10-man Charlton suffered a first defeat in four on Saturday afternoon as Lincoln City ran out 2-1 victors at The Valley.
Jayden Stockley gave Johnnie Jackson’s side hope of a late comeback when he nodded home Jake Forster-Caskey’s corner after 88 minutes, but the visitors remained resolute to weather the Addicks’ late onslaught.
Jackson named an unchanged starting XI for the fourth consecutive outing, while Forster-Caskey returned to the substitutes bench for the first time in 11 months following his ACL injury.
The Addicks started sprightly in SE7 and administered the game’s first opening after just seven minutes when Conor Washington chested down Adam Matthews’ chipped ball for strike partner Stockley, who flashed wide on the half-volley.
Charlton continued on the front foot thereafter and Stockley was soon involved again, this time adjusting well to get a thigh on Gilbey’s drilled cross, only to strike the crossbar from close range.
Corey Blackett-Taylor was next to threaten as the left wing-back glided past Whittaker and then Brooke Norton-Cuffy down the left flank before delivering for Washington, but the Northern Ireland international’s goalbound effort was charged down by Regan Poole.
However, it was the visitors who struck first in the capital as Whittaker cut inside onto his left foot and past a succession of red shirts before firing into the bottom corner with Craig MacGillivray unmoved.
Moments later, Gilbey was dismissed for a second bookable offence, this time pulling back Jamie Robson having done likewise on Conor McGrandles just ten minutes earlier.
The Addicks thought they had levelled proceedings nine minutes after the restart when Stockley looked to have nodded Ben Purrington’s stood-up centre into the back of the net before Jordan Wright clawed it out, only for the officials to remain unmoved.
The Imps were reduced to 10 men just minutes later as Whittaker was given his marching orders for a late, studs-up challenge on Purrington.
Charlton continued to push forward and Wright repelled Stockley’s header from a Washington centre, before the latter curled a right-footed effort wide.
Forster-Caskey made his long-awaited return to action with 65 minutes on the clock, as the midfielder replaced Scott Fraser.
Washington soon got in behind Norton-Cuffy to latch onto George Dobson’s pinpoint ball, but the Arsenal loanee recovered well to thwart Charlton’s number 14.
Michael Appleton’s side doubled their advantage on 76 minutes, though, as Scully gathered the ball on the left flank, drove inside onto his favoured right foot and rifled into the top-right corner.
The Addicks’ push for a way back into the contest finally bore fruit two minutes from time as Stockley rose highest to head home Forster-Caskey’s outswinging corner, prompting a late flurry from Jackson’s men.
Moments later, substitute Elliot Lee threaded a ball through for the advancing Washington, but the forward fired agonisingly wide of Wright’s left upright on the angle.
Charlton: MacGillivray; Clare, Lavelle, Purrington; Matthews (Leko 74), Gilbey, Dobson (Lee 86), Fraser (Forster-Caskey 65), Blackett-Taylor; Stockley (c), Washington
Subs (not used): Harness, Famewo, Pearce, Burstow
Goal: Stockley 88
Sent off: Gilbey 36 (second bookable offence)
Lincoln City: Wright; Norton-Cuffy, Jackson, Poole, Robson; Bridcutt (c) (Maguire 70), McGrandles; Whittaker, Fiorini, Scully (Hopper 82); Cullen (Marquis 87)
Subs (not used): Walsh, Sanders, Bishop, House
Goals: Whittaker 33, Scully 76
Booked: Fiorini 57 (dissent)
Sent off: Whittaker 57 (reckless challenge on Purrington)
Referee: Robert Madley
Attendance: 10,091 (1,110 from Lincoln)