Charlton manager Lee Bowyer was impressed with his side’s improved defensive showing as they ground out a much-needed 1-0 victory at MK Dons.
The Addicks had won just one of their previous eight games to leave them hanging onto their place in the Sky Bet League One play-offs, but they came away from Stadium MK with the points, thanks to Liam Millar’s first goal for the club.
The visitors held onto their lead fairly comfortably, keeping just their second clean sheet since November to allow them to remain sixth in the table.
Bowyer said: “I think we got back to doing the basics right.
“They’re human beings, they’re going to make mistakes, but the positive thing is that we’ve got a clean sheet against a very good MK side, who score a lot of goals here.
“I think our shape was excellent. We can’t carry any players and tonight you could see that we weren’t carrying anyone.
“We weren’t taking good care of the ball, if one of us won it back we set good traps, we pressed and then it was just that next pass, or that second pass, was a bit sloppy.
“It was a very gritty, professional performance from us.
“Our work-rate, our commitment, our fight, I think everything from start to finish was excellent.
“You have to respect every team you play against and Darren’s (Pratley) job out of possession was to make sure (Scott) Fraser didn’t do anything to hurt us.”
Charlton went ahead after 18 minutes when Conor Washington’s cross ran through to Millar, who finished confidently past an onrushing Alex Fisher.
The Dons huffed and puffed but came close when Joe Mason’s header from Matt O’Riley’s corner came off a post, while Ethan Laird was denied by a brave stop from Ben Amos.
MK Dons boss Russell Martin said: “I’m angry with the goal. We started okay but then we went 1-0 down against professionals who have played a long time.
“Whilst being very dominant, they paid us very little respect about playing further up the pitch.
“The second half was better, with lots of one-on-ones in and around the box, but we didn’t make it count.
“Apart from giving them two chances on the counter-attack they didn’t threaten us in the second half.
“Charlton showed real aggression, against Scott (Fraser) in particular, but we have to deal with that.
“We spoke in the week about dominating your opponent but we didn’t do that enough tonight.
“We had two new players and our team is evolving, so there are some positive signs.
“There are lots of positives but I’m disappointed with losing the game. There wasn’t enough quality in the final third and that’s why we’re losing games.”