Report: Charlton Athletic 1 Rovers 3
Charlton will be glad they don't have to face Blackburn Rovers again this season after a 3-1 away win for the Blue and Whites.
Following wins at Ewood, and, here at the Valley in the FA Cup, a patched-up Rovers made it a hat-trick of victories with an impressive showing.
A swift start saw Rovers roar into a two-goal lead inside the opening 18 minutes.
On the quarter-hour Ben Marshall showed quick thinking with a throw forward to Jordan Rhodes and he held off Roger Johnson before firing in off the post.
Less than three minutes later and the lead was doubled, this time Johnson mis-controlling a ball across the back line to allow Craig Conway to take full advantage, and he raced forward before finding the bottom corner of the net with a low shot.
That woke Charlton up and Igor Vetokele clipped the top of the cross bar from Tony Watt's through ball. The home side pressed for a way back, but some important defending meant Rovers held firm at the break.
The home side did reduce arrears at the start of the second half from the penalty spot after Jason Steele was adjudged to have fouled Vetokele. Yoni Buyens scoring from the spot.
Almost immediately Vetokele headed against the crossbar, and when Rovers then lost Lee Williamson and Doneil Henry to injury you feared the worst.
But this Rovers side is made of stern stuff and instead of a back-to-the-walls ending it was very much a case of attack is the best form of defence.
Tom Cairney and Corry Evans went close but Jordan Rhodes was in the right place at the right time once more as he pounced on Jay Spearing's deft centre to put daylight between the two sides and take his tally for the season to 16.
Rovers could have had more as Chris Taylor and Cairney went close, but they ran out comfortable winners to make it three league wins on the trot.
In the bright south London sunshine it was the Lancastrians who were the brighter of the two sides in the opening exchanges.
With Rovers having to make three changes to the side that defeated Bolton Wanderers in midweek, it was the returning Alex Baptiste who was first to test the home side.
Tommy Spurr was another new face from midweek, and his long throw saw the ball cleared out of the box but only as far as Baptiste who ran onto the ball before striking low from fully 35-yards, keeper Stephen Henderson having to dive full-length to his left to tip the ball around the post.
The resulting corner saw Doneil Henry's header deflect wide, before a second corner from Craig Conway eventually found it's way to Chris Brown, but the forward was off target.
Charlton's January signing Tony Watt twice found himself in promising positions in the area, but great tackles from Henry and Adam Henley kept the former Standard Liege man at bay.
In between Henry turned provider with an inch-perfect ball over the top for Jordan Rhodes, the striker tried an early effort but his shot was high over the bar.
Five minutes later the striker wouldn't waste a second opportunity. Quick thinking by Ben Marshall with a throw saw Rhodes race through on goal and he held off the attentions of Roger Johnson before firing home off the far post.
The cheers from the travelling Rovers fans had barely died down before they were celebrating a second goal in as many minutes.
Johnson mis-controlled a pass across the edge of his own area, and that allowed Conway to break into the box before shooting hard, low and beyond Henderson into the bottom corner of the goal.
Unfortunately for the Scot he picked up what looked like a hamstring injury in scoring the goal and had to be replaced by the matchwinner the last time the two sides met - Chris Taylor.
Before the change, and whilst Rovers were down to ten men, the hosts very nearly reduced the deficit. Watt threading the ball through to Igor Vetokele, but his right-footed shot skimmed the top of Jason Steele's bar.
The Addicks continued to look for a way back, and Watt continued to find plenty of space between midfield and defence, the striker shrugging off Tom Cairney before testing Steele with a 25-yard effort, the keeper equal to his efforts as the half ended in Rovers' favour.
A tight start to the second half was then blown wide open when the home side were awarded a penalty on 57 minutes.
A long high ball into the box saw Steele collide with Vetokele and after some deliberation the referee pointed to the penalty spot. The Rovers keeper was also booked for his troubles.
Yoni Buyens, red-carded when the two sides met here in the FA Cup back in January, took the honours and made no mistake from 12-yards with Steele diving in the opposite direction.
In the blink of an eye it was almost 2-2 as Frederic Bulot delivered from the left, Vetokele rose highest but his header bounced off the top of the crossbar to Rovers' relief.
Williamson limped off to be replaced by Corry Evans, before injury also saw Henry go down after giving chase to Watt who fired wide when through on goal. Jay Spearing replacing the Canadian.
That meant a back four of Marshall, Baptiste, Spurr and Henley, yet another new defensive combination.
Despite that it was Rovers who had a series of opportunities. Evans saw a low shot tipped around the post, before only a Johnson block stopped Cairney from registering a shot on target after tricking his way into the box.
After a good spell of possession former Hull man Cairney then let fly from 25-yards, but Henderson again saved well diving to his left.
The patched-up Rovers continued to force the pace and their two-goal lead was restored on 78 minutes.
Henley crossed to Spearing from the left, and he clipped the ball over the back of the Charlton defence to where an onside Rhodes had sneaked in and he cooly nodded into the corner of the net to overtake Rudy Gestede in the goalscoring charts for his 16th of the season.
Rovers very nearly had a fourth a minute later as Taylor raced to the edge of the area, the midfielder let fly only to see his shot deflect of a Charlton boot, over Henderson, but just wide of goal.
Then an intricate free-kick routine saw Cairney exchange passes with Spearing before lashing goalwards but it was the side of the goal that was struck.
It wasn't until five additional minutes were shown at the end of the 90 that the Addicks caused any sort of consternation for Rovers at the back.
Substitute Chris Eagles headed over, before the referee indadvertedly played the home side in, but Steele saved from Watt and the hardworking Henley cleared off the line in the ensuring scramble.
That was as good as it got for Charlton as Rovers, roared on by superb support once again, saw out the rest of the time to make it three league wins in a row and their third victory over the Addicks this season.
CHARLTON: Henderson, Gudmundsson, Bulot (sub Eagles 73 mins), Vetokele, Buyens (sub Church 83 mins), Solly (c), Fox, Johnson, Cousins, Ben Haim, Watt.
Subs not used: Dmitrovic (GK), Wilson, Gomez, Bikey, Diarra.
Goals: Buyens 57 mins.
ROVERS: Steele, Henley, Henry (sub Spearing 70 mins), Baptiste, Spurr, Conway (sub Taylor 21 mins), Williamson (c) (sub Evans 63 mins), Cairney, Marshall, Brown, Rhodes.
Subs: Eastwood (GK), Songo'o, Lenihan, Gestede.
Goals: Rhodes 15, 78 mins, Conway 18 mins.
Booked: Steele, Brown.
Attendance: 14,888 (including 703 Rovers fans).