Rotherham United 0 Charlton 2 (Bauer 16, Magennis 66).
Kevin Nolan reporting from ASSEAL New York Stadium.
When the immediate glow of this important victory has faded into quiet satisfaction, one nagging worry may linger to furrow Karl Robinson's brow. He will realise upon reflection - because he's an honest man - that this game might well have been beyond Charlton's reach before Patrick Bauer headed them into a 16th minute lead. Only Rotherham's hopeless finishing kept the scores level before Bauer struck. But it was his own side's indifferent defending before they eventually settled down which might cause him disquiet.
Only eight minutes had elapsed when Ahmed Kashi carelessly surrendered possession to Kieffer Moore, who made tracks into the penalty area before exchanging passes with Jamie Proctor, unmarked in front of a gaping goal. Walking the ball over the line seemed an easy option but Proctor's sluggish reactions allowed Jake Forster-Caskey to make up ground and launch a nothing-to-lose challenge. A distracted Proctor prodded inexplicably wide.
Shortly after the escape, both Chris Solly and Bauer were bamboozled by Moore's turn on the proverbial sixpence. From 20 unencumbered yards, the Millers' recent hat-trick hero shot weakly at Ben Amos. This time the visitors celebrated their good fortune by taking the lead.
In his usual lone role up front, Josh Magennis was a rare handful for United's tree-trunk tall defenders. Turning sharply near the left byline, he hustled a corner off ex-Addick Semi Ajayi. Forster-Caskey's outswinger pinpointed Bauer beyond the far post and Ajayi was overpowered as the big German headed back across goal into the bottom left corner. A defender on the line might have dealt with the danger but that tactic is so archaic these days, you don't even bother to point out its tried-and-true virtues.
Relieved to be in front, Charlton should have promptly lost their advantage but rode their luck again when Ajayi was unhindered as he rose to meet Joe Newell's left wing corner. His woefully off-target header was in tune with United's cockeyed marksmanship.
And that was almost as good as it was to get for the Millers. With Kashi their reassuring linchpin, the midfield grip applied by Forster-Caskey and his grafting partner Billy Clarke gave Ricky Holmes all the space he needed to run Rotherham ragged on the flanks. Moving on to Jay Dasilva's square pass, Holmes curled a superb shot, which was heading for the far top corner until Richard O'Donnell flung himself full-length to save.
A final lapse into lax defending almost brought Charlton's downfall soon after the break. Moore was allowed to close in on Amos' goal but with Proctor on hand to his left, perhaps understandably chose to shoot instead of pass. His tame effort hardly troubled the steadily improving keeper, who added a fine parry from Ajayi's venomous volley to his clean handling and powerful punching.
Midway through the half, a second goal considered vital but frequently elusive, put the result beyond reasonable doubt. Clashing in mid-air with Proctor and despite giving away height and weight advantages to his hulking opponent, Solly survived the collision and, with Proctor prone, alertly kept the ball alive for Kashi to feed Holmes. Twisting Newell pretzel-shaped, the irrepressible winger stood up a teasing cross which drifted beyond O'Donnell's straining grasp and left Magennis the simple task of nodding home from no more than a yard.
With Jason Pearce staunchly reliable at Bauer's side and Solly delivering another of those unsung performances so easily taken for granted, what remained was routine although it took Kashi's heroic goalline clearance of Newell's soaring centre to make sure there were no late nerves. Solidly organised and bloody-minded when it mattered, the Addicks were in no mood to suffer a repeat of the frustrating setback at Plymouth.
There's something happening here...what it is ain't exactly unclear (to take an unauthorised liberty with Stephen Stills' lyric). And what it is appears to be the coming together of a more than useful side under an increasingly confident manager. Might be time to cut him and his team some slack.
Charlton: Amos, Solly, Bauer, Pearce, Dasilva, Kashi, Holmes (Konsa 89), Clarke (Novak 85), Forster-Caskey, Fosu (Ahearne-Grant 85), Magennis. Not used: Phillips, Jackson, Crofts, Sarr. Booked: Magennis, Holmes.
Rotherham: O'Donnell, Emmanuel (Vaulks 55), Mattock, Ajayi, Frecklington, Proctor (Clarke-Harris 70), Potter, Ihiekwe, Newell, Williams (Taylor 46), Moore. Not used: Bilboe, Forde, Purrington, Cummings. Booked: Vaulks, Mattock, Ihiekwe.
Referee: Trevor Kettle.
Att: 7,776 (520 visiting).