Charlton Athletic 2-0 Gillingham: Addicks climb to fourth in League One

Charlton made it seven wins in eight league games as they saw near-neighbours Gillingham off comfortably at The Valley.

Only thirty miles separates the two sides geographically but the gulf in class on the field was evident once Ben Reeves had fired the hosts ahead inside the opening six minutes.

Tariqe Fosu’s piledriver extended the lead before the interval as the South Londoners climbed to fourth in the League One table, level on points with Sunderland – who do have two games in hand.

The visitors, whose win here last season was their first ever in SE7, nearly edged ahead after just two minutes. Home stopper Jed Steer spilled a deep free-kick under pressure, with Connor Ogilvie poking the loose ball against the base of the post.

The Addicks took full advantage of the let off as they took the lead minutes later. Reeves’ corner was half-cleared, with Tariqe Fosu measuring the ball through for the former Milton Keynes man to slot beyond Tomas Holy for his first strike of the campaign.

The Gills had looked lively in the opening exchanges and continued to try to get forward despite going behind, but struggled to create clear-cut chances. Dean Parrett, who had a spell on loan at Charlton from Tottenham back in 2011, saw an ambitious drive at goal deflected, with Steer adjusting just in time to keep it out comfortably.

Charlton Athletic v AFC Wimbledon, SkyBet League 1 , The Valley, 22 December 2018.
Photograph by Keith Gillard

The South Londoners were giving Gillingham all sorts of issues at the other end and Lee Bowyer nearly saw his side’s lead doubled soon after, as Fosu’s shot hammered off the bar before bouncing just the wrong side of the goal line and out.

Reeves was denied by Holy as some lovely build-up play from Taylor and Fosu presented him with a chance for a second, but the home supporters didn’t have to wait much longer to be lifted out of their seats again.

Charlton Athletic v AFC Wimbledon, SkyBet League 1 , The Valley, 22 December 2018.
Photograph by Keith Gillard

Fosu collected a loose ball 25 yards from goal and unleased a sumptuous curler into the top corner, crowning an impressive first-half performance from the midfielder and sending his side into the break two to the good.

Brandon Hanlan, on his return to The Valley, nearly halved the deficit just after the interval but nodded wide as he rose highest at a corner as Steve Lovell’s side looked for a way back into the game.

The Addicks continued to move the ball around superbly in the attacking half and Joe Aribo came close to extended the lead further as his side-footed effort from Fosu’s ball inside took a touch off a defender and went wide.

Charlton Athletic v AFC Wimbledon, SkyBet League 1 , The Valley, 22 December 2018.
Photograph by Keith Gillard

Patrick Bauer powered a header from a corner into the ground which looped up and was headed clear by Mark Byrne, before Reeves lifted a cross onto Holy’s bar, with the Gills keeper scrambling.

Darren Pratley replaced Aribo with fifteen minutes left as the midfielder featured for the first time in over a month due to injury and he nearly bundled his way through to add a third in the closing stages, with Holy able to smother the ball as he closed the angle.

The Addicks saw the game out without any drama as they registered a fourth-straight league win at The Valley.

 

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