Charlton 3 (Taylor 25, Aneke 75, Gallagher 83) Stoke City 1 (Ince 37).
Kevin Nolan reporting from The Valley.
Showing that their opening day victory at Blackburn was no flash in the pan, Charlton made it two wins in a row by seeing off Stoke City. On a gusty afternoon when fans bonded with players to create an irresistible atmosphere, the briefly impressive visitors were swept away on a tide of raw emotion. Some of the football produced by Lee Bowyer's iconoclastic warriors was pretty nifty too, it's pleasing to report.
The first 20 minutes made admittedly awkward viewing for the buoyant home crowd. City kept the ball on the deck, passed it around accurately and probed for openings. Doggedly, the Addicks kept their shape, picked up runners diligently and hung in. Then midway through a one-sided first half, they suckerpunched their over-confident visitors with a goal of stunning quality.
At the end of what was apparently a difficult week (as a virtual stranger to social media, the "difficulty" passed me by), Lyle Taylor had been struggling to get a look-in as the Potters dominated possession. He's not a player it pays to take your eye off, though, as Nathan Jones' complacent men discovered. Picked out on the left flank by Jonathan Leko's arrowed pass, Taylor stepped inside on to his favoured right foot before detonating a venomous drive which found the opposite corner off Jack Butland's straining fingertips. His second goal of the season qualified as a collector's item. He seldom - if ever - scores from outside the penalty area.
Falling behind galvanised City. The penny dropped that their pretty approach play needed end product, which new signing Scott Hogan came close to providing by beating Dillon Phillips with a faintly deflected effort which unluckily cannoned off the bar. Three minutes later, Tom Ince equalised with a long range blockbuster which saw and raised Taylor's effort for sheer quality.
Having conceded possession near the halfway line, the Addicks retreated instinctively as Ince made ground and let fly from over 30 yards. His shot was still rising as it hit the net behind a full length Phillips. Game most definitely on.
Ince's fine goal handed the pre-interval initiative to the visitors and Lee Gregory, cheerfully jeered for his Millwall connections, hit the post during an untidy goalmouth scramble. By the time Tommy Smith shot conveniently straight at Phillips from inside the penalty area, the break came as sweet relief to Bowyer's rattled men.
The second half didn't quite start as Charlton meant to go on. They were spreadeagled by Joe Allen's menacing run along the right byline but with scoring the easiest of his options, Gregory incredibly scooped an absolute sitter over the bar. The Addicks had their moment too, with Taylor breaking away to set up Leko for a tap-in which Butland's alertness bravely smothered. With a useful draw looking likely, The Valley erupted in primeval joy as a two-goal salvo instead destroyed the Potters.
Interpassing between Ben Purrington and Johnny Williams on the right made a fleeting opening for Taylor, which Butland foiled. Picking up the scraps on the left, Josh Cullen made positive inroads to improvise a cross half scuffed clear to the penalty spot. Substitute Chuks Aneke practically licked his lips before drilling Charlton ahead. Celebrations were mighty but the home side were not yet finished.
From Cullen's right corner - Charlton's first of the game - a rehearsed routine saw Taylor come short along the byline before turning to drive a hard low ball into the middle. Butland's parry fell perfectly for Connor Gallagher to sweep a game-clinching third goal past him. The Valley could even allow itself the rare luxury of relaxing. This game was won and lost.
For Bowyer, there were resounding performances to savour all over the pitch, with certain reservations about the flimsy nature of some of Charlton's defending a cause for concern. Full backs Purington and Solly were sound enough, with the latter recovering from a shaky start to put a sock into the mouths of a persistent band of detractors, some of whom judge him at second sight from hand-me-down accounts. Solly's was his usual 7 out of 10 contribution. No call to worry about him.
Restless and insatiable, Cullen was a popular choice as man-of-the match, his re-signing shortly before the transfer window closed, a coup for Bowyer and his staff. He was run close, however, by the unsung, prodigious contribution of Darren Pratley, who belied his veteran's label with selfless, unstinting commitment to Charlton's cause. Pratley made himself hard to drop, despite the 11th hour arrival of several midfield candidates. Debutant Leko was a clever, twisting box-of-tricks, who only occasionally hung on to the ball a trifle too long, Gallagher a youthful bundle of energy with no air of Chelsea swanking about him. Good kid with good pedigree.
What's not to love about these honest, talented Addicks? It's a pleasure to report their progress. So I'll go on doing it, if you don't mind.
Charlton: Phillips, Solly, Lockyer, Pearce, Purrington, Leko (Aneke 69), Cullen, Pratley, Williams (Lapslie 86), Gallagher, Taylor. Not used: Amos, Oshilaja, Forster-Caskey, Bonne, Sarr.
Stoke: Butland, Smith, Batth, Lindsey, Ward, Woods (Duffy 69), Allen, Clucas, Ince, Hogan (Campbell 61), Gregory (Verlinden 78). Not used: Federici, Vokes, Cousins, Collins.
Referee: Simon Hooper. Att: 17,848 (2,340).