Charlton Athletic 3-0 Derby County: Macauley Bonne, Naby Sarr and Conor Gallagher seal impressive win
- Macauley Bonne scored his third goal in four starts inside the first 10 minutes
- Naby Sarr headed in from Josh Cullen’s corner to double the host’s lead
- Conor Gallagher’s superb long-range strike capped off a total performance
If Derby had rolled into The Valley hoping to establish themselves in the top six before Wayne Rooney arrives in January, it was Charlton who looked like promotion contenders with a display of attacking verve which swept the visitors away.
A match that was as lop-sided as the scoreline suggests was won with heart and belief, as well as a tactical masterstroke by Charlton manager Lee Bowyer.
Goals from Macauley Bonne, Naby Sarr and Conor Gallagher gave the home side only their second win since August, but it was Bowyer’s adventurous line-up, thrusting wing-backs Chris Solly and Jake Forster-Caskey forward at every opportunity which undid Derby.
Macauley Bonne thumped the ball into the top left-hand corner in the sixth minute
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The pair exploited gaps in the Derby midfield and left space for Bonne and Jonny Williams to set a foundation for the victory.
An early run from Solly ended with a low ball in only for Forster-Caskey to see his shot blocked.
Derby failed to heed that warning and there were still only six minutes on the clock when Williams slipped a low pass in from the left which was met by a first-time rasping shot from Bonne to put Charlton ahead.
It was the third goal in four games for the former Ipswich and Norwich youth product who drifted into non-league football with Leyton Orient before taking an upwards path.
Deputising for the injured Lyle Taylor, Bonne’s partnership with Williams twice came close to doubling Charlton’s lead.
First, Bonne’s low cross from the right skimmed across Derby’s six-yard area after 20 minutes, evading both Williams’ outstretched leg as well as the far post.
Three minutes later, Williams drifted into the central position before slipping the ball into Bonne’s path outside him. The striker’s goalbound shot was palmed away acrobatically by Derby keeper Kelle Roos.
Conor Gallagher’s superb long-range strike capped off an impressive performance
Charlton Athletic (3-4-3): Phillips; Lockyer, Pratley, Sarr; Solly, Cullen, Gallagher (Kayal 78′), Forster-Caskey; Leko, Bonne (Hemed 74′), Williams (Field 32′)
Subs not used: Amos, Pearce, Oshilaja, Oztumer
Derby County (4-2-3-1): Roos; Bogle, Davies, Clarke, Malone; Bielik (Holmes 60′), Shinnie; Waghorn (Jozefzoon 60′), Paterson (Bennett 77′), Lawrence; Martin
Subs not used: Hamer, Wisdom, Lowe, Dowell
Referee: Stephen Martin
Sadly for the home side, the blossoming partnership was split up just after the half-hour when Williams limped off following a midfield challenge.
That failed to curtail Charlton’s dominance with Roos then having to rush from his goal to deflect a Josh Cullen shot away for a corner.
In contrast, Derby were offering almost nothing at the other end apart from a speculative 25-yard shot from Krystian Bielik which plopped harmlessly into the arms of Charlton keeper Dillon Phillips.
Any thoughts that half-time would signal a momentum shift were soon dispelled when the unmarked Naby Sarr headed home Cullen’s corner three minutes into the second half.
Again, Derby’s response was lukewarm at best with only Tom Lawrence, booed throughout for his recent drink-driving conviction, offering any creative spark and spirit.
Time and again, the Wales international attempted to take on his man, but with his teammates offering little in the way of support, Charlton quickly realised they could crowd Lawrence out.
Victory was sealed with a majestic 20-yard curling shot from Gallagher which left Roos helpless as it bent into the corner of the net after 67 minutes.
Jonathan Leko might have added a fourth 10 minutes from time but scuffed his shot from the edge of the box.
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