Crawley Town suffered defeat in their first Papa John’s Trophy fixture away at Charlton Athletic on Tuesday night.
Charlton took an early lead in the sixth minute thanks to Josh Davison’s low strike. The young striker had the time to take a touch and slot the ball under the Reds’ ‘keeper after what had been a shaky start for the Crawley defence.
The shakiness continued as Charlton added a second and third before halftime, Corey Blackett-Taylor and Elliot Lee on target with fantastic solo goals on either side of the 20-minute mark.
A fourth was added through a George Francomb own goal before Kwesi Appiah converted a penalty 20 minutes later.
The four-goal lead was restored by youngster Mason Burstow before Davison finished off the scoring and made it six.
Crawley Town manager John Yems made six changes to the side that drew on Saturday afternoon for Tuesday night’s Papa John’s Trophy game away at Charlton Athletic.
Unfortunately for the Reds, last Saturday’s smart start was not replicated as they went behind in the opening ten minutes. Davison received the ball just inside the away penalty area, taking one touch and firing low under Blondy Noukeu to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Trouble was doubled for the Reds in the 18th minute after a stunning solo run from Blackett-Taylor resulted in the ball finding the net in the exact same fashion as the first: under Noukeu and into the bottom right-hand corner of the Cameroonian’s net.
Two soon became three when Lee netted with another carbon-copy finish, taking a delightful touch to bring down a long ball and cutting inside to produce another slotted finish into the bottom right corner with 22 minutes played.
The Reds had more of the ball for the rest of the half but continued to look vulnerable at the back as Charlton soaked up the pressure before launching counterattacks. Two of these turnovers in play should have resulted in further goals for the Addicks as Sean Clare nodded just wide of the post and Charles Clayden hit the crossbar from a cutback.
The second half begun under stormy clouds, a pathetic fallacy that, one would imagine, summed up the tone of the Crawley Town dressing room at halftime.
The sky grew darker over The Valley and so did the mood among the Crawley contingent as a fourth was added by the unfortunate Francomb. The skipper found himself caught between a rock and a hard place as he lunged in front of Davison’s low cross in an attempt to cut out the dangerous ball but instead diverted it past Noukeu.
The Reds registered their first dangerous shot in the 63rd minute when Jack Powell fired powerfully against the crossbar directly from a free-kick. Tyler Frost also went close before the move ended when he slid in at the back post and turned a deep cross into the arms of Nathan Harness, the Charlton goalkeeper.
Crawley fans finally had something to cheer 15 minutes from time when Sam Ashford was fouled in the Charlton penalty area and substitute Appiah successfully converted the resulting spot-kick.
The celebrations didn't last however as the host’s four-goal cushion was restored through Burstow who shifted his body well to head home the Addicks’ fifth of the game just two minutes after entering the fray.
Davison added a sixth with his second strike into Noukeu’s right-hand corner as the clock ticked over into the 90th minute and the game came to a close.
Attention now turns to Saturday’s (04/09) match away at Bristol Rovers.
REDS XI: Nna Noukeu, Gallacher (Hessenthaler 46'), Francomb (C), Craig, Dallison (Frost 13’), Powell, Nadesan (Appiah 56'), Tilley, Ashford, Tsaroulla, Payne
UNUSED SUBS: Morris, Ransom, Al-Hussaini, Khaleel
ATTENDANCE: 1404 (167 away)