Chesterfield 0, Charlton Athletic 4
Five minutes of madness led to relegation-threatened Chesterfield suffering their biggest home defeat of the season against champions-elect Chartlon.
Bradley Wright-Phillips had put the runaway leaders 1-0 up in the 43rd minute but early in the second half, the Spireites should have been awarded a penalty when defender Michael Morrison appeared to send Jack Lester flying in the area.
It looked like a stonewall spot-kick but referee Colin Webster was adamant that no foul had been committed.
Play switched to the other end and a mis-hit 25-yard shot by Danny Holland hit the ground and cleared the last line of Chesterfield’s defence.
Wright-Phillips – in what looked to be clearly an offside position – tucked the ball past Tommy Lee but incredibly, the linesman’s flag stayed down.
The Charlton scorer looked not so much offside as in another postcode but the goal was allowed to stand and at 2-0 down Chesterfield heads dropped somewhat.
The setback left the Spireites shell-shocked and they had still not recovered their composure 90 seconds later when Addicks skipper Johnny Johnson converted a cross from Danny Green to make it 3-0.
If Chesterfield had been awarded the penalty and made it 1-1, it would have been game on, but in extremely short order Charlton had built up an unassailable advantage.
Salt was rubbed into the wound in the 66th minute when Green’s cross found its way into Lee’s goal. Wright-Phillips, tangling with Blues skipper Neal Trotman, was credited with the strike for the first hat-trick of his career.
As the clock ticket down, Jordan Bowery clattered the bar with a header while substitute Danny Whitaker had a raking shot saved by Ben Hamer for a corner but the result came as a jolt for John Sheridan’s men as it left them rooted to the bottom of the table, five points adrift of safety.
Up to the opening goal towards the end of the first half – when Wright-Phillips followed up to touch home the loose ball after Green’s thunderous shot had thumped against the Chesterfield keeper’s bar – play had been fairly even.
Lee had made a great diving save in the 20th minute to keep out a downward header from Yann Kermorgant while at the other end Nicky Ajose – thanks to a Bowery cross and a canny Lester dummy – found himself will placed eight yards out but slipped as he was about to pull the trigger.
And Westcarr rifled a 36th minute his shot wide of the far post before Wright-Phillips pounced to open the scoring.
The result saw Charlton complete the double and it allowed them to equal a club record of 12 away wins in a season. At the final whistle they were 13 points clear at the top.
Blues boss Sheridan has circle his waggons and ready his troops in time for Saturday’s visit of Tranmere Rovers.
Chesterfield: Lee, Trotman, Thompson, Ford, Ridehalgh, Allott, Davis, Westcarr (Mendy 62), Ajose, Lester (Whitaker 65), Bowery. Subs not used: Fleming, Smith, Boden.
Charlton Athletic: Hamer, Morrison (Cort 69), Taylor, Wiggins, Solly, Jackson (Haynes 77), Green, Stephens, Hollands, Wright-Phillips, Kermorgant (Clarke 68). Subs not used: Sullivan, Russell.
Referee: Colin Webster (Tyne & Wear).
Attendance: 6,405 (710 from Charlton).