Gary Haines reports from The Valley
Two goals from Simon Church and a debut strike from Joe Pigott helped Charlton reach the second round of the Capital One Cup with a 4-0 win against Oxford United on Tuesday.
A first two goals for the club for Church, either side of a free-kick from Danny Green, helped the Addicks navigate the first hurdle of the competition for just the second time in six attempts stretching back to 2008.
And the evening earned added gloss in added time as young frontman Pigott marked a debut to remember with a fourth goal from the penalty spot.
It means Charlton will join the top-flight entrants in the hat for the second round draw on Thursday afternoon.
And a side showing 10 changes from the weekend defeat at AFC Bournemouth gave Chris Powell plenty to chew over ahead of the home opener against Middlesbrough back at The Valley on Saturday.
A fine finish from Church broke the deadlock in the 18th minute as the striker marked his first start for the club with a goal.
It owed much to good persistence from youngster Pigott whose shot hit a defender and ricocheted nicely into his path.
The hosts always looked the side most likely in the opening period, although captain Leon Cort produced two key blocks as the half continued, sacrificing himself for the cause.
And in a bright start to the second period they doubled their money when Church was fouled 25 yards out and Green’s skidding low free-kick flew through a sea of players and into the bottom corner.
Moments after passing up a gilt-edged opportunity from close range – after great work from the impressive Pigott – Church did double his lead in similarly composed fashion to his first.
Again showing great anticipation in the box, he was on the move when a Cedric Evina shot cannoned off a defender and produced a finish as calm as it was clinical.
The hosts comfortably saw out the evening with substitute Marvin Sordell denied a first Charlton goal by some superb defending before Green clattered the post from the subsequent corner.
And there was time for a fourth late on as Pigott added some gloss from 12 yards, capping a fine debut with a low shot into the corner after fellow debutant Jordan Cousins was fouled in the box.
The duo were two of five players to have been in the fabled Addicks youth-set up and that, plus a clean sheet, completed a terrific evening’s work.
The headline team news saw a debut for academy graduate Pigott, the youngster one of a raft of changes from weekend defeat at AFC Bournemouth.
He started up front alongside Church, who made a full debut, following his excursion form the bench on Saturday and there was a first senior appearance for the club for centre-back Richard Wood.
He took his place in a new-look backline alongside skipper Cort with Evina and Lawrie Wilson the full-backs.
Dale Stephens and Danny Hollands were in the engine-room with Danny Green and Jordan Cook the wide outlets.
Pigott, who played a starring role for the treble-winning U21s last season, was up front alongside recent signing Church.
There was a mixture of youth and experience on the bench with Dorian Dervite and Yann Kermorgant the senior statesmen. Loan signing Marvin Sordell was also named in reserve together with exciting winger Callum Harriott and two more youngsters, Cousins and Bradley Jordan.
Keeper Nick Pope completed the reserve ranks.
Buoyed by a fine weekend win at Portsmouth, League Two Oxford, winners of this competition in 1986 arrived in SE7 in high spirits.
There was a debut for Callum O’Dowda while the dangerous James Constable was up front.
A raking pass from Pigott almost picked out Church in the early stages and the Addicks moved the ball around nicely early on, short sharp passes aplenty.
Cort bravely blocked a drive from Constable in the 15th-minute, taking the ball in the face for his trouble, and his side were in front three minutes later.
Church was the man on target, opening his account for the club with a composed finish after good work from Cook and Pigott.
The duo combined on the edge of the box and when Pigott’s drive clattered off a defender it sat up nice for Church who curled a fine finish beyond Ryan Clarke.
Galvanised, the hosts pressed on and Hollands dug out a cross from Church, ahead of a willing Stephens, and his shot was blocked by a defender moments later.
Clarke caught a Stephens effort and Green was off target from range as the hosts continued to catch the eye.
Constable rifled wide for United and their best move arrived in the 33rdminute as Johnny Mullins burst down the right and fed the overlapping Ryan Williams, and his clipped effort thudded against the alert Cort.
The winger booted the advertising hoarding in frustration, suggesting he might have done better, with Charlton escaping.
After Green’s deflected looper was held, the lively Williams cut in from the right but saw his curling effort fly over, and the Australian, on loan from Fulham, was certainly an influential figure for the visitors going forward.
Back at the other end Green’s corner caused a mini-scramble in the box in the last minute of the half, and Wood’s stabbed effort clattered against a defender.
Hollands headed a Wilson centre over as Charlton started the second period on the front foot – and they doubled their lead three minutes in.
After Church was fouled some 25 yards from goal and right of centre, there was little doubt who would assume free-kick duties.
And sure enough Green stepped up to send a low drive through a cluster of players and the ball might have taken a nick in its way into the bottom left corner of the net.
It really should have been 3-0 on 53 minutes with Church guilty of a poor miss after great work from his strike partner.
Cook was again involved, intercepting the pass in midfield and slipping the ball down the right channel for Pigott.
As quick as a flash the young striker looked up and delivered a sumptuous low pass across goal. It was on a plate for Church, but for once the striker’s range was out and he scuffed horribly wide.
He quickly made amends; however, bagging his second of the game as the clock reached 57.
Stephens found Evina at a narrow angle, and when his shot took a deflection Church was again well-placed to gather the ball and produce another clinical finish.
Leon Cort’s long ranger was deflected behind for a comer soon afterwards with Clarke tipping away a viciously-swerving flag-kick from Green.
Chris Wilder introduced Deane Smalley and Alfie Potter in a bid to change his side’s fortunes, but clock was against the visitors.
Hamer comfortably pouched a well-struck drive from Danny Rose with Cort producing another barnstorming piece of defending, chasing back to bravely block a shot on the run from Potter.
It was the third key contribution from the big defender in a typically robust display, something that would not have been lost on watching boss Powell, who craves clean sheets.
Sean Rigg replaced Williams for the visitors with Sordell then unleashed for the closing 13 minutes in place of Church for the Addicks.
Cook was booked for a foul on David Hunt before Cook’s positive evening ended with a niggle nine minutes from time. Callum Harriott came on in his place.
Loud penalty claims for the visitors were turned down after a Smalley cross hit the torso of Wood in the box, and Newey, apart from the keeper, the furthest man from the actual incident, was soon booked for airing his frustrations.
More loud spot-kicks claims came after a free-kick into the box, and Hollands was booked after catching Whing before Cousins entered the fray for an Addicks debut late on.
Pigott picked out Sordell who was only denied a first Charlton goal by a wonderful challenge from Newey.
From the comer Green almost scored, bending the ball against the post before the ball was scrambled clear, and the penalty claims were coming like busses now with Green, and most of a home persuasion, claiming one when two shots in quick succession met gold-shirted barriers.
But there would be a fourth in the final minute of stoppage time as Pigott capped a fine debut with his first senior goal.
It was made in the youth team too as Cousins was fouled in the box by Rose, and after much debate the striker, who dashed to retrieve the ball, won the battle over Green and then Sordell to assume spot-kick duties.
It took some temerity for a 19-year-old debutant to do just that, but his finish from 12 yards exuded confidence as he slotted into the bottom corner.
That proved the last act on an excellent night as the hosts comfortably moved through.
Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Evina, Cort, Wood; Green, Hollands, Stephens (Cousins 88), Cook (Harriott 81); Pigott, Church (Sordell 77).
Subs (not used): Pope, Dervite, Jordan, Kermorgant.
Goals: Church 18, 57, Green 48, Pigott pen 90
Booked: Cook 78 (foul on Hunt), Hollands (foul on Whing 87)
Oxford: Clarke; Hunt, Newey, Wright, Mullins; Williams (Rigg 76), Whing, Rose, O’Dowda; Constable (Smalley 65), Hall (Potter 65).
Subs (not used): Crocombe, Raynes, Davies, Ruffels.
Booked: Newey 85 (dissent)
Referee: A Davies
Att: 4,935 (771 Oxford)