Unbeaten Charlton pulled five points clear at the head of League One after the latest addition to an extraordinary list of new recruits confirmed the feeling that rookie manager Chris Powell can do no wrong. A seventh goal of the season from Bradley Wright-Phillips made the points safe but it was the introduction of substitute Yann Kermorgant that turned the contest in Charlton's favour after the French striker came off the bench to score for the second time in five days.
Kermorgant needed only four minutes on the field to spare Charlton a first defeat of the season when he equalised against MK Dons on Tuesday. This time, it took him a mere 14 seconds to score. With the captain, Johnnie Jackson, waiting to take a corner, Powell took the opportunity to send on Kermorgant in the 65th minute and was rewarded instantly when the 29-year-old ran into the penalty area to head Jackson's kick past the goalkeeper, Steve Simonsen.
Kermorgant then set up Wright-Phillips to score Charlton's second two minutes later, taking advantage of a mistake by Neill Collins to send Powell's top scorer clear to beat Simonsen at the second attempt.
"I haven't had a substitute make an impact like that so far but I did know from the kind of player Yann is that he would want to attack the ball and make it his," Powell said.
Kermorgant, with whom Powell had worked when a coach at Leicester, joined the club as a free agent just over a week ago as the 19th signing of Powell's drastic overhaul at The Valley. "He had a tough time at Leicester but just because things don't work out at one club they will not happen for a player at another," Powell said. "For his part he felt he had unfinished business and that he really wanted to make his mark in England."
Sheffield United (4-4-2): Simonsen; Lowton, Maguire, Collins, Jean-Francois; Williamson (Flynn, 73), McDonald, Doyle, Quinn; Porter (Cresswell 66), Evans.
Charlton (4-4-2): Hamer; Solly, Taylor, Morrison, Wiggins; Wagstaff (Hughes, 86), Stephens, Hollands, Jackson; Hayes (Kermorgant, 65), Wright-Phillips (Green, 78).
Referee Scott Mathieson.
Man of the match Kermorgant (Charlton).
Match rating 6/10.