Charlton were condemned to a 3-2 reverse against Accrington Stanley at The Valley on Tuesday night.
Harry Pell broke the deadlock with a sublime free-kick from 25 yards on nine minutes, before the Addicks restored parity just after the half-hour mark courtesy of a David Morgan own goal.
Quickfire goals from Pell and Ethan Hamilton put Stanley in the ascendancy on 66 minutes, but Jayden Stockley gave Charlton a lifeline 12 minutes from time with a well-taken finish, though an equaliser ultimately proved elusive despite a late rally.
Manager Nigel Adkins made four changes from last weekend’s reverse at Lincoln City, restoring Sean Clare, Albie Morgan, Corey Blackett-Taylor and captain Stockley to his starting XI, while Diallang Jaiyesimi returned to the matchday 18.
After a quiet opening nine minutes, Pell fired the visitors into an early lead in sumptuous style, whipping a curling free-kick over the wall and into the top left corner past a helpless Craig MacGillivray.
Seeking an immediate response, the Addicks surged forward through Clare down the right flank. The midfielder’s fizzed cross across the Stanley six-yard box proved too hot to handle for Toby Savin, but the stopper was able to regather under pressure from Stockley.
Then came Charlton’s leveller on 31 minutes, David Morgan turning Alex Gilbey’s low-drilled cross into his own net after enterprising play from Charlton’s number 11 to reach the right byline.
Minutes later, Pell again connected sweetly to strike another thunderous free-kick from range, only for it to cannon off the underside of MacGillivray’s crossbar.
Another foray forward from Gilbey almost brought about the Addicks’ second as the midfielder bamboozled Morgan with a deft turn, though Savin was down well to repel the midfielder’s left-footed effort moments before half-time.
The Addicks returned from the interval with a newfound intensity, surging forward through the lively Blackett-Taylor who teed up Gilbey, though his strike was deflected behind for a corner.
Stockley rose highest from the resulting set piece to meet Morgan’s inswinging delivery at the back post, only for the captain to see his header hacked off the line by Colby Bishop, with a series of Charlton corners arriving thereafter.
Despite most of the early running made by the Addicks, it was Stanley who edged ahead, Pell ghosting in at the far post to stab home Sean McConville’s low centre.
Only MacGillivray’s heroics prevented the visitors adding a third two minutes later, the Scotsman sensationally foiling Bishop’s first time volleyed effort from range after the Stanley striker had latched onto Matt Butcher’s headed pass.
Then came Stanley’s third as Hamilton was afforded plenty of freedom to drive in from the right before firing into the bottom right-hand corner.
Adkins introduced Conor Washington and Josh Davison on 73 minutes as the Addicks sought a response, with the former the catalyst for Charlton’s second just five minutes later.
The Northern Irishman showed great desire to regain possession on the byline before posing problems for Stanley defender Sam Sherring, whose tame clearance fell straight to the obliging Stockley to reduce the arrears.
Moments later Leko saw his shot deflect into the side netting, followed by Washington skewing a shot marginally wide following excellent hold up play by Davison.
The 22-year-old was involved again moments later with a goalbound volley, but Savin recovered well to thwart the forward with an outstretched leg.
Charlton: MacGillivray; Gunter, Lavelle, Famewo, Souaré (Jaiyesimi 90+1); Gilbey, Morgan, Clare (Washington 73); Leko, Stockley (c), Blackett-Taylor (Davison 73)
Subs (not used): Henderson, Matthews, Pearce, Watson, Jaiyesmi
Goals: Morgan og 31, Stockley 78
Booked: Souaré 26 (altercation with Pell) Morgan 29 (foul on Pell), Clare 34 (foul on McConville), Gunter 69
Accrington Stanley: Savin; Amankwah, Nottingham, Sherring; Hamilton, Conneely (c), Morgan, McConville; Pell, Butcher; Bishop
Subs (not used): Trafford, Procter, Leigh, O’Sullivan, Nolan, Malcolm, Mansell
Goals: Pell 9, 57, Hamilton 66
Booked: Pell 26 (altercation with Souaré), Morgan 84 (foul on Gilbey), Sherring 89 (time-wasting), Conneely (90+1)
Referee: Sam Allison
Attendance: 11,813 (128 from Accrington)