BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Charlton opened their pre-season programme with a 2-1 win over Welling United – with new signing Lyle Taylor bagging the winner.
The Addicks’ traditional opener saw a low crowd of 1,020 at Park View Road, which either reflects the glut of World Cup football or a further loss in interest for many while owner Roland Duchatelet is still at the helm.
Adam Coombes put the Wings in front but it was almost instantly cancelled out by Nicky Ajose.
Charlton were the stronger side in the second half and only a number of saves by Dan Wilks prevented the margin of victory being even greater.
Taylor had scored in a 3-3 behind-closed-doors fixture against QPR last weekend and was able to strike again in front of the general public. It was a simple close-range finish.
Former West Ham, Norwich and Blackburn centre-back Elliott Ward played the second 45 minutes but the trialist was not sternly tested with Welling’s threat waning after the restart.
Coombes gave the hosts the lead following a poor mistake by Naby Sarr inside the opening 10 minutes. The French centre-back lost control as he attempted to drag the ball back and it was chipped into the path of the Wings number 10, who advanced unchecked into the box to drive across Ashley Maynard-Brewer.
But that sixth-minute advantage lasted a matter of seconds. Welling keeper Wilks denied Ajose and Karlan Grant with saves but was helpless to prevent the former from hooking home from an angle on the left of the box.
Welling started with good intentions, moving the ball quickly and at a decent intensity. Bradley Goldberg dragged a shot across the face of goal with Charlton’s defending not convincing.
Addicks caretaker boss Lee Bowyer made his unhappiness clear at the instability shown at the back, shouting: “Tell the centre-halves to sort their lives out.”
Charlton’s approach play into the box too often broke down. Patrick Bauer could not keep a header down from a corner delivered by trialist Simon Dawkins.
Welling were to have the last notable chance of the half. Nassim L’Ghoul slipped in Goldberg on the left of the box and his fierce strike was pushed away by Maynard-Brewer at his near post.
Bowyer was incensed his side not get an early second-half penalty when George Lapslie went down inside the box – unleashing his frustration at the fourth official and linesman.
The visitors had changed their entire 11 at half-time and Tariqe Fosu’s dribbling ability gave the Wings an instant headache, even if his three shots were a real mixed bag with only one forcing Wilks into a save.
Charlton came close to going ahead when Albie Morgan did well to keep in a deep cross, Igor Vetokele could only get the deftest of touches and Jake Forster-Caskey missed a connection entirely.
Summer signing Taylor had the next big opportunity as Wilks was pressured on the backpass, the Addicks won possession and squared for the former AFC Wimbledon striker who had time to measure his finish but struck wide of the left post.
Charlton were in control and it needed an excellent one-handed save by Wilks to deny Taylor in the 71st minute. He then turned provider to pick out Vetokele, whose header across the face of goal lacked power.
The next goal always looked like coming from the League One side and when Forster-Caskey’s free-kick struck the bar, Taylor was on hand to force the ball in.
Wilks continued his defiance as he blocked a ferocious strike from Morgan – fortunately straight at him – as the young winger was teed up by Taylor.