It is just as well for Wolverhampton Wanderers that performances pale into insignificance against results by mid-March because victories do not come much messier than this. Top duly beat bottom, but only with an 80th minute goal so scrambled that the PA announcer, several thousand relieved home fans and even Mick McCarthy appeared guilty of mistaken identity.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who saw a penalty saved by Rob Elliot 11 minutes earlier, was credited by the various parties with the close-range finish from David Jones' left-wing corner that brought Wolves only their second win in nine home games.
Charlton Athletic's emergency defender Matt Holland owned up to a definite own goal, though, on a day when the leaders' advantage over third-placed Reading stretched to 10 points.
Through their second-half pressure, Wolves edged it although there was little composure about much of their work, with relegation-bound Charlton the more assured side for half an hour. "Of course it's a relief to win," McCarthy said. "And it's a help Reading are still in their bad run. But it's only three points for us. Sorry to be boring – you'll have to wait to May to see whether I have a smile on my face."
Charlton, reprieved earlier by a free-kick decision for pushing as Holland turned Jones' corner into his own net, fell behind nine minutes before the break when Chris Iwelumo hooked a diagonal pass from Michael Kightly in off the near post. It was the striker's 16th goal of the season, three and a half months after his 15th.
Charlton equalised following Tresor Kandol's knock-down, Zheng Zhi belying his recent five-month injury absence by cutting inside and shooting in fiercely from 22 yards, before a push on Christophe Berra brought Wolves their penalty, only for Ebanks-Blake to fail from the spot for the second time in three attempts.
"We feel hard done by," said Charlton's manager Phil Parkinson. "We have lost to two very scrappy goals in a game we deserved something from."Reuse content