Boss Hughton appeared in a state of shock after his side were hammered 5-0 at The Valley on Wednesday night — a defeat despite fielding the likes of Darren Anderton, Chris Armstrong, Ledley King, Willem Korsten, Jose Dominguez and Matthew Etherington.
Two of the goals came from identical corner routines and Hughton blasted: “If we concede goals in the fashion we did at Charlton then we’ll find it very difficult to win games.
“I knew it would be very difficult. Charlton are a very good reserve side and no matter who they put out, a young side or a mixture, it’s always a tough game.
“But I was always optimistic that we could go there and get a result particularly with the quality we had out. A lot of players were missing match practice, but we still had quality on the football pitch.
“I certainly didn’t expect us to give away goals as easily as we did. Charlton were also first to most balls and had a far better edge than we did defensively and up front.
“I’m very disappointed. I certainly can’t remember being in charge of a side that lost 5-0 in a competitive game.”
The only plus-points were more match practice for the likes of Armstrong — he played 85 minutes in his comeback match after an injury setback — Korsten, King and even Anderton, who had only played one reserve match before returning to Premiership action against Leeds last weekend.
Hughton added: “It was Chris Armstrong’s first game back, Willem Korsten’s second, Ledley King’s second. That’s the only thing you can grab from it — that these lads got valuable games but the performance was no-where near good enough.
“Although I can’t necessarily say it was a 5-0 game I’ve no complaints with the outcome.
“You’d like to think the players will get a warning from the game itself and how easily we lost it. Only time will tell.”
Chris Hughton had this warning after his reserve side’s drubbing at Charlton: “Defend like that and we’ll struggle to win another game.”