Charlton climbed back into League One’s top six with a comfortable win at Walsall.
Lyle Taylor, who wasn’t even expected to feature this evening due to a stomach muscle injury, fired the Addicks ahead after just six minutes from the penalty spot.
Krystian Bielik added the second six minutes after the interval as the South Londoners earned their third away win of the campaign – although it came at a cost as they lost both Josh Cullen and Igor Vetokele to injury.
Tariqe Fosu, who scored in this fixture last season, nearly repeated the trick early on after cutting in from the left and curling just beyond the far-post – but he was involved in the Addicks’ opener moments later.
The enigmatic winger was tripped by home captain George Dobson in the Saddlers’ penalty area. Taylor, who had missed twice already from 12-yards so far this campaign, sent goalkeeper Liam Roberts the wrong way to score his ninth goal of the season and the South Londoners held a sixth minute lead.
Josh Gordon lifted an effort over the bar from distance as the hosts looked for an immediate reply but they were lucky not to fall further behind as the Addicks had a flurry of chances all of which came within a minute of each other.
A deep ball in was knocked back across the face of goal by Taylor, with Aribo having an effort charged down from six yards out. Igor Vetokele was unable to latch onto the rebound but seconds later Fosu found the ball at his feet in the box, only for his drive to be deflected away from the target.
The Addicks continued to look comfortable in the contest but were dealt a blow as Vetokele had to be stretchered off just after the half-hour mark. The striker seemed to damage his shoulder when challenging for a fifty-fifty in the middle of the park. He was replaced by Karlan Grant, who was being rested from the start this evening.
Luke Leahy blazed a free-kick over the bar as the hosts continued to struggle to find a way back into the contest and they were indebted to keeper Roberts for still being in it at the interval.
The stopper reacted superbly to block substitute Grant’s point-blank header after Taylor’s deep cross and limit the Addicks’ lead to just one as they returned to the dressing rooms.
Lee Bowyer’s side did have that daylight just six minutes into the second-period. Josh Cullen’s’ corner was just over the head of Bielik, but a ricochet saw resulted in the ball falling kindly into the Polish defender’s path and he walloped home from six yards out.
The Addicks manager was soon awarded his second yellow card of the season after arguing with referee Tom Nield as he allowed play to go on despite Chris Solly appearing to be suffering with a head injury – luckily the home side’s move broke down.
Addicks keeper Steer flung out a strong left-hand to prevent Morgan Ferrier from halving the deficit from an angle with just over ten minutes remaining, but the South Londoners were then dealt another injury blow as Cullen had to be replaced by George Lapslie.
Bielik nearly added a third as we entered the closing stages. The Arsenal-loanee hooked Mark Marshall’s corner over his shoulder, but his effort just cleared the bar – but it mattered not as Charlton extended their unbeaten run against the Saddlers to seven meetings.