Olly Groome reports from The Valley
It was a day to savour at The Valley on Saturday as Charlton turned on the style, easing to a 3-0 victory over Chris Powell’s Huddersfield Town.
The Addicks were simply irresistible in front of a bumper Football for a Fiver crowd of 25,545 with Tony Watt stealing the show with an outstanding all-round performance, netting a second-half brace to add to Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s earlier spectacular free-kick.
There were two changes to the midweek side which lost to Derby County, with Jordan Cousins returning to the side as Lawrie Wilson dropped back to the bench, while Joe Gomez took the place of the injured Tal Ben Haim in the centre of defence.
Indeed, the 17-year-old’s inclusion was quite apt on Academy Day, with a total of four graduates starting for the Addicks.
Spurred on by the bumper crowd, the hosts made a positive start to proceedings, putting on an early show of good, flowing attacking football to put the Terriers on the back foot with Igor Vetokele thumping an effort over the bar before seeing a header caught by Alex Smithies.
It was not until the 21-minute mark that the visitors were allowed their first foray forward when James Vaughan broke into the box, only for Roger Johnson to crash in with a superb tackle to deny the former Crystal Palace forward.
Meanwhile, Charlton continued to look dangerous at the other end with Tony Watt causing the Terriers’ backline a world of trouble.
The Scot powered forward and into the penalty area with a sight at goal, but unselfishly chose to square to his strike partner Vetokele, who could not get the pass under control before Huddersfield cleared their lines.
There was a scare on the half hour when Ishmael Miller had the ball in the net for Powell’s men, but his foul on Stephen Henderson saw the referee rule it out moments before the Valley faithful were celebrating the ball hitting the net at the other end.
After Watt had won a free-kick some 30 yards from goal, Gudmundsson stepped up to have a pop, and in the kind of form the Iceland international has been in, there was only ever going to be one likely outcome.
His sumptuous set-piece rocketed into the top right-hand corner, leaving Smithies with no chance whatsoever and putting the Addicks deservedly in front.
Huddersfield looked to make an immediate reaction as Miller wasted a good opportunity to hut the target by pulling his shot wide, but Charlton maintained their control and could well have gone into the break with much more than a single-goal lead.
Vetokele came close to rounding off a superb move down the left, getting on the end of Bulot’s centre, but saw his scuffed effort well saved by Smithies before the striker almost turned provider, getting down the right to put a dangerous ball in which took a deflection and narrowly missed the incoming Gudmundsson six yards out.
Watt would have the final say of the first period, putting the home crowd on their feet as he impressively plucked the ball out of the air with ease before bounding towards goal, brushing off the attention of the odd yellow shirt, but could only fire into the side-netting.
After an impressive first-half, Guy Luzon would have been asking for more of the same, and just three minutes into the restart, he got it as the Addicks doubled their lead courtesy of the industrious Watt.
After receiving a Frederic Bulot through-ball, Vetokele raced through to supply the killer ball for the former Celtic man, who still had work to do to get it under control before poking home past Smithies for 2-0.
Charlton were, at times, scintillating in their forward play, with Watt loving every minute of his afternoon in front of a packed Valley and continuing to terrorise the Terrier’s defence.
His run and delightful chip through to Vetokele very nearly resulted in a third as the Angolan volleyed wide, while Watt himself drew another good save from Smithies shortly after.
The keeper was called into action to make an even better save when substitute Lawrie Wilson showed great technique to send a first-time volley haring towards goal while Yoni Buyens saw his follow-up deflect narrowly wide.
Huddersfield would enjoy a spell of pressure, reminding the hosts that the game was far from over, as Henderson made a spectacular save, stretching to his left to tip a stinging effort wide of the post.
Indeed, there would be no stopping the Addicks, and in particular, Watt who refused to stop running amok in the final third, grabbing his second 19 minutes from time to effectively kill off the game.
The goal was something special. Picking up the ball midway into the Huddersfield half, he turned, ran at the defence, brushed them aside with ease and utter class and before finishing clinically into the top right-hand corner to cap off what truly was a man-of-the-match performance.
From there until the final whistle, Charlton knocked the ball around with ease, much to the crowd’s delight and there was even room for Chris Eagles to try a spectacular effort from the wing, almost catching Smithies out, only for it to bounce back off the crossbar.
The result meant that, for the third time in four games, the Addicks had secured a three-goal victory with a clean-sheet to boot.
And with Luzon’s men moving back into the top half of the table, things are looking e rosy in SE7.
Charlton: Henderson; Solly, Fox, Johnson, Gomez; Gudmundsson (Wilson 54), Cousins, Buyens, Bulot, (Diarra 75); Vetokele, Watt (Eagles 81).
Subs (not used): Dmitrović, Church, Bikey-Amougou, Lepoint.
Booked: Cousins 36 (foul on Scannell), Gomez 40 (foul on Vaughan)
Goals: Gudmundsson 33, Watt 48, 71
Huddersfield: Smithies; Edgar (Smith 64), Hudson, Hogg (Coady 64), Scannell, Butterfield, Vaughan, Miller, Wallace, Robinson, Bunn (Lolley 73).
Subs (not used): Murphy, Carroll, Gobern, Majewski.
Booked: Robinson 89 (foul on Gomez)
Referee: J Linington
Att: 25,545 (2,151 from Huddersfield)