Jake Forster-Caskey and Lewis Page both got minutes under their belt after returning from long-term injuries as Jason Euell’s U23 side ended the season with a 3-0 win over Burnley at The Valley.
It was Page and Forster-Caskey’s first involvement since suffering injuries last year. The latter - who has been out of action since pre-season with a knee injury - adapted to life back on the pitch like a duck to water and was clearly eager to get involved right from the very first whistle.
The former Brighton playmaker’s class shone through when his first major contribution since his return from injury resulted in the opening goal of the match.
He sprayed a free-kick over to the left corner of the pitch in the 17th minute, allowing Alfie Doughty to unleash a sensational half-volley into the top corner past a helpless Aiden Stone. Not a bad way to re-familiarise yourself with The Valley.
Doughty could have had a second just moments later when he capitalised on some slack Burnley defending, but he couldn’t quite find the finish at the end of it and his shot went wide of Stone’s goal.
Burnley were presented with a great chance to level the scores just before the break when trialist Jay Mingi was adjudged to have brought down Dan Aygei in the box and a penalty was awarded to Burnley.
Aygei was the player who took the responsibility from the spot, but the former Walsall loanee was frustrated to see his strike cannon off the crossbar and away to safety.
Charlton came bursting out of the traps after the interval. Doughty’s trickery bamboozled Jordan Cropper down the left within seconds of the restart, but his low cross narrowly evaded the boot of the incoming Wassim Aouachria.
With Forster-Caskey performing well in the first-half on his return, Page stepped up in the second. A long-range effort from the former West Ham man’s sweet, left foot needed a smart stop from Stone in order to prevent the Addick’s advantage being increased in the 50th-minute.
Charlton were deservedly rewarded with a second goal just past the hour-mark when Abraham Odoh lashed the ball into the top-hand right corner with a measured finish after some very slick build-up play from Euell’s team.
The icing was put on the cake for Charlton in the 86th minute. Doughty, again involved for the Addicks, struck a beautiful half-volley into the top-corner that left the Burnley shot-stopper with absolutely no chance. Another peach of a goal for the 19 year-old.
Euell will be delighted to cap off the U23s’ campaign with a professional performance and impressive win against the Clarets that sees the Addicks finish the season in fourth place. However, one of the biggest positives of the afternoon was to see an excellent work-out for Forster-Caskey and Page in their road to full recovery.
Charlton U23s: Maxwell, Yao, Mingi (Keefe, 72), Vega, Page (Stevenson, 62), Morgan, Forster-Caskey (Ocran, 45), Doughty, Odoh, Kalinauskas, Aouachria
Subs (not used): Harness
Goals: Doughty 17, 82, Odoh 61
Report: Joe Citrone
Photos: Tom West