So abject were Charlton that this embarrassing defeat by opponents two divisions below them could not be classed under that time-honoured phrase "Cup shock". The Premiership side never looked remotely like winning, or even saving, this third-round tie.
The new manager Alan Pardew has much to do, as he readily acknowledged. "We could not have approached this game any worse," he said. "We lost the first eight headers. I learned a lot about this team, especially in the first half. Some of it I will keep to myself, but even for a game like this, where we are going down a level, you need quality players.
"This team needs strength and professionalism and some nous away from home, and that's what I am going to install very, very quickly. The performances one or two put in today were not good enough. They either respond or they won't find themselves anywhere near this club. They need to wash away the negativity in their bodies, otherwise we ain't gonna make it."
Forest and their manager, Colin Calderwood, are too smart to assume that this sort of opposition is what they are likely to come across should promotion from League One come their way and be followed by the return to the Premiership which Calderwood deems the club's destiny. They were virtually encouraged to run at, and through, a timid defence and gleefully obliged.
The signs were there so early, particularly from the pacey Nathan Tyson on the left, that with 26 minutes gone Pardew made a tactical switch, taking off a midfielder, Amdy Faye, bringing on the central defender Souleymane Diawara and reorganising his back line. Far from making things better, the changes merely accelerated the collapse.
Within two minutes Djimi Traoré carelessly gave away the ball to James Perch, who sped away from Darren Ambrose's pursuit before crossing low for Junior Agogo to get in front of the lumbering Jonathan Fortune and sidefoot home.
At once Tyson came surging in from the left to deliver a shot which Fortune turned against the underside of his own bar. If Charlton thought they had been let off, the reprieve was brief indeed. Another couple of minutes and they were two down, as Nicky Southall's free-kick was headed home, without a challenge, by Forest's top scorer, Grant Holt.
With nowhere to go but up, Charlton improved marginally after Pardew's half-time lecture. "We huffed and puffed and attempted to retrieve the situation," said Pardew. But in going forward Charlton merely further exposed the horrible gaps at the back. Forest were only troubled once, when Paul Smith needed to drop smartly on a Marcus Bent toe-poke.
Calderwood removed both goalscorers as well as Tyson, and their replacements could have increased the victory margin but for over-elaboration by Scott Dobie in a three-on-two situation in Charlton's area.
Calderwood, an ex-Spurs player, says he would like Tottenham in the next round. For Pardew, the situation could not be grimmer.Reuse content