Chesterfield couldn’t live with the firepower of League One’s top club tonight.
They went down 4-0 - putting Charlton 13 points ahead of second-place Sheffield United, virtually ensuring the championship goes to the Valley.
The Spireites had to look from the bottom 24th place up the table at leaders Charlton, with no fewer than 45 points separating them, before the start of this match.
Yet visiting goalie Ben Hamer was under some early pressure as John Sheridan’s men tried to impose themselves.
An inswinging corner on 13 minutes by Johnnie Jackson led to a close range header by Yann Kermorgant - and it looked for all the world like a goal was on the cards for the team unbeaten in last nine, but fortunately it went wide. It was a warning.
Former Leicester City man Kermorgant was a pest to the home defence, forcing a save from Tommy Lee.
It was a feisty encounter with Craig Westcarr and Jordan Bowery getting themselves into dangerous positions.
Bradley Wright-Phillips was a similar danger in an end to end encounter at the B2net.
And it was he who struck the first blow.
Athletic have a habit of scoring near the last whistle of a first half, and the 26-year-old forward netted with a low effort from a Danny Green assist on 43 minutes.
On the other side of the interval it was the same player who wreaked havoc again.
There were some claims of offside from the home fans as Wright-Phillips grabbed his second, on 56 minutes.
A minute later, Jackson posted the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal after decent work from Chris Solly...and even the most optimistic Spireites’ fans knew the game was over.
It had been precision stuff by a team that knows how to take its chances.
And Charlton racked up their 30th away goal of the campaign when the ball went in after Wright-Phillips penetrated the beleagured defence again, although the ball may have gone in off Trotman.
Former Sheffield Wednesday and Chesterfield striker Leon Clarke entered the fray as Yann Kermorgant left the field on 67 minutes.
Bowery and Mark Allott continued to look for a consolation but the points were on their way down south long before the game ended.
Teams: Chesterfield: (4-4-2): Lee, Thompson, Ford, Trotman, Ridehalgh, Westcarr, Davis, Allott, Ajose, Bowery, Lester.
Subs: Fleming, Smith, Whitaker, Boden, Mendy
Charlton (4-4-2): Hamer, Solly, Wiggins, Taylor, Morrison, Green, Hollands, Stephens, Jackson, Wright-Phillips, Kermorgant.
Subs: Sullivan, Haynes, Cort, Russell, Clarke.
Attendance: 6,405 (710 visiting supporters)
Read Phil Tooley in Wednesday’s Star.