Town produced an outstanding performance in all areas of the pitch to ease to a 3-0 victory over Charlton Athletic in-front of the Sky Sports cameras at The County Ground earlier this afternoon.
All the pressure in the opening 45-minutes came from the hosts who carved out a number of efforts.
John Goddard, Michael Doughty, Sean Murray and Luke Norris all tried their luck in-front of goal but they found Charlton stopper Declan Rudd in good form.
However, Rudd was unable to prevent the Robins from getting their noses in-front just before half-time after Morgan Fox could only direct Sean Murray’s shot into the back of his own net.
And it only got better for the Reds after the break as Lloyd Jones was in the right place at the right time to double his side’s advantage.
The Reds had further chances to extend their lead and they managed to do just that courtesy of John Goddard’s classy finish, which wrapped up a superb three points.
Town were able to welcome back both Conor Thomas and Sean Murray into the fold after the pair recovered from minor knocks.
Darnell Furlong was also named in the Starting XI after missing the Reds’ FA Cup tie against Eastleigh due to suspension.
After opening his account for the club in midweek, Luke Norris was the man chosen to lead the line in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
All eyes were on this encounter with Sky Sports in attendance and it was Town who enjoyed the brighter start.
Attacking with a real purpose and clear intent, John Goddard sent a tame header into the arms of Declan Rudd from Michael Doughty’s cross before the latter saw his looping header land on the roof of the net.
Charlton carved out a chance of their own at the other end as Morgan Fox nodded wide from Johnnie Jackson’s free-kick, before the hosts went back on the attack.
Doughty saw his effort charged down and Goddard dragged a shot wide, before Raphael Rossi-Branco saw his header deflected behind for a corner.
Town were continuing to flex their attacking muscles as the first-half wore on with Sean Murray forcing Rudd into action before the Addicks’ keeper had to get down low to parry Luke Norris’ rasping drive from the edge of the area.
But the Reds’ intense probing eventually paid off as they took the lead just before half-time. More intelligent play from Goddard saw Murray played in and the midfielder’s shot took a deflection off Morgan Fox before nestling into the back of the net.
That goal proved to be the difference at the break and it was a well-deserved lead for Town who had dominated for the majority of the first-half.
Town made a superb start to the second-half by winning a succession of corners and it wasn’t long before they added to their lead.
With 50 minutes on the clock, Goddard’s corner wreaked havoc in the Charlton penalty area and Doughty’s header fell into the path of Lloyd Jones at the far post, with the defender slamming home from close-range.
That effort put the Reds firmly in the driving seat but they refused to rest on their laurels and were active in pushing for more goals.
Furlong hammered wide before his cross just evaded the onrushing Norris, whilst Ajose could only fire straight at Lawrence Vigouroux down the other end of the pitch.
Anton Rodgers was brought on to replace Conor Thomas with the hosts looking to add more fresh legs in the middle of the park in order to keep the Addicks at bay, before Nathan Delfouneso took the place of Norris upfront.
And the latter change nearly paid instant dividends as Town poured forward with Delfouneso putting Kasim clean through but the midfielder’s shot was blocked by Rudd, before both Doughty and Murray were denied in quick succession.
Delfouneso then sent a drive straight at Rudd before Town’s third goal of the afternoon arrived in fine style.
Kasim charged forward from the half-way line and showed great vision to play in Goddard, who curled home beautifully to cap off a fine display both on a personal and collective level.
It could have been more too with Anton Rodgers sending a free-kick from the edge of the area inches over the bar in stoppage time.
But it finished 3-0 with Town clear and thoroughly deserved winners having dominated all over the pitch from start to finish.
TEAMS AND STATS:
SCORERS –Morgan Fox OG (42), Lloyd Jones (50), John Goddard (85).
TOWN –Vigouroux; Furlong, Rossi-Branco, Jones, Ormonde-Ottewill; Kasim (C), Thomas (Anton Rodgers 72); Murray, Doughty (Ellis Iandolo 89), Goddard; Norris (Nathan Delfouneso 76).
Subs Not Used –Henry, Barry, Smith, Evans.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC –Rudd; Solly, Pearce, Bauer, Fox; Foley (Brandon Hanlan 45), Crofts, Ulvestad, Jackson (C) (Adam Chicksen 84); Novak, Ajose.
Subs Not Used –Phillips, Teixeira, Konsa, Lennon, Umerah.
REFEREE –Tim Robinson
TOWN –Conor Thomas.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC –Johnnie Jackson.
ATTENDANCE –6,599 (504 Charlton Fans).