By Mark PerrowCharlton Athletic strolled to victory at Ashton Gate as a below par City display was punished by a seventh successive defeat.
City old boy Danny Haynes set the visitors on their way with a first-half opener, before defender Michael Morrison effectively finished the job with his side’s second 11 minutes after the interval.
Although not short of effort, the Robins were found wanting at both ends of the pitch and subjected to boos from a disgruntled home crowd at the final whistle.
Derek McInnes declared the game a six-pointer following the 2-0 defeat at Birmingham City five days prior, making five changes to his side in a bid to bring an end to the losing streak.
Tom Heaton returned in goal, while James Wilson, Neil Kilkenny, Martyn Woolford and Ryan Taylor were also recalled in an orthodox 4-4-2 formation.
City started brightly, and might have taken through Woolford inside the first ten minutes. Albert Adomah
’s run down the right flank culminated in a low cross along the six-yard line stepped over by Sam Baldock for Woolford to strike, only for the winger to be denied by an excellent Chris Solly block.
At the other end, Haynes carried the ball a long way into home territory before finding Salim Kerkar promisingly placed on the left side of the penalty area. The Frenchman elected to take the shot first time with the inside of his foot low across Heaton, but the former Cardiff City keeper was able to turn it aside with an important left hand.
It was a let off for McInnes’ side, but they were soon behind when Haynes broke the deadlock, predictably, on his old stomping ground after 20 minutes.
Charlton’s Dale Stephens must have been wondering how the name on the scoresheet was not his own when his 20-yard shot struck the inside of the post and only bounced out via the opposite upright, but Haynes was perfectly placed to bury the rebound.
Two minutes later the striker should have had another, but saw his scruffy effort hit the outside of the post after the ball broke kindly to him inside the box.
City’s defending was again causing concern, but Baldock nearly had the Robins back on terms when picked out by Woolford, only for his tame stab at goal to lack the necessary purchase to trouble visiting keeper Ben Hamer.
But Charlton continued to press for a second, and captain Johnnie Jackson threatened to provide it when his deep cross was headed back across goal by central defender Morrison and ultimately into the path of Haynes, whose eventual shot was deflected wide for a corner.
And Haynes was the man on the end of another opportunity three minutes before the interval, firing high into the Atyeo Stand from Solly’s low cross after the right-back flew past City’s Matthew Briggs down the touchline.
The action followed a similar pattern after the break, as Haynes raced clear of a static City rearguard only to shoot wildly off target when forced wide by former team-mate Liam Fontaine.
The first glimpse of an equaliser since half-time arrived after 54 minutes through a Baldock snapshot well over the crossbar, before Stephens chanced his arm with an audacious lob which had to be tipped over by the backpedalling Heaton.
Charlton finally grabbed a deserved second in infuriating fashion for McInnes, as the resulting corner was only half-cleared before Morrison was left unopposed to drill the ball low across Heaton to double the visitors’ lead.
City never stopped pushing for a lifeline, but Adomah’s shot was deflected wide and substitute Steven Davies saw his free kick sail wide either side of Jackson going even closer from another dead ball at the other end.
Charlton survived an uncomfortable moment at the death when a driven cross from the Ghanaian was not dealt with by Hamer, but his defence somehow smuggled the ball to safety to condemn City to a third straight game without scoring.