Dijksteel 24 Aribo 57 Vetokele 63 Taylor 66
BY RICHARD CAWLEY AT THE VALLEY
Lee Bowyer is the quickest Charlton Athletic manager to reach 100 points since it switched to three points for a win in the 1981-82 campaign.
The Addicks boss racked up his century in 54 matches – three games quicker than Chris Powell, who was in the directors’ box at The Valley to witness a thorough dismantling of a Scunthorpe United side plunged into the League One bottom three.
It took Alan Curbishley 67 matches to hit the 100-point mark – he actually did it a fixture quicker when he was in tandem with Steve Gritt in SE7.
None of those records are likely to mean anything to Bowyer, whose sights are solely on getting the Addicks up. And that will have to be via the play-offs as their top-two hopes were finally extinguished by defeat at Oxford United.
That defeat didn’t make it a Good Friday from a Charlton perspective, but Easter Monday was pretty satisfying. Three goals in an 11-minute flurry pushed this contest out of Scunthorpe’s reach.
The Addicks are undefeated in 16 league matches at The Valley, a period which now stretches more than six months. If they can add another two to that total before the end of the season then it will help with making sure they are walking out at Wembley on May 26.
Bowyer had the luxury of bringing off some of his big-hitters in the closing stages.
In truth, if Scunthorpe had not displayed the finishing quality of a side that is in the bottom four then the outcome of this one could have been a whole lot more interesting. Instead, Charlton cruised to the final whistle.
Anfernee Dijksteel will get a run at right-back with Chris Solly’s appeal over his red card at the Kassam Stadium being rejected – ensuring the club captain will not be back for four matches.
And the Dutchman kicked things off in ideal fashion as he finished across Jak Alnwick – his first senior goal for the South Londoners on his 53rd appearance. Lyle Taylor produced a fine reverse pass to add another assist to his contributions.
An example of Scunthorpe’s prolifigacy came just before the break. Former Charlton striker Lee Novak produced a textbook nod-down for Funso Ojo, but the midfielder failed to even hit the target. Novak also beat Naby Sarr to a Josh Morris cross but could only nick the ball the wrong side of the near post.
Charlton then proceeded to take the contest away from Andy Dawson’s side.
Joe Aribo was left unmarked from Ben Reeves’ corner and rose to emphatically head in on 57 minutes.
Charlton had a third six minutes later. Aribo threaded in the revitalised Igor Vetokele and the Angolan striker, timing his upsurge in goals perfectly to coincide with his contract being up, deftly nudged the ball past Alnwick.
Vetokele had missed the Oxford game with a tight hamstring and made way moments later to a standing ovation.
His partnership with Taylor is showing real signs of clicking and Charlton’s leading scorer was not to be denied. His 66th-minute free-kick – curled with real spite into the top-right corner of the net – was the pick of the goals.
Taylor has 23 in all competitions for the Addicks – 20 of those in League One. If there is one player who you feel is absolutely pivotal to their promotion prospects, then it is their number nine.
Bowyer has the luxury of resting Taylor or managing his workload – especially if their hopes of a top four finish are over before the final day of the regulation campaign.
Charlton (4-4-2): Phillips 7, Dijksteel 7, Bauer 7, Sarr 7, Purrington 7, Cullen 8, Aribo 8 (Forster-Caskey 79), Morgan 7, Reeves 7 (Pratley 72), Vetokele 7 (Williams 66, 6), Taylor 8. Not used: Maxwell, Pearce, Parker, Lapslie.