REPORT | Charlton 3 Stoke City 1

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Championship football returned to The Valley in style as Charlton ran out 3-1 winners over Stoke City.

Lyle Taylor scored his second goal of the season before summer signings Chuks Aneke and Conor Gallagher opened their Addicks accounts.

The win followed Charlton’s victory at Blackburn Rovers last week meaning the Addicks have started the season with two wins in as many games. 

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer made four changes from the team that won last Saturday including handing first starts to Gallagher and Jonathan Leko. There was also a place in the starting lineup for Josh Cullen who returned to the club on Wednesday after his successful loan with the Addicks last season.

In a quiet opening 25 minutes Charlton controlled the tempo with Leko causing the Stoke defence the most problems. 

The West Bromwich Albion loanee was influential in the Addicks taking a 25th minute lead, chipping a perfectly weighted ball to Taylor on the left wing. Taylor cut inside onto his stronger right foot and smashed the ball into the goal from just outside the area. England international Jack Butland was well beaten in the visitors goal. 

Stoke’s first sight of goal came in the 34th minute when a deflected Scott Hogan effort crashed off the bar after some brave defending by Chris Solly and Tom Lockyer.

The visitors levelled with a wonderstrike from Tom Ince in the 37th minute. The former Liverpool man advanced deep into the Charlton half and picked out the top corner with a strike from 25 yards out. 

Stoke struck the bar for the second time on the stroke of half time when former Millwall man Lee Gregory saw his deflected shot bounce away to safety.

Gregory had an even better chance just after half time but skied over the bar from just outside the six-yard box under good pressure from the magnificent Cullen.

Bowyer switched from a 4-4-1-1 formation to a diamond as the second half moved on and it nearly paid immediate dividends when Gallagher found Taylor on the right wing, the goalscorer played in Leko but Butland was just there in time to stop the 20-year-old scoring his first goal for the club. 

Charlton went back in front in the 75th minute in a move which started with a broken down free kick. Jason Pearce got the ball forward and Williams got in behind the Stoke defence and to the byline but his cross was blocked away by Butland. Charlton were able to gather the loose ball and this time Cullen got in behind Stoke on the left. His ball across goal was deflected into the path of Aneke who made no mistake with a calm right-footed finish. 

Stoke nearly struck back but Stephen Ward blasted over inside the Charlton box after cutting in on his weaker right foot. 

It was 3-1 in the 83rd minute through a very neat Charlton corner routine straight from the training ground. Cullen clipped in to Taylor who laid off beautifully for Gallagher, running in from the edge of the area. The unmarked Chelsea loanee passed the ball into the top corner to secure the three points.

Charlton: Phillips; Solly, Lockyer, Pearce (C), Purrington; Cullen, Pratley, Gallagher, Williams (Lapslie 86); Leko (Aneke 69), Taylor

Subs (not used): Amos, Oshilaja, Forster-Caskey, Bonne, Sarr 

Goals: Taylor 25, Aneke 75, Gallagher 83

Stoke City: Butland, Ward, Allen, Lindsay, Bath (C), Ince, Smith, Gregory (Verlinden 78), Hogan (Campbell 61), Clucas, Woods (Duffy 69)

Subs (not used): Federici, Vokes, Cousins, Collins

Goal: Ince 37

Referee: S Hooper

Attendance: 17,848 (2,340 from Stoke) 

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