BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton swept Derby County aside on a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at The Valley.
They led as early as the seventh minute as Macauley Bonne swept home from inside the area, with Naby Sarr adding a second shortly after the break.
Conor Gallagher added a spectacular third midway through the second-period as Charlton earned their fourth home league win of the campaign – with the only slight disappointment being an injury suffered by midfielder Jonny Williams.
Lee Bowyer’s was absent from the touchline as he served the first of a three-match ban but he would have delighted with what he saw from the stands.
The home side were on the front foot from the off and had already seen a Jake Forster-Caskey effort blocked inside the area before they took a seventh-minute lead.
Naby Sarr lofted the ball into space on the left-hand side, with Jonny Williams latching on and squaring for Bonne. The former Leyton Orient man fizzed the ball beyond Kelle Roos with his left foot as he bagged his third goal in four games in some style.
County were enjoying their fair share of the ball but Charlton were much the livelier of the two sides going forward. Bonne and Williams linked up again as the former’s low cross just evaded the Welsh international at the near-post.
Another chance came soon after for Bowyer’s side. Darren Pratley was giving one of his usual hard-working displays as part of a back-three and he won the ball off former Addick Krystian Bielik before releasing Williams. The ball was laid into the path of Bonne who saw a drive tipped wide – before the Addicks suffered a major set-back.
Williams went down with an injury after winning a challenge in the Charlton half. His afternoon was over, with Sam Field on in his place.
There was still time for Josh Cullen to have his effort charged down one on one by Kelle Roos as the Addicks took a slender but comfortable lead into the interval.
Daylight was finally forged between the two sides shortly after the break. Cullen floated a simple corner over to the far-stick, where Sarr rose highest to nod home his first of the campaign – and thinks became even better midway through the second-period.
Chelsea loanee Gallagher had excelled in the middle of the park and he capped his display off with a 25-yard curler that looped over Roos and found the top corner. That goal hauled the midfielder level with Lyle Taylor on five for the season.
Charlton continued to probe for a fourth but couldn’t add to their total but Derby finally had their first chance of note five minutes from time. Mason Bennett was played through but Dillon Phillips was off his line well to block and preserve a well-deserved clean sheet.
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS