George Jones reports from The Valley
Charlton booked their place in the second round of the Capital One Cup with a comprehensive victory over Dagenham & Redbridge at The Valley on Tuesday evening.
Goals from Tony Watt and Karlan Ahearne-Grant, the latter’s first in professional football, put Charlton in command in the first half before Zakaraya Bergdich’s first for the club made it three shortly after half time.
Cristian Doidge gave the Daggers some hope midway through the second period with a crisp finish, but Addicks replacement Reza Ghoochannejhad completed the scoring with a well-placed, curling strike.
Head Coach Guy Luzon made six changes to the side that downed Queens Park Rangers in SE7 on Saturday, handing full debuts to new signings Naby Sarr, Cristian Ceballos and Bergdich.
Academy graduate Regan Charles-Cook was rewarded with his professional bow, following some impressive displays in pre-season, while club captain Johnnie Jackson and weekend goalscorer Watt also came into the eleven.
Bergdich almost escaped down the left when Ceballos played a lofted ball over the top inside a minute but after being pulled back by Nyron Nosworthhy, an offence not spotted by the officials, Dagenham managed to deal with the danger.
The same pair combined a couple of minutes later as Ceballos hooked possession over the top for Bergdich to chase. Unfortunately for the Addicks, though, the moistness of the Valley turf enabled to ball to run through to visiting stopper Mark Cousins.
At the other end, Nicholas Hamalainen drilled a strike goalwards that Nick Pope pounced upon following some inventive play down the right from the Daggers’ Jodi Jones.
An inviting cross from Watt just eluded the head of strike partner Ahearne-Grant as the Addicks probed for an opener on the quarter-hour mark, and they came agonisingly close moment later.
After a direct run forward from Watt was halted illegally by Nosworthy, skipper Jackson stepped up and whipped a beautiful free-kick against the frame of the goal.
Charlton continued to push for the breakthrough and some neat link-up play between Ceballos and Charles-Cook almost worked an opening down the right before a clever flick from Bergdich was inches away from dropping into the path of Ahearne-Grant.
Ashley Chambers dragged harmlessly wide for Dagneham on 22 minutes in a rare foray forward from the visitors, while no-one in a red shirt was able to tap home Bauer’s header across goal.
Charlton did not take much longer to go ahead, though. A poor clearance from Daggers stopper Cousins was superbly recycled into the path of Watt on the left by Jackson. The Scot then drove inside, was initially dispossessed by Nosworthy on the 18-yard line, but recovered the ball and thumped home from the edge of the box for his second goal in as many halves of football.
A slip from Bauer gave Matt McClure a sight of goal on 34 minutes, but the Daggers forward also lost his footing just as he shaped to shoot at goal, and Addicks debutant Charles-Cook recovered excellently to block a Chambers cross form the left, after the Daggers wideman had sold him a dummy.
Dagenham were beginning to get a foothold in the game as the first half crept towards its conclusion and Sarr had to be on hand to block McClure’s first-time strike from a Joe Widdowson cross.
But, just as the visitors started to feel comfortable, Charlton made their Championship knowhow count and made it 2-0.
Ceballos controlled a high ball in the centre circle and found Watt on the left flank. The Scot then returned possession to his Spanish team-mate, who had made a rampaging run down the wing. His cross was cleared at the near post just as Bergdich was about to turn it home, but the loose ball fell to Ahearne-Grant and the academy graduate steadied himself before firing low into the corner.
Charlton held a two-goal advantage at the break and they almost extended it moments after the restart. Watt wriggled between three bodies on the edge of the box, with the ball eventually falling for El-Hadji Ba, who rattled the goalframe from 20 yards.
A smart piece of control from Dagenham’s Chambers presented him with a shooting opportunity on 55 minutes but his looped effort was gobbled up by Pope at the second attempt.
The Addicks responded by notching a third. A great decoy run from Ahearne-Grant made space for Watt in a central position and he subsequently played in Bergdich, who advanced forward before placing under Cousins and into the net.
The lively Ahearne-Grant then drilled into the side netting after making himself half a yard against Clevid Dikamona and, on 67 minutes, the youngster burst down the left and chopped inside before forcing Cousins to tip his curling shot around the post.
Dagenham pulled one back when Doidge slotted home from 12 yards after Chambers had intelligently threaded the ball through to him inside the box.
Pope had to race off of his line to head the danger clear with Jones chasing a punt down field as the Daggers sensed a route back into the game, and the 17-year-old wideman then unleashed a low strike at goal that Pope gathered at the second attempt.
A great burst down the right from Charles-Cook saw him pick out Ahearne-Grant in the middle, who’s first-time effort went well off target. Fellow academy product Tareiq Holmes-Dennis was introduced for his Charlton debut on 74 minutes and they soon made it four.
Substitute Ghoochannejhad peeled off his marker and was picked out by Ba. In on goal, the Iran international gradually improved his shooting angle as he advanced forward before curling beyond Cousins and into the corner.
Doidge dragged a volley just wide for Dagenham in the first minute of added time and Ashley Hemmings fired well over soon afterwards in the final attempt of the game for the visitors as Charlton eased into round two.
Charlton: Pope; Charles-Cook, Bauer, Sarr, Fox, Ceballos (Holmes-Dennis 74), Ba, Jackson, Bergdich (Gudmundsson 62), Ahearne-Grant, Watt (Ghoochannejhad 62).
Subs (not used): Mitov, Cousins, Makienok, Lennon.
Goals: Watt 26, Ahearne-Grant 40, Bergdich 57, Ghoochannejhad 77
Booked: Ceballos 33 (foul on Chambers)
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Nosworthy, Dikamona, Boucaud (c), McClure (Doidge 58), Chambers, Jones, Hamalainen (Hemmings 58), Partridge (Passley 75), Ferdinand, Widdowson.
Subs (not used): O’Brien, Connors, Cureton, Richards.
Goals: Doidge 69
Booked: Nosworthy 15 (foul on Watt).
Attendance 5,100 (Dagenham 445).
Referee: S Attwell.