BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Scoring a hat-trick during a record-breaking 8-0 win – debuts don’t come much better than that of Charlton defender Toby Stevenson.
The 18-year-old, signed from Leyton Orient in the summer, bagged three goals during Tuesday evening’s demolition of League Two Stevenage in the EFL Trophy in what was his first senior appearance for the club.
The winning margin is the largest the South London outfit have ever recorded, breaking a record that had stood since an 8-1 home win over Middlesbrough in 1953.
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer has told the youngster to enjoy the moment – as performances like that won’t come around too often.
“Enjoy the moment because you will never have another game like that in your life,” joked the Addicks chief.
“A left-wing-back, scoring a hat-trick, at eighteen years old. His first start. Football is mad. You get thrown into situations unexpectedly and he’s done himself no harm. We’re short in that area. The young lad, OK he didn’t really get tested defensively, but in possession he was outstanding. He put some great balls into the box. He scored a hat-trick and hit the bar from the keeper making a great save.
“Nicky (Ajose) was great to let him have the penalty in the end. Nicky didn’t want to let him have the penalty. But it was the right thing to do. The kid has done well on his debit. All credit to him. He’s handled himself very well tonight, like a professional. It’s a credit to our academy.
“He’s done well. I think we’ll have to see him a little bit more than that (before considering him for league football) It’s his first game. Adrenaline gets you through a lot of it. He didn’t really get tested defensively. Fair-play to him. If he keeps doing, well not that, he won’t score a hat-trick every week, but as long as he keeps progressing and doing the right things. He’s done himself no harm.’
Photos: Kyle Andrews