Report | Charlton Athletic U23s 1 Swansea City U23s 2
Mason Jones-Thomas scored the winner as Swansea City Under-23s kickstarted their Premier League Cup campaign with a 2-1 victory away at Charlton.
The winger netted what proved to be the decisive strike in the 69th minute at Princes Park to give the young Swans maximum points in their Group A opener.
Cameron Berry had put the development side in front after a quarter of an hour, only to see his effort cancelled out by Josh Davison 13 minutes later.
However, despite Nathan Harness saving Simon Paulet’s penalty, the visitors restored their advantage to record a fourth-straight victory in all competitions courtesy of Jones-Thomas' first goal at this level.
Gary Richards and Cameron Toshack handed debuts to goalkeeper Lewis Webb and winger Bradley Gibbings as they made seven changes to the side that began Monday’s 1-0 win over Newcastle at St James’ Park, meaning the starting XI consisted entirely of teenagers.
Meanwhile, Ali Al-Hamadi also earned his maiden appearance for the development side from the bench, with 14 of the matchday squad under the age of 20.
Making his first start of the season, Berry managed to mark it with his goal for the under-23s – drilling home from the edge of the box after just 15 minutes.
Charlton looked to respond immediately, and Webb was forced into making almost identical saves from Davison and Junior Quitirna, while he also did well to tip over a powerful Charles Clayden strike.
However, the Swans debutant could do nothing to prevent the hosts from eventually grabbing the equaliser on 28 minutes, as Davison fired home the rebound after he had initially denied Johl Powell.
The visitors hit back after the break and were awarded a great opportunity to regain the lead from the penalty spot following Sam Keefe’s 62nd-minute challenge. But Harness guessed correctly to deny Paulet his first goal for the under-23s.
At the other end, Webb did well again as he tipped Albie Morgan’s free-kick onto the post, and it proved to be crucial with the Swans regaining the lead with 21 minutes remaining.
Substitute Al-Hamadi capitalised on sloppy play from the hosts by bursting forward and laying the ball off for Jones-Thomas, who made no mistake from close range.
The visitors had to weather the storm late on as Charlton threw bodies forward in search of the equaliser, but did so brilliantly to ensure they made a winning start in Group A and replicated the first team's victory over the Addicks by the same scoreline in midweek.
Swansea City U23s: Lewis Webb; Tivonge Rushesha, Cameron Evans, Brandon Cooper (capt), Matthew Blake; Daniel Williams, Simon Paulet (Kees de Boer, 88); Bradley Gibbings (Ali Al-Hamadi, 61), Cameron Berry (Keiran Evans, 75), Mason Jones-Thomas; Josh Thomas.
Subs: Josh Gould, Jake Thomas.