REPORT: Wanderers v Charlton Athletic

Wanderers delivered a family treat to get their campaign back into gear with a highly impressive third home league win of the season.

A superb Family Day crowd of close to 20,000 was given some top-class entertainment as Ian Evatt’s men came from behind to bounce back from successive league losses.

And after finding goals hard to come by, they backed up the four they bagged in the mid-week Papa Johns Trophy win over Crewe with another three to go above Charlton in the table and back onto the coat tails of the early top-six candidates.

Conor Bradley regained his standing as joint top scorer with his third goal of the season to cancel out Charlton’s early strike.

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And Kieran Lee and George Johnston then claimed their first goals of the campaign either side of the break to secure an important three poins.

Wanderers gave a first league start of the season to George Thomason in a midfield that also saw the return of MJ Williams in a side showing three changes to the one that had started last Saturday’s defeat at Plymouth.

The Whites had paid the price for sloppiness in both penalty areas at Home Park and the desire to keep things tighter was undermined after just three minutes as Charlton made the perfect start.

The Addicks hadn’t won away in a decent start to the season which had brought them just one defeat but they briefly raised their hopes when Jesurn Rak-Sakyi got away from Johnston to pull the ball back for Scott Fraser to side-foot home.

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That might have dented confidence in the home ranks but the response was impressive and, crucially, the Whites were back level just five minutes later.

Wanderers’ wingbacks are a key part of the armoury and when Jack Iredale on one flank delivered a superb ball across the face of goal, Bradley arrived from the other to bundle home his third goal of a dream start to his Unibol stay.

Bradley then picked out Lee for a shot he steered wide before Thomason – making the most of his return with an impressive performance – released Iredale for an effort he put into the side netting.

Lee then crossed for Thomason to head straight at Charlton keeper Joe Wollacott.

But bar an effort on the break from Albie Morgan, which Trafford beat away, it was close to one-way traffic.

And four minutes before the break the Whites’ probing paid off.

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The home side had moved the ball slickly all afternoon and when Gethin Jones fed a pass into the box, Bradley helped it on for the on-rushing Lee to ram home a home a shot from six yards out to give his side a deserved lead.

It was Charlton’s turn to show a reaction and twice within the opening stages of the second half Trafford had to save from the ever-dangerous Rak-Sakyi, who then dragged a shot wide as the visitors went close to an equaliser.

But Wanderers always threatened to grab a third to kill the game off and Thomason thought he’d got it with 20 minutes to go before an off-side flag curtailed his celebrations after he had touched in an Iredale in-swinger.

The momentum was back with the Whites, though, and five minutes later they did add to their lead.

Substitute Dapo Afolayan was fouled to earn a free-kick which was quickly taken to release Dion Charles.

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The striker, a handful all afternoon for the visitors, advanced into the box before driving the ball across the six-yard box for Johnston to arrive at the far post and drill into the back of the net.

Afolayan almost added a fourth after combining with Kyle Dempsey to bring an excellent save out of Joe Wollacott and then saw another effort blocked inside six minutes of added time.

No-one wanted to rush home, though, as the Whites were given a warm send-off after an excellent afternoon’s work.

Wanderers: Trafford; Jones, Santos, Johnston; Bradley, Williams, Thomason (Morley 90), Iredale; Lee (Dempsey 77); Charles (Kachunga 90), Bakayoko (Afolayan 71). Substitutes: John, Sadlier, Aimson.

Booked: Iredale, Jones

Charlton Athletic: Wollacott; Clare, Lavelle, O’Connell, Clayden; Dobson; Fraser, Morgan (Blackett-Taylor); Rak-Sakyi, Stockley, Kirk (Leaburn 74). Substitutes: MacGillivray, McGrandles, Payne, Blackett-Taylor, Ness, Chin.

Booked: Lavelle

Referee: Tom Reeves

Attendance: 19,193 (731 Charlton)

Read Time: 4 mins