Tom Rubashow reports from The Valley
Charlton made it seven points from their last three games with a 3-0 home win over Gillingham, which took the Addicks nine points clear of the relegation zone.
A first Charlton goal for Jason Pearce gave the home side the lead before a trademark Ricky Holmes free kick and a well taken goal from Josh Magennis completed the victory to give Charlton an Easter Monday win.
Karl Robinson made two changes to the side that drew away to Coventry on Easter Friday. Jordan Botaka replaced the injured Chris Solly, with Nathan Byrne moving to right back and Jake Forster-Caskey replaced Fredrik Ulvestad. The Addicks lined up in a 4-3-3, Rudd maintaining his place in goal after his heroics away to Coventry. Patrick Bauer, Pearce and Jay Dasilva made up the back four alongside Byrne. Andrew Crofts held in midfield, focussing on keeping Gillingham’s Bradley Dack out of the game. Ezri Konsa and Jake Forster-Caskey made up the midfield trio with Botaka, Magennis and Holmes up front.
In an open first half Gillingham had the first chance when a clever through ball from Lee Martin was hit wide by striker Cody McDonald from a dangerous position.
Charlton soon had their first clear cut opportunity of the game. A deep Dasilva cross from the left found Forster-Caskey free at the back post in the ninth minute but caught inbetween an attempt on goal or heading back across the box, the midfielder did neither with his header guided wide.
Byrne started the game very brightly from right back, with numerous cross field passes allowing Charlton to switch the play swiftly. In the 19th minute, after combining well with Holmes, Byrne drilled a powerful shot into a Gillingham defender to win the corner. The resulting corner was taken by Holmes on the right and was perfectly lofted towards the edge of the six yard box for Pearce to attack. The defender did not need a second invitation and smashed his header past Tomas Holy in the Gillingham goal to give Charlton a 1-0 lead.
The game remained open and Charlton had a scare in the 28th minute when again McDonald got in behind the Addicks’ centre halves but then appeared to dive following a Bauer last-ditch saving tackle. Referee Brett Huxtable certainly thought so and McDonald was booked.
The booking came just after a deflected, long range, Magennis free kick was well saved by Holy. Charlton soon had another free kick though when Dasilva turned his man, beat another and was hacked down by Gillingham captain Max Ehmer, who was booked. This free kick was a bit closer and Holmes beautifully curled a right-footed effort into the bottom corner of Holy’s net to put Charlton 2-0 up.
Gillingham had a third booked when a frustrated Martin was booked for dissent.
The visitors could have pulled one back just before half time but McDonald and Joe Quigley got in each other’s way from a dinked cross from Martin.
The open nature of the game continued into the second half and that suited Charlton. The home side scored a third in the 55th minute through a cool finish from Josh Magennis. On a counter attack Holmes ran from the right wing to the left, retaining possession throughout, his cross from near the corner flag made its way to Botaka who nipped in front of his defender. The winger squared neatly to Magennis who had time to take a touch and find the net.
Again Gillingham had an immediate chance to pull one back but half-time substitute Ryan Donnelly curled wide.
The chances continued at both ends, Holmes forced a save from Holy with a long-range, first time half volley from a Magennis knock down and a brilliant defensive header from Bauer, from a Martin cross, prevented what looked like a certain Gillingham goal.
Including his assist on the third goal, Botaka produced a fruitful 15 minutes. In the 62nd minute he skilfully beat his man and saw his cross scissor-kicked wide by Forster-Caskey. Shortly following that he found Magennis on the edge of the box and the striker curled an effort just wide.
McDonald had another chance in the 64th minute when a deflected cross from effective substitute Joshua Parker fell at his feet. The unmarked striker miss-kicked his shot and the ball fell to Martin who hit over.
Karlan Ahearne-Grant, Johnnie Jackson and Joe Aribo all came on as substitutes in the last 20 minutes with Charlton’s best chance of that spell a fantastic driven effort from 30 yards by Holmes which Holy had to palm over.
Gillingham had once final chance themselves when Josh Wright was unable to capitalise on a Rudd fumble.
The 3-0 win was maybe not as convincing as the scoreline suggested but in an open game the Addicks took their chances. Dasilva earned himself the Man of the Match award with another impressive performance and celebrated in-style with a tunnel jump.
The three points pretty much ensured Charlton’s safety, while Gillingham will be looking back at the relegation zone nervously with two games to go.
Charlton: Rudd, Byrne, Bauer, Pearce, Dasilva, Forster-Caskey (Aribo 88), Crofts, Konsa (Jackson 80), Botaka (Ahearne-Grant 75), Magennis, Holmes
Subs (not used): Phillips, Watt, Ulvestad, Teixeira
Goals: Pearce 20, Holmes 31, Magennis 55
Booked: Magennis 60 (foul on Ehmer), Byrne 85 (foul on Dack)
Gillingham: Holy, Jackson, Ehmer, Oshilaja, Hessenthaler, McDonald, Martin (Osadebe 82), Quigley (Donnelly h/t), Dack, Cornick (Parker h/t), Wright
Subs (not used): Nelson, Herd, Muldoon, Rehman
Booked: McDonald 28 (simulation), Ehmer 29 (foul on Dasilva), Martin 41 (dissent)
Referee: B Huxtable
Attendance: 12,449, (2,185 from Gillingham)