REPORT: Charlton Athletic v Wanderers

Londoner Dapo Afolayan made it a happy homecoming as his goal, two second-half strikes from Kieran Lee and a late fourth from captain Antoni Sarcevic saw Wanderers stage a stunning comeback to get their campaign back in top gear.

After finding the net in only one of their last five games and falling behind for a third game in a row, Wanderers needed to show a response.

And manager Ian Evatt couldn’t have asked for more as his side stepped up brilliantly after the break to wear Charlton down and record a third away success of the season with an inspired second-half showing.

Afolayan, who learned some of his trade just down the road at West Ham United, proved the catalyst with a classy equaliser just before half-time to move to six goals for the season.

And midfield man Lee then fully justified his re-call to open his account for the campaign with two goals in a crucial eight-minute spell to set up an outstanding victory capped by Sarcevic’s superb injury-time strike.

Having made the switch from the North-East to the South-East for a second away game in four days – and a first trip to The Valley in five years – Wanderers showed four changes to their starting line-up.

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Evatt freshened some of the legs but his side couldn’t shake the annoying habit of again conceding an early lead.

Sunderland got their winner last Saturday with little more than a quarter of an hour gone and this time it took Charlton just 12 minutes to go ahead.

And to add to Wanderers’ frustration they were given a helping hand as a mis-placed pass from the back from Alex Baptiste – one of the quartet returning to the side – gave dangerman Jonathan Leko the chance to break and cross for Josh Davison to volley home.

On-loan Birmingham City winger Leko was a major threat throughout the first half and from another of his deliveries from the right flank, Elliot Lee dragged an effort just wide.

But despite the struggling Addicks’ desperation to secure only a second league win of the season Wanderers managed to keep themselves in the contest and suddenly began to make chances of their own.

A fine run from Gethin Jones, well detected by Elias Kachunga on his first league start for the Whites, deserved a better finish before Sarcevic fed Afolayan for an effort he fired just across the face of goal.

But three minutes before the break Afolayan tried again and this time his aim was spot-on.

Wanderers’ top scorer had netted twice the last time Bolton scored – and won – at Ipswich three games ago and he showed his eye for goal again when cutting inside to curl a perfect low strike into the bottom corner from 20 yards to level the scores at the ideal time.

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The goal came at the opposite end to the travelling fans but a superb following of almost 900 was nearly rewarded with something to celebrate immediately in front of them as Wanderers then almost went ahead with just over an hour gone.

Excellent work by Lee gave Jones a crossing chance and the full-back’s delivery was perfect for Kachunga to meet with a glancing header he steered only inches wide.

Charlton went close themselves moments later as a curling effort from Davison kissed the outside of a post as the rain began to lash down.

But Wanderers were certainly not settling for a point as they broke at every opportunity.

And their reward for getting forward in numbers came with 17 minutes to go as Lee paved the way for the win.

Again Jones was the ideal outlet down the right-hand side and after Kachunga had kept the ball alive with a pass out wide, the defender clipped in a cross which Lee acrobatically volleyed home from just inside the penalty area.

The points weren’t quite in the bag as Charlton substitute Conor Washington delivered a scare with a chance he lofted wide after beating Joel Dixon to a ball over the top.

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But with nine minutes to go Lee struck again to remove all doubt as the goalscorers combined to great effect.

Afolayan again gave the Charlton defence the slip, cutting in once more to get in a shot which was blocked but fell perfectly for the composed Lee to slot home and cue joyous scenes in a bouncing away end which was celebrating again before the end.

With eight minutes of injury time to be played Wanderers weren’t finished.

And when Sarcevic launched one of his trademark runs from midfield he ran onto a fine pass from Lee to beat the off-side trap, round keeper Craig MacGillivray and slide the ball home in front of supporters who gleefully shared the moment with their favourites at the end of a capital day in the city.

Wanderers: Dixon; Jones, Santos, Baptiste (Johnston 78), John (Gordon 62); Williams; Kachunga, Sarcevic, Lee, Afolayan; Doyle (Delfouneso 84). Substitutes: Gilks, Sheehan, Brockbank, Thomason.

Booked: Jones, Santos

Charlton: MacGillivray; Matthews, Lavelle, Famewo, Purrington; Blackett-Taylor, Clare (Gilbey 78), Watson (Stockley 86), Leko (Washington 67); Davison, Lee. Substitutes: Henderson, Gunter, Pearce, Arter.

Booked: Lavelle, Davison

Attendance: 12,707 (Bolton 888)

Referee: Lee Swabey

Read Time: 5 mins