Lincoln City 2 (Grant 45, Montsma 88) Charlton 0.
Last week marked a longed-for upswing in the turbulent fortunes of Charlton Athletic. It was unceremoniously out with the old in the gnarled, sour form of Roland Duchatelet and in with swashbuckling Danish/American entrepreneur Thomas Sandgaard as the new owner of the strife-torn club. It's been a long time coming.
You just have to like the new bloke. He scrubs up well, plays rock guitar and shapes up like a regular guy. A bit of a chap all told. He seems normal, likeable and best of all, he isn't Matt Southall.
There were no dubious characters crowding through the door behind him. Nor were Interpol or the FBI.
The new guvnor's arrival was greeted with an explosion of joy - mixed, it should be said in certain areas, with caution. Charlton fans have seen it all but what they saw in Thomas Sandgaard they liked. All that remained to complete a perfect week was to pop up to cuddly little underdogs Lincoln City and relieve them of three welcome points. New owner bounce would comfortably take care of that.
Early indications at LNER Stadium, once known to pub quizzers as Sincil Bank, suggested that Lee Bowyer's still-gelling Addicks were in the mood to take care of their end of business without too much difficulty. The first half chances were almost exclusively theirs.
Two-in-two this season, Conor Washington should have made it three but after cleverly losing his marker inside the penalty area, dragged a low drive wastefully wide. No matter, it seemed, as the confident visitors continued to pull the strings with first-time starter Dylan Levitt firing narrowly over the bar and lively schemer Erhun Oztumer going close twice. By the time Levitt's deflected drive wrongfooted Alex Palmer but squirted agonising inches wide of the right post, an opening goal seemed overdue. There were other close shaves, scrapes and scrambles before, In first half added time, the Imps made nonsense of the run of play by grabbing a bitterly disputed lead.
Ben Purrington's handling offence allowed Jorge Grant to loft a dangerous free kick into the goal area where Darren Pratley clumsily manhandled Tom Hopper under the beady eye of referee Marc Edwards. Grant's inevitable penalty was smartly saved by Ben Amos but bundled home by the spotkick-taker after Harry Anderson's follow-up effort was blocked. From a no-longer cosy chair miles from Lincolnshire, it was impossible to know whether Grant was "miles offside" as claimed by Bowyer but after a lengthy consultation with his linesman, Edwards allowed the goal. Charlton's impassioned protests may or may not have been justified but had Purrington and Pratley kept their hands to themselves, the ensuing unpleasantness might have been avoided. As it was, Grant's goal, legitimate or otherwise, was pivotal.
Owners of a poor record in coming back to win from behind, the Addicks ploughed on through a humdrum second half without causing their hosts undue inconvenience. Up front, Washington faded while his partner Macauley Bonne was a ponderous disappointment throughout. Goals seem certain, as usual, to be in short supply. Levitt stood out, as to be expected from a Manchester United graduate, while Oztumer showed enough to be given a decent run as a starter. The elusive little playmaker picks a pass well, works sharp one-twos near the box and must surely survive Bowyer's weekly tinkering with the line-up. Fits and rare starts do him a disservice.
At the back, new centre back Akin Famewo was unruffled if conservative; beside him, Deji Oshilaja, apart from an unhappy tendency to concede free kicks, gave his all. Operating as an emergency right back, 17 year-old Charlie Barker was slightly out of his depth; Purrington was a steady left back and Amos, so unlucky with the penalty, was sound. It'll take a month or more, we're advised, before we can properly evaluate Bowyer's newly constructed side. Shame the league won't wait for us to catch up.
The second period, meanwhile, was over in a flash with occasional flickers of life from Alfie Doughty providing Charlton's best moments. Forced regularly inside by right back Lewis Montesma, Doughty was denied space for his usual explosive raids down the left flank but was hard to subdue. There was precious little else to bother the Imps who hardly needed Montesma's clinching goal to make it three wins in a row. Meeting Grant's soaring left wing corner at the far post, the free-scoring defender's towering leap left debutant Ben Watson earthbound as he headed powerfully past Amos.
So much then for new owner bounce. Let's hope his cheque's cleared.
Lincoln: Palmer, Montesma, Jackson, Jones, Hopper, Grant, McGrandles (Johnson 69), Eyoma, Bridcutt, Anderson (Sealey 79), Roughan. Not used: Ross, Edwards, Archibald, Howarth, Elbouzedi. Booked: McGrandles, Eyoma, Johnson.
Charlton: Amos, Barker, Oshilaja, Famewo (Watson 62), Purrington, Oztumer (Forster-Caskey 77), Levitt (Williams 77), Pratley, Doughty, Washington, Bonne. Not used: Maynard-Brewer, Vennings, Lapslie, Davison. Booked: Pratley, Watson, Barker.
Referee: Marc Edwards.