George Jones reports from the Memorial Stadium
Charlton recorded their biggest away win in over three and-a-half years by earning a thumping 5-1 victory at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday evening.
Admeola Lookman and Josh Magennis had the Addicks in control at the break and Patrick Bauer made it three five minutes after half-time.
Adam Chicksen’s first goal for the club extended the advantage and Nicky Ajose – with his second strike in three days - made it five on 85 minutes.
Rovers, who had to play the final 30 minutes of the match with 10 men after Jake Clarke-Salter sustained an injury, replied in stoppage time when Matt Taylor converted a penalty but that was just a minor blotch on what was a magnificent evening for the Addicks in the west country.
In terms of team news, Caretaker Manager Kevin Nugent was forced into a change in goal with Declan Rudd absent with a hip injury. That allowed academy graduate Dillon Phillips to come in and make his first league start for the club.
Elsewhere, Chicksen replaced Johnnie Jackson on the left-hand side of midfield, with the former also making his maiden start in league action for the Addicks.
After a tight opening to the match, Charlton carved out the first chance on 10 minutes. A lovely switch of the play from Bauer released Chicksen on the left and he fired in a low cross that Rovers defender Tom Lockyer hacked to safety with Magennis lurking.
They threatened again a minute later when Lookman found space on the edge of the box, but a timely challenge from a man in blue deprived him of a shooting opportunity.
Rovers tested league debutant Phillips on the 14-minute mark. Top scorer Taylor found space on the corner of the penalty area and fired a strike at goal that he saved with his feet.
Ajose saw a shot blocked by Chris Lines, after he’d got onto a Magennis flick-on, and the Addicks then grabbed the lead on 26 minutes. Magennis instigated it by doing superbly to chest down a long ball forward. He then teed up Lookman, who chopped inside before aiming a strike at goal that deflected into the net.
It was a great goal for the visitors and they immediately went in search of a second. Skipper Andrew Crofts looked to slip Ajose in on goal but home stopper Kelle Roos raced off his line to hack the danger clear.
Rovers responded by creating a chance of their own. Rory Gaffney whipped in a cross from the right and Taylor tried to punch it into the net in the middle. Phillips made a magnificent double save to keep the ball out of his net but referee Simon Hooper had seen Taylor's illegal act and awarded Charlton a free-kick.
The game had a real end-to-end feel about it and Charlton came agonisingly close to making it 2-0 on 34 minutes. Ajose sent strike partner Magennis clear on goal and, after beating Roos with a clever dink, Lockyer recovered sufficiently to hack his shot off the goal-line.
Clarke-Salter grazed the outside of the post with a low header on 38 minutes and the same man then forced Phillips into action a couple of minutes later as he tipped his header over the bar.
The double chance seemed to spark the hosts into life and they tested Phillips again shortly afterwards. Taylor was first to react to a loose ball in the box and he shot at goal, only to be denied by another good save.
But having weathered a bit of a storm, Charlton went up the other end and got their second goal of the evening. Chicksen did superbly to divert a Lookman cross back into the middle and Magennis was perfectly placed to stab home from six yards out.
Taylor almost reduced the deficit a minute before the break but he could not steer Rory Gaffney’s fizzed cross on target with his head.
Fredrik Ulvestad had a powerful strike deflected over the bar in the first action of the second period and, from the resulting corner, the Addicks made it three.
Lookman delivered the out-swinger and Bauer met it with a firm header that Roos was unable to keep out.
Substitute Ellis Harrison blazed over the bar for Rovers as they looked for a quick route back into the game and, at the other end, it was almost four when Chicksen forced Roos into a great save at his near post.
A combination of Clarke-Salter and Roos prevented Ajose from connecting with a low Magennis cross on the hour mark and, unfortunately for the home side, the defender injured himself in making the important challenge and had to make way.
With The Gas having already made their three substitutions, and Clarke-Salter unable to continue, they were forced to play the final 30 minutes with just 10 men.
The hosts, to their credit, kept going and forced the next shot on goal on 74 minutes when Taylor dragged a couple of yards wide from the edge of the box.
But as was the case in the first half, the Addicks proved to be at their most dangerous having absorbed a bit of pressure.
Fox picked out Chicksen in a central area and he shifted the ball onto his right foot before finding the net from 18 yards, via a deflection.
The strike was the wideman’s first for the club and capped a fine performance from both himself and his team.
The action was not over, though, and Taylor had a free-kick deflected wide for the hosts 10 minutes from time before the rampant Addicks then made it five.
Ajose picked the ball up 20 yards from goal, shifted the ball onto his left foot and curled into the bottom corner.
Rovers did get their names on the scoresheet three minutes into added on time. The goal came from the penalty spot following a foul by Phillips on Gaffney. Taylor fired the spot kick down the middle to make it 5-1.
It proved to be the final action, and little more than a minor blip, on what was a fantastic evening for the men from South East London.
Bristol Rovers: Roos, Leadbitter, Brown, Lockyer (c), Taylor, Lines, Montano (Colkett 46), Moore (Hartley 46), Sinclair (Harrison 52), Gaffney, Clarke-Salter.
Subs (not used): Puddy, Clarke, Easter, Bodin.
Goal: Taylor (pen) 90+3
Charlton: Phillips, Foley, Pearce, Bauer, Fox, Lookman (Botaka 78), Crofts (c), Ulvestad, Chicksen (Jackson 86), Magennis (Hanlan 74), Ajose.
Subs (not used): Mitov, Jackson, Konsa, Lennon, Teixeira.
Goals: Lookman 26, Magennis 44, Bauer 50, Chicksen 77, Ajose 84
Booked: Chicksen 71 (foul on Taylor), Bauer 79 (foul on Lines), Phillips 90+3 (foul on Gaffney)
Referee: S Hooper.
Att: 8,089 (411 from Charlton)