West Bromwich Albion 4 Charlton Athletic 2
This result put Albion on to the summit of the Championship but the main debate was whether Zoltan Gera, the talisman of Saturday's side, would be around for next season.
The Hungarian, a free agent come next summer, scored twice and set-up Bednar's shot but his future is shrouded in uncertainty, not least as Bolton are sniffing around him.
Kevin Phillips, by no means certain of his own future when his current deal expires next summer, hopes Gera will stay at Albion. "Of course we'd like Zoltan to sign again," said the 34-year-old striker, who was making his first appearance for the Baggies since his knee injury against Sheffield Wednesday six weeks go. "We've seen today what Zoltan can do.
"Zoltan Gera is a player that breathes on confidence. He's got three goals in two games and that's tremendous for him. I'd love to see him stay but at the end of the day it's up to the player and the club to make him want to stay. We'll just hope he continues performing the way he did today and the rest will take care of itself."
Manager Tony Mowbray echoed those thoughts, claiming that Gera was professional enough not to be unsettled over the uncertainty over his future.
"Zoltan is enjoying his football," said the Albion manager. "He's enjoying his family life, he's at a football club where he's appreciated by the players, management and supporters. I would hope Zoltan will see his future at the club.
"I'm not the one who does the talking so we will wait and see if there's any further discussions to be had. I don't want to get sucked into that [his future] at the moment and Zoltan showed on Saturday that it's not playing on his mind."
Mowbray's men hti the top spot at Saturday lunchtime before Watford lost to Plymouth in a later kick-off. The victory against the Addicks puts Mowbray's stylish side one point clear of the Hornets although it might as well be two points given their goal difference.
On Saturday, Albion could and should have scored more. They ended a run of four home games without a win thanks to goals from Roman Bednar, Phillips and, in between, a double from Gera.
Charlton had initially opened the scoring through Chris Iwelumo before Izale McLeod grabbed an equaliser to make it 2-2 when Alan Pardew's men briefly held the upper hand. Otherwise it was one way traffic for the home side.
Bednar struck the outside of the post in the 15th minute when he finished off a polished Eastern European move involving himself, Hungarian Gera and Slovenian Robert Koren. The Czech international man slid in but his volley hit the upright and bounced away for a goalkick.
The visitors struck first, in the 37th minute. Jerome Thomas left Jared Hodgkiss trailing and sent in a high cross for the head of Iwelumo. The ex-Colchester man arched his back away from goal but managed to squeeze a header just past Luke Steele's post.
The Baggies equalised in the 43rd minute through Bender. He was played in by Bostjan Cesar before stroking the ball to Gera. The return ball was turned in by the grateful Bednar to restore parity.
Albion's second came in the 50th minute when Brunt and the impressive Gera combined. The former curled in an exquisite cross which had too much force for the Charlton defence but fell at the right height for the Hungarian to score at the far post.
The euphoria didn't last. Athletic equalised 17 minutes from time. Luke Varney's cross was turned goalwards by Izale McLeod. His shot was covered by Luke Steele only for the Albion keeper to allow the ball to slip under his body and into the empty net.
It was one for the Christmas bloopers video and Tony Mowbray's reaction - he threw his arms in frustration and disgust - suggests that a new goalkeeper might be on the agenda come January.
Charlton's advantage was shortlived. Brunt and Gera combined yet again in the 80th minute to give the initiative back to Albion. In a carbon copy of Albion's second, Gera rose above his marker Chris Powell to connect on to another Brunt cross.
Phillips ensured victory. After having his initial shot saved by Weaver, Albion's elder statesman made no mistake from close range as the visitors failed to clear the Baggies' corner.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION: (4-2-3-1) Steele, Hodgkiss, Pele, Cesar, Robinson, Greening, Koren, Gera, Teixeira (Phillips 72), Brunt, Bednar (MacDonald 90+3). Subs: Martis, Barnett, Beattie
CHARLTON ATHLETIC: (4-5-1) Weaver, Semedo, Bough-erra, Sodje, Powell, Ambrose (Varney 65), Holland, Reid, Zhi (Sankofa 70), Thomas, Iwelumo (McLeod 45). Subs: Randolph, McCarthy.
Scorers: Iwelumo (37) 0-1; Bednar (43) 1-1; Gera (50) 2-1; McLeod (74) 2-2; Gera (80) 3-2, Phillips (84) 4-2.
Referee: Peter Taylor (Herts)
Bookings: Charlton - Bougherra, Sodje, Holland (all fouls)