Olly Groome reports from The Valley
Charlton earned a second home victory on the trot thanks to Lee Novak’s late goal as the Addicks defeated Chesterfield 1-0 at The Valley.
The hosts were the better side throughout, but were left frustrated as they found it increasingly difficult to break down their opponents.
Charlton’s patience eventually paid off with four minutes left on the clock, however, as Novak headed home the winner to secure all three points in SE7.
Nicky Ajose and Patrick Bauer came back into the starting eleven for the clash against the Spireites, as Manager Russell Slade made two changes.
Bauer returned having recovered from a virus, while Ajose was restored following his late equaliser against Gillingham last weekend.
Declan Rudd retained his place in goal, with Chris Solly, Jason Pearce, Bauer and Morgan Fox making up the back four.
Andrew Crofts and Fredrik Ulvestad patrolled the engine room, while Ademola Lookman and Ricky Holmes provided a threat from the wings. Ajose, meanwhile, supported Josh Magennis up top.
Charlton’s patient build-up play resulted in the first shot on goal in the eighth minute when Lookman drove into the box before firing towards goal. His shot took a deflection, which Chesterfield keeper Ryan Fulton kept out well.
The visitors first real opening did not come until the 26th minute when Ched Evans pounced on a lofted pass over the top, but with just Rudd to beat, it was the stopper who came out on top, making a good save at his near post to deny the striker.
Moments later, the Spireites hit the woodwork with Dan Gardner curling a delicate effort off the base of the right-hand upright from just inside the box, and in the 34th minute, it was the hosts turn to follow suit.
Magennis showed good strength on the edge of the box to hold the ball up before playing in Ajose. The summer arrival had just Fulton to beat from an angle, but although he did just that, he could not beat the post as his effort came bouncing back into the path of Solly, who fired well over.
Just before half-time, Magennis was involved again when he stretched his neck muscles to send a powerful header flying towards the top right-hand corner, only for Fulton to make a superb save to claw it away.
The Addicks continued to see the majority of possession early in the second period, but still found it difficult to penetrate the Chesterfield defence.
The 57th minute brought more good work from the tireless Holmes down the left before the winger crossed for Magennis who, once again, showed his aerial threat by thumping another header towards Fulton’s goal. Although it beat the keeper’s stretch on this occasion, it spun narrowly wide of the post.
Frustration grew as the chances became hard to come by although Magennis did have the ball in the net with 15 minutes to go, but the short burst of celebration around SE7 was curtailed by the referee who blew for a foul on the keeper.
A minute later, Ajose should have been celebrating himself when substitute laid the ball on a plate on the edge of the six-yard box with a sublime cross from the right, but the forward did not get the desired contact on his header as it trickled wide of the post.
But just as it looked like Charlton would be heading towards another share of the spoils, up stepped super sub Novak to win the game for Russell Slade’s men.
Holmes was the man to claim the assist, making a great run down the left before whipping in a cross for the former Chesterfield loanee to glance his header past Fulton and into the back of the net.
Novak would enjoy one more chance to make the points safe late on, dragging a shot wide from Botaka’s pull-back, but one would be enough for the Addicks, who enjoyed back-to-back home wins for the first time this season.
The three points made sure Charlton have now secured eight from a possible 12, and with just one league defeat in eight games, it’s a positive sign that Slade’s side might just be hitting the right form to push the Addicks up to the right end of the table.
Charlton: Rudd, Solly, Bauer, Pearce, Fox, Holmes, Ulvestad, Crofts, Lookman (Botaka 70), Magennis, Ajose (Novak 81).
Subs (not used): Phillips, Foley, Jackson, Konsa, Lennon.
Booked: Fox 17 (foul on Ayiribi), Magennis 70 (diving)
Goal: Novak 86
Chesterfield: Fulton, Hird, Liddle, Evatt, Gardner (O’Shea 66), Evans (German 88), O’Neill, Dimaio, Donohue, Ayiribi, Graham (Dennis 88).
Subs (not used): Allinson, Mitchell, Nolan, Maguire.
Booked: Graham 20 (foul on Holmes)
Referee: J Busby
Att: 10,153 (422 from Chesterfield)