George Jones reports from the ABAX Stadium
Charlton secured their place in the third round of the Capital One Cup with a well-deserved victory at Peterborough United on Tuesday evening, on what proved to be another superb night for the club’s academy.
Mikhail Kennedy notched his maiden first-team goal, with just his second touch in professional football, while Karlan Ahearne-Grant bagged his second Addicks strike, when he converted from the penalty spot.
A truly magnificent, 50-yard goal from Ahmed Kashi, his first for Charlton, made it three before Igor Vetokele then volleyed in the fourth. Posh replied in added time through Jermaine Anderson but the tie had long since been over, in a game that ticked all of the boxes for Guy Luzon’s men.
In making six changes to the the side that secured a dramatic victory over Hull City on Saturday, Guy Luzon fielded one of Charlton’s youngest ever elevens, which held an average age of just 21.
Spritely Northern Irishman Kennedy, 19, came into the team for his debut, making him the the 807th man to represent the club at senior level in its 110-year history.
He was joined by Naby Sarr, Callum Harriott, Regan Charles-Cook, Ahearne-Grant and Harry Lennon, who all earned starting berths, with six of the starting XI having been produced in the academy.
The Addicks started on the front foot and were almost in on goal within 20 seconds. Ahearne-Grant flicked a header into the path of Zakarya Bergdich but, with clear, open space ahead of the wideman, he lost his footing and Posh cleared any potential danger.
Conor Washington thumped off target for the hosts in their first attempt of the game two minutes in, but Charlton soon went ahead.
Some neat footwork on the right from Ahearne-Grant presented him with a crossing opportunity. He duly whipped in a low ball, which appeared to be heading for the arms of home stopper and former Addick Ben Alnwick.
Possession skipped up off the moist turf, however, with the loose ball falling for Bergdich and he sensibly laid off debutant Kennedy, who lashed home with just his second touch in professional football.
It was the perfect start for Charlton and they almost added to their lead immediately. Ahearne-Grant shifted the ball across the edge of the box before letting fly. His shot was grasped at the second attempt by Alnwick, with Bergdich quickly closing in for a possible rebound.
At the other end, Marcus Maddison drilled narrowly wide of the target and then sent a more ambitious, curling strike well off target on 12 minutes.
Charlton, the dominant force in the early stages, soon responded. Posh full-back Alex Davey completely misjudged a delicious lofted through ball from Kennedy and, back tracking, the defender could only find Harriott.
But slightly unaware of his surroundings, the Charlton winger went for goal with his head, and his effort trickled into the arms of Alnwick.
Washington whizzed a powerful effort wide of goal on 17 minutes and, at the other end, Harriott curled tamely into the arms of Alnwick having been well found by the ever-energetic Jordan Cousins.
The game was becoming more end-to-end and, after Harriott had again fired off target, Souleymane Coulibaly lashed into the stands for the hosts, having been threaded through by Washington.
The latter soon went close again. He came inside from the left and looked to have himself a clear sight of goal, following a slip by Patrick Bauer but the German recovered superbly to get in a vital block on the strikers’s attempt at goal.
On 29 minutes, Peterborough threatened once more. Maddison found Taylor on the right side of the box and his centre was just about turned behind by a combination of Sarr and Nick Pope.
Posh were now in the ascendancy and Taylor sent a daisycutter wide of goal 10 minutes before the break. Charlton were still causing problems through and should have doubled their advantage when Bergdich volleyed over the bar from close range.
The Moroccan had been superbly picked out by Kennedy’s header but he could only hit over the top from six yards. As play began to open up once again, Kennedy set Charlton on their next attack with another lovely flick.
He fed possession beautifully into the path of Cousins, who had broken forward from midfield, but his ambitious, 25-yard strike did not trouble Alnwick.
The goalkeeper was in trouble two minutes before the interval, however, when he lost his footing as a backpass from Shaun Brisley rolled towards him. Sensing a second debut goal, Kennedy’s eyes lit up and he charged towards the mistake. Fortunately for Posh, the loose ball just about trickled beyond the byline and out for a corner, which they managed to clear.
Coulibaly glanced Taylor’s corner over the top two minutes into the second period as Peterborough looked for a quick start. Charlton then came close themselves with Ahearne-Grant just missing a delightful cross from Charles-Cook by a matter of millimetres.
El-Hadji Ba fired over the top and Harriott did likewise as Charlton looked to extend their lead. They soon did, and Kennedy was again central to it.
He drove into the box and, as he was about to pull the trigger, he was scythed down by Alex Davey inside the box, giving referee Gary Sutton no chance but to point to the spot.
Ahearne-Grant grabbed the ball and fresh from scoring his first goal in professional football in round one, he confidently sent Alnwick the wrong way to make it two on 53 minutes.
Posh almost responded straight away as Maddison drilled narrowly wide, and soon afterwards Pope was excellently positioned to dive onto a low centre from Washington.
Luzon introduced Vetokele for his first appearance of the season, as well as Kashi, on the hour mark and the Addicks were soon looking for a third. A lovely jinking run from Ba ended with him finding Ahearne-Grant and the youngster was well denied by a great stop from Alnwick.
Charlton’s two replacements then combined as the visitors came within a whisker of making it three. After Vetokele was unable to dig out a shooting opportunity, he laid the ball back to Kashi, who whipped a swerving shot against the base of the post.
Kashi would soon find the net and in absolutely stunning style. After picking up possession 50 yards from goal, he took one look up, spotted Alnwick off of his line and let fly with an incredible effort that raced over the home stopper and nestled in the corner.
In all-but confirmed Charlton’s place in round three but Posh almost got themselves on the scoresheet when Washington broke through on goal, but he was expertly foiled by a smothering save from Pope.
Charlton almost made it four when Kashi robbed Bostwick on the halfway line. He looked to pick out the unguarded Ahearne-Grant to his right. Sadly, though, the through ball was well read by Alnwick, who came off his line to smother.
But Charlton weren’t to miss out. Charlton’s 808th first-team debutant, Ollie Muldoon, had just entered the fray and he expertly found the run of Vetokele, who volleyed home his first of the campaign.
Peterborough pulled one back in stoppage time when Anderson nodded into the corner of the net, but the Addicks had long since secured their passage into round three, where they will meet Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Peterborough United: Alnwick; Brisley (Bostwick 46), Taylor, Maddison, Santos, Washington, Jermaine Anderson, Davey, Sadlier (Harry Anderson 61), Coulibaly (Gormley 80), Collison.
Subs (not used): Henry, Vassell, Adebayo-Rowling, Angol.
Goals: Anderson 90+3
Booked: Sadlier 40 (foul on Charles-Cook), Bostwick 74 (foul on Vetokele)
Charlton: Pope, Charles-Cook, Bauer, Sarr, Lennon, Harriott (Vetokele 59), Ba, Cousins (c) (Kashi 66), Bergdich (Muldoon 76), Kennedy, Ahearne-Grant.
Subs (not used): Mitov, Thomas, Fox, Gudmundsson.
Goals: Kennedy 3, Ahearne-Grant 54, Kashi 76, Vetokele 87
Booked: Lennon 15 (foul on Taylor), Ba 64 (foul on Harry Anderson), Muldoon 82 (kicking the ball away)
Attendance: 2,771 (679 Charlton fans)
Referee: G Sutton