Gary Haines reports
Ricardo Fuller made an immediate impact, but Charlton slipped to their first defeat of the season at The City Ground on Saturday.
Goals either side of the interval from Lewis McGugan and Sam Hutchinson put the impressive hosts in front, before a late header from Fuller cannoned in off the post and goalkeeper Lee Camp.
The Addicks fell behind when McGugan’ 19th-minute free-kick beat all and sundry in a packed penalty box before dropping into the net.
And Forest wrapped up the win 15 minutes from time after Hutchinson surged into the box and planted a shot under Ben Hamer and in.
Both goals were not without contention, with Chris Powell perhaps questioning the concession of the free-kick for the opener, and there was anger on and off the pitch after Rhoys Wiggins lay on the turf as play was able to continue.
Hutchinson was able to exploit the big gap behind to double his side’s lead, but there was a late flurry as substitute Fuller’s header went in via the post and keeper Camp.
Forest then survived a late penalty shout when a Salim Kerkar drive crashed off the upper torso of a defender and the hosts, comfortable for most of the afternoon, were the more relieved to hear the final whistle.
Fast-starting Forest should really have taken the lead with just nine minutes on the watch when the visitors were rescued by the woodwork.
The influential Andy Reid was the architect, pulling the ball back superbly from the left, but midfielder Adlene Guedioura could only smack a hugely presentable chance against the bar.
They did grab a deserved lead in the 17th minute as McGugan struck, and it was a goal that Powell and his players will not want to watch again.
The boss was a little upset at the initial award, after a tussle out wide between Chris Solly and Simon Cox, but his mood darkened when McGugan swung in a set-piece that somehow pierced a sea of players in the box and nestled in the bottom right corner of the net.
The hosts continued to press after that with McGugan’s deflected shot dropping just wide with Charlton firmly on the back-foot.
Forest’s dominance continued until the break but the second half was a touch more palatable for the watching away bench, although clear chances were at a premium.
They did double their money on 75 minutes as Hutchinson got away on the right as Wiggins lie flat on the turf, and cracked home a low drive.
Fuller sparked a riposte from the visitors as his header eventually went in, and there was plenty of late drama as the Addicks gave it a real go.
But Powell would have no doubt wanted his side to make their presence felt a lot earlier as he was left to reflect on a first reverse of the season.
In terms of team news the Addicks made their first change of the season as Jordan Cook started a Championship fixture for the first time in Addicks colours.
He came in for Dale Stephens, who didn’t travel to the East Midlands after an unsettling deadline day.
Elsewhere the Addicks were unchanged. The defence remained the same with Hamer starting behind the regular backline of full-backs Chris Solly and Wiggins and central pairing Michael Morrison and Leon Cort.
Danny Hollands was in midfield together with Bradley Pritchard and Johnnie Jackson with Cook initially supplied the width with Bradley Wright-Phillips and Yann Kermorgant up top.
There were alterations on the bench with new goalkeeping signing David Button providing back-up to Hamer and there was also first bench outings of 2012/13 for strikers Danny Haynes and Fuller.
Dorian Dervite, a hastily installed replacement for the injured Matt Taylor last weekend against Hull, is also in reserve alongside Salim Kerkar and Danny Green.
The hosts fielded two former Addicks in their starting line-up in the shape of defender Greg Halford and left-sider Andy Reid.
Recent signing Simon Cox partnered Dexter Blackstock, so often a scourge for the Addicks in his Queens Park Rangers days, up front.
McGugan, who smashed home a screamer last time out for Forest against Bolton Wanderers, started in the hole with Friday signings James Coppinger and Billy Sharp on the bench.
It was Forest who quickly settled into the game, spraying neat and concise passes around with the black-shirted Addicks working hard to minimise the danger.
Reid was a central string-puller in the early exchanges, and after Blackstock’s low shot from the edge of the box was snared by Hamer, the hosts wasted a great opportunity to take a ninth-minute lead.
Cox fed the elusive Irishman on the left and he skipped into space before pulling the ball back to Adlene Guedioura, who could only shoot against the bar when he really ought to have scored.
It was a major let-off for the visitors and after their first corner of the game came to nothing, Cort headed away another Reid centre after the midfielder burst down the left.
These were dangerous times for the Addicks and they were behind in the 17thminute.
Solly was penalised for a foul on Cox way out on the left and he usurped Reid in the set-piece pecking order, whipping in a dangerous centre that beat all and sundry in the box, which, sadly from an Addicks point of view, included Hamer.
The ball nestled in the bottom right corner of the net as the rearguard questions began for the Londoners, and Forest were up and running.
It might have been even worse moments later as a cross from the left was headed just over by Blackstock and the Addicks, who had not been able to get any kind of foothold in the game, breathed again.
There was another sharp intake of breath from the away fns behind the goal when McGugan’s shot took a wicked deflection, but flew just wide of a wrong-footed Hamer’s post.
Danny Collins volleyed over at the far post, albeit from a difficult height and by this stage Powell had tinkered with his formation as Cook moved into the top of a diamond with Jackson and Pritchard either side of sitter Hollands.
Still the threat came from Forest though and the dangerous McGugan ballooned high over from the edge of the box with 25 minutes gone.
The Addicks’ best move to date came six minutes later as Kermorgant found Solly on the right and the overlapping full-back’s cross was headed wide by a stretching Jackson on the far side.
Charlton’s cause wasn’t helped by some sloppy work when in possession and Hamer patted down a McGugan drive before collecting at the second attempt.
As impressive as they were in possession, Forest proved to be pretty resolute at the back as well with the Addicks struggling to make any attacking inroads.
Another tactical change saw Jackson move to an attacking midfield role with Cook switching to the left, but still the hosts looked the more dangerous.
After a quick Forest burst, Hollands slid in to make a fine last-ditch challenge on Cox as he shaped to pull the trigger.
Opportunity knocked in the last minute of the half as Kermorgant was baulked 30 yards from goal.
After referee Salisbury marched the ball back a couple of yards, the Frenchman left the ball to Jackson, but his clip into the box was easily dealt with.
Morrison got his head to a late corner at the end of the half but Lee Camp made a routine save to ensure his side went in ahead at the break.
Cox’s chip moments after the restart lacked the height to trouble Hamer with Cook cutting in from the left and seeing his low shot fumbled and then snared by Camp.
A neat flick from Blackstock was then volleyed dangerously across goal by Reid but no one was able to apply a touch.
Sam Hutchinson got a crucial toe in to concede a corner five minutes in as Morrison set himself to strike from close range following a Jackson free-kick, and Kermorgant headed the resulting flag-kick over the bar.
Cort valiantly through himself in front of a Cox drive after the striker cut in from the left but the hosts picked up the first booking 10 minutes in with Guedioura having no complaints after sliding through Hollands.
Morrison headed over before Danny Haynes replaced Cook a minute before the hour mark and after a home corner was half cleared Guedioura’s fierce volley took a nick – presumably off a teammate – before flying just over.
The Addicks had switched to a 4-3-3 after the change with Haynes on the left and Wright-Phillips on the right with Kermorgant down the middle, and Cox was booked after catching Hamer after the keeper initially spilled his angled drive.
Jackson’s trip on Halford earned him a booking and after a Hollands long throw Pritchard allowed the ball to bounce before hoisting a shot over the bar from the edge of the box.
The game was into its final quarter now, and was a far more even affair.
A deflected McGugan effort dribbled behind for a corner and after the half-cleared set-play Halford headed over.
At 1-0 down the Addicks were still in this, and after a purposeful surge upfield from Solly the right-back could not quite feed Haynes as he dashed into the dangerzone.
But the visitors found themselves two goals down 15 minutes from time, with Powell again far from happy at an exchange in the build-up.
This time it was Wiggins who went down on the Forest right, but Salisbury allowed play to continue and Blackstock chipped the ball in for Hutchinson with the right-back surging into the Wiggins-free space and calmly cracking a shot beyond Hamer and in.
Amid the Addicks protests, Morrison – and possibly Hamer before him - was booked but the goal was allowed to stand.
Powell sent on Fuller and Kerkar for Wright-Phillips and Hollands with Sharp coming on for Cox at the same juncture.
Kermorgant’s header was brilliantly palmed away by Camp before McGugan made way for Moussi.
Hamer reached out to grab a toe-poke from Blackstock before the impressive Reid made way for Coppinger.
Charlton gave themselves a lifeline three minutes from time, however, with Fuller making an instant impact.
Solly did well on the right to clip the ball across and the Jamaican’s powerful header clattered against the post and then the scrambling Camp before nestling in the back of the net.
Suddenly it was game on and some magic from Fuller conjured up another chance in the last regulation minute.
The striker jinked into space and clipped the ball across to the edge of the box where Kerkar met it flush on the volley.
Despite loud shouts for a penalty the referee disagreed, although he did award the Addicks a free-kick in dangerous territory.
Jackson stepped up, but could only curl over the bar, and at the other end sub Sharp broke away and lifted the ball over Hamer only for Solly and then Wiggins to deny him a debut goal.
It was breathless stuff, with Solly challenging Moussi with one shoe off before Blackstock’s lunging challenge on Kerkar was punished with a booking.
But despite the late flurry, time was against the Addicks who slipped to their first defeat of the season as the hosts drew a sigh of relief.
Charlton: Hamer; Solly, Wiggins, Morrison, Cort; Jackson, Pritchard, Hollands (Kerkar), Cook (Haynes 59); Wright-Phillips (Fuller 81), Kermorgant.
Subs (not used): Button, Wilson, Dervite, Green.
Goals:Camp (og) 87.
Booked: Jackson 67 (foul on Halford), Morrison 76 (dissent), Hamer 76 (dissent), Kermorgant 89 (dissent)
Nottingham Forest: Camp; Hutchinson, Halford, Collins, Ayala; Guedioura, Gillett, McGugan (Moussi 83), Reid (Coppinger 84); Cox (Sharp 80), Blackstock.
Subs (not used): Evtimov, Harding, Moloney, Majewski.
Goals:McGugan 17, Hutchinson 75.
Booked:Guedioura 55 (foul on Hollands), Cox 65 (foul on Hamer), Blackstock 90 (foul on Kerkar).
Att: 19,745 (1,067 Charlton).