerned about results in this league, all about getting players match fit and bringing on young players,if they can't play in a struggling team they will not have the character to make it at first team level .These games are just glorified friendlies really.

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