Birmingham City dampened the 100 years of The Valley celebrations by ending Charlton’s unbeaten start to Championship season.
A strong performance from the Addicks went ultimately unrewarded as Jude Bellingham’s second half goal consigned Charlton to their first league defeat of the season.
The Addicks made two changes to the side that claimed victory away to Reading prior to the international break, with Erhun Oztumer coming in for Jonny Williams and Tomer Hemed, making his full debut for Charlton, replacing the injured Lyle Taylor.
After an early corner for the visitors, Charlton began to take control, Jonathan Leko caused a scare when he displayed some neat footwork on the right before drilling in a cross, but none of his teammates were able to meet it.
On seven minutes a Josh Cullen free kick from the left was floated in but it was just shy of a good contact from the leaping Jason Pearce.
On 13 minutes Chris Solly was fed through on the right by Hemed and had the Blues defence scrambling. They did just enough to see the ball behind for a corner.
Lee Bowyer had opted for Oztumer in the midfield and he, alongside Cullen, was proving a real creative force going forward in the first half.
With the half hour mark approaching and the sun beating down on South London, it was Bowyer having his name sung loudest by two sets of supporters both of whom he acknowledged. A nice touch from the boss facing his former side for the first time as a manager.
Charlton spurned a great opportunity when Tom Lockyer charged from deep and smuggled in a decent cross but Hemed was unable to direct his resulting header towards goal.
The Addicks maintained that pressure soon after with Leko and Oztumer sharing three efforts which Birmingham did well to shut out.
And Leko would once again see another opportunity go amiss when he was unable to chest down what seemed to be a well weighted ball over the top. The hosts were very much in the driving seat of the game but with little end product as the game moved toward half time.
Up the other end of the pitch, Dillon Phillips was on hand to keep the scores level pulling off a fine save to ensure the first half ended all square.
Five minutes into the restart and Gallagher looked to break the deadlock when he ran parallel to the 18 yard box but ultimately failed to get his shot away despite a good showing of speed and strength from the youngster.
Despite the pressure, it was the visitors who would take the lead a minute later. 16-year-old Beillingham found himself on the end of a squared pass inside the area and was able to slot it low and hard past Phillips in front of the Jimmy Seed Stand.
Soon after the goal Charlton continued to press as they had for most of the game, chances falling to both Cullen and Hemed, but again failing to find the net.
The packed-out covered end sensed Charlton’s hunger and raised the noise levels, backing their side who were behind arguably against the run of play.
The introduction of Jacques Maghoma for Birmingham showed that the visitors were far from content with their single goal lead.
Lee Camp was forced into two fantastic reflex saves on the 73 minute mark as the hosts began to fire on both barrels. Hemed’s shot was well saved before a difficult strike from Gallagher was palmed wide by the Blues stopper.
Substitute Alvaro Gimenez could well have extended the visitors lead two minutes later when the ball dropped kindly for him but the Spaniard ballooned his effort well over the bar.
Beram Kayal was able to introduce himself to the home fans on 78 minutes when he came on to replace Leko.
With time ticking on Charlton searched for an equaliser but found themselves frustrated by a number of stoppages as the visitors dug in to maintain their slender lead.
With two minutes of normal time left to play the Addicks were unfortunate not to get an equaliser when the ball fell kindly to the feet of Hemed who was unable to keep his shot under the bar.
Bowyer was then shown a red card for responding to an incident on the touchline to add to Charlton’s woes in the sun.
With stoppage time whittling away, the Addicks battled tremendously but Birmingham stood firm to ensure that all three points headed back to the midlands.
Charlton: Phillips, Purrington, Lockyer, Pearce (c), Gallagher, Leko (Kayal 78), Solly, Cullen, Hemed, Field (Aneke 71), Oztumer (Williams 59)
Subs (not used): Amos, Pratley, Bonne, Sarr
Booked: Pearce 35 (foul on Mrabti)
Sent off: Bowyer 90
Birmingham City: Camp, Pedersen, Roberts, Colin, Crowley (Gardner 87), Jutkiewicz, Dean (c), Mrabti (Maghoma 61), Bellingham (Gimenez 71), Davis, Sunjic
Goal: Bellingham (52)
Subs (not used): Stockdale, Harding, Clarke-Salter, Bailey
Booked: Davis 81 (foul on Pearce), Dean 90 (foul), Clotet 90 (delay of game), Gimenez 90 (foul)
Referee: Matthew Donohue
Attendance: 18,752 (3,136 Birmingham)