United's FA Cup adventure is over for another season after Championship side Charlton proved just too strong in this third round replay. Two goals from Yann Kermorgant and a Danny Green strike gave the Addicks a 3-0 win to earn them a trip to Huddersfield in the fourth round.
United's best chance had come in the first game when they were 2-0 up at half-time. The U's made one change to that side, Deane Smalley coming in for Ty Marsh to join James Constable and Sean Rigg in a three-man front line. Scott Davies and Josh Ruffels both came back into the side that won at Wycombe on Saturday as United opened up in a 4-3-3 shape against Charlton’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
The opening stages were cagey with just a half-chance for Simon Church for the visitors in the first 20 minutes as United more than held their own. The Championship side’s passing was not as slick as it had been in the second half at the Valley when they produced their comeback and that allowed United to apply plenty of pressure without really getting a sight of Ben Alnwick’s goal. Davies headed wide from a David Hunt cross on 32 and Ryan Clarke had not had a shot to save, but the Addicks suddenly struck twice to open up a two-goal lead.
The first goal came with a swift break through the middle of the park and the ball being played in to Church on the edge of the area. He rolled the ball back for Kermorgant and just as he had done at the Valley he showed excellent technique to rifle the ball low and true into the bottom left corner of the net to make it 1-0.
There was barely time to regroup before the advantage was doubled. Church nicked the ball away from Raynes on halfway and scampered away down the right. Hunt came across to try and cover but Church skipped past him and then rolled the ball square for Danny Green to apply a simple finish. Green did appear to be offside but the goal stood and now it was roles reversed as United found themselves 2-0 down at half-time.
The U’s did press at the start of the second half and had shouts for handball inside the area waved away by ref David Coote as they tried to force their way into the tie. However on 59 minutes it was game over and Charlton were heading for their customary trip to Yorkshire as Kermorgant casually curled a free-kick past the helpless Clarke from 25 yards to make it 3-0. It was a superb strike and all but decided the game.
The Yellows never give up and tried to lift themselves back into the game. Ruffels headed a cross just wide, Constable blasted into the keeper's arms on 77 and the whole side chased and harried but Charlton used the space well, kept possession neatly and held United at arm's length.
United will now play Torquay United at home on Saturday as they are left free to concentrate on the second half of the league campaign. Wins in televised games at Gateshead and Wrexham have helped financially and in two games against Charlton they have shown glimpses of what could be. From now on though it is eyes fixed firmly on the main prize.
Fifty/50 winning number 327695 wins £527.50
Report by Chris Williams, pictures Darrell Fisher, Stats by OPTA
See highlights and reaction in Yellow Player