City’s U23s dealt a heavy loss against Charlton Athletic at The Valley in the Professional Development League 2 South, losing 7-2.
It was not the start the Sky Blues had envisioned when they found themselves behind after just five minutes on the clock. Hesitancy in defence was duly punished, as a ball through the middle found striker Karlan Ahearne-Grant who calmly dispatched it into the bottom corner.
Proving to be early threat for the home side, Ahearne-Grant was again involved in the action, playing a smart one-two with Joe Aribo. The latter seemed to be through on goal but an excellent interception from Ryan Haynes cleared any danger.
City had the chance to equalise soon after. American striker Jack McBean won possession in midfield and played a wicked ball across the face of the six-yard box. A slight touch in front of an oncoming George Thomas from goalkeeper Jordan Beeney denied what would have been a lifeline for the away side.
On the counter-attack, Charlton nearly added their second of the game. Ahearne-Grant broke from midfield before playing a ball through to Joshua Umerah, but his effort clipped the top of the crossbar. However, the Addicks soon doubled their lead. Mikhail Kennedy engineered a yard of space in the box and drove a shot across goalkeeper Corey Addai and in to the far corner.
Things soon worsened for City as a Haynes interception back to Addai was deemed to be a pass-back and Ahearne-Grant smashed the resulting indirect free kick into the roof of the net.
There seemed to be a glimmer of hope for City shortly after. George Thomas’ dazzling feet in the area drew a foul and the Welsh striker converted from 12-yards to reduce the deficit. But, the faint hope of a comeback was quickly dashed as Regan Charles-Cook, brother of City keeper Reice Charles-Cook, raced clear and slotted the ball past Addai to put the game out of reach for the Sky Blues.
Disappointingly Nicky Eaden's side, the game continued to play out in a similar fashion as Charlton added three quick-fire goals. Joe Aribo escaped three challenges and put the ball into the box, only for it to hit City defender Di. Kelly-Evans and roll in to his own net. A long-range strike from Josh Umerah added a sixth and then Reeco Hackett-Fairchild won the ball off Addai to slot it into an empty goal for seven.
City did add a second goal in injury-time as Devon Kelly-Evans got on the end of low cross, but it was frustrating day for the young Sky Blues as they toiled in their attempts to reduce the deficit further.