Charlton Athletic progressed into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 3-1 win against a resilient Truro City at The Valley on Sunday afternoon.
The Addicks’ superior quality was on show from the start. Jake Forster-Caskey saw his headed effort tipped onto the crossbar by Truro shot-stopper Tom McHale after a driving run from home fan favourite Ricky Holmes on seven minutes.
The home side found the breakthrough three minutes later after a good spell of play resulted in a pass finding Ben Reeves inside the penalty area. With all the time in the world, and from 12 yards out, the midfielder confidently struck the ball past the outstretched arm of McHale to give Charlton the early opener.
Truro, keen to not allow the goal to dent their confidence, began to venture forward with Cody Cooke and Tyler Harvey pulling the strings for the National League South side.
McHale often found himself at the receiving end of a flurry of Charlton shots raining down on his goal and did the Cornishmen credit, allowing Truro to retreat into the tunnel at half-time with a glimmer of hope for the second period.
That glimmer soon turned into a distant dream. On 53 minutes, the Addicks doubled their lead with Mark Marshall netting his maiden goal for the club via a heavy deflection to leave McHale stranded.
After a prolonged period of pressure from the visitors, Truro slashed Charlton’s lead down to one on the hour mark. A pin-point Billy Palfrey cross met the head of the all-action Harvey, giving Charlton keeper Ben Amos no chance. A suitable gift for the 996 strong band of travelling supporters; most of whom would journey a combined total of 10 hours to see the Tigers attempt to make history.
Just like the famous cup song, ‘whatever will be, will be’, Truro found out the hard way how cruel the cup can be. With 20 minutes remaining, Charlton restored their two-goal cushion as Reeves claimed his second of the afternoon following an exchange of passes with Holmes.
With the National League South side’s fitness waning and Charlton calling upon reinforcements from the bench, the Addicks’ grip of the contest tightened.
Substitute Karlan Ahearne-Grant used his fresh legs and terrifying pace in search of a fourth to put the game well and truly to bed, however the fourth remained elusive.
With the tie well into stoppage time, it was Truro’s turn to rattle the woodwork. Alas, nothing came from it and the contest finished 3-1 in Charlton’s favour.
Charlton boss Karl Robinson praised the Tigers’ display in South London. Speaking to Charlton’s website he said: “I think the manager Lee Hodges has done brilliantly to guide them to where they are today. We wish them all the luck in the world. They showed today their hunger, desire, their application.”
In truth, it was a refreshing attitude from the Cornish side. Countless examples can be given where lower league teams are more than happy to sit 10 men behind the ball against tougher opposition, however Truro made a real go at their day in the sun.