Olly Groome reports from The City Ground
It was a battling victory and, just about, a deserving one as Jordan Cousins' goal 10 minutes from the end sealed all three points at the City Ground on Tuesday evening.
Charlton had chances and wasted them all before finally taking the game by the scruff of the neck when Jonathan Obika fired a shot against the post, only for Cousins to follow up to net a glorious winner in the East Midlands.
José Riga gave his forward line a shake-up by introducing Reza Ghoochannejhad and Marvin Sordell into the starting XI in place of Obika and Simon Church – the Wales international was not included in the 18 while Astrit Ajdarević started with Danny Green dropping to the bench.
Ajdarević was in the thick of the action from the get-go sending a low shot wide from distance after just 35 seconds before creating an opening for himself with five minutes on the clock.
The loanee closed down an attempted Jamaal Lascelles clearance and as the ball fell loose at the corner of the box he snatched at a right-footed shot across Forest stopper Karl Darlow but could only watch as it bounced wide.
The hosts responded with a chance of their own – Jamie Mackie, getting on the end of a left-sided cross, nodded a header just wide of Ben Hamer's left-hand upright.
On 15 minutes Forest ended a sustained spell of possession by playing in Darius Henderson one-on-one. And Charlton hearts were in mouths when the striker's poked effort beat Hamer, but bounced off the outside of the post and out for the safety of a goal-kick.
Six minutes later, the Addicks followed suit.
Dorian Dervite spotted Cousins who had drifted behind a napping Forest defence and with plenty of room, the academy graduate teed up Sordell wide right, switching play with a smart ball across the face of goal. With Darlow stranded, the Olympian thumped his angled effort off the near post.
Charlton certainly had the confidence to pass through the Forest midfield with Cousins proving to be a thorn in the home team's side and with Ajdarević showing glimpses of class in behind the front two it looked as if the game could be there for the taking.
With 36 minutes gone, Cousins drove through the midfield before playing in Ghoochannejhad just inside the box. The Iranian watched as his shot took a wicked deflection which sent the ball looping up and just over a worried Darlow's crossbar.
The Addicks were on top, but at the other end Forest threatened just before the break when Simon Cox drove an effort through a crowded box. Lawrie Wilson took an important touch to divert the ball away from goal and away from the lurking Henderson.
And deep into time added on in the first-half all havoc broke loose when Forest hit the woodwork for the second time.
Cox somehow found himself the right side of Michael Morrison allowing him through with just Hamer to beat. The stopper rushed out, forcing the forward to chip against the post before the ball broke free in the box. With the ball coming back into the danger area Henderson produced a great save from the Addicks' number one who palmed over.
Charlton could breathe a sigh of relief - it was somewhat of a let-off.
But with that being said, Riga's men could retreat for the interval in some confidence. On the balance of play, it is fair to say, the had edged the first 45.
The second period started in end-to-end fashion with both sides threatening in the final third.
The Addicks broke away swiftly when Cousins drove forward but by the time he found Wilson in support, Forest had closed all avenues as Charlton hit a wall.
From that, the home side embarked on a counter of their own, crossing for Henderson who nodded dangerously across the face of goal, forcing Hamer to scramble clear.
Just after the hour mark Ajdarević showed tenacity down the left flank, keeping the ball in play before forcing former Addick Greg Halford out of possession. But cutting inside the box he had to find Ghoochannejhad who was in space but an interception saw Forest clear their lines.
Then, on 64 minutes, Cousins wasted the best chance of them all.
When Wilson got down the right, the full-back sent a pin-point cross high over the box with the midfielder waiting at the back post. But, completely unmarked, Cousins fluffed his lines, sending a volley soaring over the bar from the corner of the six-yard box.
Charlton were not making life easy for themselves in the final third. When presented with openings they were, quite simply, being wasteful and they would have to hope it would not come back to haunt them.
With 17 minutes remaining, Djebbour glanced a header inches over the bar, very nearly punishing the Addicks as Forest applied the pressure.
And moments later, Lascelles drew an important save from Hamer when the defender headed down towards goal from 12 yards. The keeper was the last line of defence and palmed the ball down before scrambling clear.
Just when it looked like Charlton were going to be made to rue their chances, the visitors snatched the lead with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Rhoys Wiggins stole possession on the half-way line, making a vital interception before sending in Jonathan Obika.
With just Darlow to beat the Spurs loanee slotted his effort against the post and for a wonderful change, the Addicks got the luck of the bounce as it ricocheted back to Cousins who, unmarked, slotted home into the open goal.
It was the midfielder's just desserts. Despite his earlier miss, Cousins had been superb throughout the contest and as he and his teammates dashed to the bench in sure exhilaration, you could see just how much it meant to everyone who wore the famous sword on their shirt.
It had now become a case of the Addicks simply having to hold on, but with the City Ground's home support turning on their players, the hostile atmosphere worked in the visitors' favour.
Forest did have a chance deep in injury time when Danny Collins headed over from a free-kick but that was all the home side had to muster as Charlton held on for a vital, vital three points.
Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Wiggins, Morrison, Dervite (Wood 45); Cousins, Poyet, Jackson, Ajdarevic (Fox 90); Ghoochannejhad, Sordell (Obika 60).
Subs (not used): Thuram-Ulien, Nego, Green, Pigott.
Goal: Cousins 81
Nottingham Forest: Darlow, Halford, Lascelles, Collins, Fox, Jara, Greening, Mackie, Abdoun (Derbyshire 87), Cox (Paterson 52), Henderson (Djebbour 68).
Subs (not used): Evtimov, Harding, Gomis, Majewski.
Booked: Jara 45 (elbow on Cousins), Lascelles 90+2 (foul on Cousins)
Referee: A Haines
Att: 17,951 (258 from Charlton)