Hat-trick floors Canaries.
Alan Curbishley's team had lost just one of their last eight games against the Canaries and had won on their last two trips to Carrow Road.
So it was no surprise when they snatched an early lead.
Charlton forced a corner in the seventh minute which Welsh international John Robinson swung in for defender Steve Brown to head on.
Norwich keeper Andy Marshall made a brilliant blocking save to keep out Stuart Palmer's close-range shot, but Mendonca instantly crashed home the rebound.
Norwich, without the injured Darren Eadie, Keith O'Neill and Iwan Roberts, were quick to shrug off the setback and piled on the pressure.
Midfielder Neil Adams fired just wide and striker Robert Fleck clipped in a deep cross which teenager Adrian Coote, 18, making his full debut, headed down for defender Rob Newman to hammer over the top of the Charlton crossbar. But Charlton always looked menacing on the break and they stunned Norwich with a second goal after 22 minutes.
Midfielder Paul Mortimer whipped in a wicked left-wing cross which Canary centre-back John Polston miskicked completely to leave Mendonca with a simple finish.
Mendonca then tapped home his third after 28 minutes after Marshall could only block a shot from striker Steve Jones.
Billericay referee Andy D'Urso then infuriated the home crowd by disallowing two "goals" in quick succession.
The first was clear-cut as Coote clearly punched home a cross from right- back Matt Jackson.
But D'Urso sparked fury around the ground with his second decision on the stroke of half-time.
Charlton keeper Andy Petterson crashed his clearance into the back of Newman and the ball flew into the back of the net, but the referee ruled it out, presumably for obstruction.
Phil Chapple competed the rout with six minutes to go.
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Sep 18, 1997|
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