WATFORD RECORDED back-to-back league wins for the first-time under Gianfranco Zola, despite Fernando Forestieri`s controversial first-half red card.
Making just his second professional start, Tommie Hoban headed Watford in front before the half-hour mark. Ricardo Fuller levelled for Charlton just five minutes later before Forestieri was giving his marching orders after picking up a second yellow.
The second-half saw Zola’s side come under immense pressure yet walk away with all three thanks to a stunning Almen Abdi free-kick.
Hornet`s boss Zola opted to stick with the same XI that beat Huddersfield Town at the weekend, meaning striker Matej Vydra only came onto the bench. There was a first sighting of Joel Ekstrand too, the Swede named amongst the substitutes following illness.
Former Hornet Chris Powell named new loan arrivals Abdul Razak and Rob Hulse amongst the substitutes whilst bringing in Ricardo Fuller for former Watford loanee Johnnie Jackson.
During a quiet opening quarter of an hour it was Fuller who had the best chance, fed in by Salim Kerkar before Neuton slide in to block the Jamaican`s route to goal with an inch-perfect sliding tackle.
Watford`s first opening came through Troy Deeney just a couple of minutes later, the forward taking aim from 35 yards, Ben Hamer fumbling in the wet conditions.
Just before the half-hour mark Watford took the lead with their first effort of note.
A Forestieri corner was met by Hoban whose header took a deflection on route to the back of the net.
A handful of minutes later Deeney tested Addicks` goalkeeper Ben Hamer when he turned and shot low towards the near-post following a throw-on.
Charlton`s next attack brought about an equaliser, Watford sliced open by a through-ball leaving Fuller to finish for his second of the season.
With the end of the first-half looming Forestieri was given his marching orders, collecting a second yellow card for simulation. The Argentine`s first booking came early in the game for encroachment.
Bradley Wright-Phillips had the first chance of the second period when he seized on a lapse in concentration before firing in a 20 yard shot which Manuel Almunia pushed away from the right-hand post.
Wright-Phillips was at the centre of the Addicks` next decent chance, collecting Fuller`s pass following a delightful turn, only to shoot over under pressure from Neuton.
Watford`s man disadvantage was evident as the second period progressed, the Hornets offering little going forward as Powell`s side took control.
Fuller had another chance as he was once again denied by Almunia before Dale Stephens` rebound was well-blocked.
On a rare venture into Charlton`s half, Watford re-took the lead. An Abdi free-kick swung into the top left-hand corner to put Watford back into an unlikely lead.
Dale Stephens could have stolen a point for his side in injury time, firing over the bar when well-placed.
Another excellent win for the Hornets who played over half the game with 10 men. The sending-off of Forestieri will undoubtedly cause debate, but whether or not he was guilty on this occasion or not, he has already forged a reputation as someone who goes down easily. Perhaps this will serve as a lesson learnt in the future!
Charlton Athletic: Hamer; Wilson, Morrison (c), Cort, Solly; Green (Hulse), Stephens, Hollands (Pritchard), Kerkar; Fuller & Wright-Phillips.
Subs not used: Button (GK), Evina, Dervite, Razak, Wagstaff.
Watford: Almunia (c); Hoban, Neuton (Ekstrand), Hall; Cassetti, Chalobah (Doyley), Hogg, Abdi, Pudil; Deeney (Iwelumo) & Forestieri.
Subs not used: Bond (GK), Yeates, Murray & Vydra.
Referee: Mr M Dean.