FA YOUTH CUP REPORT | Northampton Town 0 Charlton 6

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Charlton U18s advanced to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup with a dominant 6-0 win over Northampton Town at Sixfields Stadium.

Daniel Kanu scored a hat-trick, with Jason Adigun, Miles Leaburn and Tyreece Campbell also finding the net but Manager Hamza Serrar didn’t want to single any player out after the win, instead paying tribute to “a really good group of players”.

Charlton took a 15th minute lead with a lovely passing move that started with goalkeeper Ahmed Kone. After a series of clever passing, Toby Bower’s deep cross from the left was headed across goal by Mack Reilly, attacking the ball at the back post. Kanu anticipated the knock down perfectly to be on hand to net his side’s opener.

Serrar was pleased with the move that led to the goal. He said: “We do a lot of work in terms of patterns of play and how we play out. When you see it pay off in a game it is great, not just for myself, but for the whole team and it gives us more belief in what we do.”

While the first goal was a result of patient build-up, the second was an excellent counter attack, with Adigun collecting a difficult pass, driving forward and slipping in Kanu, who cut inside his defender and finished well. Serrar explained: “I think that [variety] is our biggest strength. If I was to play against our team, it would be difficult to stop because we can play out, we can counter attack, we’ve got good ideas in terms of set plays. I thought Jason Adigun’s first touch under pressure was exceptional.”

Despite the continued pressure, Northampton held the score at 2-0 until the half-time break. 

Kone made an important one-on-one save at the start of the second half to deny Northampton striker Miguel Ngwa and Serrar felt that changed the game. 

“Everybody contributed, you look at the save Ahmed made to keep it at 2-0, when he was one-on-one with their striker, that was a turning point for us and from there we went to score the third and the rest is history.”

Kanu completed his hat-trick five minutes later, getting on the end of a Bower pass and Charlton never looked back.

Serrar praised the frontman: “I believe that he is the prime example of a true, young professional, that is going to succeed in life, whatever he does. Hopefully it will be as a footballer for Charlton. His attitude, his desire, his personality, you can see that on the pitch but off the pitch as well, he’s somebody that they all look up to in terms of his professionalism. He deserves what he gets, he works really hard for it. He’s a great personality and has a big future.”

The Addicks were awarded a 58th minute penalty after Campbell was brought down in the area but goalkeeper Charlie Woods saved well from a good low penalty by Adigun. The Addicks skipper had a chance to redeem himself two minutes later from the spot after Mack Reilly was chopped down. This time Adigun sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to make it 4-0.

Kanu was substituted in the 70th minute and within two minutes his replacement, Miles Leaburn, had scored the Addicks fifth, with his first touches on the pitch, capitalising on a long ball in behind the Northampton defence.

There was time for Adigun to blaze another penalty over the crossbar before Campbell completed the scoring with five minutes remaining, cutting in from the left onto his stronger right foot and smashing the ball past Northampton’s goalkeeper.

The Addicks move on to the fourth round and Serrar was happy with his team’s performance, as well as the result.

He said: “I thought the performance was really good, especially as we prepared for them to play a back three and they surprised us with a back four. Credit to the boys, they’ve adapted quickly and found a way how to regain the ball and then go and counter attack. In the first half, I thought we got the ball in good areas but weren’t clinical enough or didn’t find the number nine enough. We adjusted that in the second half by being a bit more patient and pulling them out. So I was really pleased with the performance and the result."

Charlton: Kone, Hobden, Bower (Kamara 77), Dench, Mitchell, Asiimwe, Campbell, Adigun, Kanu (Leaburn 70), Huke, Reilly (Okechukwu 64)

Subs (not used): Whitling, Okwumo, Kedwell, Ladapo

Goals: Kanu 15, 29, 54, Adigun (pen) 60, Leaburn 72, Campbell 85

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