Charlton fell to defeat at the hands of the league leaders as Derby County earned a 2-0 victory at the iPro Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Rams proved worthy of their place at the top of the Championship with two clinical first-half finishes courtesy of Jeff Hendrick and Jesse Lingard earning Steve McClaren’s men the points.
And although the Londoners gave a spirited showing after the break, it was not enough to dent their opponents promotion credentials as the Addicks’ winning streak was halted at two games.
There was one change to the Charlton starting line-up for the clash with the Rams.
Lawrie Wilson came into the side in place of Jordan Cousins, who was been rested by Head Coach Guy Luzon to allow him time to recover from an accumulation of knocks.
Meanwhile, new signing Alou Diarra was named on the bench a day after signing for the Addicks, while Chris Eagles also took his place among the replacements.
There was a familiar face in the Derby side with Darren Bent starting up front against Charlton for the first time since he left the club in 2007.
The league leaders made a strong start to proceedings, enjoying the majority of the early possession before taking a ninth-minute lead with their first effort on goal.
Springing the offside trap, Bent got in behind down the right hand side to deliver a low, dangerous ball in for Hendrick to finish past Stephen Henderson from 10 yards.
Derby continued to apply the pressure as they held on to the ball with relative ease with Tom Ince curling an effort narrowly wide before Bent failed to get the desired connection on a shot from a good position and it was not long before the Rams doubled their lead with just 18 minutes gone.
A swift, passing move down the middle saw Lingard race on to a through ball to finish firmly into the bottom right-hand corner as Steve McClaren’s men threatened to run riot.
Thankfully, the hosts took their foot of the gas and the Addicks were afforded to regain composure despite Derby continuing to control matters.
The impressive Will Hughes flashed a shot just wide with 10 minutes of the half remaining moments before Chris Solly did well to carve out Charlton’s first effort on goal.
Doing well to close down an attempted clearance in the penalty area, he won back possession before firing a vicious shot towards goal to force Lee Grant into a good save at his near post.
And the stopper was called into action twice more shortly after when Johann Berg Gudmundsson sent a free-kick haring towards the top right-hand corner, only for Grant to superbly claw it, while he also did well to keep out Solly’s speculative volley from 30 yards.
But after the Addicks’ good spell, it was the Rams who would have the final say of the first half with Hendrick rattling the crossbar with a good-looking, curling effort from 25 yards.
Luzon shuffled his pack at the break, introducing Diarra off the bench for his Charlton bow in place of Wilson in an attempt to shore up the midfield ahead of the second half.
The game continued at a somewhat pedestrian pace until the hour mark when the visitors came alive with a big chance in the box.
Gudmundsson’s free-kick dropped to Roger Johnson at the back post before his shot came back to the feet of Diarra.
But as the France international got the ball under control, his eventual effort was well blocked by a sea of white shirts.
As the half wore on it became apparent that the Rams were quite happy with their lot, with little to no action at either end.
Indeed, the Addicks did enjoy the odd flash of hope going forward, with a nice, flowing passage of play resulting in Gudmundsson’s right-wing cross coming inches away from the head of Vetokele, before the worried Derby back line cleared away.
The Addicks had shown plenty of fight in Derbyshire.
Indeed, the Pride Park faithful indicated plenty of discontent as the visitors frustrated the Rams late on, but Charlton just could not do enough to make an impact as the clock ticked down to confirm a two-goal victory for McClaren’s title hopefuls.
Charlton: Henderson, Solly, Fox, Ben Haim, Johnson, Gudmundsson, Buyens, Wilson (Diarra 46), Bulot (Eagles 68), Vetokele, Watt (Harriott 71).
Subs (not used): Dmitrović, Gomez, Bikey-Amougou, Lepoint.
Derby County: Grant; Christie, Keogh, Shotton, Forsyth; Thorne (Mascarell 71), Hendrick, Hughes (Bryson 76); Lingard (Dawkins 69), Ince, Bent.
Subs (not used): Roos, Buxton, Ward, Thomas.
Goals: Hendrick 9, Lingard 17
Referee: D Coote
Att: 28, 277 (311 from Charlton)