Gary Haines reports from The Valley
Former Foxes Michael Morrison and Yann Kermorgant came back to bite 10-man Leicester City as the Addicks toasted a first Championship win of the season on Saturday.
Goals in each half from the defender and forward laid the foundations for the home side before Matty James saw red for Leicester.
Both Charlton goals came from corners as Morrison celebrated his 100th appearance for the Addicks with a thumping header in the 27th minute and Kermorgant rose at the far post to net his third in as many games against a club that first brought him to England.
The home side’s cause was aided when James, already booked, took his protests at a failed penalty appeal too far and was banished with more than half an hour remaining.
Danny Drinkwater pulled the visitors back in it after 61 minutes but the hosts dug in for a third successive win against the East Midlanders.
While Morrison’s first goal in almost 10 months was noteworthy, the column inches will again surround Kermorgant, whose much-maligned departure from the now-named King Power Stadium opened the door for former coach Chris Powell to snap him up, and how the Londoners have profited since.
He was everywhere during an all-action display, and continued his remarkable scoring run against the Foxes after the infamous fluffed penalty that paved the way for his exit all those years back.
The solidity provided by a central defence swelled by another member was clear from the off and Morrison’s presence in the opposite box helping them break the deadlock.
His terrific header from a Dale Stephens set-piece raised the roof as he marked his milestone in style.
It was his first goal since netting at Bristol City on November 11th last season, his only strike of that campaign after a fruitful five-goal haul in his debut campaign.
The rearguard remained resolute after that with the highly-rated Foxes largely kept at bay – and the action intensified in a hugely entertaining second period.
Kermorgant, who saw a free-kick brilliantly saved by Kasper Schmeichel four minutes after the restart, gleefully guided a header down and in on 57 minutes, his third goal in as many matches against his former employers.
After Hamer saved brilliantly from David Nugent the visitors saw Matty James banished for a second booking after protesting about a foul in the aftermath – but they reacted well to being reduced in numbers.
Indeed, they were back in it just past the hour mark as Drinkwater smashed home after a half-cleared corner.
It was tense and nervous in the ensuing half hour plus stoppage time with Johnnie Jackson volleying over and Schmiechel making key saves from Kermorgant and substitute Jordan Cousins.
At the other end the Foxes defied their numerical disadvantage and pressed for something from the game but by hook or by crook the Addicks held firm.
The luck that had eluded them in the opening weeks finally went their way as a few bounces went their way, but there was real heart and desire to hold firm with the irrepressible Kermorgant here, there and everywhere fighting for the cause.
And despite a whopping six added minutes at the end Powell was able to celebrate yet another win against his managerial mentor Nigel Pearson as the Addicks’ season finally took off.
In terms of team news Charlton were without the services of Chris Solly, the right-back suffering the effect of a knee niggle, so Lawrie Wilson continued on the right of a new-look 3-5-2 formation.
Rhoys Wiggins was the opposite wing-back while Leon Cort, top-scorer Simon Church and former Fox Kermorgant also returned to the starting XI.
They were the three changes from the narrow weekend Capital Cup loss at Huddersfield Town with the Addicks hoping to build on a positive display.
Ben Hamer was between the posts with Cort, Dorian Dervite and Morrison as a three-man central unit, the latter making his 100th appearance for the club. Like Solly, Richard Wood was sidelined with a knee niggle.
Wilson and Wiggins were the wide outlets with Jackson and Bradley Pritchard, after recent injury and suspension respectively, joined Stephens in central midfield.
Kermorgant’s name on the teamsheet up front drew jeers from an away end, and he was looking to continue a happy knack of scoring against his previous employers having bagged in both games last term. Three-goal Church was alongside him after netting in the abandoned game against Doncaster last weekend.
On the bench for the hosts was Nick Pope, Cedric Evina, Jordan Cousins, Mark Gower, Callum Harriott, Marvin Sordell and Joe Pigott.
Leicester, unbeaten in league and cup this season, matched Charlton’s formation with Richie De Laet and Jeff Schlupp the wing-backs and Jamie Vardy and David Nugent the threat up front.
Clear chances were at a premium in the early stages although Charlton probed via both flanks, and Kermorgant got defender Morrison out of jail with one fine covering challenge as the visitors broke quickly.
Matty James collected the first yellow card of the game after catching Pritchard with 12 minutes on the watch.
A bizarre passage of play saw Stephens play more than a minute with his boot off, making one fins challenge and almost triggering a chance with a neat through pass.
The first effort of the game went Leicester’s way midway through the half as a corner from the right was flicked on and Liam Moore guided a header wide from the left side of the box.
Arsenal loanee Ignasi Miquel was booked after sliding through the back of Kermorgant and after the Jackson free-kick was fisted behind by Kasper Schmiechel, the Addicks took the lead from the subsequent 27th-minute corner.
Morrison was the man on target, marking a century of appearances with a thumping header from Stephens’ flag-kick.
The Valley erupted as the Addicks took the lead in a league game for the first time this season, but Hamer came and missed a long throw moments later and drew a sigh of relief as the red shirts prevented further danger.
Jackson was booked for a miss-timed lunge on James as the clock reached 31, Charlton’s first card of the game, and Church twice went close soon afterwards.
The striker’s effort to smuggle the ball in after another corner resulted in the ball being hacked behind, but he was guilty of a horrible miss moments later.
Jackson curled in the subsequent corner and the ball eluded Morrison with Church, seeing the ball late, could only scoop over from close range with the goal at his mercy.
That proved the last action of a good half from a Charlton point of view with the Foxes firmly kept at bay.
It was just half the job, however, but Kermorgant almost doubled the lead four minutes after the restart.
The Frenchman’s surging run was brought to an end by Drinkwater, and he took aim with a curling free-kick from 30 yards that was headed for the bottom corner before Schmeichel plunged to make a fine diving save.
The pendulum then swung further in Charlton’s favour as Leicester were reduced to 10 men on 52 minutes.
After a rapid break upfield they looked certain to score as Vardy slipped the ball across to Nugent, but Hamer was out quickly to make a goal-saving block.
In the scramble that followed James’ penalty protests were too vehement for referee Darren Deadman’s liking and he quickly brandished a second yellow card for the former Manchester United youngster.
While he trudged off the Foxes bench were far from happy, nor were they at a strong Pritchard challenge soon afterwards that went unpunished by the referee.
The Foxes continued to probe and Hamer again saved well from Nugent before you know who raised the roof once more.
It was a similar scenario to the first goal too, as a corner from the right from Jackson reached the far post and Kermorgant headed down and in.
It was celebrated in fine style by a man who just loves scoring against Leicester and the hosts had precious daylight.
The Foxes took four minutes to get back in it, however, and it was game on again.
After a cross from the left was half cleared by Dervite, Drinkwater had followed up in the box and rifled the loose ball into the roof of the net.
On the balance of play after the red card Leicester deserved their route back into the game, but it was almost 3-1 soon after as a pumped-up Kermorgant headed down and Jackson spooned a great chance over.
Schmeichel then kept his side just a goal adrift with a wonderful diving stop to keep out a Kermorgant header and although Church’s follow-up looked to hit the upright, the keeper may have got a touch as a corner was given.
Leicester were far from comfortable defending corners and after a spot of pinball in the box, Dervite’s snap-shot was saved low before Wood replaced Vardy up top for the visitors.
Lloyd Dyer came on for Schlupp soon after and with Leicester getting a tad too much room when breaking Andy King could only hook a shot tamely into the arms of Hamer from the edge of the area.
Jackson and Stephens made way for Gower and Cousins 15 minutes from time and Wiggins, booked for time-wasting moments earlier, teed up Church whose shot was blocked behind by Wes Morgan.
After a great break Cousins almost grabbed a goal-of-the-season contender nine minutes from time.
After great work on the right from Pritchard, the youngster’s sublime touch took him away from his marker but his shot was saved as Church looked on longingly in the middle.
Pritchard collected a booking after catching Knockaert and the nerves were starting to jangle as the clock ticked down.
Miquel’s shot on the run was saved low by Hamer as the natives continued to check their watches and Knockaert was furious after being booked after catching Pritchard.
Some wise words from Nugent made sure it remained just yellow and in the last regulation minute Powell summoned Pigott for a Championship debut.
A whopping six minutes were added by the referee, adding further angst in these parts and Pigott could only volley into the ground when picked out by Gower.
Wood guided a header wide for the visitors in the fourth added minute and King lifted a shot over in the fifth, as the fingernails were munched further.
The ball didn’t quite sit for Wood in the box after a booming Schmeichel clearance, and the ball was gleefully collected by Hamer.
And there was no time for another raid as Deadman’s whistle brought proceedings to a conclusion and signalled a first win of the season.
Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Cort, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins; Stephens (Cousins 75), Pritchard, Jackson (Gower 75); Kermorgant, Church (Pigott 90).
Subs (not used): Pope, Evina, Harriott, Sordell.
Goals: Morrison 27, Kermorgant 57
Booked: Jackson 31 (foul on James), Wiggins 79 (time-wasting), Pritchard 82 (foul on Knockaert)
Leicester: Schmeichel; De Laet (Knockaert 56), Schlupp (Dyer 72), Morgan, Moore, Miquel; King, James, Drinkwater; Vardy (Wood 67), Nugent
Subs (not used): Logan, Whitbread, Bakayogo, Danns.
Goal: Drinkwater 61
Booked: James 12 (foul on Pritchard), Miquel 26 (foul on Kermorgant), Knockaert 89 (foul on Pritchard)
Sent off: James 52 (dissent/second yellow card)
Referee: D Deadman
Att: 15,542 (2,210 Leicester)