Given their recent FA Cup record, not to mention their away form in the Premiership, Charlton shaped up as one of the more likely candidates to become victims of an upset. Even in their current uncertain mood, though, they carried too much firepower for Sheffield Wednesday's ponderous defence.
Wednesday's manager, Paul Sturrock, berated his side after the match for their defensive fallibility. That does a little less than justice to the Addicks, who showed touches of real quality in their finishing.
Dennis Rommedahl's second goal might have been the product simply of being in the right place to dispatch Darren Bent's unselfish square ball, but his first was a little master class in subtlety, as he drifted past three men and passed, rather than shot, into a vacant corner of the net. In between, Matt Holland had scored what was, remarkably for a player at the veteran stage of a distinguished career, his first FA Cup goal.
At that stage, Wednesday, in 20th place in the Championship, should have been out of it, but they showed a willingness to play to their strengths that bodes well for their League prospects. As the Charlton manager, Alan Curbishley admitted the Addicks were in trouble every time the ball came into their area in the air, especially from set-pieces.
If Wednesday had defended better, they could have had an unlikely FA Cup hero in Paul Heckingbottom. The left-back had not scored since last February, but registered twice on Saturday - in the week when he had been told that he was free to leave the club after a bid from Blackpool.
Sturrock paid tribute to the defender's positive attitude afterwards, while emphasising that he had not changed his mind about letting him go. Heckingbottom had some torrid times defensively, but without him Wednesday fans might ask facetiously, where are the goals to come from?
For Charlton, Bent demonstrated part of the striker's art - making a contribution even when not on top of your game. He had what Curbishley regarded as one of his worst games of a fine season, but still found time to lay on a goal and score the late clincher.
"When he doesn't play so well he's got to get a goal," he said. "In general play, he struggled a little bit today, but you can afford a bad game if you score. When you've lost four on the spin away from home, it was a real testing one and we made it a little bit difficult for ourselves."
Goals: Rommedahl (13) 0-1; Heckingbottom (16) 1-1; Holland (27) 1-2; Rommedahl (44) 1-3; Heckingbottom (60) 2-3; Bent (87) 2-4.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Lucas; Simek, Coughlan, Wood, Heckingbottom; Partridge (Bullen 76), Whelan, O'Brien, Brunt; Corr, Tudgay. Substitutes not used: Adamson (gk), Thorpe, Diallo, Rocastle.
Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Myhre; Spector, Fortune, Hreidarsson, Powell (Perry, 81); Rommedahl (Ambrose, 45), Kishishev, Holland, Hughes (Lisbie, 77); Bent, Bartlett. Substitutes not used: Andersen (gk), Young.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Booked: Charlton Fortune.
Man of the match: Rommedahl.
Attendance: 14,851.Reuse content