TOWN shook off constant speculation over the future of their international winger Mike O'Grady to keep their challenge at the top of Division II on track with victory at Charlton.
O'Grady, who had one full England cap and two at Under 23 level and had also played for the Football League representative side, had a clause in his contract which allowed him to leave if a club bid £30,000 or more for his services.
Leeds Road manager Tom Johnston had turned down three offers from divisional rivals Ipswich, the last believed to be of £25,000, but it was looking as though O'Grady would be going.
In the meantime, he continued to wear the No11 shirt for Town, and collected the second goal in the 2-0 win at The Valley, where 14,661 watched.
Reliable Les Massie had put Town on their way to a sixth win in 10 games and top spot in the table with his fourth goal of the season.
It arrived with just nine minutes gone and Massie had teammate Kevin McHale to thank for unselfishly stepping over John Quigley's low cross to allow the ball to run to his colleague and confuse the Charlton defence.
Charlton, managed by Bob Stokoe, had gone six games unbeaten before the visit of Town.
But they were unable to force an equaliser against a defence which featured Peter Dinsdale at centre-half in place of John Coddington, who had injured a knee in the previous week's 2-1 win over Preston.
The strike which settled the game came after 64 minutes, when substitute Steve Smith's cross was nodded on by Massie.
O'Grady took full advantage of slack marking to shoot low and true into the net.
Town finished the match with McHale standing in at right-back for Denis Atkins, who had sprained an ankle, but the closest Charlton came to breaking through was when Ron Saunders hammered a shot against the bar late on.
Indeed Town came close to grabbing a third, only for O'Grady's shot to be blocked by young midfielder Mike Bailey, who like the Town man, was being linked with a move to the top flght (he was to join Wolves while O'Grady was snapped up by home-city club Leeds).
In a Central League clash at Leeds Road, Stoke beat Town 1-0 through a John Woodward goal.
The most dangerous player for Town was Allan Gilliver, who started the match at centre-back (Johnston was thinking of him as a possible stand-in for Coddington at first-team level) but then moved to his more familiar frontline role.
Elsewhere, history was made when Town, already members of the Northern Intermediate League, played a second junior team in the Under 18 Red Triangle League for the first time, winning 5-0 at Lockwood CYC with a line-up including future first teamer Bobby Hoy.