A superb brace from Callum Harriott secured Charlton’s Championship status this evening, condemning ten-man Watford to another away defeat.
Harriott put Charlton ahead after 22 minutes with a well-taken goal from 18 yards. Troy Deeney equalised for the Hornets on the hour before Johnnie Jackson re-established Charlton’s lead nine minutes later.
Harriott put the Addicks 3-1 up with a superbly-taken second and Albert Riera compounded Watford’s misery with a second yellow 11 minutes from time – Watford’s sixth dismissal of the season, all of which have come since Beppe Sannino’s appointment in December.
Watford made five changes from the side beaten at Derby, with Essaid Belkalem, Tommie Hoban, Davide Faraoni, Sean Murray and Ikechi Anya coming in for Marco Cassetti, Joel Ekstrand, Lewis McGugan, Daniel Pudil and Mathias Ranegie.
Charlton Athletic boss Jose Riga made just one change; winger Lawrie Wilson taking Astrit Ajdarevic’s place.
Neither side could get a foot-hold in the game early on and it took until the 11th minute for either team to carve out a chance; as Daniel Tozser’s long ball into the path of Deeney was just cut out by Charlton goalkeeper Ben Hamer.
Charlton responded almost immediately with Jordan Cousins cutting back across the face of goal for Harriott, who saw his shot deflected over for a corner.
Faraoni suffered an injury inside the opening ten minutes and was substituted after just a quarter of an hour, with Ranegie coming on in his place, allowing Anya to return to his regular wing back slot.
Jonathan Bond almost gifted the Addicks an opener soon after by allowing a routine free-kick to squirm out of his grasp before recovering.
A minute later, Deeney and Ranegie linked up for the first time; the Swede helping the ball onto Deeney, who controlled before directing a half-volley straight at Hamer.
The chances were beginning to flow. Chris Solly crossed for Jackson at the far post and the Addicks’ skipper saw his header pushed away by Bond.
Charlton’s bright start yielded a deserved opener in the 22nd minute. Harriott was allowed to progress into the Hornets’ penalty area before driving a left-footed effort beyond Bond and into the bottom right-hand corner.
Four minutes later Deeney had Watford’s first on-target effort, turning sharply and dragging a low snapshot which Hamer smothered wide.
From the resulting corner Belkalem had Watford’s best chance of the half when he saw his header pushed against the underside of the crossbar by Hamer, before being scrambled to safety.
Watford continued to threaten and Sean Murray went close just after the half-hour mark when he drove narrowly wide of Hamer’s right-hand post from 25 yards.
Good link up play from the Hornets ought to have created more just before the break; Deeney intelligently spinning past Michael Morrison and playing a one-two with Ranegie before hooking a tame shot straight at Hamer.
Like the first half, there were not many chances at the start of the second period.
But Deeney pulled the Hornets level on the hour mark in fine style. Watford’s number nine fired his 24th of the season in off the crossbar from 20 yards out.
Parity only lasted for nine minutes though as Charlton went back in front through Jackson. The ball found its way to the six-yard box and the former Watford loanee poked beyond the onrushing Bond to put the hosts back in front.
Harriott then grabbed his second with less than a quarter of an hour remaining and a goal which all-but secured Charlton’s Championship status. The winger – who had been a menace all night – connected sweetly with a cross from the right to volley home from ten yards.
Watford’s task was heightened when with 11 minutes remaining when Riera was dismissed for a second booking following what the referee deemed to be a high tackle on Diego Poyet.
Charlton Athletic: Hamer; Solly (Hughes 89), Morrison, Dervite, Fox; Wilson, Poyet, Jackson, Harriott (Pigott 87); Cousins; Sordell (Obika 67).
Unused: Hughes, Wood, Petrucci, Ajdarevic, Thuram-Ulien (GK).
Watford: Bond; Doyley (Angella 52), Hoban, Belkalem; Faraoni (Ranegie 15), Battocchio, Tozser, Murray (Diakite 75), Riera; Deeney, Anya.
Unused: Merkel, Pudil, Jakubiak & Woods (GK).
Booked: Belkalem for a foul on Wilson (45); Riera for a foul (65); Riera for a foul on Poyet (79); Ranegie for a foul (84), Hughes foul on Diakite (90).
Sent-off: Riera for two bookings (79).
Referee: Mr Darren Bond.
Attendance: 15,815 (983).