Paul Benson's fine overhead kick earned Charlton a point from a pulsating game against 10-man Colchester.
The U's twice went ahead in the first half, through Matt Heath's stooping header and Andy Bond's effort.
But on both occasions Johnnie Jackson levelled from the spot, with the second award resulting in David Perkins being sent off for a handball on the line.
Anthony Wordsworth's shot put the U's ahead but Benson's strike made it 3-3 before he saw red for a late tackle.
Benson's dismissal - for a foul on John White - capped a frustrating second half for the visitors, who failed to take advantage of playing for more than 50 minutes with an extra man.
But the Addicks, who slip out of the automatic promotion places following Southampton's thumping win over Exeter, were unable to dominate after the interval and struggled to create clearcut chances.
Benson did have a towering header disallowed for a push in the closing stages but the hosts were well worth their point for a gutsy second-half display.
Colchester had looked like taking all three points after an impressive first half which saw them lead through Heath's six-yard header.
Jackson replied from the spot after Bond had handled in the area but the U's deservedly led again when Bond made amends for his penalty blunder by sweeping home Ashley Vincent's cross.
A second Jackson spot-kick - this time rammed home after Perkins deliberately handled Benson's bullet header on the line - made it 2-2 at the interval.
Wordsworth's calm 12-yard strike put the Essex side ahead for a third time and the lively David Mooney almost grabbed a fourth.
But the Addicks rallied late and Benson's acrobatic 76th-minute equaliser secured a draw.
Colchester United manager John Ward told BBC Essex: "I don't think anybody will be asking for their money back, I thought it was a fantastic game and credit to both sides.
"Both groups of players provided a terrific game, added to by some decisions by the officials.
"With my group going down to 10 men so early on in the game and having to deal with decisions against them, right or wrong, they've handled it mentally and physically exceptionally well."
Charlton boss Phil Parkinson told BBC London 94.9: "Colchester started the better of the two teams and the tempo of their early play caught us out but as the game wore on we got better.
"They had a man sent-off but we have been the victims of two really bad decisions when at 3-3 Paul Benson has had the header at the back stick which was disallowed and then he (the referee) sent Benson off for what was at the most a yellow card.
"Exciting day but very frustrating as well as I feel I should be stood here with a 4-3 victory and eleven men on the pitch."
Live text and stats
Saturday, 1 January 2011
Npower League One
Jackson (pen) 18
Jackson (pen) 40
17 Perkins red card
07 Vincent (I Henderson 78)
19 Mooney yellow card (Odejayi 78)
16 I Henderson,
27 L Henderson
36 Dailly yellow card
07 Wagstaff (Reid 59)
08 Racon (Abbott 59)
17 Benson red card
14 A Sodje
Ref: MillerAtt: 6,112
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+5:10 The referee brings the game to a close.
90:00+1:06 Corner taken by Ian Henderson, Matt Heath takes a shot. Rob Elliot makes a save.
87:37 Paul Benson concedes a free kick for a foul on John White. Ben Williams takes the direct free kick.
87:37 Sent off Paul Benson is sent off by the referee for serious foul play.
85:11 Christian Dailly is adjudged to have handled the ball. Shot comes in from Anthony Wordsworth from the free kick.
84:40 Pawel Abbott handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Ben Williams takes the indirect free kick.
82:23 John White fouled by Paul Benson, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ben Williams.
80:39 Corner taken by Johnnie Jackson.
78:48 Free kick awarded for a foul by Pawel Abbott on Ian Henderson. Paul Reid takes the direct free kick.
77:39 Substitution Kayode Odejayi comes on in place of David Mooney.
77:39 Substitution Ashley Vincent leaves the field to be replaced by Ian Henderson.
75:33 Assist by Pawel Abbott.
75:33 GOAL - Paul Benson:Colchester 3 - 3 Charlton Goal scored by Paul Benson from close range to the top left corner of the goal. Colchester 3-3 Charlton.
73:46 Paul Benson is caught offside. Ben Williams takes the free kick.
73:14 Shot from just outside the box by David Mooney misses to the right of the goal.
72:38 Short corner taken by Johnnie Jackson.
67:21 Shot from just outside the box by David Mooney misses to the right of the goal.
63:32 GOAL - Anthony Wordsworth:Colchester 3 - 2 Charlton Anthony Wordsworth scores a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Colchester 3-2 Charlton.
62:54 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matt Heath by Paul Benson. Paul Reid restarts play with the free kick.
61:37 The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Christian Dailly.
60:47 Corner taken left-footed by Anthony Wordsworth, Paul Benson manages to make a clearance. Lloyd James takes a shot. Save by
59:52 Paul Benson concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Beevers. Ben Williams takes the free kick.
58:30 Andy Bond produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the target.
58:30 Substitution Kyel Reid joins the action as a substitute, replacing Scott Wagstaff.
58:30 Substitution Pawel Abbott comes on in place of Therry Racon.
54:00 Free kick awarded for a foul by Andy Bond on Jose Vitor Semedo. Christian Dailly takes the free kick.
53:14 Paul Benson is caught offside. Ben Williams takes the free kick.
50:59 Lloyd James gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Therry Racon. Gary Doherty takes the free kick.
48:33 Lee Martin takes a shot. Paul Reid gets a block in.
48:01 Unfair challenge on Lee Martin by Lee Beevers results in a free kick. Christian Dailly takes the free kick.
45:01 The second half kicks off.
45:00+6:07 The match has reached half-time.
45:00+5:01 Shot by Lloyd James from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.
45:00+3:46 David Mooney is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Rob Elliot.
45:00+2:02 Unfair challenge on Matt Heath by Paul Benson results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Ben Williams.
45:00+1:28 Anthony Wordsworth concedes a free kick for a foul on Simon Francis. Simon Francis takes the direct free kick.
45:00+0:40 Paul Benson takes a shot. Save made by Ben Williams.
39:24 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Simon Francis, Paul Benson takes a shot. David Perkins is adjudged to have
handled the ball. Free kick awarded for a foul by David Mooney on Gary Doherty. Direct free kick taken by Rob Elliot. David
Perkins gets a block in.
38:57 Sent off The referee shows David Perkins a red card.
35:48 Unfair challenge on Andy Bond by Christian Dailly results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Anthony Wordsworth
from right wing.
35:48 Booking Booking for Christian Dailly.
Correction - 31:49 Corner taken left-footed by Anthony Wordsworth from the left by-line, Gary Doherty makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken
left-footed by Anthony Wordsworth, Effort from the edge of the area by Scott Wagstaff goes wide of the left-hand upright.
Save made by Rob Elliot. Anthony Wordsworth takes a outswinging corner. Shot from 12 yards by Andy Bond. Save by Rob Elliot.
Outswinging corner taken by Anthony Wordsworth from the left by-line.
31:49 Corner from the left by-line taken by Anthony Wordsworth, clearance made by Gary Doherty. Corner taken left-footed by Anthony
Wordsworth. Scott Wagstaff produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.
30:41 Johnnie Jackson sends in a cross, Header on goal by Scott Wagstaff from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
28:07 Foul by Paul Benson on John White, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Ben Williams.
23:27 Ashley Vincent provided the assist for the goal.
23:27 GOAL - Andy Bond:Colchester 2 - 1 Charlton Andy Bond gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Colchester 2-1 Charlton.
21:45 Paul Reid fouled by Lee Martin, the ref awards a free kick. Ben Williams restarts play with the free kick.
20:21 Corner taken by Simon Francis from the right by-line, clearance by Paul Reid.
18:43 Booking Booking for David Mooney for unsporting behaviour.
17:18 Lee Martin fouled by Lloyd James, the ref awards a Penalty.
17:18 GOAL - Johnnie Jackson:Colchester 1 - 1 Charlton Johnnie Jackson scores a penalty. Colchester 1-1 Charlton.
Correction - 15:04 Jose Vitor Semedo challenges Andy Bond unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shot on goal comes in from Anthony Wordsworth
from the free kick, Rob Elliot makes a save. Corner taken by Anthony Wordsworth, Anthony Wordsworth provided the assist for
15:04 Andy Bond fouled by Jose Vitor Semedo, the ref awards a free kick. Shot on goal comes in from Anthony Wordsworth from the
free kick, save by Rob Elliot. Anthony Wordsworth takes the inswinging corner, assist by Anthony Wordsworth.
15:04 GOAL - Matt Heath:Colchester 1 - 0 Charlton Matt Heath finds the back of the net with a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Colchester 1-0 Charlton.
12:30 Therry Racon takes a shot. Save made by Ben Williams.
6:25 Paul Benson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John White. John White restarts play with the free kick.
5:37 David Mooney takes a shot. Rob Elliot makes a save.
2:20 Unfair challenge on Lee Martin by Paul Reid results in a free kick. Johnnie Jackson takes the free kick.
0:00 The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
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