Stevenage 0-8 Charlton Athletic: Young and inexperienced Boro fall to lively Addicks in Checkatrade Trophy
PUBLISHED: 22:17 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 02:00 10 October 2018
Stevenage slumped to an 8-0 defeat as their hopes of qualifying for the knockout round of the Checkatrade Trophy with a game to spare were ended by an impressive Charlton side at The Lamex on Tuesday.
Left wing-back, Toby Stevenson scored a hat-trick on his professional debut for the Addicks as further goals from Darren Pratley, Nicky Ajose, Igor Vetokele and a brace from George Lapslie ensured an emphatic win for the League One side to go top of South Group G.
Dino Maamria made nine changes to the team who defeated Colchester 3-1 at the weekend with Will Appleyard, John Hunt, Mark McKee, Emmanuel Sonupe, Arthur Iontton, Donovan Makoma, Andronicos Georgiou, Danny Newton and Luke Wilkinson all coming into the starting line-up for Seny Dieng, Michael Timlin, Scott Cuthbert, Joel Byrom, Alex Revell, Ben Kennedy, Steve Seddon, Kurtis Guthrie and Ben Nugent.
As for Charlton, Dillion Phillips, Mark Marshall, Taylor Maloney, Jamie Ward, Vetokele, Pratley, Ajose, Lapslie, and Stevenson started in place of Jed Steer, Jason Pearce, Lyle Taylor, Tarique Fosu, Ben Reeves, Joe Aribo, Karlan Grant, Chris Solly and Josh Cullen in a much-changed side after their late 2-1 loss to Coventry on Saturday.
The home side would have been buoyed by their victory at the weekend and created chances early on but were unable to test Phillips in the Charlton goal. Georgiou found space on the edge of the box and fired an effort that curled over the bar inside two minutes.
After early pressure from the hosts, Charlton came into the game. Debutant Stevenson found himself in behind the Boro defence throughout and was a constant danger in the channels along with Marshall on the right.
The youngster proved the catalyst creating chances for Ward and Vetokele who saw efforts fire just off-target.
The Addicks continued to look dangerous and eventually took the lead inside 25 minutes through fortunate circumstances. Boro were only able to half-clear a corner and the ball was fired back into the danger zone. Having ricocheted off a number of bodies, the ball soon founds it way to Pratley and the former Bolton man couldn’t miss from six yards.
A minute later the Addicks doubled their lead. Ward played a good ball through to Vetokele down the right and the experienced forward played the ball into the box. The Boro defence were evaded by the low cross and it fell neatly for Stevenson at the back post who was able to fire home.
Stevenage tried to get back into the game but appeared deflated after the visitors’ quickfire double and soon enough the away side snatched a third.
Marshall proved a strong outlet all game and found Vetokele with a cross. The number 14 rose high and his header was tapped in by Ajose at the back post.
Charlton continued to threaten with more chances before half-time and there was a sense it was to be a long second period for Dino Maamria’s men.
It only took the visitors three minutes to add a fourth after the interval with another fortunate finish. Lapslie found himself in space and played a first-time ball through to Vetokele. The striker saw his effort saved well at close range by Appleyard but the rebound deflected off the Charlton man and into the corner of the net.
Charlton had been the much better side but the manner in which the goals were going in was harsh on Stevenage. Ten minutes later Lapslie had earned a goal for himself as his attempted pass to Vetokele was missed by the frontman which evaded Appleyard and saw the ball roll agonisingly into the corner.
The sixth came just two minutes later and proved the pick of the bunch as Stevenson curled a right-footed effort out of the reach of Appleyard into the top corner to grab his second and came close to scoring his third minutes later, smashing the ball onto the bar from inside the box.
The youngster was soon able to wrap up the perfect debut 15 minutes from time as Wilkinson brought down Ajose in the penalty area allowing him to sneak the ball under Appleyard to get his hat-trick and Charlton’s seventh from 18 yards.
The visitors didn’t stop there as Lapslie timed his run well to grab his second after good play from Ajose to beat Wilkinson and tee the ball up for the 21-year-old to lash home and round off the scoring.
It was a deeply disappointing evening for Maamria and his side as they would have hoped to capitalise on their 5-0 win over Swansea U21s earlier in the competition but were outclassed by Lee Bowyer’s men.
Boro will now be looking forward to Saturday when they take on Newport County at Rodney Parade in hope of continuing their strong league form.
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