There are some big clubs fighting to leave the ignominy of English football's third tier behind and it is no wonder tension is building. As controversy and rancour swirled around The Valley, both these teams lost a man to a red card. It was Charlton who ended the match with their promotion credentials strengthened.
With six minutes left, a challenge from the Charlton substitute Darel Russell on Kevin McDonald – Sheffield United's manager, Danny Wilson, called it "horrendous" but Charlton's Chris Powell deemed his man "unlucky" – produced an angry mêlée. The United substitute James Beattie was too aggressive for the referee's liking and followed Russell down the tunnel.
This overshadowed a fine winning goal, which came with precision from the left boot of the captain, Johnnie Jackson, and left Charlton seven points clear of United and on track for the Championship. Jackson, who left Sheffield Wednesday deflated the week before, is making the pride of the Steel City suffer for conceding free-kicks within range.
Wilson complained about the free-kick award that led to the goal as well as the Beattie dismissal but he was spot-on when he said his team had deserved a point. Ched Evans should have exploited Ben Hamer's fumblings, and Matt Lowton bounced a cross off the bar.
Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Hamer; Solly, Taylor, Morrison, Wiggins; Green (Russell, 77), Pritchard, Hollands, Jackson; Kermorgant, Wright-Phillips (Haynes, 88).
Sheffield United (4-4-2) Simonsen; Lowton, McGuire, Collins, Lecsinel (Williams, 76); Williamson (Porter, 88), McDonald, Doyle, Quinn; Evans, Cresswell (Beattie, 77).
Referee: Darren Deadman.
Man of the Match: Jackson (Charlton)
Match rating: 7/10