Johnnie Jackson’s exceptional league record as Caretaker Manager continued on Saturday afternoon as Charlton condemned league leaders Plymouth Argyle to a first Sky Bet League defeat in 17 at The Valley.
Ben Purrington opened the scoring on 61 minutes with his second goal in as many games, before Conor Washington doubled the Addicks’ advantage six minutes from time to send the #FillTheValley crowd into raptures.
Jackson made one enforced change from last weekend’s triumph at Burton Albion, replacing the suspended Jayden Stockley with returning Northern Ireland international Washington.
The opening exchanges set the tone for a frenetic opening period, with an atmosphere to match at an electric Valley - with an attendance of 26,090.
An inswinging Conor Grant free-kick almost brought the Pilgrims early joy in the capital, though Macaulay Gillesphey’s shinned effort trickled just wide of Craig MacGillivray’s right upright.
Then came the Addicks’ first sight of goal as Diallang Jaiyesimi crossed for Purrington, but the latter was thwarted by a succession of visiting defenders.
Just a minute later, lax concentration from Dan Scarr saw the Argyle defender cede possession with George Dobson the beneficiary as he nipped in ahead of Panutche Camará to retrieve the ball in a promising position high up the pitch, only for the Addicks midfielder to drag a left-footed effort wide.
Jackson’s wing-backs combined again moments later as Jaiyesimi delivered another deep centre for Purrington, though captain Joe Edwards was on hand to avert the danger for the visitors under intense pressure from Charlton’s number three.
Only Camará’s heroics prevented the Addicks from breaking the deadlock on 18 minutes, the midfielder foiling Alex Gilbey from close quarters after the 26-year-old had glanced on Elliot Lee’s outswinging corner.
Lee was again in the thick of the action moments later, this time nodding Dobson’s delivery against the foot of Michael Cooper’s left upright after Josh Davison had resourcefully recycled an overhit cross.
Ryan Hardie sprung the Addicks’ offside trap to latch onto Edwards’ threaded pass, though MacGillivray was out swiftly to narrow the angle and deny Argyle’s top scorer before comfortably gathering Edwards’ tame effort from 20 yards.
Moments later, Jaiyesimi delivered another pinpoint cross but the onrushing Purrington was unable to latch onto Lee’s flick at the far post.
Jackson's side started the second period sprightly attacking the vocal Covered End, captain Jason Pearce tenaciously retrieving possession to set Lee on his way. The Luton Town loanee then drove forward before teeing up Davison, though, after shifting the ball onto his left foot, the academy graduate saw curled wide.
The all-important breakthrough Charlton so richly deserved arrived on 61 minutes when Purrington met Dobson’s deep delivery, volleying past the helpless Cooper with aplomb to send The Valley into raptures.
Grant then volleyed harmlessly wide from range before Washington rifled over, with a flurry of chances arriving thereafter.
First, Grant’s fizzing centre somehow evaded everybody inside the 18-yard box before being scrambled clear by Purrington, prompting a lightning Charlton counter-attack.
Having raced onto Lee’s ball forward, Washington drove down the left flank before squaring for Gilbey, though Cooper rushed out to remarkably thwart the midfielder.
Jackson handed Mason Burstow his league debut on 77 minutes as the 18-year-old replaced Davison, who led the Addicks’ line tirelessly throughout.
Charlton’s second duly arrived on 84 minutes to settle the outcome, Lee threading a perfectly-weighted ball through for the obliging Washington, who instinctively fired past Cooper on the angle.
Lee had a golden chance to make it three deep into stoppage time, though the loanee failed to muster the requisite power to beat Cooper after being fed by Washington.
Charlton: MacGillivray; Clare, Pearce (c) (Gunter 55), Famewo; Jaiyesimi (Blackett-Taylor 83), Gilbey, Dobson, Lee, Purrington; Davison (Burstow 77), Washington
Subs (not used): Harness, Watson, Morgan, Kirk
Goals: Purrington 61, Washington 84
Booked: Dobson 26 (foul on Garrick)
Plymouth Argyle: M.Cooper; Wilson, Scarr, Gillesphey; Edwards (c) (G.Cooper88), Camará, Houghton, Broom (Mayor 71), Grant; Garrick, Hardie (Jephcott 70)
Subs (not used): Burton, Galloway, Randell, Agard
Booked: Gillesphey 21 (foul on Davison), Broom 51 (foul on Dobson)
Referee: Peter Wright
Attendance: 26,090 (2,846 from Plymouth)