Midfielder hits a stunning double in 2-2 draw with Charlton...
UNITED 2 (Mowatt 49, 67), CHARLTON 2 (Gudmundsson 62, 81 pen).
United: Silvestri, Byram, Bellusci, Cooper, Warnock, Cook, Mowatt, Bianchi (Montenegro (90+1), Adryan (Sloth 73), Doukara, Antenucci. Subs. S Taylor, Berardi, C Taylor, Tonge, Dawson.
Charlton: Henderson, Wilson, Wiggins, Ben Haim, Bikey, Gudmundsson, Buyens (Coquelin 60), Jackson, Cousins, Harriott (Onyewu 78), Tucudean (Vetokele 52). Subs. Pope, Moussa, Fox, Ahearne-Grant.
Referee: G Salisbury
Booked: Bianchi, Bellusci (United), Buyens, Cousins (Charlton)
The visit of Charlton saw Neil Redfearn take charge of his first game at Elland Road since being appointed as the club's new head coach and he made three changes from the defeat at Cardiff. Liam Cooper replaced the suspended Jason Pearce in defence, Sam Byram came in for Gaetano Berardi at right back, while Adryan returned from injury in place of Steve Morison. Stephen Warnock took the captain's armband in Pearce's absence.
United made an encouraging start and had the first sight of goal with just four minutes on the clock as the outstretched leg of Souleymane Doukara diverted a low, first-time cross from Tommaso Bianchi wide of Stephen Henderson’s post. Mirco Antenucci then saw his strike deflected into Henderson's arms as the hosts mounted some early pressure on the Charlton goal.
Charlton did threaten through George Tucudean, flicking Callum Harriot’s left-wing cross wide as Bob Peeters’ side began to see more of the ball without causing too much concern to the United backline during an evenly-matched opening 20 minutes.
That was until the 28th minute as Warnock was forced into action on his own goalline, hacking clear to deny Charlton an opener after Johnnie Jackson’s corner was almost turned in by Andre Bikey.
Alex Mowatt’s ferocious left-footed strike was deflected over from range at the opposite end, before Antenucci darted into the area and fired into the side-netting as proceedings started to open up.
The Italian striker then drove forward before drilling a low effort well wide shortly before referee Graham Salisbury signalled for half-time after a goalless opening 45 minutes.
United returned from the break full of intent and duly broke the deadlock on 49 minutes through Alex Mowatt’s second goal in the space of two games.
After some neat interplay down the left involving Adryan and Stephen Warnock, the 19-year-old midfielder gathered the ball right on the edge of the area, brought it under control and unleashed an unstoppable left-footed strike beyond Henderson and into the top corner as Elland Road rose to its feet.
Harriot blazed an effort high, wide and into the South Stand but the goal had given United a bit of momentum and an injection of confidence, with Mirco Antenucci dancing his way through the Charlton defence before skewing his effort wide.
But Redfearn’s side were stunned on 62 minutes as Johann Berg Gudmundsson managed to squeeze the ball past Silvestri at his near post to draw the visitors level.
United immediately looked to regain their lead, though, with Doukara and Adryan both having shots blocked in front of goal before Mowatt added a stunning second.
Again from outside the area, the homegrown midfielder demonstrated pin-point accuracy and a deadly eye for goal to make it three from his last two as he curled another spectacular strike beyond the helpless Henderson.
Redfearn’s men were buoyed and Antenucci twice came close to making it three, dragging a low effort into Henderson’s arms before knocking Doukara’s cross wide.
But Charlton again hit back through Gudmundsson's second of the evening on 81 minutes, this time from the penalty spot, after Giuseppe Bellusci was adjudged to have shoved his man over as a corner came in.
Having used all their substitutions, an injury to Rhoys Wiggins meant Charlton were forced to enter the closing stages with 10 men as the home crowd urged United forward.
Byram hooked a cross towards the six-yard box and had Henderson back-pedalling to tip behind for a corner from underneath his crossbar, while Antenucci fired through a crowded area and into the Charlton keeper’s arms as the game entered five minutes of stoppage time.
Brian Montenegro stepped off the bench to replace Bianchi and Lewis Cook drilled a low strike wide, but that proved to be the final meaningful action as the spoils were shared.