BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton will head into the international break on a high after a 2-0 win at Reading preserved their unbeaten start to the season.
Second-half goals from Jonathan Leko and Lyle Taylor earned the Addicks their second away win of the season – a result that saw the Addicks leapfrog Leeds into second place in the Championship table.
Lee Bowyer’s side will now have a fortnight off to take stock of their superb start to life back in the second tier.
The South Londoners nearly had the lead as early as the fourth minute. Leko was released on the left before the West Brom loanee cut in onto his right-foot and saw his low drive palmed away from the bottom corner by home stopper Rafael Cabral. The Royals then somehow scrambled Lyle Taylor’s follow up away.
Reading, managed by Jose Gomes, started to build some pressure of their own as the half progressed. Midfielder John Swift, who once scored against the Addicks for Brentford during a loan spell from Chelsea, saw a free-kick deflect off the wall and narrowly wide of Dillon Phillips’ goal.
The hosts will have been wondering how they failed to break the deadlock just before the midway point of the first-period. Lucas Joao had already sent a bicycle-kick inches over the crossbar before his strike-partner George Puscas came even closer.
The Royals worked it well over to their left-hand side, where Omar Richards’ teasing cross was bundled into the ground and up onto the crossbar by the Romanian forward.
Charlton looked to react and played their way back into the game without creating any real openings – although they may have felt they should have had a penalty when Jonny Willaims appeared to be hauled over inside the area.
Phillips was quick off his line to deny Puscas on the stroke of half-time after the home side countered – and that save looked even more important as the Addicks edged ahead shortly after the break.
Conor Gallagher’s incisive pass found Leko in space outside the area, with the midfielder turning and seeing his left-footed strike deflected beyond Rafael Cabral in the home goal.
That was the first goal of Leko’s loan spell from The Hawthorns but he nearly had a second moments later as he fired into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Charlton tails were up and they continued to pepper the home goal. Lyle Taylor touched Ben Purrington’s cross wide before Leko saw another effort blocked when he may have been wiser to have squared to Taylor who was well placed.
Chuks Aneke had been introduced from the bench and he set up Leko inside the box – that effort was charged down but the Addicks did finally double their lead ten minutes from time.
Aneke had bundled his way into the Royal’s box before being tripped – with Taylor making no mistake from the spot to give his side daylight.
The hosts’ attempts to get back into the contest proved futile, although Phillips did make a wonderful stop as he tipped Swift’s free-kick over the crossbar to ensure he grabbed his second clean sheet in as many games.