Charlton stretched their unbeaten run to 10 and got themselves back into the top six with a crushing victory over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park on Tuesday evening.
Jake Forster-Caskey nodded the Addicks in front, before Jayden Stockley added a second on the stroke of half-time. But it was after the restart when the visitors really ran riot, scoring three more times in nine minutes to finish the Pilgrims off before the hour mark.
A Kelland Watts own-goal came first, followed by an excellent Alex Gilbey strike and Liam Millar plundered the fifth by the time the clock ticked over to the 56th minute. And with the 90th minute in sight, substitute Chuks Aneke added a sixth to ensure Charlton would equal their record away league victory.
Nigel Adkins made two changes from the side that started last weekend’s stalemate against Ipswich Town in SE7 with Akin Famewo and Ben Watson both returning to the starting 11 as the Addicks again lined up in a 4-3-3 formation.
The hosts began with intent, making inroads down the left flank through Ryan Law: the left wing-back fed Danny Mayor, whose cut back found Luke Jephcott but the Welshman’s goal bound effort was blocked by skipper Jason Pearce, before Famewo cleared Law’s fizzing ball in moments later.
The Addicks’ first effort of note came on 21 minutes as Diallang Jaiyesimi forced Plymouth stopper into action, cutting onto his weak foot to lash a low shot to Cooper’s left.
Direct wing play from Millar then saw the Liverpool loanee drive into the Pilgrims box before firing in a low cross which was parried by Cooper into the path of Forster-Caskey, who cooly headed home the rebound despite Watts’ frantic effort on the goal line.
Plymouth responded with an opening of their own, as Jephcott combined with Mayor to pick out Law, whose driven effort was saved by Ben Amos.
Charlton almost doubled their advantage on 37 minutes when Ben Purrington drove a venomous first time cross across the six-yard box, but, unfortunately for the Addicks, the diving Stockley was unable to make the decisive touch.
The Preston North End loanee did manufacture the desired connection on the stroke of half-time, however, meeting Adam Matthews’ pinpoint delivery from the right flank to head home his sixth goal of the season and put Charlton in the ascendancy.
It was the perfect start to the second period for Adkins’ side: Amos kickstarted a lightning counter-attack which saw Millar to carry the ball into the Plymouth box, and the Canadian’s cross-cum-shot ricocheted fortuitously off Watts before trickling in.
Just two minutes later, Stockley and Millar combined to devastating effect, playing a neat one-two before the former’s chipped ball was met on the half-volley by Gilbey who steered past Cooper.
It soon got better for the Addicks as Matthews’ anticipation allowed the Welshman to intercept and find Jaiyesimi, whose ball in was dummied by Stockley to deceive the Pilgrims defence and allow Millar to ram home the Addicks’ fifth.
Adkins rang the changes thereafter, introducing a quintet of substitutions in Chris Gunter, Andrew Shinnie, Albie Morgan, Darren Pratley and Aneke as Charlton continued to probe for a sixth.
That sixth came on 89 minutes as a pair of Adkins’ substitutes contrived: Aneke controlled Pratley’s deft pass superbly before sweeping in his 13th league goal of the season with gusto.
It could, and perhaps should, have been seven in stoppage time as Aneke found himself one-on-one, but the Addicks’ top scorer fired wide.
The victory, coupled with results elsewhere, moves the Addicks back into the play-off places with five League One games remaining.
Plymouth Argyle: Cooper; Aimson (Moore 38), Woods, Watts; Edwards (C), Camara, MacLeod (Reeves 58), Mayor, Law; Hardie (Ennis 58), Jephcott
Subs (not used): McCormick, Opoku, Lewis, Fornah
Booked: Watts 26 (attempted handball on the goal line)
Charlton: Amos; Matthews (Gunter 57), Famewo, Pearce (C), Purrington; (Shinnie 67), Watson, Forster-Caskey (Pratley 76); Jaiyesimi (Morgan 67), Stockley (Aneke 76), Millar
Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Oshilaja
Goals: Forster-Caskey 26, Stockley 45, Watts 47 (own goal), Gilbey 49, Millar 56, Aneke 89
Referee: S Purkiss
Attendance: 0 (behind closed doors)
(Report by James Waller)