George Jones reports from The Valley
Charlton secured their first victory of the 2016/17 season by recording a comprehensive victory against Shrewsbury Town at The Valley.
In a brilliant first-half display from the Addicks, the tireless Ricky Holmes bagged a double - one a sensational strike and the other coming direct from a corner – with skipper Johnnie Jackson also on target.
After the break, Russell Slade’s men put on a professional performance, restricting their visitors to just two shots off target, and they could have made it four when Nicky Ajose came close 10 minutes from time.
In terms of team news, Slade named an unchanged eleven to the one that started against Northampton Town on Saturday, with no switches made to the substitutes bench either.
The Addicks carved out the opening chance of the game on three minutes. A low cross found Ajose in the middle and, after digging the ball out from his feet, he he fired a shot towards the corner of the net that visiting stopper Jayson Leutwiler did superbly well to turn around his post.
A clever routine from the resulting corner handed Charlton their next opportunity at goal. Andrew Crofts dummied Holmes’ short delivery, allowing it to run through to Morgan Fox, who fired over the bar from 18 yards.
At the other end, an Ian Black corner flashed right across the face of goal, with Jason Pearce able to clear the danger at the far post.
With nine minutes gone, Josh Magennis powered beyond his man to carve out a great chance for himself. He outmuscled Ryan McGivern to bully is way through, but was denied by a smart stop from Leutwiler, who stood tall to keep out the striker’s left-footed strike.
Magennis was foiled by Leutwiler again shortly afterwards, having latched onto a flick from Ajose, though the linesman’s flag had already been raised for offside.
The Addicks had been on top for the majority of the opening exchanges; they made their dominance count on 22 minutes. And in some style.
Holmes picked up possession just inside the Shrewsbury half and sprinted forward. After reaching the edge of the box, he opened up his body and whipped a beauty into the far corner.
It was a fantastic strike and all those in SE7 would be off their seats again just two minutes later as their team doubled their lead.
Chris Solly flighted in a delivery from the right that the visitors failed to clear. Ajose fired a snapshot at goal that Leutwiler pushed out and Jackson was perfectly placed to bundle home the rebound.
It was almost three shortly afterwards. Magennis robbed his man on the right flank and cut back to Ajose, but the Shrews’ defence were able to recover before he got his shot away.
Shrewsbury’s respite was brief, however. Kevin Foley unleashed a wicked strike from 25 yards that was deflected out for a corner. Holmes went over to take the set-piece and curled in the set-piece in, which flew over Leutwiler and nestled inside the far post.
At the other end, Declan Rudd made a smart save from Ivan Toney as half-time approached, and the Addicks headed in three to the good at the interval.
Shrewsbury enjoyed a lot of possession at the beginning of the second period but it was Charlton that came closest to extending their lead on 55 minutes.
Holmes accelerated beyond Black down the left to fizz in a low cross that Leutwiler clawed into his body, with Ajose lurking.
Ademola Lookman replaced Jackson with 20 minutes remaining and he immediately got himself involved in the action by jinking away from two Shrewsbury men – the latter a cheeky nutmeg on Gary Deegan.
Shrews replacement Shaun Whalley thumped into row z of the Jimmy Seed Stand for their first real opening of the second period with 20 minutes to play.
And the Addicks could, and probably should, have made it four 10 minutes from time. Lookman let fly from range, Leutwiler could only parry and Ajose followed up but could only send the bobbling ball over the crossbar from 12 yards.
Toney fired wide in added on time for the consolation-seeking Shrews but Slade’s men already had the result secured to the delight of The Valley faithful.
Charlton: Rudd, Solly, Konsa, Pearce, Fox, Foley, Crofts, Jackson (Lookman 69), Holmes (Botaka 87), Magennis (Novak 75), Ajose.
Subs (not used): Phillips, Bauer, Johnson, Holmes-Dennis.
Goals: Holmes 22, 31, Jackson 24
Shrewsbury Town: Leutwiler, Riley, McGivern, Lancashire (Waring 60), Black, Toney, Dodds (Choulay 69), O’Brien (Whalley 68), Brown, Deegan, El-Abd.
Subs (not used): Halstead, Ogogo, Sarcevic, Mangan.
Booked: Deegan 58 (foul on Holmes), El-Abd 67 (foul on Magennis), Toney 88 (foul on Konsa).
Referee: G Ward
Attendance: 9,174 (419 from Shrewsbury)