Recalled from a loan spell at Watford last week, the Republic of Ireland under-21 international stepped into the right-back slot in place of the suspended Stephen Carr and put on an assured performance that won praise from David Pleat.
The downside for Stephen - and Johnnie Jackson making his home debut - is that the occasion was not marked with the securing of any reward for their efforts. Carlton Cole's headed goal from a corner on 65 minutes saw to it that Charlton now hold fourth place in the Premiership while we fall to 18th.
"I thought in the first half we dominated, created a lot of chances and just needed to put one away when we were in control of the game," reflected Stephen after the game.
"We were unlucky when the goal came from the corner. They had one or two clear cut chances, but I thought we did well."
Last season Stephen enjoyed loan stints in Division Two at Southend and QPR and has topped up his first team playing time at Watford this term. He explained that the noticeable differences between the leagues is the pace of the game and overall quality of play.
"I felt it was a lot quicker - I am more tired now than after a game in Division One. It was so enjoyable, you get the ball and are obviously playing with better players - the passing and movement is great. It was a fantastic experience," he added, before disagreeing slightly when it was put to him that he suffered no major alarms in the game.
"There were one or two! Overall I thought I did okay and put in a steady performance.
"Everyone is disappointed, but we must take some positives out of it. The mood is okay, but it is disappointing that the goal came from a set piece. It is just a case now of head up and onto the next game."
Stephen Kelly described his first team debut for the club against Charlton as a 'fantastic experience' - but one tinged with disappointment over the result.