Forest 2-1 Charlton
Sam Hutchinson stole the limelight from new boys Billy Sharp and James Coppinger by marking his first Nottingham Forest start with a goal.
The defender, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, showed all the composure of a seasoned front man with a 75th minute strike as Forest made it two home league wins from as many games.
He added to the lead Lewis McGugan had given Sean O’Driscoll’s men in the first half and although Ricardo Fuller pulled a goal back for Charlton late-on the victory was no more than Forest deserved after another highly encouraging display.
All the pre-match talk had surrounded the deadline day loan arrivals of Sharp and Coppinger from Southampton and Doncaster respectively.
They were named as substitutes after only checking in at The City Ground less than 24 hours earlier.
Boss O’Driscoll preferred Hutchinson to Brendan Moloney at right back, while Greg Halford lined-up at left back in place of Dan Harding, who was relegated to the bench after becoming a father for the third time overnight.
But the changes failed to disrupt Forest, who powered out of the blocks against a Charlton side who arrived on Trentside boasting an unbeaten start to the season in the Championship.
McGugan forged the breakthrough after just 17 minutes as he whipped in a free-kick from the left-hand touchline that eluded everyone, including Charlton ‘keeper Ben Hamer.
It was just reward for a bright start by O’Driscoll’s men, who should have taken the lead eight minutes earlier.
Free-flowing football resulted in Simon Cox finding Andy Reid on the left of Charlton’s area and when he pulled the ball back for Adlene Guedioura the Algerian sidefooted against the bar.
McGugan went close to making it 2-0 midway through the first half with a deflected shot from the edge of the area that had Hamer scrambling.
And the in-form midfielder curled a shot from outside the area straight at the Charlton No.1 as Forest looked to increase their advantage before the break.
Charlton started the second half in a positive fashion and Jordan Cook tested Lee Camp for the first time with a shot from just outside the box, which the Northern Ireland international grabbed at the second attempt after an initial spill.
Yann Kermorgant headed wide of the Forest goal from a corner as the visitors looked to cancel out McGugan’s strike.
But they came close to falling even further behind on the hour mark when Guedioura – booked a few moments earlier for a clumsy challenge – saw his fiercely struck volley from a partially cleared corner deflected just over the bar.
Hamer came to his side’s rescue as he parried a fiercely struck shot by Cox, who collected a booking after catching the ‘keeper while trying to pounce on the rebound.
Halford headed over after Charlton had failed to deal with a corner and Guedioura floated the ball back into the penalty area but Forest didn’t have to wait too much longer for a second goal as Hutchinson raced on to a pass from Dexter Blackstock before finishing with cool aplomb.
Sharp joined the action nine minutes from time as a replacement for Cox, while Coppinger was given a four-minute run-out after replacing Reid.
But Charlton set up a nervy finale when Fuller headed past Camp – with the aid of an upright – from a Chris Solly cross three minutes from time.
Salim Kerkar had a shot charged down on the edge of the six-yard box as Charlton went in search of a late, late equaliser, while Sharp was denied a debut goal by desperate last-ditch defending.