Swansea City Under-23s’ Premier League Cup hopes suffered a blow as they were beaten 4-2 by Charlton Athletic at Landore.
Chuks Aneke scored a hat-trick as the Addicks took the spoils in the Group A clash – inflicting a third defeat from four games in the competition for the Swans.
Kenneth Yao was also on target for the visitors, while Liam Cullen’s brace proved no more than a consolation for Jon Grey’s side, who saw their four-match unbeaten run come to an end.
Cullen was one of only four players to remain from Monday’s 5-1 victory over Middlesbrough, along with Brandon Cooper, Oli Cooper and skipper Jack Evans.
There were recalls to the starting 11 for Ryan Bevan, Jake Thomas, Simon Paulet, Keiran Evans and Mason Jones-Thomas, while Jacob Jones returned from injury for his first appearance since the end of September.
The Swans, whose squad boasted an average age of just under 19, fell behind after just two minutes at Landore, with Aneke opening the scoring.
The hosts responded well and equalised in the 14th minute as, fresh from his hat-trick against Middlesbrough, Cullen brought the contest level.
However, Charlton regained their initiative through Yao in the 28th minute and went into overdrive before half-time, with Aneke scoring twice in the space of five minutes to complete his treble and give the visitors a commanding 4-1 lead at the break.
The Swans improved in the second half; enjoying good spells of possession as they looked to find a way back into the contest.
They pulled a goal back through Cullen’s 13th of the season and sixth in three games, but were unable to avoid a third consecutive defeat in Group A.
Although, a huge positive for the Swans came in the 67th minute when, 16 months since his last competitive appearance, defender Ben Erickson made an emotional return as a substitute following a long battle with injuries.
The young Swans are back in action on January 27, when they travel to Everton for their crucial Premier League International Cup showdown.
Swans U23s: Trialist; Ryan Bevan, Jake Thomas (Cameron Evans, ht), Brandon Cooper, Jacob Jones (Ben Erickson, 67); Jack Evans (capt), Simon Paulet; Mason Jones-Thomas, Keiran Evans (Marc Walsh, ht), Oli Cooper; Liam Cullen.
Subs not used: Lewis Webb, Tom Price.
Charlton U23s: Joe Osaghae; Johl Powell, Sam Keefe, Toby Stevenson; Kenneth Yao, Junior Armando Quitirna, Charles Clayden; Abraham Odoh, Chuks Aneke.
Subs: Joe Watkins, Taylor Maloney, Kareem Isiaka, Wilberforce Ocran.