Charlton’s impressive start to the season continued in dramatic fashion at The Valley on Saturday, with a late, late winner earning a 2-1 victory over Hull City.
The Addicks controlled the game from beginning to end and were well worth their lead when Simon Makienok nodded the hosts in front after 52 minutes.
But with Abel Hernandez bundling home an equaliser in the 90th minute, it seemed as if the afternoon would end in disappointment until Johann Berg Gudmundsson popped up in the eighth minute of added time to spark wild scenes.
The victory was earned with Guy Luzon forced to delve deep into his squad, with injuries to Tony Watt and Chris Solly meaning there would be two changes from the start as El-Hadji Ba and Zakarya Bergdich, who was making his full league debut, came into the side.
That meant a reshuffle with Jordan Cousins slotting in at right-back, Cristian Ceballos to right midfield and Gudmundsson moving centrally, just off Makienok in attack.
Meanwhile, six of the seven places on the substitutes bench were occupied by members of the club’s renowned academy, with Mikhail Kennedy the latest to step up to the first-team ranks.
The Addicks made a bright start in the sweltering heat of SE7, seeing all of the ball early on as they displayed some impressing passing football, while Ahmed Kashi contributed some crunching tackles to break up any mild threat from the Tigers.
Indeed, it was the hosts who enjoyed the first shot on goal with 21 minutes gone as Bergdich powered forward, cut inside and saw a low shot deflected just wide.
Then, from the resulting corner, Ba leaped highest and came inches away from making the all-important contact which would, surely, have resulted in a goal.
Charlton’s positive start was threatened to be disrupted shortly after, however, when Ceballos was forced to withdraw from the action following a knock, leaving Karlan Ahearne-Grant to come on to replace the Spaniard.
And the 17-year-old was next to try his luck when he did well to beat his man before drilling a shot wide.
Another attack on 34 minutes saw Gudmundsson’s chipped, angled ball dip only narrowly wide and, with the break approaching, the Addicks were well on top of their opponents who were recently relegated from the Premier League.
With seconds to go before half-time, Ahearne-Grant was presented with a glorious chance to give his side, what would have been, a deserved lead after Ba chipped a sumptuous ball over the top of the Hull defence.
The young striker got in behind and waited for the bounce, but snatched at it as it spun high and wide of the post.
After the break, there was a stoppage in play after Patrick Bauer had suffered a nasty-looking dislocated finger. But with the club doctor coming on to pop it back in (much to the discomfort of the watching Valley faithful!), the big German was on the mend and fit to continue.
That injury came just at the visitors were beginning to find some momentum. Moment later, however, the Addicks were in front.
With Gudmundsson getting down the right-hand side, the Iceland international stood up a perfectly-weighted, chipped cross to the front post where rose to divert a header past Allan McGregor and into the back of the net.
It was the very least Luzon’s men had deserved for their impressive showing up to that point and a special goal for the Denmark international who had been waiting patiently to get off the mark for his new club – his emotional celebration showing just that.
Shortly after, Charlton were in again with a fantastic chance to double the lead, and they would have done just that, but for a superb save from Tigers stopper McGregor.
Gudmundsson benefitted from Andy Robertson’s timely slip to race through one-on-one and with the wide man favourite to score, he waited patiently before his shot struck the face of the diving Scot.
At the midway point of the second 45, the Addicks were looking comfortable as they searched for a second.
The confident-looking Ahearne-Grant turned brilliantly before firing over on 65 minutes, while another academy graduate emerged from the bench for the final 20 minutes in the form of Regan Charles-Cook, who came on for his league debut in place of the injured Ba.
At the other end, Hull continued in their struggle to break down the home side, limited simply to shots from distance which barely troubled Nick Pope.
Meanwhile, Charlton provided a huge threat in attack, with a dangerous corner just missing a decent connection from Bauer, before Charles-Cook powered an effort over the bar, while sub Callum Harriott’s right-footed effort was hit straight at McGregor.
With seven minutes remaining, the Tigers had their best effort on goal when Abel Hernandez curled a shot just wide from the angle before Nikica Jelovic skimmed a header inches wide of the post.
The pressure suddenly began to pile on with Isaac Hayden striking the base of the post before the visitors grabbed a 90th-minute equaliser that was scantly deserved, with their first shot on target all afternoon.
A second shot from Hayden was hit low, with Pope getting behind it, only to spill the ball into feet of Hernandez who bundled home.
It was heartbreak for the Addicks who had been the better side throughout the 90 minutes and should have been celebrating another home victory.
But just when they thought it was all over, Charlton scored a 98th-minute winner to send the Valley into absolute delirium!
After Hull had a goal disallowed for offside at the other end, Kashi pumped one final roll of the dice into the box.
And with the excellent Makienok jumping to nod the ball down into the danger area, Gudmundsson watched it bounce and diverted a deft header past McGregor from six yards to spark unadulterated scenes of joy in SE7.
Even Luzon himself got in on the act, jumping on top of the pile of bodies in the North West corner which earned him his marching orders into the stands by the referee.
But the Israeli will care not. The victory pushes his side into third place and ensures that his unbeaten Addicks have earned eight points from a possible 12, all against sides tipped for promotion come May.
Charlton: Pope; Cousins, Bauer, Diarra, Fox; Ceballos (Ahearne-Grant 24), Ba (Charles-Cook 69), Kashi, Bergdich (Harriott 75), Gudmundsson; Makienok.
Subs (not used): Mitov, Sarr, Lennon, Kennedy.
Booked: Ba 56 (foul on Jelavic), Bergdich 75 (timewasting)
Goals: Makienok 52, Gudmundsson 90+8
Hull City: McGregor, Odubajo, Dawson, Davies, Robertson (Clucas 77), Elmohamady, Meyler, Huddlestone (58 Hayden), Aluko, Akpom (Hernández 64), Jelavić.
Subs (not used): Jakupović, Taylor, Bruce, Maguire.
Booked: Hernandez 90 (excessive celebration)
Goal: Hernandez 90
Referee: T Robinson
Att: 14,844 (1,053 from Hull)