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  • Writer's pictureBy Dan Evans

Charlton’s cup run comes to an end in spirited defeat at Old Trafford

Manchester United (1) 3 Antony 21, Rashford 90, 90+4

Charlton Athletic (0) 0

Charlton Athletic’s journey in the Carabao Cup ended with more than just their dignity intact as they pushed Manchester United all the way in a 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

With almost 9,000 supporters making the trip to Manchester to see if their team could reach a first cup semi-final since 1947, Dean Holden’s men were defiant throughout and were only beaten courtesy of well-taken goals from Antony and Marcus Rashford.

Buoyed by their fervent backing, Charlton made an enthusiastic start that looked just as likely to see them go behind as take the lead.

Corey Blackett-Taylor was full of running down the left flank as he tried to test Diogo Dalot, but the Portuguese full-back should have put United ahead after two minutes when he blazed over from the edge of the box.

Alejandro Garnacho then gave Sean Clare twisted blood on two separate occasions before firing wide of goal both times, yet Charlton began to settle after a frenetic first start to their first League Cup quarterfinal since 2007.

Moments after winning their first corner they fell behind though as a delightful curling strike from Antony picked out the top corner of Ashley Maynard-Brewer’s net.

With the host’s tails up as they went in search of an eighth consecutive win in all competitions, the Addicks did well to survive until half-time just a single goal down.

Fred struck the inside of Maynard-Brewer’s upright with a curling free-kick from all of 30 yards before Garnacho shot wide again following more delicate footwork.

The defiance that characterised wins against QPR and Brighton earlier in this competition was always present for the Addicks, and boyhood United fan Holden was an energetic presence on the touchline on what was his Old Trafford debut.

Moments into the second half Scott Fraser smashed over after some neat interplay had unlocked the home defence, and the dogged work of skipper George Dobson meant United rarely had a moment to rest in midfield.

They were lucky to escape when Anthony Elanga was flagged offside as he connected with an Aaron Wan-Bissaka cross, but there was nothing fortunate about the determination that ensured the game was still a contest going into the dying moments.

When Garnacho finally did hit the target midway through the second period, Maynard-Brewer repeated the heroics he had displayed in the Brighton win as he sprang to his left to push the ball away.

For all their battling qualities, it did seem as though Charlton were waiting for a golden chance to draw level to present itself rather than forcing the issue themselves, and they will possibly feel they did not test Tom Heaton enough in the frantic late moments before Rashford’s decisive goal.

A Fraser free-kick that landed comfortably in the arms of Heaton was the closest they came, and it took a fine save from Maynard-Brewer to deny Christian Eriksen and ensure some shred of belief would remain until injury time.

England forward Rashford ensured it would be the Premier League outfit who made the semi-finals, coolly lifting an effort over the Addicks ‘keeper after being picked out by fellow substitute Facundo Pellistri before then firing beyond the Maynard-Brewer again a few minutes later.

Although uncertainty abounds at the Valley with questions persisting over the club’s ownership despite Thomas Sandgaard’s presence in the directors’ box, Charlton fans will at least have a cup run to be proud of, and a night at Old Trafford to remember, to take away from this season.

Manchester United: (4-2-3-1) Heaton – Dalot (Wan-Bissaka 34), Maguire, Martinez, Malacia – McTominay, Fred (Eriksen 60) – Antony (Rashford 60), Mainoo (Casemiro 60), Garnacho – Elanga (Pellistri 84). Subs not used: De Gea, Lindelof, Shaw, Iqbal

Charlton: (4-3-3) Maynard-Brewer – Clare, Inniss, Ness, Sessegnon (Stockley 82) – Morgan, Dobson, Fraser – Rak-Sakyi (Henry 82), Leaburn, Blackett-Taylor (O’Connell 61). Subs not used: MacGillivray, Lavelle, Jaiyesimi, Kirk, Chin


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