Wembley Appearance Caps Charlton Star Lyle Taylor's Remarkable Journey

Wembley Appearance Caps Charlton Star Lyle Taylor's Remarkable Journey
18:56, 23 May 2019

December 3 2017. AFC Wimbledon versus Charlton. Lyle Taylor scores a brace for the home side at Kingsmeadow, as the Addicks crash out of the FA Cup at the second-round.

February 10 2018.  Lyle Taylor produces the goal on the stroke of halftime that proves decisive for Wimbledon to claim all three points over Charlton.

June 27 2019. Lyle Taylor becomes Charlton Athletic’s first signing of the summer.

Upon the striker’s move from SW to SE which ended his three year association with Wimbledon, Addicks manager Lee Bowyer - himself only making his move to the Valley a permanent one - was quick to proclaim his desire to bring Taylor to the club saying “He’s a top striker. He scores goals. He’s the all-around striker. He’s got everything.” (CAFC)

Fast forward almost 12 months and Taylor has finished as the second highest top goalscorer in the division after bagging 22 goals with only James Collins of Luton (25) ahead of him, as Charlton finished third in League One, securing the top play-off spot. With his 14 goals for the Dons in 2017/18, it means that he’s tallied close to 40 league goals in his past two seasons.

Charlton can retrospectively count those two Taylor-instigated defeats at Wimbledon as blessings if it indeed provoked them into acquiring his signature. Upon the ending of his Dons’ contract, Taylor rejected the interest of Sunderland who the Addicks coincidentally now find themselves facing in the League One play-off final, with the Black Cats having seen off Portsmouth. A trip to Wembley awaits for Bowyer & Co, led by their potent striker Taylor.

It marks a truly fitting homecoming for the forward who was born in nearby Greenwich and raised in New Cross. In his own words he is now “15 minutes from the doorstep” of the house that he grew up in.

A decade ago it was a very different story for Taylor, having just had the ignominy of being released by another London club - Millwall - as he was attempting to build his career.

Taylor bounced back at non-league outfit Concord Rangers with a goalscoring frenzy that enabled the Beach Boys promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division as champions.

This subsequently provided Taylor - having registered 34 goals across that campaign - with a move to Bournemouth. Although the Cherries are now a fixture of the Premier League, they were then residing in League One but still Taylor struggled to replicate the potency he has shown in the IL Division One North and this provoked further loan moves away from Dean Court before securing a permanent move to Scotland.

At Falkirk, the then 22-year-old regained his confidence and his goalscoring boots in the 12/13 season, finishing as the First Division’s second-highest goalscorer, just one behind Stevie May who claimed 25.

Spells back in England with both Sheffield United and Scunthorpe however were unable to prove fruitful, before Wimbledon came calling in 2015. They were promoted in his first season from League Two, with Taylor scoring at Wembley having taken them their through a decisive semi-final second-leg extra-time equalizer at Accrington Stanley, and then he began to stamp League One as his territory.

In 2019, his goal and assist in the semi-final first leg against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat were the reasons for Charlton’s advantage to carry back home to the capital, in a tie they eventually won on penalties, with Taylor scoring their third. Both the player and Addicks everywhere will be hoping this thick vein of form continues for Taylor to mark a return for the club to the Championship after three years away, and the striker with the chance to prove he could replicate this prolificacy at a higher level.