"We're going down, but we'll be back" was the chant that rang around the ground loud and clear as captain for the day Alan Smith marked his home swan song with a second half penalty in a 3-3 draw.
After falling behind to a superb strike by Matt Holland, Leeds built a 3-1 lead with goals from Matthew Kilgallon, Jermaine Pennant and Smith, only to concede two late goals to Jason Euell.
Tears were shed, it's true, but supporters who had stood by Leeds' under-achievers all season turned out in force to bid farewell to a host of players who will be sold off this summer.
Mexican waves were combined with sustained chants of unstinting support and insults - and if most of those fans return next season, the future may yet be bright.
There was no Mark Viduka, who had been ruled out for the final two matches with back and hamstring injuries, so James Milner partnered Smith in the attack and caretaker-manager Eddie Gray brought in young defenders Frazer Richardson and Kilgallon whose wholehearted performances offered hope for the future.
South African international Mark Fish returned on the Charlton bench after injury, with the starting line-up unchanged.
Despite declaring his intention to leave in the summer, Smith was cheered every time he touched the ball as the Leeds fans left him in no doubt that they understand his reasons for leaving.
But it was Charlton who opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a glorious 30-yard strike from Matt Holland. Fed by Paul Konchesky on the left, Holland unleashed a blistering right-foot shot over Whites keeper Paul Robinson into the far top corner.
Charlton keeper Dean Kiely denied Leeds a 26th minute equaliser. Gary Kelly crossed from the right for Stephen McPhail to leap and head goalwards, only for Kiely to react quickly and turn the ball past the post.
However, the controversial equaliser arrived three minutes later. Charlton disputed the award of a free-kick from just outside the right edge of the penalty area for a foul by Hermann Hreidarsson on Smith. McPhail floated a perfect ball to the far post where Kilgallon slid in to stab home his second goal for the club.
York born central defender Kilgallon, 20, was only playing because Stephen Caldwell had returned to Newcastle after his spell on loan.
Kiely then made a superb double block to keep out shots from Milner.
Leeds seized the lead five minutes before the break when Smith and Milner combined to feed Pennant on the left. The winger, on loan from Arsenal cut inside Luke Young twice with breathtaking footwork before delivering a crisp 12-yard shot into the net.
Charlton made a triple substitution on the hour, Radostin Kishishev, Chris Perry and Shaun Bartlett replacing Graham Stuart, Chris Powell and Di Canio.
Leeds made it 3-1 when Michael Duberry was fouled by Jonathan Fortune and Smith stepped up to score from the penalty spot, Kiely getting a hand to the ball but failing to keep it out.
Young was the victim of an excellent save by Robinson but Charlton pulled level with two goals in four minutes by Euell. First, The Addicks were awarded a penalty when Duberry nudged Euell who sent his penalty kick into the bottom left corner.
Then McPhail and Duberry failed to clear in a goalmouth scramble and Euell turned the ball in at the second attempt.
Man of the Match: Alan Smith.
The local favourite marked his final game in a home shirt at Elland Road with a typically tenacious display, capped by a goal from the penalty spot.