Charlton are still waiting for their first points of 2015 after suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
The Hornets had the points all but wrapped up by the time the half-time whistle was blown, with Craig Cathcart, Troy Deeney, and Odion Ighalo finding the net before the break, before the latter sealed a brace in the second period and Daniel Tozser fired in a free-kick at the death to compound a turbulent week in SE7.
First-Team Coach Damian Matthew and Goalkeeping Coach Ben Roberts took charge of the Addicks at Vicarage Road, with Head Coach Guy Luzon still awaiting his work permit.
And Charlton made two changes to the side which fell to a 1-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion one week earlier.
Yoni Buyens and Callum Harriott both regained their places after serving suspensions, while Johnnie Jackson missed out through a calf injury while George Tucudean dropped to the bench.
The Addicks got out of the traps quickly, finding an opening twice in the opening 90 seconds.
First, Lawrie Wilson bounded into the box before over-hitting a cross to the back post which Igor Vetokele just failed to prevent going out for a goal kick, before the Angolan pounced on a poor clearance to race into the box and draw a save from Heurelho Gomes.
After the initial bright start, however, Watford began to create chances for themselves with Ighalo glancing wide from Tozser’s cross before Neil Etheridge sprung into action with a superb save.
A squared ball into the box was met by Deeney in space eight yards from goal, but he was denied by the Philippines international’s sprawling save while Gianni Munari had his effort cleared off the line by Tal Ben Haim moments later.
While the hosts were slowly gaining a foothold on proceedings, Charlton, and in particular, Vetokele remained a threat in the final third.
The pacy forward turned brilliantly 30 yards from goal, creating space to play in the advancing Johann Berg Gudmundsson to his right.
With the winger through on goal he had just Gomes to beat, and probably should have done better than forcing the stopper into a relatively simple save.
It was, in truth, a glorious chance for the Addicks to take hold of the game, but they would be left to rue that missed opportunity when the Hornets took the lead after 15 minutes.
Miguel Layun delivered a tricky cross in from the right which the men in red failed to deal with, and with the ball falling to Cathcart, the defender stroked home from close range to put Watford 1-0 up.
And it would get worse for the visitors 10 minutes later when the ever-dangerous Deeney sprung the offside trap to get in behind, latching onto a searching ball over the top.
André Bikey-Amougou rarely gets beaten for strength, but on the occasion the big defender was left on the ground as the striker powered through before finally slotting past Etheridge for 2-0.
Charlton were struggling to deal with the Hornets attacking prowess and the chances kept coming as Watford surged forwards in search of a third.
Ighalo found himself round the back of the vulnerable visiting defence, striking a good-looking half-volley which saw Etheridge produce another impressive save to his left, while marauding full-back Juan Carlos Paredes fired a powerful effort narrowly over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Ighalo spurned another good chance when he struck straight at Etheridge, but it was only a matter of time before Watford made it three.
More good work down the right-hand side courtesy of Paredes saw him get past Rhoys Wiggins, hitting the byline to cut back across the face of goal where Ighalo lay in wait to finally scratch his name onto the scoresheet.
There was one final chance for the Addicks to produce at least a glimmer of hope on the stroke of half-time, but Gudmundsson’s free-kick from just outside the box sailed horribly over the bar, summing up what had been a miserable half for the south-Londoners.
The second half started much in the same vein as Watford continued to go for the jugular, and Deeney came close to a fourth early on when his low, dipping effort was tipped away by Etheridge.
But it only took until the 58th minute for Charlton’s rear-guard to be broken again, this time from a corner, from which the unmarked Ighalo bulleted home a header with ease.
Ten minutes later, The Addicks enjoyed a rare half-chance when Bikey nodded Harriott’s cross wide of the post, but it was the closest the demoralised visitors had come in the second 45 with the game all but over.
Watford, though, still had their eye on a fifth and Deeney produced yet another fine stop from Etheridge who dived to his left to tip the Hornets’ skipper’s stinging effort round the post for a corner.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, Ben Haim was a divot away from conceding an own goal when Ikechi Anya’s cut-back clipped off the defender’s toe to spin past Etheridge and bounce along the goal line before a pitch imperfection ensured the ball headed back out, allowing Charlton to clear to safety.
The fifth was forthcoming, however, deep into injury time when Tozser punished again from another set-piece, this time blasting a free-kick past Etheridge from 25 yards after Bikey had been pulled up for a foul, seconds after the referee had missed Chris Solly being upended in the centre of the park.
And that would be the final act on a day to forget for the 2,000-plus travelling supporters who should be commended for never once failing to lend their vocal support despite the testing circumstances.
Charlton: Etheridge; Solly (c), Wiggins, Ben Haim, Bikey-Amougou; Wilson (Watt 46), Buyens, Cousins, Harriott; Gudmundsson, Vetokele (Church 65).
Subs (not used): Dmitrovic, Gomez, Onyewu, Fox, Tucudean.
Booked: Solly 5 (foul on Anya), Bikey-Amougou 90+2 (foul on Vydra)
Watford: Gomes; Hoban, Cathcart, Angella; Paredes, Layun, Tozser, Munari (Pudil 21), Anya (Byers 82); Ighalo (Vydra 75), Deeney.
Subs (not used): Bond, Doyley, Mensah, Smith.
Goal: Cathcart 15, Deeney 25, Ighalo 44, 58, Tozser 90+3
Referee: D Bond
Att: 17,703 (2,024 from Charlton)