DALE Stephens made a 65-minute return from injury as a Charlton XI defeated Margate in a thrilling Kent Senior Cup quarter-final.

Stephens was joined by other senior Addicks such as Scott Wagstaff and Gary Doherty in a youthful squad, with strike duo Leon Clarke and Paul Hayes equalising twice after The Gate had taken the lead in each half through highly-rated striker Kwesi Appiah and Curtis Robinson.

Clarke’s second of the game finally put the away side in the lead for the first time after 57 minutes, but the Kent coast minnows weren’t out of the contest and pulled back on level terms through Richard Avery with little over a quarter hour to spare.

It was young substitute Ade Azeez who decided the tie, converting a Ruben Bover-Izquierdo free-kick two minutes from time a week after signing his first professional contract.

After a staggering seven minutes of stoppage time and some late scares, including a Margate shout for a penalty when it appeared another newly-turned pro Semi Ajayi may have handled in the area, Charlton held on to advance to the last four.

The semi-final will see them travel to either Tonbridge Angels or Dartford for a place in this season’s final.

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Charlton: Gough, Cousins, Evina, Doherty, Ajayi, Wagstaff, Warren, Stephens (Jordan 65), Bover-Izquierdo, Hayes (Pigott 85), Clarke (Azeez 73).Subs (not used): Pope, Fox. Att: 929