THE clever feet of Huddersfield Town's Gary Roberts and cool head of Jordan Rhodes clinched a crucial victory over the League I leaders which kept Town’s hopes of automatic promotion very much alive.
Record-breaking Rhodes registered his 80th Town goal, his first from the penalty spot, as the fourth-placed Galpharm side took revenge on one of only three teams to beat them this season.
The 14th-minute strike, clinically drilled past keeper Ben Hamer, who was sent the wrong way, put Rhodes into the Town record books, his 35 strikes so far this season bettering Iwan Roberts’ previous post-war best set in 1991-92.
It also illustrated the confidence of the 22-year-old, who has tended to stay away from taking spot kicks.
Rhodes had already tested Hamer, who did well to fend off a well-placed header from Roberts’ 11th-minute cross.
And Town had mounted their first attack before Charlton even touched the ball, Danny Ward shooting wide with just 27 seconds on the clock.
So it was good to see Simon Grayson’s side make the most of their energetic start with a breakthrough goal.
Roberts, making his third consecutive start after returning to full fitness following his hernia operation, robbed Darel Russell on halfway and played a neat one-two with Rhodes.
The winger hared towards the penalty area, twisting this way and that, before his run was ended by Russell’s foul, referee Carl Boyeson pointing to the spot without hesitation.
It turned out to be a bad afternoon for the on-loan Preston midfielder, who was red carded in the 57th minute when he kicked out after a full-blooded challenge by Antony Kay.
The Town man, who had brought howls of protest from Charlton players and fans alike with a meaty first-half tackle on Scott Wagstaff (both players needed treatment before play was restarted with a drop ball), was shown a yellow card.
And home striker Lee Novak was perhaps lucky to get away with just a caution after pushing Russell in the skirmish which ensued.
Charlton might well claim they were hard done by, especially as Kay and Novak epitomised the work ethic and spirit which ran right through the side.
While the impressive Kay, with his nose bloodied, was replaced in an effective double substitution by Grayson in the 69th minute (Joey Gudjonsson and Alan Lee came on with Roberts the other to be withdrawn), Novak was still going strong at the end.