QPR 3 Eze 39 Washington 60 Baptiste 86
CHARLTON 3 Taylor 29 Vetokele 45 Bauer 83
BY CHRIS THOMPSON
Charlton returned to action under the blazing sun at QPR’s Harlington training complex on Saturday morning.
The game came less than eight weeks after the curtain came down on the 2017-18 season and the League One play-off semi-final exit at Shrewsbury.
Though it is very early, there were plenty of positives for Lee Bowyer to take from the game.
Bowyer and Hoops boss Steve McClaren opted to play two different teams in each half.
All eyes were on new signing Lyle Taylor, and he did not disappoint. The former AFC Wimbledon striker was a real handful and marked his first appearance in a Charlton shirt with a goal.
Strike partner Igor Vetokele was another who would have impressed Bowyer, and Tariqe Fosu was a constant threat down the left.
Trialist Simon Hawkins had one or two good moments and struck the angle of the post and crossbar.
Youngsters Alfie Doughty, Albie Morgan and George Lapslie were included in the first-half team. Jason Pearce called the coin toss, even though Chris Solly was in the lineup. Anfernee Dijksteel partnered Pearce at the heart of the defence.
The game got off to a sluggish start, though Jake Forster-Caskey pulled a shot wide from Vetokele’s cut back, and Matt Smith fired over the bar from just outside the box.
After 17 minutes, Taylor knocked down a long ball for Morgan to shoot wide. Sensibly on such a hot day, there was a drinks break midway through the half.
Charlton took the lead five minutes after the restart. Fosu got behind the hosts’ defence and put a low cross over for Taylor to slide in and poke home from close range.
Rangers began to create more chances in the final 15 minutes of the half. Phillips had to make a smart save from an Ebere Eze free-kick, and Smith’s header from a corner was cleared off the line by Forster-Caskey.
But Rangers did get their equaliser six minutes before the break. Dangerman Eze drifted into the box, feinted to go left, came back on to his right and fired into the net past Dillon Phillips’ right-hand.
McClaren’s side had their tails up now, but the Addicks continued to press forward. Taylor played a one-two with Vetokele but his shot was saved. Taylor had another shot stopped, and at the other end Phillips had to be on his toes to foil Eze.
Deep in stoppage time Rangers won a corner. Charlton cleared it and broke forward. Vetokele looked to go left, but came back on to his right foot and fired across the keeper to restore the visitors’ lead.
The second-half team included young Australian keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer, Taylor Maloney in central midfield and Dawkins played wide right.
Bowyer used Mark Marshall at right-back, and Karlan Grant, as he is now known, was on the left flank.
The Addicks put the hosts under pressure early on in the half. Dawkins was just too high with a 25-yard shot, and a fierce left-footed effort from Nicky Ajose needed a splendid save from the keeper.
But it was the home side who got the next goal to restore parity again. A long ball found Conor Washington unmarked in the box, and he smashed it past Maynard-Brewer.
Hawkins rattled the woodwork after 79 minutes.
Four minutes later Charlton took the lead for the third time. Aribo’s dangerous ball in was diverted for a corner. QPR failed to clear Grant’s flag-kick effectively. The ball came to Patrick Bauer, who headed back across goal, and into the far corner.
The lead lasted just three minutes before Rangers completed the scoring. The Addicks failed to clear their lines from a corner. When it was played back in, Alex Baptiste rose highest to head home.
Grant and Marshall had free-kick efforts in stoppage time.
Charlton Athletic (first half): Phillips, Solly, Dijksteel, Pearce, Doughty, Morgan, Lapslie, Forster-Caskey, Fosu, Taylor, Vetokele.
Charlton Athletic (second half): Maynard-Brewer, Marshall, Bauer, Sarr, Page, Dawkins, Aribo, Maloney, Grant, Magennis, Ajose.
PHOTOS BY KYLE ANDREWS